On the Ending of John Green’s young adult novel “Paper Towns”

Some time ago I made a song/video about me not having the novel “Paper Towns”. It actually won me a copy of the book signed by its author John Green. That made me very happy! I started reading it last week. That was a mistake, because only a few pages into the story I was hooked. But I had to work. And to eat. And to sleep. Still, I finished it before the weekend and wanted to write couple of things about it ever since.

  1. The book is good! John Green writes for young adults, so technically I’m not a member of the target group. And I must say that his first two books (“Looking for Alaska” and “An Abundance of Katherines”) were very enjoyable, but not, like, a must-buy for each and everyone. But this time around, well, “Paper Towns” is still not a must-buy; but I totally recommend it to anyone looking for, well, a young adult novel that is original in its conception, excellent in its execution, and very enjoyable in its language. Here’s just a couple of (not necessarily representative) quotes to give you an idea:
    • Nothing is as boring as other people’s dreams. (p. 86)
    • Peeing is like a good book in that it is very, very hard to stop once you start. (p. 183)
    • As much as life can suck, it always beats the alternative. (p. 287)

    Anyway, let me reiterate: it’s a good book. Buy it. Read it.

  2. This part contains major spoilers, so read on at our own risk. I enjoyed reading the book and was sad to see it end. The last few pages managed to give the plot a satisfying conclusion. Almost. I was left wondering, how it actually ended. Do they get together? Or is the last scene more of an afterthought that’s to vanish as soon as the sun comes up again? Ultimately, I can live with this ambiguity. I can live with it, because I figured that I can’t relate to Q. I mean, he’s the narrator and I like him more than some other of the other characters. Still, when he finally finds Margo, he comes up with his idea about the vessel and about the future. And I find it not very convincing. Sure, a big lesson at the end wouldn’t have the suited the story. Neither would have an overly romantic happy ending. I just wanted to remark that I preferred the little chunks of wisdom throughout the book. The ending was quite charming, but it didn’t add anything to what I got out of the story. But then again, I’m not the target audience and I still recommend you read “Paper Towns”.

Today’s music recommendation goes out to everybody who enjoys the mainstream kind of melodic punk rock. “The Days that Follow…” by Multiball (Vampster-Review) is a strong album that could totally be in the charts. The vocals are rather clean and melodic, the music itself rather powerful than catchy. It’s not the most original album; yet it sound rather fresh compared to many successful pop punk albums out there.

Practical tips for statisticians (part 7)

A couple of days ago I got hold of the book The Workflow of Data Analysis Using Stata by J. Scott Long. I haven’t yet delved into it. But I’m already loving and condemning it. Loving it, because it covers an integral part of scientific data analysis, filling a void that left by both the literature and the courses taught at university. Condemning it, because I had wanted to write a book on the same topic (how to ensure your data analysis is documented well, i.e., replicable) during the next years. It wouldn’t have been the same book; in fact, it would have been vastly different, possibly much worse.

It’s too early for me to review the book in a conclusive manner. Still, the content looks very promising and I think it’s telling that Long focuses on Stata as the software of choice. This is going to be fun!

Good News and a List

John Green commented on my recent video:

Wow, this is amazingly awesome. Favorited. And yes, this totally wins a book. Message me your address. Thanks for being awesome; this made my day!

How very flattering! A great way to start my week; looks like I’ll soon have Paper Towns. Then Hank Green‘s song The List will hopefully make sense to me. Meanwhile, I made a list of all the other books I sang about. The links are mainly to Wikipedia articles, because there readers can easily switch from German to their preferred language. Funnily, most (but not all) of my very favourite books ended up at the very beginning.

I Have Many Books (But I Don’t Have Paper Towns Yet)

In response to John Green’s offer to give away a copy of his latest book Paper Towns I wrote a song about me not having said book. Yet. I have his previous two books, though. If you haven’t heard of John Green, I suggest you check out An Abundance of Katherines. It features eloquent German insults, but is ultimately a young adult novel. With math.

Writing the lyrics to this song was fun, because I could arrange the actual books accordingly. Once I had recorded everything I made a little video to illustrate this process – and also to clarify what I’m actually singing about.

Download “I Have Many Books (But I Don’t Have Paper Towns Yet)”: mp3 (more music)

I have the best German fairytale, the best Scholastic book
I have comedies and screenplays that are really, really good
I have My Heart So White and a book about you
About the end of the world and about aliens, too
I have Looking for Alaska as you can see
An Abundance of Katherines belongs to me
I have many books from A to Z
But I must confess I don’t have Paper Towns, yet

I have books that sound dirty but are really all right
I have books that sound nerdy but are dirty inside
I have Reasons to Be Pretty, I have reasons to be smart
I have books about emotion but none about art
I have Looking for Alaska as you can see
An Abundance of Katherines belongs to me
I have many books some of which are red
But I must confess I don’t have Paper Towns, yet

I have The Devil’s Dictionary and books about Gods
The complete works of Shakespeare, a book about odds
I have books that are funny and some that are sad
Some are amazing and some are rather bad
I love Catching Fire; I wonder how it ends
I have The Elements of Style in your pants
I have Looking for Alaska as you can see
An Abundance of Katherines belongs to me
And for full disclosure I also have The Fountainhead
But as of now I don’t have Paper Towns, yet

(words and music by Johannes Schult)