Doctor Who?

Disclaimer: Okay, I know my blog is usually/supposed to be about books but I’m really into this show right now so just bear with me people!

doctor who

Picture from http://www.hulu.com

This show will be the death of me. If you like Star Trek and British television and a little bit of The Time Traveler’s Wife, mix it all together, add a dash of awesome, and you’ve got Doctor Who. This show first aired in 1963 and after a 16 year hiatus they came back in 2005 with a whole new look but the same concept. The Doctor (yes that is his name) is a Time Lord that has to travel around to every corner of the universe and every second of time to help the life forms that need it. He travels in his TARDIS or Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, which looks like a blue police box from the 1950s. The Doctor is an alien who was in a war with the Daleks, another species of alien that was born to kill, and they both lost, completely obliterating the Doctor’s planet, he being the only survivor. It is now his task to help out everyone by traveling alone. However, he meets some companions along the way. The first companion we meet in the new series is Rose Tyler, a spunky blonde Brit who ends up falling in love with the Doctor, with the feelings being reciprocated. I will try not to spoil anything since all seven seasons are now on Hulu for everyone to watch! The Doctor cannot die, which is an advantage and a disadvantage. He regenerates into a different-looking man but he is the same person on the inside and this saves him from dying. The disadvantage to that is he really can’t die. If he finds a companion who is human, he can only be with them for a certain amount of time (he is 900 years old). This is the hamartia of the Doctor-he is forever completely alone.  Overall, Doctor Who is a fantastic (oh, someone please get this reference…) TV show and it is a great watch. You can never be bored watching Doctor Who because there is always something exciting happening. You are introduced to new worlds and new people and it will leave you a different person. Personally, it is totally worth your money to create a HuluPlus account or if you like the cheaper route, just find some illegal website to watch it (not that I’m condoning this…). So go on, Allons-y! New adventures are waiting.

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The Fault in Our Stars

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 Cover title from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11870085-the-fault-in-our-stars

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” -The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

If you haven’t heard of John Green, you either aren’t from planet earth, or you just don’t check your social networking sites a lot. John Green is an up and coming young adult author that writes about topics that really apply to teens, but at the same time could be controversial. One of his books Looking for Alaska, a personal favorite of mine, is on the banned book list even though it contains issues that coincide with life, something that someone could really relate to. The Fault in Our Stars is a book about kids who have cancer. I’m sure you’ve read a book about a teenager having cancer, for example, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (a real tugger on the heartstrings-watch the movie if you don’t believe me). This book, however, is different. What John Green brings to this novel is unprecedented in so many ways, from the way he looks at teenagers with cancer from more of their perspective to how he chooses his words and makes you think, even though it is a book for young adults. This book is about a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster who meets a dashing young man named Augustus Waters at a cancer support group meeting. The two fall in love and actually travel to Holland together but you will have to read the book to find out why, I will spoil nothing about this novel because I want you to go out and read it and find out what it’s all about! It’s just that good! I recommend this book to absolutely everyone. My mom, my boyfriend, his mom, and my art teacher have all read it and they all said it was a really good read. My best friend, who has so willingly been sucked into the world of nerdfighteria with me has also read it and we are definitely planning to see the movie at midnight when it comes out on June 6th, 2014. Now drop what you’re doing and go read this book! It will change your life and leave you thinking differently in so many ways.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”  -The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Loves Music, Loves to Dance

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Cover title from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/170650.Loves_Music_Loves_to_Dance

In Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark, the suspense starts right off with the reader being introduced to the serial killer who is placing personal ads in newspapers in the hopes that attractive young women will respond. That is usually the plan of attack with a Mary Higgins Clark novel: we are usually introduced to the person who is causing the trouble in the first few chapters. Most mystery novels leave that to be discovered at the end but these books are layered, with so many characters and subplots that it is sometimes helpful to be shown in advance who’s side to be on. But like any mystery novel, the plot could have a twist! In this particular book, a young woman named Erin Kelley is found, wearing one dancing slipper and one normal shoe, having died of strangulation. It is up to this women’s best friend, Darcy Scott, to find out what happened to her and so many other women who met this same fate. These novels are usually set in New York or the surrounding areas with classy, well-to-do people who drink hot toddies in their pent houses and drive to work in their Mercedes Benz. Clark shows her knack for knowing about all things that have to do with the higher end of New York and this shows through in her novels. All the characters that are introduced are somehow connected to the main plot, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. It takes a lot of planning and thinking to make a novel like this work and that’s why I love Clark so much. I won’t spoil the ending for you though, because I would hate if someone did that to me. All I can tell you is it will be suspenseful, gripping, and leaving you with the urge to pick up another Mary Higgins Clark novel!

What I love about Mary Higgins Clark, the queen of suspense, is that she really lives up to her title. Her books may be easy to breeze through but in such a short novel she really gets you feeling on edge and wanting to read more. I’ve read countless Mary Higgins Clark novels and each one leaves me with the sense of wanting to read more. What I also like about her is how easy she can weave characters into her stories. In most of her books, every chapter introduces a new character who provides a new twist. This is impressive in that her chapters are usually a few pages long, culminating into chapter numbers between the ranges of 80 to 100 chapters in a book. Some of her works have been adapted into movies or TV shows. She has written 46 fiction novels since 1968 and her latest was published this April. She has also written a few nonfiction and holiday-related books but she is most famous for her tales of mystery and suspense. Even though she is aging, Clark hasn’t ceased to write heart-pounding novels that leave the reader wanting more. She is one of my favorite authors and I feel that she has accomplished a lot in terms of writing and she is still going strong today.

The Soul of a Man Under Socialism

The ideas of socialism contained the blue prints for a so-called perfect society, or a utopia. Socialism is based on the simple idea of sharing: share what you have with the community and you will benefit. This societal structure was coined in the 1800s by Charles Fourier and Robert Owen who actually planned model communities based on their blueprint of socialism. Basically, labor is a big part of the socialist community. Everyone needs to contribute their talents and skills to the greater good of the people. Everybody supports everybody in this type of society. When the idea of socialism came across Karl Marx, he switched up some of the important aspects of the original plan and came up with communism. At first, communism had two basic groups, the capitalists, or the people who controlled the means of production, and the proletariats, or the wageworkers who made up most of society. So really in a way, communism is a twisted version of socialism that got blown out of proportion when people like Lenin and Stalin controlled and dictated the Soviet Union, causing many deaths and hard times. Doesn’t really sound like a utopia, does it?

If you have ever read The Soul of a Man Under Socialism you will understand that Oscar Wilde REALLY HATES SOCIALISM. He argues that socialism is next to communism and it is too rigid of a lifestyle. Wilde says beauty is lost with socialism and critics who follow socialism are harsher and not as open to new things. Being a Protestant, baptized Catholic, Oscar Wilde states that Jesus Christ was far from being socialist, the socialist mantra being, “Know thyself!”, whereas Jesus and everyone else who is not a socialist mantra being, “Be thyself!” Socialists criticize new art when they see it and find it terrible to look at, asking why the artist doesn’t paint like another, but if the artist did that they wouldn’t be able to call themselves an artist and their work would be unoriginal. Socialism also isn’t a friend of marriage, family, and property owners. First, it makes property cumulative, with everyone sharing it, kind of like communism. Therefore, individualism which is brought on by socialism ruins marriage and family life. France, a non-socialist nation is seen by Wilde as a more proper nation by the way they keep things discrete. Socialism puts things out there for everyone to see because it is a collective society. Wilde sees socialism as a revolution which is seen as vulgar to him. Wilde believes more in the concept of individualism, where no one can have a big ego and no one will be selfish. He sees the world as a happier place when the individual believes in themselves. Personally, I agree with this: you can’t be happy with others until you are happy with yourself.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Part Two)

We left off in Journey to the Center of the Earth with Henry and his uncle reaching the opening to the center of the earth, ready to face the unknown. When they go through the opening, they see a vast sea that seems endless, which they coin the Central Sea. The decide to try and cross it to see if there is another side to the interior of the earth. After many days in which Henry keeps a journal about their voyage on the sea, they actually end up on the same coast they started on, not taking the wind, sea monsters, and currents into consideration. The troupe decides to explore what there is on the mainland, where they see giant mushrooms, prehistoric animals that should be extinct, and the most chilling-piles of bones. They find a sign marked by Arne Saknussemm, the person who started this whole journey by writing the ancient Icelandic in the journal, and they decide to blast through the thick granite wall. However, the space behind the rock is just a giant hole, not another passageway deeper into the earth. The three travelers are swept away on their raft into the tunnels of the underground and discover that they are going to soon encounter lava. They come to find out that they are in the shaft of an active volcano that is going to be erupting soon, but the hard part is trying to deduce where they are going to land, since they have no concept of where they are under the earth. They are shot upward and outward into what they come to find out is Stromboli, Italy. I google mapped the distance between the place where they started out (Reykjavik, Iceland) to where they ended up and it is a grand total of 2,312 miles! In the end, they make their way back to Hamburg, Germany where Professor Hardwigg becomes world-renowned and Henry marries his niece, Gretchen. Yeah, his niece.

What I love in a book is when the dates or days of the week are exactly laid out and easy to follow. It is easier for me to read a book when it is in some sort of chronological order, I’m sure there are other people out there just like me, right? This novel does a fantastic job of saying the exact dates of events, you know right when they left for the journey, and the exact date they returned, no need for guesswork. I also love how this book is so scientific. At first, I didn’t think I would understand a word of it since science isn’t really a point of interest to me. However, this book takes some complicated scientific concepts and puts them in layman’s terms. The measurements (like how many miles they had traveled) were also very easy to follow, you know, until they figured out they weren’t exactly in Iceland anymore at the end. It is almost like Verne was writing this novel in the hopes people would do exactly as it said. If you read this book with an open mind and regarded it as a how-to guide to travel to the center of the earth, you would have everything you would need. Well, you would also need supplies, oh wait! Verne clearly states that in the beginning chapters! Just make sure you have a compass that points in the opposite direction. Overall, this book was spectacular. For a nerdy person like me, it hit high marks with it’s easy to understand explanations and the fact that it was made for nerdy people like me! It made me want to go on an adventure and I can see why it is my boyfriend’s favorite classic novel. I will leave you with a quote from the book, stated right before they start their journey: “Et quacunque viam dederit fortuna sequamur.” (“And whichsoever way thou goest, may fortune follow.”)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Part 1)

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Title cover from http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32829.Journey_to_the_Center_of_the_Earth?from_search=true

Everybody likes a little sense of adventure in their life. Maybe it might be conquering your fear of heights or going on that vacation to the other side of the world that you’ve been dreaming about. An adventure can be found in every day life. In Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, a young boy and his uncle go on the adventure of a lifetime (if you haven’t guessed where, check out the title…). This classic novel was published in 1864, a time when writing was very formal and rigid. Verne’s personality really shines through with the little comments the narrator makes, which can be pretty hilarious. The young boy Henry, a food connoisseur, is the nephew of the eccentric Professor Hardwigg.  His uncle has purchased an ancient book in the old Icelandic vernacular and has tried to decipher it’s meaning. Henry (I’ve learned that if you are reading European-based novels that are probably pre-twentieth century, Harry is a nickname for Henry) stumbles across the meaning by looking at the paper backwards and using his mad language skills to discover it is directions to the center of the earth. His uncle is ecstatic and plans a trip to Iceland promptly. Along the way to their destination, they meet people who will help out with planning the trip and also the journey to the inactive volcano where the passageway to the center of the earth is believed to be. They travel for some time until they reach Mount Sneffels (pause for a giggle) and descend down the Scartaris crater, and prepare to face what’s to come in the supposed center of the earth.

This book was given to me by my boyfriend for our year anniversary because he knows I love classic novels and this is his favorite. Now I can see why! This story is full of spunk, even with the constraints of the time period it was written in. Verne was known for his futuristic stories, kind of like H.G. Wells, and you can see that in this novel. I haven’t gotten to the part where they encounter all the wonders in the center of the earth, so look out for part two of this post coming soon!