Each year the K-State Book Network (KSBN) chooses one common book for the whole university to read. The book that KSBN chose for this year is “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. “Ready Player One” is an award-winning science fiction novel set in the dystopian future of 2044. Because the world is such a bleak place, Wade Watts, like many others, prefers to spend the majority of his time in the virtual reality world of OASIS. For years, Wade and countless others have been searching OASIS for hidden clues that will lead to the billions of dollars amassed by the late OASIS creator, James Halliday. To find the clues, Wade has immersed himself in the life of Halliday, including his obsession with 80’s pop culture. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, suddenly the whole world is watching him, and Wade realizes that some will stop at nothing, including murder, to be the first to find Halliday’s fortune. If you grew up in the 80’s, this book is particularly enjoyable. However, it still has a lot of appeal to teens and twenty-somethings, with plenty of action and adventure to keep the plot moving. In fact, the book was chosen by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) as an Alex Award winner (books written for adults that have special appeal to teens).
Along with choosing a common book, KSBN features a series of fun and unique events throughout the fall that encourage dialogue about the book and foster a sense of community. This year, Manhattan Public Library (MPL) is also participating by hosting a number of events related to pop culture and video games from the 80’s. All events are appropriate for adults and teens. We will be hosting a film night series featuring some of the classic 80’s movies mentioned in the book. Films will be shown on Sept. 26, Oct. 17, and Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. The library will also incorporate Star Wars Reads Day into the “Ready Player One” film series by showing the second movie in the original trilogy on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. There will be a chance to win prizes at each movie.
On Sept. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., the library will present a program on video games led by K-State professor Nathan Bean. He will talk briefly about the history of gaming and potential career opportunities. Then, attendees can practice building their own animations and video games. This event is open to the public, but registration is suggested to guarantee a spot. You can register on the library’s website by clicking on the “Events” tab and selecting this event on the calendar.
The highlight of MPL’s series will be a visit by the “Ready Player One” author, Ernest Cline, to McCain Auditorium on October 10 at 7 p.m. Cline, arriving in his classic DeLorean, will speak about his book. Tickets will be available at K-State for university students and at Manhattan Public Library for community members.
Finally, MPL will be co-sponsoring International Games Day at Hale Library on November 16th. This annual event features the opportunity to interact with other gamers of all ages and play current and retro video games and board games. There will be games geared toward kids, teens, and adults.
Along with these specific events, be sure to stop by the library to check out our displays and ongoing activities that will also have a “Ready Player One” theme. There will be a scavenger hunt in honor of one of the novel’s central plotlines, a virtual reality Easter Egg Hunt. In the Young Adult area in September, teens will be encouraged to participate in the “Name that Celebrity” contest, featuring photos of celebrities in their full 1980’s glory. And, the YA display will feature books that are set in the 80’s time period. In October, look for a display by Game Hounds featuring 80’s video game memorabilia.
To see a list of these events, plus more hosted by KSBN, visit their website at: http://www.k-state.edu/ksbn/events.html or MPL’s website at http://www.MHKlibrary.org. Be sure to check out the library on Facebook and Twitter for updates and reminders about these events and other library happenings.