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101 Goals, 1001 Days: Inspiring TED Talk About Book Covers

Chip Kidd is hilarious. I watched his TED Talk on book covers, because book covers are, well, part of my job. I review books and write my own. The book cover is the first thing people will see when they grab your book from the shelf, but it’s also the thing that can catch the attention of a digital browser. I don’t think enough people realize how important it is and that self published authors don’t invest enough in. Chip Kidd explains how he designs covers and how he translates a story to art. I love his play with slip-on covers on the hardcovers. It made me look at cover design a little differently.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Books To Read And Read

Since I’ve started reviewing books on Narratess, I’ve been reading much more. This year so far I’ve read 27 books and I hope to finish at least 40. My Goodreads Reading Challenge says I’m ahead of schedule, which is good. So I know that I’ll can complete my goal of reading 100 books with the 43 I already have as of this writing. Probably not this year, but I’ll get there next year or early 2020.

I’ve read 5 non-fiction books since I started, so I don’t think my goal of reading 20 non-fiction books will be a problem either. I still have a biography to read (my pick was Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance) and I still have a few books on writing that I need to finish (Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer among them). If you know a great non-fiction book which isn’t political, war-related, but preferably creativity, inspiration or business related, please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for more great books.

I still have It by Stephen King down as my horror book to read and the one for “Read book, then watch the movie”, since I can both quickly. But there are so many book based movies I might pick another one to read first, watch later. I still have The Circle by Dave Eggers and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett which is nearly done as well.

Here are the last 20 books I read. I don’t know which books I’ll be reading the rest of the year, but Warcross by Marie Lu is one of them. I’m really excited about reading another book which features gaming.

The 20 books I read recently

Bright Ruin
it was amazing
tagged:
recommended, dystopia, fantasy, and young-adult

The Things We Said in Venice
it was amazing
tagged:
recommended, dutch, contemporary, and romance

Sworn to Conflict
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy and young-adult

The Book of Peril
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy and romance

The Reckoning
really liked it
tagged:
contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and young-adult

And That's When It Fell Off in My Hand
liked it
tagged:
young-adult, romance, and contemporary

The Awakening
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, young-adult, and paranormal

Sworn to Raise
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy and romance

Nib + Ink: The New Art of Modern Calligraphy
really liked it
tagged:
language and non-fiction

The Summoning
liked it
tagged:
fantasy, paranormal, and young-adult

The Underwater Ballroom Society
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy, historical, and science-fiction

School for Psychics
it was amazing
tagged:
fantasy and paranormal

Awakening
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Dark Magick
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Blood Witch
really liked it
tagged:
contemporary, fantasy, romance, and young-adult

The Coven
really liked it
tagged:
fantasy, romance, and young-adult

Book of Shadows
really liked it
tagged:
young-adult, paranormal, romance, and fantasy

The Gatekeeper's Sons
it was ok
tagged:
contemporary, favorites, romance, and young-adult




goodreads.com

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Games I Played

One of my 101 Goals is to play 20 games that I never played before. Well, I downloaded a bunch of games from my Steam library to start out. Of the 20 games I picked, I played 4 so far: Renowned Explorers: International Society, Kami, Epistory, and Sunless Sea. They are all very different games, but no triple A.

Official Screenshot

Renowned Explorers: International Society

Renowned Explorers: International Society is made by the same developers as Reus, Abbey Games. They’re a Dutch team and I enjoyed both games by them. Renowned Explorers is more complex than Reus, with sixteen different characters that can make up for your team of three. Each playthrough is different with the choices that you have. The mechanics are borrowed from different genres and I particularly like the combat, even when I suck at it. You can choose to end and encounter in a positive way, by becoming friends with your enemies, or ridiculing them, or just plain killing. You can earn bonus points for resolving an encounter in a specific manner. So far I’ve only completed one round without dying, and that’s okay. I don’t have to be good at a game to enjoy it. Even knowing that I’ll probably fail my next round, I still go in. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

Official Screenshot

Kami

Kami is a puzzle game that reminds me of origami with coloured paper. You have to change the colours so it ends up in just one colour. It’s a nice puzzle game to play in between things to relax and focus your mind. I’ve reached the harder puzzles now and it’s taken me a few times before I managed to succeed. I’ll try to finish all of them before the 1001 days are over.

Official Screenshot

Epistory – Typing Chronicles

I loved Epistory from the moment I saw the art, way before the release. I actually still use one of the artworks as a wallpaper. It looks stunning and the narration is great as well. Think Bastion, but with a different voice. You kill the enemies by typing words. If your average words per minute is on the high side, this game will be easy for you. For the others it’ll be a challenge, but not one that’s impossible. I love the game’s atmosphere, the art, the story. It’s adorable. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants a unique indie game experience. I’m definitely going to finish this.

Official Screenshot

Sunless Sea

Years ago I played the browser game Fallen London. A card based game set in the dark shadow side of London. The Victorian world with gothic flair is incredibly immersive. I think the whole game has over 500.000 words now. Sunless Sea is also made by Failbetter Games and set in the same universe, maybe now slightly more Lovecraftian. It’s a dark, rogue like game, where you’re an explorer of the Sunless Sea. Complete quests, find out everyone’s secrets, make money by smuggling wears, and kill great sea creatures.

There are still a few more games that I tried which I didn’t play using Steam, but I’ll talk about those later.

Reintroducing 101 Goals, 1001 Days

It’s almost a year ago that I made the decision to do the 101 Goals, 1001 Days. It’s pretty much what it says: finish 101 goals in 1001 days. Why that many in that long a period? Because that allows you to take on longer projects. Adding smaller goals are boosts to keep you motivated. Some can even be rewards. One of my goals was to go to the Efteling, a popular theme park in the Netherlands. No one says goals can’t be fun.

I made a list of all my goals, but there are still a few that need updating. I’ll be posting about how I’m progressing the coming month. For one of the goals I need your help, but I’ll blog about that soon. I hope you can help me out. I think you’ll get to know me a little better from reading the 101 Goals, 1001 Days. There are already a few online, so don’t hesitate to check those out if you’re new here.

I’ll talk about game related topics as well. I’ve been playing Stardew Valley Multiplayer, Dragon Age Inquisition, Bayonetta 2, Journey, and a few smaller games.

Let’s make this Blaugust Reborn a great revival!

101 Goals, 1001 Days: To Read List 2018

Every year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’ve kept it on 30 for the past years and this year I’ll raise it. I have more time and I do want to read (and review) more books. Let’s go for 40. It’s only ten books more and I’ve finished a few books in less than two days, so it’s definitely doable. It depends on how well the books are written though.

There are still a few books on my to-read list from last year. We moved halfway through the year and I still haven’t unpacked all of my books. Some of those are still in boxes and I have no idea in which box they are. I know there are new books in series I read last year or which I’ll read this year. If I get my hands on those, I’ll definitely add them to my to-read list.

 

Here’s a partial list of what I’ll be reading next year:

Non-fiction

Bird By Bird – Anne Lamott

Wonderbook – Jeff Vandermeer

Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance

Mythos – Stephen Fry

 

Fiction

Sorcerer And The Crown – Zen Cho

The House of Shattered Wings – Aliette de Bodard

Lud-in-the-mist – Hope Mirrlees

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Grimoire Saga (#1-#4) – S. M. Boyce

The Historian –

The Circle – Dave Eggers

Digital Fortress – Dan Brown

The Next Queen of Heaven – George Maguire

The Skull Throne – Peter V. Brett

The Book Of Dust – Philip Pullman

Voyage Of The Basilisk – Marie Brennan

The Tropic of Serpents – Marie Brennan

In The Labyrinth of Drakes – Marie Brennan

The Martian Ambassador – Alan K. Baker

Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

The Magician’s Guild – Trudi Canavan

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

The Book Of Life – Deborah Harkness

 

 

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Just a small update

No post dedicated to one thing, but to many.

I’m still blogging and writing in my journal every day.

I’ve almost finished Season 11 of Diablo 3. There’s more than enough time and I’ve hit level 70. I’m working on my paragon levels now so I can challenge the higher torment levels necessary to complete the last few achievements.

I’ve been playing a little more Renowned Explorers and Anno 1404. It’s not on my list since I own it on GOG, but both are fun. Even when I lose. Renowned Explorers is still kicking my butt in encounters. I know my strategic skills are on the bad side, but some encounters are just too hard for the level I’m on. I don’t have the skills or the equipment to finish them. I guess I’ll have to pick a better team.

After some more research I noticed that Totto-chan is actually an autobiography, so picking Elon Musk was the right choice. It arrived today together with The Book Thief and Creative Confidence. Both will be going on my list of to read for the next 2,5 years.

I made a creamy chicken spinach sauce to go with pasta from scratch. Another recipe I borrowed from Pinterest. I’ll take a photo from the leftovers in the next couple of days and share the recipe with you.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Play 20 games from my Steam library I never played before

I’ve made a list of twenty games that I want to play and I’ll aim to finish five of these:

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • The Book of Unwritten Tales
  • Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons
  • Child of Light
  • Epistory
  • Grimm
  • Hero Academy (unsure)
  • KAMI
  • Legend of Fae
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst
  • Papo & Yo
  • planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~
  • Rayman Origins
  • Renowned Explorers: International Society
  • Samorost 2
  • Secrets of Raetikon
  • Spirits
  • Sunless Sea
  • Wayward Manor
  • The Wolf Among Us

I’ve stayed away from games that I’ll know will take up 60+ hours to finish. I’m looking at you, Baldur’s Gate. I’ll get to you some day. I also looked at games with 0 hours on the clock. I think I’ll set the minimum of 3 hours to cross the game off my list as having played it. I know I’ll play some games way longer, and with others I’ll be struggling to get those three hours. I have no idea how long each game is. I also know that some of them don’t have a ‘finished’ state. Games like Sunless Sea are meant to be played over and over. Hopefully this is a mix of interesting games that will give me the entertainment I need in all kinds of moods.

I’ve already given Renowned Explorers a try tonight and so far I liked it. I failed to finish one set of missions, but I’ll have another go soon. The mechanics are interesting and I like the setting. I tried to describe it to my husband and then it reminded me of the mechanics of Darkest Dungeon.

 

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Elusive Creative Genius

I want to share the ten TED Talks that inspire me, but I’ll show them one by one, because they are worth more attention than just a mention. Most of the talks are fairly old, but I still think they’re relevant, their insight not being bound by time. This one I found not too long ago. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about the muse.

The muse is an interesting concept, because it’s abstract and there are many different interpretations. The muse used to be a woman an artist could make love to and create a masterpiece afterwards. Stephen King described his muse as a man. Some see a muse in a live person, others see the muse as something spiritual.

Elizabeth talks about how the muse kept artists grounded, where artists nowadays struggle with the thought “what if I can’t top my success <product>?”. “What if my best work is behind me?” I still have a long way to go before I reach that point, and that’s me being realistic. But when you do reach that point, believing in the muse might help you to get to work. Think of the quote by Isabel Allende:

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

Keep doing what you do, and your muse will show up. Enjoy!

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Read A Biography

I’ve reading way more non-fiction the last few years, but I’ve never a biography. It’s time that I picked one up. Finding an interesting biography is hard, because the ones that I do find interesting are mostly autobiographical, which is not what I want for this goal. I want an outsider perspective on a person.

Looking through a few lists and the store fronts, noticed two books which caught my attention: Totto-chan: The Little Girl At The Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Both books are very different and would probably be shelved in different categories if the shop used subcategories.

Totto-chan is about a young girl who didn’t fit in with the standard school system, but eventually finds a school master who can help her. What I find the most interesting is that her story begins before WWII, in Japan. It’ll give me a new perspective on the Japanese school system, growing up as an outliner and gives me a glimpse of Japan pre-war.

Elon Musk is more straight forward. Journalist Ashlee Vance shows us the life of the visionary business man and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. I admire people with strong visions, people worth following. I believe Elon Musk is such a person. Reading his biography will either confirm that or crush my hopes. All in all, I hope that this book will give me the motivation to move forward and inspire change.

For now I’ll read Elon Musk for this goal, but I won’t forget about Totto-chan, because I can still read it for fun or for my ‘Read 20 non-fiction’ goal.

101 Goals, 1001 Days: Going To The Efteling

I have a few activities on my list, like day trips or holidays. One of them is to visit the Dutch fairy tale themed park, the Efteling. It’s one of the busiest attraction in The Netherlands, mostly with people from neighbouring countries. Disneyland in Paris is a direct competitor. The atmosphere is completely different from a Disney park, but adorable nonetheless.

I’ve visited the Efteling half a dozen of times since I was a kid and always had fun. I’ve also learned not to go when it’s summer vacation or on weekends. Queue times will be insanely long for most popular rides. There will also be significantly more children running around. Not the best way to spend your time in a high priced theme park. So for my next visit I’ll have to go on a week day when it’s dry, when schools are in session.

There is one big downside to going. I’ll need about three days to recover. My body isn’t in perfect condition so doing something that requires a full day of physical activity, it will need to heal. Especially going on rollercoaster rides (my favourite) tend to shake up my joints. I won’t notice the immediate strain it puts on my body since I’ll have an adrenaline rush and I’m just happy to be there. I’ll feel it the next morning. And the morning after that.

It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make though. Even when your body isn’t cooperating, that’s no reason to not do something you enjoy doing. I always try to weigh the pros against the cons, see if I can switch some cons to pros, find a way to get rid of the cons and then make my decision. I still have to see how I can make the few days after a bit more pleasant, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Then I need to decide when we go.

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