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Faculty, Staff Preview To Introduce 'Ready Player One'

April 11, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Ready Player OneFaculty, staff and administrators can get “ready” for the 2014-2015 common reader program by learning about the novel, how it can be incorporated into the classroom and about the events being held in conjunction with this year’s program during an exclusive preview luncheon on April 25.

The Bearkats Read to Succeed program will introduce Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” from noon to 2 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 320.

Set in a dystopian future dependent on virtual reality and threatened by environmental decline, “Ready Player One” is a tale of a teenager's quest through cyberspace to solve a puzzle that comes to define his world and his place in it.

As Wade struggles with good and evil on his way to self-discovery, and a new understanding of what it means to be human in a technologically-dominant world, Cline asks readers to think about key concerns in contemporary life and technology’s place in our future.

The Bearkats Read to Succeed Committee received more than 100 nominations from the university community for this year’s book selection, according to Kay Angrove, director of the First-Year Experience.

“The BRTS committee does a great job reading, reviewing, and debating the merit of each book, ultimately choosing one that will be relevant to students and to faculty, alike,” Angrove said. “I think we have accomplished that goal with ‘Ready Player One.’”

During the luncheon, members of the curriculum infusion committee will present ways in which the text can be integrated into classrooms across campus.

The seven competitions being sponsored across campus in conjunction with the novel will also be discussed.

While on the outset, “Ready Player One” appears to be a “gamer” novel filled with 80s pop culture, themes related to social networking, identity theft, environmental sustainability, online education, and our relationship to the past, among others, make it applicable in any number of disciplines, according to Angrove.

“What excited me most about this book were the characters and their relationships with each other, and how eminently relatable they are,” said Michelle Martínez, assistant professor and Newton Gresham Library reference librarian.

“I believe everyone can connect to the characters in some way: the desire to escape reality, whether into a book, movie, album, or other; the search for relationships and human connection; the influence of pop culture; even the questions the characters face are questions faced today and yesterday—and by yesterday, I mean centuries into the past as well,” she said. “Plus, I am an 80s fan, and Cline really earned points when he used Oingo Boingo's ‘Dead Man's Party.’”

“For me, the book was just so much fun to read. It’s an adventure story, a mystery, a work of social commentary; it’s whimsical and serious, and it suggests several future realities that are startlingly close to being realized even today (with the Oculus Rift),” said Tracy Bilsing, associate professor of English. “I can’t wait to see what my students come up with in class as research topics.”

The novel is currently being developed into a movie.

Cline is scheduled to appear on campus during the annual book forum on Nov. 12-13.

Faculty interested in the book or incorporating it into the classroom should reserve a spot at the luncheon by April 21. Talent management credit will be provided for staff who attend.

Reservations can be made to the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence at 936.294.2688 or pace@shsu.edu.



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