Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game That Changed Everything

Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game That Changed Everything by Daniel Goldberg is a biography of Persson that focuses on how he came to be the creator of Minecraft, and how it changed his life. This book discusses how Persson was fascinated by programming since his early childhood. Despite a guidance counselor who did not support his career goals, a family that was breaking down, and a few jobs that limited his ability to program games freely, he began to brainstorm and program the beginnings of Minecraft. What started as a side job that almost no one knew about quickly developed into a company that was worth millions. Minecraft went from a game that was only played by a handful of people to a game that attracted thousands of people to conventions before it was even fully released.

Why did Minecraft have such sudden and overwhelming popularity? It is at least partly due to the creativity that the game allows. People are able to create their own goals and alter the game’s world in any way that they choose. The book goes even deeper into Persson’s life and the aspects of the game and is definitely worth reading. The book also paints a picture of the world of online gaming, gaming corporations, and indie developers, as well as certain aspects that contribute to designing a good game.

We also have several other Minecraft books for you to read!

Minecraft: The Survivor’s Book of Secrets by Stephanie Milton is a new book that contains many tips and strategies that have been tested by people who have played Minecraft since it was first released.



Minecraft: Top 35 Minecraft Mods You Should Know by Joseph Joyner is an unofficial guide to different mods that can be added to Minecraft.



Minecraft: Guide to Building by Josh Gregory is a guide to building materials,  locations, and ideas. There are also several other similar books that are guides on other aspects of Minecraft, such as animals, mining, and farming.


The Making of Minecraft by Jennifer Zeiger is a book on a similar topic to the one reviewed at the beginning of this blog. It discusses the beginnings of Minecraft, and how it quickly grew into the phenomenon that it is today.


Quest for the Golden Apple: an unofficial graphic novel for Minecrafters by Megan Miller is the first in a series about the adventures of Phoenix and her brother in the world of Minecraft.



Click here to view the second edition of the reviewed book above. This edition has extra content that focuses on Microsoft’s purchase of Minecraft, Persson’s last days at Mojang, and what happened to Mojang afterwards.

Six Picks – Realistic Fiction for Young Adults

Summer’s over, and life is back to reality!  If you like your fiction with a dose of realism, here’s a list of realistic fiction books for young adults (that adults can enjoy, too!).

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a  about Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient. She has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life. (A movie adaptation is currently in production.)

Butter by Erin Jade Lange is about an obese boy everyone calls “Butter”. He is about to make history by eating himself to death, live on the Internet, and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online he gets  morbid cheerleaders rallying around his plan. As their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. What happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth takes place in the early 1990s. After Cameron Post’s parents die she moves in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She rebels against the norms and her family decides she needs to change her ways, she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center.

Skinny by Donna Cooner is about fifteen-year-old Ever Davies. She is obese and has a cruel inner voice that never lets her forget about her weight or how others see her. She undergoes gastric-bypass surgery, a and makes the decision to start participating in high school life, which includes pursuing her dream of becoming a singer.

The Complete History of Why I Hate Her by Jennifer Richard Jacobson is about sixteen year old Nola who wanting a break from being known only for her sister’s cancer. Shae leaves Boston for a waitressing job at a summer resort in Maine, but soon feels as if her new best friend is taking over her life.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this wonderful debut novel is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

If realistic fiction is your favorite genre, or all of these are currently checked out, take a look at just about any book from John Green, Sarah Dessen, or Lurlene McDaniel. You could also look for Wonder by R.J. Palacio,  A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone, Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones,  or Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. This is far from a complete list, but it just might be the start you need.

Do you have a favorite realistic fiction book or author?

Hungering for More?

Did you love the Hunger Games trilogy? Did it leave you eager to read other books that might speak to you in the same way? Perhaps you are just so eager for the next movie to come out that you need something in the same vein to keep your excitement flowing. Well, have no fear! There have been many fantastic dystopian books, and series written so there is plenty to chose from. Here are five of my top picks for books to read to satisfy whatever reading hungers have risen in you.

Inside Out and Outside In by Maria V. Snyder is a pair of novels, also available in an omnibus version called Inside. Living Inside is simple, you do your job and do not even think about changing your status. Scrubs need to do their jobs keeping everything running smoothly, while living in overcrowded quarters. As far as the scrubs know the uppers, the elite, take them for granted and look down upon them, and some do. However, uppers are quite sure that the [Cover]scrubs are exaggerating their challenges and being lazy. Trella, a scrub with a vast knowledge of the pipes and in between places, does a friend a favor and discovers that the world is even more complicated than she thought. What might be Outside, and why are things controlled by so few? Revolution comes, and Trella becomes a reluctant leader. But when the mysteries of Inside are uncovered, will she discover that the greatest danger might actually come from Outside? Snyder’s other books have more of a fantasy flavor, but I highly recommend them as well as just lain great reads, starting with Poison Study.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is set in a world that hold races every [Cover]November. These are no ordinary races, they are completed by riders trying to keep a hold of water horses so that they can cross the finish line. Some of the riders live, others die, and some wish they had died. Sean Kendrick is a returning champion that keeps his word, doubts, and fears to himself as much as he can. Puck Connolly is going to be the first girl in the races, although she never meant to get involved. Although circumstances have left her few alternatives. She is going to challenge and break other barriers on her way. While she knows it will not be easy, she is far from prepared for what awaits her.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is a story about isolated society and zombies. Mary lives in an isolated village and knows little about history or the world outside, but she has questions. Her village is protected by an archaic religious order called The Sisters, who take charge of Mary and ready her for marriage after her mother is bitten by one of the undead from the surrounding woods. But, the [Cover]village’s defenses are breached and Mary’s world is forever changed. A small group that goes in search of answers and find both more and less than they expected. The only warnings I give to readers that are considering picking up this novel, there are some scenes with graphic violence, it is a very intense read. Oh, and have the sequels handy because there are many questions that carry over. The second book in the series is The Dead-Tossed Waves, and the third book is The Dark and Hollow Places.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer highlights the fears about a world-wide catastrophe, which does not seem all that far from reality. The mo[Cover]on is hit by an asteroid and moves to a closer orbit to the Earth. This causes natural disasters and climate changes. The normal concerns of Mirand are buried under the need for survival. Thankfully, Miranda’s mother has made preparations and their family is better off than many others. The are stuck together in close quarters, keeping tabs on the status of the world. The story is brought to us through Miranda’s journal, so most of the violence is not firsthand, but readers will be drawn into the conflicts and concerns of the world, and the group watching their supplies dwindle while their doubts grow. The story does offer some hope, but leaves much for any reader to dwell on and consider for themselves.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner makes readers wonder about what they would do if they woke up somewhere with no memories. Thomas wakes up and is welcomed to t[Cover]he Glade. No one in the Glade knows who they were, or how they got there. All they know is that every morning the stone walls that surround the Glade open into the maze, and every night the doors close. They know that every thirty days a new boy is delivered to the Glade. But the day after Thomas arrives the routine is broken, and the first girl to ever arrives in the Glade. The message she carries is even more shocking than her arrival. Thomas needs to unlock the hidden secrets in his mind to discover the truth, and his own importance.

Other reading recommendations that you might enjoy include Legend by Marie Lu, Ashfall by Mike Mullin, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Above World by Jenn Reese, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Matched by Ally Condie, City of Bones (starts the Mortal Instruments series and is soon to be a movie) and Clockwork Angel (starts the Infernal Devices series) by Cassandra Clare, and Enclave by Ann Aguirre.

Enjoyable Assigned Reading

Tackling books that have been labeled as classics, or are required reading in school, can be a daunting or even dreaded task. However, many of these books are classics because so many people enjoyed reading them, not just because of their literary value or the statements they make about humanity or the time in which they took place. Here are some of the classics, or assigned reading, that I have come to love, either when they were assigned to me or as I picked them up on my own.

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was originally published in 1953, and seems to be even more relevant today than we might want to admit. Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman that used to enjoy his job but is beginning to have some doubts. The boring life he leads with his wife contrasts drastically with that of his young neighbor Clarisse. This young girl inspires Guy’s doubts through her interest in books. When Clarisse mysteriously disappears, he decides to make some changes and begins hiding books in his home. When his wife turns him in, he is expected to burn his secret cache of books. Guy runs from authorities and winds up joining a group of outlaw scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, hoping society will once again desire the wisdom of literature.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was originally published in 1960, and remains on my list of favorite books. We are introduced to the Finch family in the summer before Scout’s first year at school. Scout, her brother Jem, and Dill Harris,spend their days reenacting scenes from Dracula and trying to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. The alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, has no impart on the children. But when their father Atticus defends the accused, Tom Robinson, they find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. As the trial progresses the good and bad of human nature is clearly exposed with the key aspects being the heroism of Atticus Finch, who stands up for what he knows is right, and in Scout’s learning to see that most people are essentially kind. To Kill a Mockingbird is funny, wise, and heartbreaking, and deserves to be reread often.


1984 was written by George Orwell in 1948, and still stands as chilling prophecy about the future. This novel is set in a future world which is dominated by three warring totalitarian police states. Winston Smith’s longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government. Smith has a love affair with a like-minded woman, but they are both arrested by the Thought Police. The resulting imprisonment, torture, and reeducation of Smith are intended not merely to break him physically or make him submit but to destroy independent thought and spiritual dignity.

Dracula, Silas Marner, War of the Worlds, Pride and Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Stranger in a Strange Land are some of my other favorite classic or assigned reads. Do you have a favorite book that you were required to read in school, or one you read afterwards that you wished you had been assigned to read?

Book Review: The City’s Son by Tom Pollock


The City’s Son

The City’s Son by Tom Pollock is an urban fantasy novel which marks the debut of the author. The book is suitable for young adults and adults.

Beth Bradley is a rebel, and a girl great with a can of spray paint. She spend her fee time tagging the city, while her friend Pen scrawls poetry to accompany it. Beth’s father is lost in grief over his late wife, and Pen is trapped by the expectations and demands of others. After a daring evening an apparent betrayal separates the friends and sends them both out into a world born of the very essence of London. They have very different paths, and different dreams. Beth meets Urchin, the prince of the streets who opens her eyes to the layers of the world around her. The city and all of its components are alive, and there is a major battle brewing. Reach, a source of death and destruction, is trying to rise, and the city’s creature are abuzz with rumors that Urchin’s Goddess and mother might be returning to fight the final battle. But when the battle is over, who will have won and what will the final price be?

The City’s Son is a original and engaging read. Beth is a risk taker, and is so used to making her own decisions that she does no bow to the voices of those who expect her to. A prince, his people, and their expectations can not withstand her will. She is a strong girl, but still carries a vulnerability that makes her feel real. The collection of the city’s creatures were imaginative an believable. I could easily see some of those statues coming to life, of reflections in skyscrapers taking on a life of their own. The mix of imagination and absolute reality come together perfectly. I will admit to looking at light bulbs, telephone wires, and bricks in a different way since finishing the book.

I highly recommend The City’s Son to teens and adults that like urban fantasy novels that carry with it a fresh perspective of the world, and yourself. There is just as much exploration into what Beth, Pen, and others want as there is the physical world around them.  The story is unique, with a skill in building a world that exists along side our own that reminds me of Neil Gaiman and Holly Black’s work. The introduction to a society that very well could be real, but since we are so good at ignoring what we do not want to see I doubt we would ever notice it. If you are looking for something fun, adventurous, and different then this is a must read!

A version of this review was previously posted on Sharon the Librarian.