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.
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?
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.
I have other projects I’m working on, too. There’s the big space-y one about New Horizons. I just had some super exciting news. SQUEEE! Buuuut I can’t share it just yet. Sorry. (Not sorry. SQUEEE!)
And I’m working on a freelance project I’m super excited about. It’s going great. I can’t tell you about it yet, either.
So someday I’ll have more big news to share. Then maybe I’ll have some more lovely things to share. Until then we’ll be back to our regular diet of nerdy book recommendations and mildly helpful writing tips.
Yesterday marked one year since the New Horizons space probe made it’s flyby of Pluto. That also means it’s been over a year that I’ve been working on writing a book about the mission. Uhm, wow.
It’s been quite a year. The New Horizons mission was historic. It was the first mission to Pluto and the first to visit anything that far away in our solar system.
Scientists made many amazing discoveries. First off, Pluto has a heart. And it has a heartbeat! (Ok, not really, but it makes a good headline.) The heart is known as Sputnik Planum and it’s made of nitrogen ice. On Earth nitrogen exists as a gas in our atmosphere, but Pluto is cold enough for it to freeze into ice. Nitrogen periodically bubbles up out of the planets crust and spreads out over the heart. The rest of the planet may be roughed up with craters and mountains, but the heart is nice and smooth. These “heartbeats” are like spreading a layer of frosting over a cake – it gives it a nice smooth finish. A frigid, icy heart would be a bad thing for a person, but for a planet it’s just plain cool.
This book gets top marks from my little space cadet. It tells the complete story of Pluto – predictions, discovery, naming, and it’s ultimate demotion. The story is engaging and covers a lot of science.
Another Isaacs’ household favorite. This is the story of astronomer Mike Brown. He discovered many dwarf planets, including Eris whose size rivaled Pluto’s and set off the planet debate. This is a great story and also a good peek into how scientists work.