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Gracie has commented on (45) products.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One

Gracie, December 7, 2013

This book is as addictive and fun as the video games it nostalgically champions. Underdog hero Wade, aka Parzival, is living in an all-too-realistic dystopian future: the planet's a wreck and escapism in the virtual OASIS is infinitely preferable. The OASIS is, in fact, where Wade spends most of his time and where he considers his real life to be.

The creator of the OASIS, philanthropic soul, lover of all things 1980s, and Wade's hero, James Halliday, also preferred the virtual world. So much so, that when he died, he left no heirs but a contest. Whoever wins Halliday's contest will inherit his great fortune and control of the OASIS.

There is, obviously, widespread interest in the contest. Whether it's idealistic individuals, cooperative clan groups, or mega corporations out for profit, the game is on. Wade must do battle with friend and enemy alike, trying to decipher clues, pass tests, and even just to stay alive. And it's along the way that he'll discover who he really is, what he wants, and change the world he knows.

Ernest Cline writes this story with wit and depth, using pop culture references and gaming strategies to illuminate the human condition and the mise en abyme of the game within a game works beautifully. Loved this book.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Gracie, May 2, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a charming, quirky, snarky, and highly entertaining novel about a charming, quirky, snarky, and highly entertaining family.

Bee Branch isn't your average teen. As a reward for her stellar grades, she wants to take a family trip to Antarctica. Bee's father, Elgin Branch, is Microsoft's rock star. Bee's mother, Bernadette Fox, is a once-famous architect who's now an agoraphobic woman who rarely leaves home. She has a virtual personal assistant from India to do even the most basic errands, so how is she going to handle going to Antarctica?

And then, one day, Bernadette disappears, leaving behind a jumbled mess involving hostile neighbors, wary psychiatrists, frustrated FBI agents, and her confused family. Bee is determined to find her mother and will go to the ends of the earth, literally, to do so.

The result of Bee's search is Maria Semple's marvelous novel. A combination of Bee's narrative, emails, letters, newsletters, etc., Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is a delightful satire of mordant wit and humor.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
The Lifeboat

Gracie, March 13, 2013

Charlotte Rogan has a unique gift for creating atmosphere. The story opens with Grace Winter awaiting trial for murder, and how she got there is the heart of this story. The book is not titled The Lifeboat for nothing. After the ship Grace and her husband were sailing on sank, she is left on a lifeboat, and that lifeboat became Grace's whole world.

As time passes and food, water, and hope begin to run out, so do the norms of society and basic human interaction. Moods darken and morals shift--if they're lost altogether. Life before the lifeboat is a distant thing, a memory of another life that gets farther and father away. Reading Grace's account of what passed on the boat after returning to civilization is like reliving in a bad dream--it's fascinating and enthralling but nothing one wants to get too close to. Monotonous hunger, thirst, weakness, and despair envelop the passengers. There is no escape from it. There is no escape from each other. There is only survival and what one has to do to ensure it.

This book is beautifully written, more and more captivating as it goes along. It's amazing what people are capable of given the right circumstances, and Rogan has created those circumstances with an adroit hand.
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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Gracie, February 3, 2013

In the same vein as The Tiger's Wife, this debut novel by Anthony Marra is an extraordinary, eloquent, heart-rending book. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is as lyrical as the title implies, this story gleans meaning from the senseless environment of perpetual war. The characters may not always know the parts they play in each other's lives, but the author brings their stories together with such grace that Akhmed, Ramzan, Khassan, Sonja, Natasha, Dokka, and Havaa resonate in their world and with the reader. Truly beautiful.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl

Gracie, January 30, 2013

This book is crazy good. It's crazy good, byzantine, seamless, and incredibly well written. Gillian Flynn's writing is truly engaging (to the point where I nearly missed my subway stop every single time I was reading on the train). Her descriptions are some of the most eloquent I've ever read--all the things people think but can never seem to express. Her characters can be simple complex at the same time, and the narrative takes a tenacious hold quickly and never lets up.

Amy and Nick Dunne are supposed to be celebrating their fifth anniversary when Amy goes missing. There are signs of a struggle, but what happened? And what part does Nick play in her disappearance? The perfect set-up for a mystery novel. But Gone Girl is so much more than that. There's a psychological (and sometimes psychopathic) depth explored in the novel that gives it substance and resonance.

The narrative switches back and forth between Nick and Amy, in the present and the past. They've lost their jobs. Amy's parents, writers known for their Amazing Amy children's books with their perfect daughter as the heroine, have taken back a large portion of Amy's trust fund to fix their own problems. Nick's parents are stricken with cancer and Alzheimer's, respectively, with only his sister to take care of them. So the Dunnes move from New York City to a small town in Missouri where things then deteriorate steadily. Those are the facts they can agree on. But their narratives reveal two very different stories.

Just when a clear picture of who Nick and Amy are begins to emerge, everything changes. Just when the clues start to make sense, something shifts. Just when one character becomes easy to identify with, that narrator is proven to be unreliable.

It's amazing (pun intended) how Flynn has put this book together. The novel is stunning, fascinating, and disturbing by turns, but it's always riveting. Absolutely amazing.

This is the first book of Flynn's that I've read, and now I have to go find the others.
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