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Player One, are you ready to set forth on your next adventure? Are you ready to unlock the secrets behind the fantastical world of the “Oasis”?

Come and flick through the pages of Ernest Cline’s debut novel Ready Player One. Whether young, old, small or tall Ready Player One will have you escorting Wade Watts on his quest to find three hidden keys needed to locate the Easter Egg. The one whom can solve the riddles and rhymes set by Halliday, the now deceased creator of the Oasis, and find the Easter Egg will not only have fame thrust upon them, but they will also become the sole owner of the Oasis; which is worth over half a trillion dollars!

Filled with pop culture nostalgia at every turn Cline’s debut novel is a well-crafted video game-laden adventure suitable for all ages. Don’t forget, Ready Player One is now also a major motion picture which means it’s a perfect time to brush on this novel before watching the movie to see all the characters you love come to the big screen.

If you’re a fan of graphic novels and anime such as Sword Art Online, or Log Horizon you’ll thoroughly enjoy the escapism on offer from Cline. Ready Player One is also suitable for mature kids and teenagers looking to expand their reading regime if they loved authors such as Rick Riordan and Terry Pratchett.

Now, strap yourself in and get ready Player One, the games are about to begin.

Book To Movie: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas' smash hit novel, The Hate U Give, is about to become a movie!

Starring Amandla Stenberg, the movie follows the story of Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old who lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community.

It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give is a powerful and gripping drama about one girl's struggle for justice.

 

What our QBD readers are saying: 

THUG is a phenomenal book that tackles the difficult topic of police brutality in America. Starr is stuck between two worlds; her private school in the suburbs where she is the only black girl, and her home in the rundown, all-black community which is stuggling with the death of Starr's friend who was brutally murdered by police. Heartbreakingly honest but hilarious and heartwarming. A MUST READ! - Eleanor, QBD Hornsby

Angie Thomas hits an absolute winner in her first piece of YA fiction. Our young narrator/protagonist, Starr, is an inquisitive, thoughtful black girl. Her life is in dichotomy, half spent in Garden Heights, home to crack dealers, drive by shootings and unfortunately, Starr. The other half is spent at Starr's swanky private school on the other side of town. At home she has to pretend to be 'more black' than she feels, and at school, much less. Starr manages to establish some form of equilibrium she is content with, until it happens. Thomas' characters are wonderfully complex, and meticulously crafted; every point is purposeful, every scene pivotal. This brand new author has produced something important and special, I have no reservations in recommending The Hate U Give. This book will teach you real meaning, as first shared by Tupac, of living a THUG LIFE. I wait in bated breath to read Thomas again in the very near future. - Joshua, QBD Eastland

This remarkable debut novel from Angie Thomas tackles the symbolic Black Lives Matter movement in all of its power and flurry. I read this book in one day – it's an absolute page-turner that will leave you with questions and answers you didn't have prior to reading it. If there's one book you choose to read right now, choose this one. - Holly, QBD Miranda

Team Eastland’s Latest Reads

Our Eastland team tell us all about some of their latest reads in this week's Spotlight on QBD!
There's romance, thrills, horror... and Harry Potter!

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a thriller unlike any other. The Swedish novel is full of unexpected twists and turns which are only magnified by the beautiful complexity of its main characters; the charming truth crusader, Mikael Blomkvist, and the mysterious, stoic Lisbeth Salander.
Through this unlikely pair’s investigation, Stieg Larsson’s spellbinding text sheds a powerful light on the so often diminished sexual crimes against women in Sweden, and society’s attempt to sweep it under the rug.
Whether you are a lover of crime fiction or just looking for something different, this book is a must read. - Katrina

 

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus(Trans. Justin O'Brien):

When you see that someone has the last line of a book tattooed on his forearm, you can be reasonably assured he has some investment in it... Having read it three times, and having vowed to read it next in its original language, I can honestly say The Myth of Sisyphus has made a profound difference in my life; it has contributed considerably to the human being I am today. It has made me more myself. Through a form that can only be described as lyrical-prose, Camus considers the question: in the face of the absurd condition we find in living, why live? Why not die? The condition of the Absurd is fundamental to this question, as is how we respond to it. For Camus, the Absurd can be summed up as our compulsion to demand meaning from a universe that lacks the capacity to adequately provide this kind of meaning. Our only option is to live in the tension between these opposing conditions of our existence. He explores this Absurd Heroism in a number of ways, but finishes on the book's eponymous Sisyphus, an ancient Greek king who was punished by the gods for his arrogance by being compelled to push a boulder up a mountain for all eternity, only to have it roll back down every time he reaches the top. The last line: 'It is necessary to imagine Sisyphus happy' places the dynamic of this tension in our imaginations, not so much in our sense of reason specifically. And while this is a book of ideas, it is also beautiful to the point of poetry. - Jeremy

The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns:

Harper thinks her life is where she wants it to be. Great job, great marriage, great friends! She believes that her husband Samuel and her, are happy with their decision to not have children, but an interview on her popular radio program, about infertility struggles, sets her on an altruistic path to help Claire & Jasper become parents.

Claire & Jasper are a young married couple, running a successful Hot Air Ballooning company with family. The one thing missing in their otherwise perfect life is a child. Can Harper, unknown to them prior to her interviewing them, be the answer to their dreams?
An emotional roller-coaster ensues for all parties involved, as well thought out life plans change and relationships are tested and re-established.

The Greatest Gift is a contemporary tale of modern baby-making, full of joy and heartache. Johns' move from writing rural romance to modern women's fiction has been successful. As much as I still enjoy all her “chook lit”, I eagerly await her next foray in the pool of contemporary modern women's fiction. Well worth a read, but have the tissue box handy! - Susan

Pet Sematary by Stephen King:

What would you do if you lost everything that was dear to you? How far would you go to get it back?

These are the questions that King's horror classic Pet Sematary tries to answer. When Louis Creed and his young family move from the windy city of Chicago to small town Maine, they weren't expecting the series of unfortunate events that would unfold. From the moment a dying man stumbles into Louis' clinic, his life begins to spiral. Nightmares, ancient Native American burial grounds, and every parent's worst fear all send Louis down a path he can never hope to recover from.

While certainly not King's scariest novel (that award goes to Salem's Lot or The Shining), Pet Sematary adds an element of reality that cranks the creep factor up to 11. Brilliantly written in King's classic style, the story of Louis, Gage, and Church the cat is one to remember. I definitely recommend that you check it out, but maybe read it with the lights on. – Sean

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp:

Follow the lives of four students as each one struggles with survival and loss, stemming from the terrors that strike Opportunity High. While reading this novel I was overcome with the need to know what happened next- I couldn't put it down! I was drawn into the chaos, as I hoped for each character to find safety and escape the situation that is an unfortunate reality for many students in America. Marieke Nijkamp's writing was triggered by true events, that see shootings becoming a recurrence in the lives of many teens. Leading to a well thought-out plot, rendering the reader heartbroken by just how urgent the situation is, allowing us to become invested in the characters' survival. - Ruby

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (illustrated edition) by J.K. Rowling:

We all know Harry Potter. We went to school with him and learned magic with him, but now we get to see him in a new light. The illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a beautiful take on JK Rowling’s wizarding world. Jim Kay has managed to capture true magic in his pictures, truly bringing us to Hogwarts to experience magical creatures and ghosts alike. - Ella

 

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Reviewsday: Circe by Madeline Miller

"Whatever you do, I wanted to say, do not be too happy. It will bring down fire on your head."

A lyrical reimagining of the myth of Circe, witch of Aiaia, with a feminist bent and gorgeously lush prose.

Circe was born of Helios and Perse, then banished to the island of Aiaia in punishment. Here she waits, perfecting her craft, until the hero Odysseus washes up on her shore after 12 long years of war and voyaging. Circe, wary of men and strangers, turns his crew into swine, but Odysseus charms her, staying a year in her bed and convincing her to release his men.

The book is a careful examination of a woman living in a patriarchal world, trying to discover and negotiate her own power, while still retain her humanity. Circe is a deeply flawed character, but those who surround her are flawed deeper still. Add a pantheon of jealous and beautiful deities, volatile heroes, an ancient breed of witchcraft reestablished and beloved, deadly monsters and you have a book that sings to the soul. Circe is a triumph for Madeline Miller and I hope everyone gets the chance to read it.

Interesting fact: The plant Circe uses in her pig-turning spell is thought to be Datura stramonium, a type of nightshade that causes hallucinations and delusions.

About the author:

Madeline Miller has a BA and MA from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek, and has been teaching both for the past nine years. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. The Song of Achilles is her first novel and was the winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012.

 

Reading this book with your Book Club? Check out these great Reading Group questions to help spark your discussion!

Other books you might like:

Reviewsday: I’ll Be Gone In The Dark

This is an extraordinary true crime book, about a series of cold cases from the 1970s.

For background, the Golden State Killer (GSK) is a man who was called many different things- such as the Original Night Stalker or East Area Rapist. McNamara, in the 2010s, was operating a True Crime blog. She wanted to solve these decades old cases. McNamara worked painstakingly on this case, discovering links and evidence. Once there was an established link between all these cases, it was McNamara herself that said he should have a catchy name, so it sticks in people's heads and encompasses all the crimes he's committed in California. Thus the moniker, The Golden State Killer.

The Golden State Killer has been in the media this week, because the Police have finally caught him, after reopening the case in 2016. Sadly, Michelle McNamara passed away in April 2016. This book was a labour of, well not love, but obsession. She was very aware that she was obsessed with this case. She'd interview survivors, witnesses. She chased leads, hoping to find the one piece of evidence police missed, touring the neighbourhoods the GSK had visited and violated. Her writing is so enthralling, almost narrative like, it was easy for me to have many sleepless nights, imagining any noise in my yard at night might be someone sneaking across the grass.

I was almost finished the book when I heard the news. I was elated, finally this monster of a man who terrorized people in the 1970s was finally caught, after at least 12 murdered people and 47 rapes.

The most haunting part of the book comes at the end, where she writes directly to GSK, telling him there would be police one day knocking on his door:

"Open the door. Step into the light. Show us your face."