Thursday, January 26, 2012

CBR IV: Book 3: Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America - Leslie Knope

Holy Crap! This book was hilarious! If you are a fan of Parks and Recreation, you will LOVE this book. If you have never seen the show before, you will still probably enjoy it, but you won't necessarily get all of the jokes. Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America is written as a travel/information book about the small, fictitious, town of Pawnee, Indiana.

Leslie Knope is the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department, and is truly convinced that her hometown is the best town in the world. J.J.'s Diner has the world's best waffles, which she recommends should be eaten several times a day, with whipped cream and syrup, and the raccoon infestation is only a mild inconvenience.

My favorite part of the book was where they showed all of the murals in City Hall and gave the stories behind them. This has been my favorite running gag on the show.

Sunday Boxing, though I prefer the original title, A Lively Fisting.

Pawnee has a horrible history. The town was founded by a pervert in the 1800s who ran away to marry multiple 12-year-old girls. He was quickly run out of his own town because of his refusal to wear pants. There has been a history of horrible relations with other races, especially the native Wamapoke Indian tribe: . The town is basically run by the Sweetums candy corporation, which originally contained morphine, then Black Tar Heroin.

This book had me giggling, loudly, in public. If you are a fan of Parks and Recreation, I cannot recommend it enough. If you aren't a fan, what the Hell is wrong with you? Do you hate good things?

CBR IV: Book 2: Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

This is the first book I read on my Kindle. It seemed oddly appropriate since it is a techno-noir. Ready Player One is the story of Wade Owen Watts, AKA Parzival, a 17 year old kid in the year 2045. Most fossil fuels have been burned up, people live in "stacks" (trailers stacked on top of each other), and nearly everybody spends their entire lives sucked into the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual world where teens can go to school, adults can go to work, and everyone can shop and hang out. Think The Matrix combined with World of Warcraft. Everyone has an avatar that they can use to interact in the OASIS. While connecting to the OASIS is free, traveling off worlds and weaponry costs real, actual money. Nearly everyone in the world is on the same quest; trying to find the Easter Egg that James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS, hid when he died. Whoever finds the egg wins the entirety of Halliday's multi-billion dollar fortune, and creative control of the OASIS. Parzival is finishing High School, and in his free time, he is an egg hunter or a "gunter". Halliday was an eccentric Steve Jobs-type character who was obsessed with 1980s pop culture and video games, so Parzival is obsessed with the 1980s as well.

While I wouldn't call this book the greatest literary find of our generation, I really enjoyed the Hell out of it. I couldn't put it down. It was a fast-paced adventure that really kept me on the edge of my seat. I laughed my ass off at a lot of the 80s references and in-jokes. You probably need to be at least 30 for me to recommend this book. Otherwise you probably won't get the references. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, January 23, 2012

CBR IV: Book 1: The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

"The circus arrives without warning."

The Night Circus is the story of Celia and Marco. Two magicians who are forced by their mentors/masters to compete against each other in order to prove...something. Neither of them knows the rules of the contest, or even how to know if they are winning. Of course, they fall in love, but the story is about much more than that.

Celia and Marco are interesting enough, but the real star of the book is the circus itself. All of the decorations are entirely in black and white, and there are innumerable attractions. Celia is the resident illusionist, but there is also a fortune teller, acrobats, contortionists, and gymnastic kittens. After a couple of years, some people start following the circus from town to town, creating a "Dead Head" type culture that obsesses over every minute detail of every aspect of the circus. They become known as reveurs, and are easily identified by their black and white outfits with red scarves. I particularly enjoyed the "Midnight Dinners" hosted by Chandresh Christophe Lefevre where he and some of the other guests created the concept of the circus.

This book was delightful. The descriptions were vivid, especially the ones about the food. I have been craving candied apples and caramel popcorn ever since! Everything in this novel made the circus feel alive. It made me want to run away and become a reveur and join the circus.

I give it 5/5 stars, and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Victorian novels, fantasy, romance, or adventure.