Feb. 24, 2013 by Pat Tully
One Book, One Middletown is a community project sponsored by the Middletown Rotary Club, CT Humanities’ Center for the Book, Russell Library and the City of Middletown. The goal is to encourage reading in the community by selecting a book that appeals to a variety of audiences, then holding events that bring people together to celebrate or explore aspects of the book.
This year’s selection is Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. The year is 2044, and people spend most of their time in the virtual reality game known as Oasis. The death of the game’s creator triggers a ruthless scavenger hunt for his fortune, one that Wade Watts is determined to win. In the process, he confronts not only threats with the virtual world of Oasis, but the grim reality and ultimate promise of the world outside the game. The book is a well-written and thoughtful commentary on where we may be headed in the twenty-first century.
In the book, the game Oasis reflects its creator’s obsession with the 1980s—movies, music and gaming. Many of the One Book events this year have a connection to that decade. Other events celebrate the development of games and games culture. And there are several book discussion groups to bring together people to talk about the book. One Book events culminate with a Skype session with the author, Ernest Cline, who will talk with the audience about what inspired him to write the book and his thoughts on the issues raised by it. Here is the complete list of One Book events this year:
|March 1 – March 31||Scavenger hunt||Start at Russell Library, Middlesex Community College Library, or the Book Bower (Main St. Market, 386 Main St., Middletown).|
|March 1, 3pm-6pm||Gaming kick-off||Achieve your own high scores on a variety of nostalgic 80s video games while enjoying pizza and other 80s sound bytes. No registration required. Hubbard Room, Russell Library (123 Broad St., Middletown).|
|March 6, 12:30pm||Book discussion||Led by Librarian Anne Paluck, Chapman Hall, Middlesex Community College (100 Training Hill Rd., Middletown).|
|March 13, 7pm||Book discussion||Led by Wesleyan Associate Professor Indira Karamcheti, in the Hubbard Room, Russell Library.|
|March 14, 7pm||Documentary & discussion||Screening of King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, then discussion led by film critic Richard Alleva. Hubbard Room, Russell Library.|
|March 16, 7pm (lesson); 8-11pm (party)||Dance lesson and 80s dance party||Vinnie’s Jump and Jive, 424 Main St., Middletown.|
|March 19, 7pm||Game presentation and discussion||Presentation by Quinnipiac Assistant Professor Ira Fay, ‘The Making of Games: Game Design and Development,’ in the Hubbard Room of Russell Library. For five years Prof. Fay has been a senior game designer at Electronic Arts, Pogo division.|
|March 22, 6pm||Emporium book discussion||Led by Middletown High School students, at the Emporium in Main Street Market, 386 Main St., Middletown.|
|April 4, 8pm||Film screening||Big Trouble in Little China, with introduction by Marc Longenecker, Wesleyan Visiting Instructor of Film Studies. Goldsmith Family Cinema, 301 Washington Terrace, Wesleyan University.|
|April 6, 2pm||Author talk and discussion||Talk via Skype with Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One. Scavenger hunt winners announced. Hubbard Room, Russell Library.|
You do not have to read the book to participate in many of these events. But copies of Ready Player One are available for check out at Olin Library and at Russell Library, and can be purchased at the Book Bower in Main Street Market, 386 Main St. There will also be some copies available for free in Olin’s lobby and other places in Middletown.
If you are looking for a way to connect with the community beyond Wesleyan, participating in one or more One Book events is a great way to do it! For updates on One Book events, follow us on Twitter: @1BookMiddCT