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2019 Summer Reading List

It’s about that time. Schools are out. Vacations are starting. And the summer reading binge is ramping up. So, I thought I’d put together a list of a few books that make great beach reads. Arranged in no particular order, you’ll find a mix of fiction and nonfiction below that I hope you find enjoyable!

This one is pretty obvious. If you've only seen the movie, or not heard of this book/movie at all, do yourself a favor and pick up the book. If you love the 80s, enjoy puzzles and easter eggs, and are looking for a fun read, this is the book for you.

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

While not specifically 80s-related, you can't talk about that decade without referencing Russia. The prose in this book is breathtaking and the author, Amor Towles, knows how to set a scene. It was also picked by Bill Gates as a great summer read. I mean. Not that it matters. But it is Bill Gates :)

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

Old school hackers. Doesn't get much better than that.

This 25th anniversary edition of Steven Levy's classic book traces the exploits of the computer revolution's original hackers -- those brilliant and eccentric nerds from the late 1950s through the early '80s who took risks, bent the rules, and pushed the world in a radical new direction. Hackers is a fascinating story that begins in early computer research labs and leads to the first home computers.

In a vein similar to Ready Player One, this book is a thrill ride.

It follows the path of destruction of a game designer. When the obituary of legendary computer game architect Matthew Sobol appears online, a previously dormant daemon activates, initiating a chain of events that begins to unravel our interconnected world. This daemon reads news headlines, recruits human followers, and orders assassinations. With Sobol’s secrets buried with him, and as new layers of his daemon are unleashed, it’s up to Detective Peter Sebeck to stop a self-replicating virtual killer before it achieves its ultimate purpose—one that goes far beyond anything Sebeck could have imagined...

If you liked George RR Martin's Game of Thrones, you should enjoy this. It's not as ruthless as Martin's books, but it should scratch the Fantasy itch you may have. In fact, Martin says it's one of his favorite fantasy series.

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.

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If you long for more 80s content, give our show a listen. Falken’s Maze was created for listeners nostalgic for the 80s but who also want to understand the complexities of today. Our show explores the world’s most compelling technologies and events through 80’s movies, music, and television.

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