Batavia Public Library goes sci-fi for One Book, One Batavia 2024 selection

The Batavia Public Library goes all-in on 1980s pop culture and vintage video games with this year’s science fiction selection for One Book, One Batavia.

This year’s choice is “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, a fantasy fiction novel set in a not-too-distant future that’s big on nostalgia, dangerous quests, nerdy romance and a life-altering prize.

One Book, One Batavia is an annual, community-wide reading program that brings the community together for shared discussions and experiences. It is presented by the Batavia Public Library in cooperation with Batavia High School and is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library.

“You really root for Wade, this thoroughly likeable underdog who’s had such a hard life,” said Meghan O’Keefe, the library’s adult and teen services manager. “Even if you’re ‘not into science fiction,’ you will love this book.”

“Ready Player One” is set in 2044 when a teenage gamer, named Wade Watts, lives in this poverty-stricken dystopia. But there is an OASIS.

OASIS, which stands for Ontologically Anthropocentric Immersive Simulation, is this massive virtual reality world that’s an online utopian paradise where people can plug in to go to school, make money and play. Watts is one of millions who dream of one day finding three keys — rumored to have been hidden inside OASIS — left behind by the virtual reality world’s now-deceased creator. Whoever finds those keys will inherit his vast riches. However, there are very real dangers lurking in this virtual realm.

Actor Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook, and masterfully utilizes sarcasm and deploys perfect deadpanning to leave readers laughing.

Librarians have scheduled a host of in-person programs at the Library, at 10 S. Batavia Ave., which will appeal to tweens, teens and adults.

Adult Book Discussion: “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13

In a near-future dystopia, 18-year-old Wade Watts vies for a huge prize in a virtual reality puzzle based on 1980s pop culture. A nostalgic and offbeat page turner about an unlikely hero, likeable characters and overcoming vast odds. Registration is required.

Pizza & Pages

6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19

Pizza & Pages is an exclusive club where youth in fifth to 12th grade eat pizza and explore the many ways we use pages. This book discussion focuses on the 2016 coming-of-age novel Insert Coin to Continue” by John David Anderson. Middle school student Bryan wakes up one day to discover his life has become a video game, with races to run, bullies to beat, puzzles to solve, and so much more at stake. Pick up a copy at the Youth Services Desk, or through the library’s online catalog at Registration is required.

What is the Metaverse?

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22

“Ready Player One’s” OASIS (which stands for Ontologically Anthropocentric Immersive Simulation) is an example of a Metaverse. The Metaverse is not just fiction. Bruce Montes, an instructor at Loyola University Chicago, will explain the Metaverse, its promises and its perils. Registration is required.

1980s: The Royal Wedding, Reagan and Pac-Man

7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28

The 1980s was a time of new development, royalty and big hair. From mullets to the Microsoft computer, it was a time of innovation in fashion trends, computers, technology and video games. Historical presenter Michelle Gibbons will explain the impact of the 1980s as part of One Book, One Batavia 2024. Registration is required.

Climate Change: Why and How to Cause the Change Required

7 p.m. Thursday, March 7

Amy McMorrow Hunter, president and CEO of The Climate Economy Education Inc., shows how we can reverse course and prevent the dystopian future we are heading toward, as depicted in “Ready Player One.” Registration is required. This event is co-produced by the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, which invites Illinois authors, artists and educators to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout the state, enabling local nonprofit organizations to present free cultural programs to their communities.

The History of Video Games

7 p.m. Thursday, March 14

David Gerding, associate professor of interactive arts and media at Columbia College Chicago, talks about the history of video games. Registration is required.

Saturday Movie: WarGames

2 p.m. Saturday, March 16

Young electronics wizard David Lightman unwittingly hooks into America's supersecret wargame computer and the world suddenly is threatened with nuclear annihilation. This 1983 classic film stars Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and William H. Macy, among other notable actors. No registration is required.

Time After Time: Songs of the 1980s

7 p.m. Thursday, March 21

The History Singers, John and Kathryn Atwood, present an hour of ‘80s music from "Ready Player One" and award-winning songs of the decade. Registration is required.

Learn more about the library’s special One Book, One Batavia programming for February and March at, and reserve a copy of the book at

To see prior years’ One Book, One Batavia selections, visit

For more information on this or other programming and services, visit the Library’s website at to begin exploring.

The Batavia Public Library is one of the oldest public libraries in the Fox Valley, tracing its beginnings to the 1860s when it was a library association. The Batavia Public Library District formed in 1975. The library’s mission is to provide and ensure access to materials and services to meet the lifelong learning needs of residents and organizations, as well as to create a welcoming place to gather, exchange ideas, and participate in cultural events.

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