I have a personal tradition. For the holiday period between Christmas and New Years I celebrate with a nerdy stay-cation. Last year I read piles of books, watched tv, and binged on youtube series. Reading so much feels down right decadent. Watching whole TV series is sinfully slothful. It is amazingly restorative and just what my soul needs at the end of the year.
So this year, I did it yet again.
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow – This book inspired a musical. You might have heard of it, it also won a few things. (Like my undying admiration.) And some people posted about it on twitter. I’m still working on this one. It’s an audio book and at 37 hours long, that’s a lot gym trips.
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly – It’s a truly amazing story about the Black Women who were part of the 1960’s space race. This one has also been getting some press.
- Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul – I’ve been hearing for years about what a great writing craft book this is. I wasn’t sure at first. Did I really need a whole chapter on choosing a title? Yes. Yes I did. This really is one of the best writing books I’ve read.
- The Case of the Girl in Grey (The Wollenstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 2) by Jordan Stratford – Imagine a steampunk alternate reality where young Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley become best friends and solve mysteries. Oh, bestill my nerdy heart! I discovered this one when I was desperate for a audiobook. By the time I realized it was the second in the series I was too hooked to go back.
- The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1) by Jordan Stratford. I devoured this book in an afternoon. It was every bit as great as the first book (which was the 2nd) but had the added advantage that it introduced the characters and set the scene. Apparently they were in London not the countryside. Who knew?
- The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands – Adventure, mystery, secret societies, encoded messages, and blowing up taxidermy bears all set in historical London. What’s not to love?
- On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser – Like Writing Picture Books, there’s a reason everyone recommends this one. I’m still working my way through it but I can already tell that it will become an oft-used favorite.
- The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan – This late addition was started just last night and will probably be done before this blog post gets cold. It has adventure, mystery, drama, and wonderful characters.
- Time Travel with a Hamster by Ross Welford – Like some of other books on this list, I’m not yet done with this one. Unlike some, it isn’t because of it’s sheer heft. (I’m looking at you 29 cd audiobook of Alexander Hamilton.) No, this one is taking awhile because, frankly, it drags. Still, I’m invested enough in the characters to see it through. Eventually.
- Gilmore Girls – According to my friends I’m the only person on the planet that hasn’t seen the original series. Fixing that now. (PSST. You can stream it on Netflix.)
- Die Hard – This was my first time seeing it. It truly is the best Christmas movie.
- Crash Course World History – Still working on this one. This is actually a well-done course. Fairly sure it tromps my high school World Civilization class and not just because it has 100% more animation and Mongols.
- NativLang – I discovered this gem that covers linguistics topics.
- Christmas movies – Every year we run through our favorites. And most years I zone out to read during half of them. Nerdy staycation FTW!
- I got a membership to the Planetary Society for Christmas! I binge read my first magazine on Christmas day. It even had an article on New Horizons and Pluto. My family knows me so well.
You may have noticed that more of this year’s list is “in progress.” Some of that is that the books are bigger and just take longer to read. (You know you you are.) But I also spent a good bit of my break writing and trying to finish up kitchen renovation. The moral of the story is that a Nerdy Staycation should feed your soul and if your soul is hungry for writing rather than reading, go for it. The moral of the moral is that you also need to feed your stomach and having a kitchen makes that much easier.