Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready player one

My boyfriend received a free copy of Ready Player One in one of his monthly Loot Crates and after reading it, told me I might enjoy it as well. I have to say, Cline certainly knows his 80s trivia. And as someone who grew up in the 90s, it was wonderful to read this book and remember some of the video games I played as a kid. I was rather proud of myself in that regard.

For the first 50 pages or so I had a difficult time finding the motivation to keep reading. Exposition is definitely important in this book as there’s so much to explain about the decline of the real world as well as the new virtual reality system, OASIS; however, most of this exposition seemed to drag on. My attention was not truly captured until the contest swings back into full gear upon Parzival’s finding of the Copper Key. After this, the plot seems to pick up speed.

Along those same lines, the ending also seemed odd to me, a bit underwhelming. After the build-up of so much tension and suspense…things seemed to come to an end fairly abruptly. I expected some sort of elongated shoot out scene between Sorrento and Parzival, so I was a little confused to see that the only true fight was between their giant robots and that it took only a few pages. Then Parzival gets “free admission” into the third gate because he just so happens to have the “extra life coin” and then he doesn’t have to fight another soul to win the contest. A bit contrived, sure, but I’m thinking most people will read this book for the references, not necessarily for its creative and well-developed plotline. Was I a little disappointed? Yes. But likely only because I was expecting one thing and got another.

All this being said, the book still has a lot to offer. I love how Cline describes the friendship between Aech and Parzival when they meet in-person for the first time. Because they have never seen each other, the two have been able to rely only on what they know about the other person’s personality — their interests, their dislikes, their passions. Aech and Parzival share a “mental friendship” because they have not had physical appearances to sway their opinions on one another. For a book that focuses so much on the negative aspects of living in a computer-controlled world, this is one positive element that I really appreciate.

I did notice that Cline’s next book, Armada, is expected to be released in the fall of this year. I’m not super eager to read it — I think I’ll read a few reviews first to see how it compares — but I appreciate Cline’s passion for “old school” video games and movies. I may be a 90s kid, but my heart belongs to the 80s.

All this being said, I certainly recommend this book to anyone who has a love for the 80s, video games, or movies. And at 372 pages, it’s not a bad choice if you’re looking for a quick read. 

Moving away doesn’t have to mean forgetting.

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This large attic-esque second-floor bedroom has been my home away from home for a year now. Hard to believe so much time has passed. I won’t lie, this room has come with its fair share of problems — namely the brutal summer heat and the numerous creepy-crawly bugs and other flying insects — but there are moments I’ve experienced in this room that have changed me forever and helped to mold me into a more respectable, considerate human being.

If I were to give this past year its own motto, I’d tell you without hesitation that “everything happens for a reason,” both the good and the bad. I could show you exactly where I was standing when I got in my first argument with my roommate and I could give you a moment-by-moment replay of how I reacted when the boy I liked broke my heart. But I could also point out where I was sitting when that same boy, my now boyfriend, kissed me, or show you how truly magnificent the moon is when it shines through the large window above my bed at night. All of these memories are now safely tucked away in the photo album of my mind, and I know when I leave at the end of the month and began to unpack my belongings in a new space that these memories will still be with me.

I rest assured knowing that moving away doesn’t have to mean forgetting what you have learned. Moving away brings with it the chance to begin anew without fear of repeating mistakes from the past. I am older and wiser now, and, I hope, a little better than the person I was before.

Projects for a rainy Wednesday afternoon.

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Burlap and twine are always great, cheap items to decorate with.

We Texans have been dealing with some pretty significant rainfall over the past two days due to the remnants of good ol’ Tropical Storm Bill trudging their way northward through the state. I’ve been feeling the need to be productive as of late — more than likely because I’ve been trapped indoors wishing desperately for something to do — and today I decided to put my creativity and DIY skills to use with four simple projects.


1: The {Circle} Mirror Transformation

Er, sorry for the bad theatre pun…

I’ve had this $5 Walmart mirror hanging in my bedroom for three years now and until today I had done nothing special with it. I’m moving into a new apartment at the end of the month, and along with changing locale, I decided that changing some of my decor might not be such bad idea. This plain black frame was definitely in need of a simple, trendy update, so I began searching Pinterest for some inspiration!

I ended up finding lots of examples of people painting only the corners of mirrors on Pinterest, which is largely why I ended up going with it. It would add some color to a rather dull frame, and give me a little bit of preppy sophistication to offset the rest of my boho-chic decor.

Using masking tape, I first taped off the angles where I wanted to paint the frame so as to maintain crisp, clean lines. Rather than measuring the angles themselves, I followed the natural corner cut of the wood to make things a little easier. I then taped off the glass inside the frame to keep any brush strokes from accidentally grazing the mirror.

I then set about painting the frame. Fortunately, the mirror was painted matte black so I didn’t need to sand down the frame or use chalk paint. I actually bought an acrylic paint in bright teal from Michael’s and ended up needing to lather on about 4 coats to make sure the original black paint could not be seen. Once dry, I brushed on a matte clear coat (from Michael’s) which gave the frame a smooth finish and should hopefully keep the paint from chipping in the future.

As you’ll come to find out, I’m a huge fan of little trinkets and ornate antiques — so why not give my mirror a little bit of the same treatment? Buttons and twine are staples in my crafting kit, so I grabbed my hot-glue gun and my baggie of buttons and fake flowers and set to work. I didn’t want the burlap flower I’d settled on to seem like it came out of nowhere, so I remedied this by hot-glue-ing twine around the frame to tie it all back together. I originally bought the giant burlap flower at Hobby Lobby several years back for a different project but never ended up using it — turns out that was a good thing in this case. On top, I layered three flower petals in green, pink, and multi (also from Hobby Lobby) and placed a vintage button in the center to finish off the look.

Somehow I feel like it still needs something more…but I’ll save that for a later date!

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The finished product. {You can’t see me!}


2: Hoe-lder of Utensils but not the Gardening Kind

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#1 aaaaaa…

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…aaaaand #2 

I spotted these these two on sale for $2 each in the gardening section at IKEA, believe it or not. Maybe they were intended for outdoor use, but I thought they’d make great writing utensil holders for my desk. They were originally very plain: bright white with no special details at all. But with the help of my handy-dandy crafting kit, I was able to turn them into something adorable! Each holder took two coats of paint and a final coat of matte clear coat (all from Michael’s). I then tied the twine in a knot around the back of each cup and hot-glued it in place to keep the twine from slipping. I then layered four flower petals for each cup and topped each creation with a small crystal (purchased in bulk in the scrapbooking section at Michael’s). I chose to use something smaller in place of one of the larger buttons to keep the holders simple and dainty.


3. A Light in the Dark

Updating this lamp has been a work in progress over several years…guess the gods of inspiration were waiting until now to strike! I bought the {functioning!} $3 lamp base at a thrift store two years ago and it was a terribly dull hue of baby blue. I loved the shape but wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with it. With the addition of a $10 lamp shade from Target, I suddenly found I didn’t mind the boring blue as much, and thus the lamp has sat on my desk in that same boring state until today.

The dark teal latex paint which has since replaced the baby blue actually came free from the TCU scenic studio. Someone mixed too much of a color we decided not to use, and instead of letting it go to waste I brought some home with me…where it laid unused in its plastic bowl for a year…until two days ago. It took two coats of teal to make sure that baby blue didn’t show through, but the good news is that latex paint dries fairly quickly and I moved on to the next step within 10 minutes. I was then able to apply the matte top coat from the previous two projects which gave it that same smooth protective finish. Afterwards, I looped twine around the lamp base three times to ensure it wouldn’t slip (no need for hot glue this time!) and tied it in a bow at the front. Once I attached the always helpful flower-button creation at the center of the bow with hot glue, I put the lamp shade back on. I’m rather satisfied with the outcome — I think it’ll really brighten up the room!

IMG_4625The clear-coat even gave the lamp base a light crackle-effect. Unintentional but cute!


4. So Vase-ic

Eek, the puns are strong with me today.

Today’s final crafting project was a little update to a cheap vase I bought at Michael’s two years ago. Originally, I was inspired by the vintage-looking flowers I found on another aisle and intended to buy, but, in my opinion, every flower needs a vase, so I purchased this guy because he was on sale and I was sensing creative potential.

I used the same dark teal latex paint and clear coat as on the lamp, but had a bit of a harder time with the decorative touches. Eventually I decided to tie twine around the base three times to give it something extra and then hot-glued the ever popular flower-button creation to the front. Simple, but much better than the original!

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 You can’t see the twine from the front view, but I like it anyway!

That’s all for today’s post! Keep checking back for more fun things later this week.

~Marisa