Ready Player One by Ernest Cline has an infamous reputation which you either know about or you don't, and if you don't, I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. It's deliberately overstuffed with pop culture references and it's not written particularly well, so you kind of have to accept that you're reading it just for the sake of the pop culture references.
I was okay with that, but also I just like finding out if I hate a book. This time I apparently don't. It's like Stardew Valley - no strain on your mind whatsoever, which makes it supremely relaxing. I'm flying right through it, which is also a good feeling, since books a lot shorter and just as stupid have taken me a lot longer. I'll let you know if I have any further thoughts once I finish.
A local friend gifted me A Pedigree to Die For by Laurien Berenson a long while ago with the usual caveat of, "Don't worry, you're not obligated to read it." It's not her fault she didn't know that I'm incapable of taking those words to heart. It finally came up next on my shelf, and all I really gained from the experience is a reaffirmation that I don't like mysteries. Well, that and maybe a nudge to reconnect with said local friend, whose gesture I still appreciate. She has a couple of standard poodles, and the mystery is set in the world of showing standard poodles, and the dog bits, at least, were fun.
I vaguely recall that I started Laisrathera by M.C.A. Hogarth "accidentally" because it was conveniently there although I had said I was taking a break from Pelted'verse, and now that I've finished it, I really am taking a break from Pelted'verse. Not because it wasn't a good book; I'd say it definitely cements the Her Instruments series as my favorite. But my reading assortment was out of balance (three modern/easy books at once and no classics or nonfiction), and now I want some new ground.
One aspect of this one I do want to mention, though, is that the love story finally got its hooks into me. Not to the point where I'd list it on my favorite ships or anything, but once they both acknowledge their feelings, it works and it's lovely.
Meet Your Dog by Kim Brophey was a free download and I'm always interested in getting into Kerensa's head, especially now that she's matured and her distinct personality traits are clear. I don't know if it will actually give me anything to work with as far as training goes, but a book on animal behavior is always worth it for its own sake.
I've alluded to this before, but The Wheel of Time TV series is going to be a big deal for me, not because I'm a fan, but because I'm a fan who happens to work for a major geek news hub. During the last editors' meeting, my boss talked about how other sites don't seem to have the level of coverage on this show that we do, and if you look at our Wheel of Time tag, almost every story on there was either mined by me or written by me, or both.
Of course this is good news from an employment perspective, but it's also fun to be the source for a fandom. Amazon contacted me to get my address for a mailer, and I'm inordinately excited about it. And the show looks good, like really good! It premieres on Nov. 19 and I hope you'll all be watching.
Anyway all that is context to say I've finally read the Wheel of Time prequel novel, New Spring. Prior to that the gap in my WoT knowledge was my dark secret because I didn't want to look like less of an expert (I'm not an expert but it's in my professional interest to pretend I am). I'm glad to say I enjoyed it a lot, especially the parts that took place in the White Tower and went into the minutiae of what life is like for a newly-raised Aes Sedai.
Somewhere along the way I read The Voyage of QV66 by Penelope Lively, which seems to be a British children's classic - I had never heard of it but our copy came straight from Simon's childhood and it's very near and dear to him. Now it is to me too. Not even joking when I say it features a handful of varied talking animals in a post-apocalyptic future. Like, all humans are dead and we never find out what happened to them. But it's not just an acid trip like some other British media I've encountered; it's very moving and heartfelt. Highly recommended.
For comics I'm still on Sandman: A Game of You, for classics I'm about to start one of Mark Twain's less popular novels, and for poetry, well, after months of ignoring the Keats on my nightstand I finally started picking it up again. Maybe the man won't singlehandedly kill my love of poetry after all.