Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. TODAY’S TOPIC IS AUDIO FREEBIE SO I’ve decided to highlight my most favorite PODCAST episodes of StarTalk.
StarTalk is a podcast hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson where science, pop culture and comedy converge. Neil frequently invites to StarTalk popular personalities like Katy Perry, Morgan Freeman, Neil Armstrong, and many others from different professions. Questions from the audience are also answered in its segment called Cosmic Queries.
Neil Degrasse Tyson himself wrote science books that bring science closer to the non-scientific community. Here in StarTalk he shares his passion for science and fear of the lack of scientific knowledge of world leaders and teachers and what to do about them.
I guess that’s enough introduction so let’s jump in to my top ten favorite episodes of StarTalk.
The Science Behind “Game of Thrones”
Season 8 Episode 26 | July 14, 2017
Living in Space, with Scott Kelly
Season 9 Episode 46 | December 7, 2018
First Man-Celebrating Neil Armstrong
Season 9 episode 39 | October 19, 2018
Cosmic Queries: Office Hours
Season 8 Episode 37 | September 29, 2017
StarTalk All-Stars at NY Comic Con: The Science of Science Fiction
Today I’ve decided to participate in WWW Wednesday. This weekly meme is hosted by Sam. Rules are simple: Answer the three questions below and share your link to TAKING ON A WORLD OF WORDS.
The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Her oval face was beautiful in the extreme, her every feature finely chiseled and exquisite, her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black, waving hair, caught loosely into a strange yet becoming coiffure. Similar in face and figure to women of Earth, she was nevertheless a true Martian–and prisoner of the fierce green giants who held me captive, as well!
Description from Goodreads
I have always loved the classics. The very first novel I read is a classic and I have been reading classics since then. I also have a fascination with science fiction. I chose to read A Princess of Mars because it’s a sci-fi classic. The Barsoom series inspired sci-fi writers like Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur Clarke. I sure would not want to miss an influential book.
The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman
The last live broadcast on Polish Radio, on September 23, 1939, was Chopin’s Nocturne in C# Minor, played by a young pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, until his playing was interrupted by German shelling. It was the same piece and the same pianist, when broadcasting resumed six years later. The Pianist is Szpilman’s account of the years inbetween, of the death and cruelty inflicted on the Jews of Warsaw and on Warsaw itself, related with a dispassionate restraint borne of shock. Szpilman, now 88, has not looked at his description since he wrote it in 1946 (the same time as Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man?; it is too personally painful. The rest of us have no such excuse.
I would like to read more non-fiction and biographies this year. What influenced me to read Szpilman’s memoir is Roman Polanski’s 2002 movie adaptation. Adrien Brody’s performance was staggering and the movie was so heart-breaking.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
The Glass Castle is Jeannette Walls’s recollection of her childhood and a testimony about her roots she kept hidden for many years.
We by Yevgeni Zamyatin
The exhilarating dystopian novel that inspired George Orwell’s 1984 and foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet Russia
It’s claustrophobic and scary. Everyone should read this book at least once. The grim ending was superb.
To read next
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.
Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens’ ways are strange and frightening…again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery…and the truth.
Description from Goodreads
It’s the second book of the Ender’s Game Series. I’ve read the first book last year and have seen the movie as well. There’s no reason not to read its sequel.
Descendants of the Crane by Joan He
Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.
Description from Goodreads
Release of Descendants of the Crane was pushed back a week later than it’s original publication date. I requested for an ARC from Edelweiss before its release in the 9th of April. If I don’t get approved, I’ll just buy a copy and put it at the bottom of my TBR list. Twitter is also buzzing about Joan He’s debut novel. I can’t help but be curious. I’m supporting Asian authors as well so I decided to read her book and share my opinions to other readers.
Have your own WWW Wednesday post? Share it with me by commenting in the comment box below.
Yasmina loves cooking healthy food. Everyday she cooks for her father using ingredients she gathers from her community garden plot. Her life suddenly becomes more a struggle when a large corporation demolishes the vegetable garden to make way for a potato farm. As the story unfolds, Yasmina finds every person buying plastic packed potatoes in frenzy.
Yasmina and the Potato Eaters navigates relevant topics on health, survival, capitalism, family and race. For an 80-page comic, it managed to delve into these topic without using wordy dialog and cramped illustrations. Each page has a lot to say and the drawing are fantastic and meaningful.
This pilot volume has a lot of promise that would perk up the interest of readers.
Today’s topic is stand-alone books that need a sequel.Here are the ten books that I want sequels written. I don’t usually invest emotions on series but I found some books very satisfying that I crave for follow ups. Open-ended novels are sooo frustrating. I want closure on unanswered questions, too.
In the opening chapter of Norwegian Wood, we know that Toru’s memory of Naoko is fading. The Beatles’s song Norwegian Wood playing on the airplane stereo triggers his memory of the day Naoko told him about a well that nobody can find. He remembers clearly the scenery but not the face of Naoko whom he loves so much but who never loved him back. He never mentioned anything about Midori Kobayashi. What happened after he phones Midori in the end chapter? Midori is a lovely girl. She has a hunger for love and fights for it. In contrast with Naoko, she is a very strong character. Surely, she deserves a better ending than that Haruki Murakami gave her.
From the end chapter:
Gripping the receiver, I raised my head and turned to see what lay beyond the phone box. Where was I now? I had no idea at all. Where was this place? All that flashes in my eyes were the countless shapes of people walking by to nowhere. Again and again, I called out for Midori from the dead center of this place that was no place.
Where is Holly Golightly? Who is she with? Did she find the place she belongs? Up to the end of the book, Holly is still covered with a veil of mystery. The only sign she left was an African-made wooden sculpture. Albeit her quirks, I still want to see her find happiness.
From the end chapter:
I wanted to tell her about her cat. I had kept my promise; I had found him. It took weeks of after-work roaming through those Spanish Harlem streets, and there were many false alarms — flashes of tigerstriped fur that, upon inspection, were not him. But one day, one cold sunshiny Sunday winter afternoon, it was. Flanked by potted plants and framed by clean lace curtains, he was seated in the window of a warm-looking room: I wondered what his name was, for I was certain he had one now, certain he’d arrived somewhere he belonged. African hut or whatever, I hope Holly has, too.
Makers of the movie
adaptation of Firestarter saw a market in it and made a sequel. Unfortunately,
part 2 successfully botched it and created a second rate movie instead. It is
only Stephen King who can make a decent follow up.
want to see Charlie find the right people to trust and have somebody to
protect. A fire-powered teen would be an interesting character. Hormone-charged
superpower? That would totally kick asses.
There has been many speculations that Neil Gaiman will write a sequel of American Gods. American Gods is a very fulfilling novel. Packed with interesting characters and lots of thrills that we can’t get enough of. Neil Gaiman, we want more action.
Neil Gaiman is currently busy writing script for Season 2 premiere of American Gods. He’s also working on Good Omens,Norse Mythology and a sequel of Neverwhere. In short, his hands are full.
Let’s just get hope from what he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
“The big problem I have is having a maximum of one body and one set of typing fingers at any time.”
“I’ll probably start American Gods 2, if there is still a will to write,”
I Am Legend is one of the most emotionally charged novel I’ve ever read. Robert Neville, the only survivor of vampire apocalypse, faced lost many times. He lives alone after losing his family to the vampire virus. He finds a dog and loses it, too.
What I want to see in a sequel is how the evolved vampires fight to restore their humanity. The idea of no hope is just not acceptable. If bacteria can survive perhaps man, too, right?
From the end
Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth. He knew he did not belong to them; he knew that, like the vampires, he was anathema and black terror to be destroyed. And, abruptly, the concept came, amusing to him even in his pain.
I am interested in knowing how Winnie Foster lived the rest of her life after knowing the secret of eternal life. Did she stop loving the eternally young boy from her childhood? What events led her to choose the life she lived? Natalie Babbit wrote a wonderful novel that makes its readers contemplate about life.
Little Prince is one of the rare books that are loved and treasured by children
and adult alike. The melancholic ending
somehow leaves the reader disheartened. Perhaps a teeny weeny message from
outer space will suffice?
From the end
Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.
All her life, she wanted to become a geisha to get closer to the man she loves. What would be the meaning of life after Sayuri’s pursuit of love succeeded? I also want to a novel of forgiveness after this years-long love chase. Can Nobu-san, a naturally proud person, ever forgive her?
After You comes after Me Before You. I didn’t like the premise of Me Before You when its movie adaptation was released. I went against my judgement and watched the movie. To my surprise I really enjoyed the movie. And the book was even better. I’m a sucker for romance novels, but Me Before You was something else. Like Louisa Clarke, the novel surprised me. It has life lessons, love story, forgiveness, self-discovery and humor. After You is not a sequel that it deserves. I want a better one.
What stand-alone books you wish had a sequel? What did you think about my list? Let me know by dropping your comments below.
We all have that long book (books) that we’ve been meaning to finish but never actually pulled off from the shelf because of our busy schedule (or whatever excuse we can think of). I’ll be honest, War and Peace has been in my TBR list for many years now not because I have a pressing work schedule but simply because I am intimidated by its sheer length.
Committing to a lengthy novel is scary, too. We don’t want a disappointing ending after investing a long time reading it, do we? I have read only one book in the list myself, i.e. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, and I gave up at about 35% through Stephen King’s it.
I have collated here very long novels that, according to critics and popular opinion, are worthy of our time. Check them out and feel free to drop your own suggestions in the comments section below. 👇
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
It, Stephen King
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor M Dostoyevsky
Middlemarch, George Eliot
The Stand, Stephen King
1Q84, Haruki Murakami
The Hunchback of Notredame, Victor Hugo
The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
Underworld, Don Delillo
Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
2666, Roberto Bolaño
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust
Black Lamb and Gray Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia
The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil
The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman
The Power Broker, Robert card
Shogun, James Clavell
Canopus in Argos Archives, Doris LessingElena Ferrante
Jerusalem, Alan Moore
I have read The Da Vinci Code and other books by Dan Brown. They are quite long but I find his style very easy to read. I actually managed to read his books in just a day.
What long books do you want to read but never had the courage to actually read? Have I missed great long books? Let me know by dropping your comments below.
Awards: Whitbread Award for Novel and Book of the Year (2003), Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (2003), McKitterick Prize (2004), Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction (2003), Exclusive Books Boeke Prize (2004), ALA Alex Award (2004), Zilveren Zoen (2004), Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book Overall (2004), Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award (2004)
Nominations: Man Booker Prize (2003), Carnegie Medal (2003), James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction (2003), North East Teenage Book Award (2004), Lincoln Award (2006)
Number of pages: 268
My Rating: ★★★★★
Fifteen-year old Christopher Boone loves mathematics, physics, order and mysteries. While he is very good in math, he has very little understand of human emotions. He doesn’t want to be touched and he doesn’t understand metaphors or simile; he doesn’t like the colors yellow and brown; he bases the quality of the day on colors of cars he sees on the the street: 5 red cars in a row for a Super Good day, 4 red cars in a row for a Good Day, 3 red cars in a row for Quite Good Day and 4 yellow cars in a row for a Black Day. During Black Days, he refuses to eat food and doesn’t talk to anyone.
When he finds Mrs. Shears’ dog killed in her backyard, he makes it his mission to find the killer. Using Sherlock Holmes as his inspiration he sets out to the neighborhood to solve the mystery. His adventure leads him to London and ultimately makes him come to terms with the turmoil that is his parents’ marriage.
Mark Haddon made a remarkable narrative using the voice of a fifteen-year old autistic boy who perceives the world differently. The effect is a clearer understanding of the mind that is often misconstrued by society.
Here is an excerpt from the book that I find funny. While the joke might be funny or not to the readers, the hilarity comes not from the joke itself but the idea that Christopher believes that it is a good joke.
There are three men on a train. One of them is an economist and one of them is a logician and one of them is a mathematician. And they have just crossed the border into Scotland (I don’t know why they are going to Scotland) and they see a brown cow standing in a field from the window of the train (and the cow is standing parallel to the train).
And the economist says, “Look, the cows in Scotland are brown.” And the logician says, “No. There are cows in Scotland of which one at least is brown.”
And the mathematician says, “No. There is at least one cow in Scotland, of which one side appears to be brown.”
And it is funny because economists are not real scientists, and because logicians think more clearly but mathematicians are best.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is equally poignant, funny and inspiring. Albeit being hilarious most of the time, it has so much to say for a short novel. Young adult fiction fans should not miss this exceptional love story of a man and his son.
This is the debut novel of Mark Haddon. He is also an illustrator and worked with autistic individuals in his earlier career.
I can’t believe that it’s already March. While February went by so swiftly, it was still a productive month for me. I started this blog last month and gained a few followers which I’m very thankful of. I also finished seven books which exceeded my goal of only four books. Last month was also a good month at work. I got my promotion and will be moving to a different city by the end of March to fill the role. To those who made my February great, many thanks!
Enough of the rambling and let’s get down to today’s topic.
Dora @ Swift Coffee was very kind to nominate me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks a ton, Dora.
Dora was nominated three times. Make sure to check out her blog as well.
If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award
Thank the person who gave you the award
Include link to their blog
Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly
Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself
SEVEN FACTS ABOUT LEXIE
I had a dog named Michael. He was named after Michael Corleone from Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Mike had three siblings named Santino, Fredo and Connie. They’re a litter of lovely gangster puppies.
I hate shopping for clothes. I only buy them when I have to because I feel guilty whenever I spend money on clothes. However, I’m guiltless if I buy books with the same amount of money.
I love staring at the sky. I get this feeling of awe and wonder whenever I see a very clear blue sky. Looking at it makes me realize how small I am compared to the galaxy.
I am left-handed. So are my parents and three siblings.
I have a huge crush on Johnny Depp.
Pinocchio was the first full length novel I ever read. I started only by looking at the illustrations on the yellowed pages of the book when I was younger. I finally read the whole book in fifth grade. I even brought it to school so I can read during breaks while my classmates play during break. I’ve been a book lover since.
I like looking at adorable photos of cats but I don’t like them as much personally. The cats we own are all snobs. They often ignore me and would prefer sleeping on the floor instead of beside me like I have a disease or something.
Alphabet Soup Challenge is probably the longest but easiest reading challenge popular in the web. I do not want to be left out so I decided to take up the challenge this year.
The rules are very simple. Just read a book that has a title that starts with every letter of the alphabet except for the letters X, Q and Z. It happens that I have books that start with those annoying letters. These three letters can appear in any part of the title. The articles a, an and the do not count. For example, I will list The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time under letter C. Borrowed books, ebooks and audiobooks count, too.
A – Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
B – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
C – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon<
D – Diary by Chuck Palahniuk E – Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
F – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
G – A God in Ruins by Leon Uris H – The Hours by Michael Cunningham
I – It by Stephen King
J – Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan K – The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessL – L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
M – Meshuga by Isaac Bashevis Singer N – The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
O – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck P – Pride and Prejudice and Passports by Corrie Garrett
Q – Quicker than the Eye by Ray Bradbury R – Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
S – Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
T – T Zero by Italo Calvino
U – Ubik by Philip K. Dick
V – Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
W – We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
X – Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
Y – Youth by Isaac Asimov
Z – The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead by Max Brooks
6 / 25 books. 24% done!
Titles in bold are those that I have already read. Links will redirect you to my reviews.