Check It Out Category: Lists

List: If You Like Ready Player One

Ready Player One coverWe’re just six months away from the film adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 2011 dystopian novel, Ready Player One. The story takes place in the not-too-distant future, 2044, in a world that’s been blighted by environmental excess, forcing most people to live in poverty. The only respite is the online virtual reality of Oasis, which is a world unto itself. It is in this Oasis that Wade Watts searches for a real-life treasure left posthumously by an eccentric businessman. But the closer he comes to finding it, the more dangerous Wade’s life becomes. If you enjoyed the book, here are three others you may want to check out as well.

 

 

For the Win by Cory Doctorow is another novel set in the near future and also centers around a multi-player online world. In this story the the world economy has gone online. Goods such as gold are mined virtually, then sold and traded around the world. The gold farmers try to assert their rights, but the wealthy elite are not willing to let them go…at least not without a fight.

Widely considered to be the original cyberpunk novel, William Gibson’s 1984 classic Neuromancer is another story of people living impoverished lives in a high tech world. Henry Case capitalizes on his advanced computer prowess by earning a living hacking into systems to steal information he then sells. But when he crosses the wrong line he pays for it dearly, violently thrust from the virtual world seemingly for good. Danger, crime and subterfuge consume the cyber world once again in this book which still resonates on all levels more than three decades after it was originally published.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is set in a 21st century United States no longer united, but instead divided among corporations, with varying degrees of safety and freedom. Blurring lines between the virtual world and the physical one, people and their computer avatars are beginning to be infected with a mind numbing virus that affects them in both worlds. Seemingly average guy Hiro Protagonist is in fact a highly evolved warrior prince in the virtual world, and he along with equally tech savvy YT must track down the source of the infection before it’s too late.

School Days…

School is back in session, and there’s no better way to remember your own high school hi-jinks than by watching a movie. Check out these high school classics set in Chicagoland.

Cooley Vocational High School (in a 1964 version of Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood) is the setting for Cooley High, the fictional story of best friends Preach and Cochise. Preach is studious and has his sights set on a writing career; Cochise is the star of the basketball team, and both are ready for a fun adventure whenever the opportunity arises. Sometimes that opportunity presents itself as a chance to skip school and hang out at the zoo, or crash a party, or pursue a girl. But when a group of troublemakers begin to target them, adult realities start to collide with teenage innocence.

Breakfast Club dvd coverDirector John Hughes’ name is synonymous with teen drama films, and 1985’s The Breakfast Club is a big reason why. Students at New Trier High School in suburban Winnetka dubbed early morning detention “breakfast club,” and this movie, (filmed in Des Plaines at the former Maine North high school) perhaps more than any other, gave a closeup look at five teen stereotypes of the 1980s – the popular girl, the jock, the geek, the punk and the loner. They find themselves awkwardly thrust together on a Saturday morning, but come to learn some deep things about each other and realize they may all be more multidimensional than their stereotypes would suggest.

Teen ballerina Sara Johnson’s life is struck by tragedy, and she decides to give up dance and return to high school in Chicago in 2001’s Save the Last Dance. She soon finds herself learning hip hop, and pairs up with a hip hop dancer named Derek. Romantic feelings develop between them, and Sara confides in Derek about her tragedy and her dream of attending Julliard, while Derek confides that his dream is to attend med school at Georgetown. Their interracial relationship causes backlash from others, and they ultimately must decide whether to follow their dreams or settle for a lesser path that seems predestined.

It’s the senior year of high school for North Shore student Joel Goodson, and with his exceptional grades and bright path ahead, he feels he deserves to let loose a little while his parents are out of town. Things quickly spin out of control, and Joel must find a way to cover his tracks after a weekend of partying, call girls and criminals results in thousands of dollars in damages to his parents’ Porsche and lavish home (an actual residence located in Highland Park.) Senoritis definitely takes a unique spin in the movie classic, Risky Business.

Hoop Dreams is the true story of two high school basketball players, William Gates and Arthur Agee, trying to make it to the NBA. Both teens make more than hour-long commutes from their homes in Chicago housing projects to the same high school in Westchester, Illinois that Isaiah Thomas attended. Both teens must find their places within the social structure of the school, which is predominantly white and very different from their own community, and find ways to remain athletically elite while surviving in abject poverty.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is another John Hughes’ classic teen drama. Ferris’ idyllic suburb (based on Hughes’ hometown of Northbrook) provides the launching off point for an epic decision to ditch high school (Glenbrook North, circa 1986) and tour around downtown Chicago. To the chagrin of his sister Jeannie, Ferris’ faux sick day garners him the sympathy and support of not only their parents, but almost everyone in their high school, and by the end of the day a full-fledged Save Ferris campaign has engulfed the school. His whirlwind tour takes him and his friends to the Art Institute, The Sears Tower, Wrigley Field and even the German-American parade marching down Dearborn.

List: Solar Eclipses in Fiction

While you wait down the days to August 21, check out a novel that counts a solar eclipse as a major plot point. Choose from classic, thriller, science fiction, general fiction, historical mystery, or a whole lot of horror. Maybe it’s the dark? 

Strength of the Sun book coverThe Strength of the Sun
Catherine Chidgey
Dolores Claiborne book cover

Dolores Claiborne
Stephen King

He Said_She Said book coverHe Said/She Said
Erin Kelly

Geralds Game book coverGerald’s Game
Stephen King

Eclipse book coverEclipse
John Banville

Nightfall book coverNightfall
Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg

Audiobooks for Your Summer Road Trip

“Nothing behind me, everything in front of me, as is ever so, on the road.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Heading out on the open road this summer? The Library has audiobooks that are sure to keep you engaged while the miles fly by.

Someday Someday Maybe book cover

For a light read, try Someday, Someday, Maybe by Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham. This is a sweet tale of a young woman trying to keep up her spirits and her bank account while seeking success as an actress in New York City. 8 hrs, 30 minutes (about the time it’d take to get from Mount Prospect to Toronto, Canada)

 

 

 

 

Astrophysics for people in a hurry book cover

 

If it’s an exercise for your grey matter that you want, pop in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Dr. Tyson gives a crash course in the nature of time, the cosmos and our place in the universe with his trademark wit and accessibility. 3 hrs 30 minutes (enough time to get you to the Wisconsin Dells or Saugatuck, Michigan)

 

 

 

Ready Player One cover

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is the perpetual sci-fi dystopian adventure bestseller. If you haven’t read it, or even if you have, you’re in for a treat with the audio, read by none other than Wil Wheaton. This is the story of Wade Watts, who escapes the dreary reality of life in 2044 by playing in the virtual reality utopian world of OASIS. By solving puzzles and unlocking clues Wade might be able to find the lucrative treasure hidden within, but he could risk his own life to do so. 15 hrs, 41 minutes (long enough for a drive to New York City or Tallahassee, Florida)

 

 

On the Road book cover

 

And of course, there’s the classic Beat Generation road trip tale, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Chronicling the cross country road trip of Sal Paradise and various friends as they drive toward vague destinations and explore debauchery and philosophical musing in 1950’s-era America. (At 11 hours, it would get you almost to Atlanta, Georgia.)

 

 

 

For more great titles to match your tastes, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk to get suggestions. Road-tripping with your family? We currently have  a display on family-friendly titles located by the audiobook collection you can take a peek at!

Music: Songs That Make Us Think of High School

Do you ever hear a song and it transports you to a different time and place from your past? With high school graduations in the air, a few staff members of the Library took time to reflect on songs that reminded of them of high school, whether it be a song they listened to nonstop or one that summed up their experience. It was hard to narrow it down to just one song!

Green R.E.M. album cover

Andrea
Song: Stand by R.E.M.

Pretty in Pink soundtrack album coverCathleen
Song: If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Mellon Colli and the Infinite Sadness album coverDonna C.
Song: “Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins

screeching weasel weaselmania album coverEvan
Song: “Hey, Suburbia” by Screeching Weasel

 

Violent Femmes album coverHeather
Song: “Blister in the Sun” by The Violent Femmes

Jimmy Eat World Bleed American album coverJenny
Song: “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World

Crosby Stills and Nash Carry On album coverJoyce
Song: “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills and Nash

Kelda
Song:”Tainted Love” by Soft Cell

inxs Kick album coverNancy
Song: “New Sensation” by INXS

The Best of Don McLean album coverRosemary
Song: “American Pie” by Don McLean

 

Now it’s your turn! Whether you just graduated or graduated decades ago, share what songs make you think of your time at high school by tweeting at us at @MPPLib or by commenting on our Facebook wall.