The Growing Book Backlog: The Unexpected Ways Your To Be Read List Can Grow

For the past two years I have been ramping up the number of books I read in a year. Books I had either bought or received as gifts have collected dust on shelves or stacks I’ve left on the table. Growing tired of having books that remained unopened, I made it my personal mission to begin ticking off that pile one by one. My ambitious goal has paid off with my list of read books growing steadily, and my list of unread books shrinking. Or so I thought. Just when I’ve been finishing off books I already had, I find myself unintentionally adding a new batch of titles to my to be read pile.

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One Hundred Percent Completion: Finishing And Unlocking Everything In A Game

The longer I play video games the more I realize I can’t recall a time where I have ever finished a game at 100 percent. There have definitely been games where I completed the main story and even did almost all of the side quests. But being able to boast about finding every collectible there is, unlocking every secret tucked away in a level, it’s not something I can put a claim on.

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Howdy Neighbor: Favorite Animal Crossing Villagers

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has celebrated its one year anniversary since the game released on March 20, 2020. New Horizons went on to become the best selling Switch game of 2020, selling 11.77 million copies, and the predominant game of choice that got people through the pandemic. Although Nintendo celebrated the video game’s anniversary last month, complete with a one-year cake, my one-year with the game is actually this month when I first received it as a birthday gift last year from a friend. In honor of my whole year of playing New Horizons, I list my favorite villagers.

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Kill Your Darlings: The Process Of What To Cut Out Doesn’t Always Occur During Editing

Every writer will say writing is one part joy and one part agony. There’s a drive to commit your character’s story to the page, but seeing it all come together is an arduous undertaking, especially when you’re writing a full-length novel and not a short story. Writing my own story has had its ups and downs. Sometimes the words flow out of me and onto the computer screen, or I’ll have days when writing a scene or tone in my head feels a lot harder than it should be. A writer might not always have a clear path ahead for where a story is going until it’s written, but you begin to develop an instinct for knowing what should be cut out or reworked as you’re writing it.

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Manga Collecting Revisited: Taking Stock Of The Titles Yearning To Be Completed

Reading and collecting manga used to be a hobby I fell into at the beginning of high school. The hunt for new titles with memorable stories and gorgeous art to drool over were the main reasons I grew my collection over a period of several years. It was an expensive hobby to maintain, using what little allowance I had to buy one volume at a time until I had a complete set, and a solid conclusion to a story I loved. Being much older now, and having a little more money to spare for minor indulgences, the desire to finish the few series I started ages ago still remains.

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Roaming The Streets And Wide Open Spaces Of Cyberpunk 2077

March marks a whole year since this pandemic started. At this point almost everyone is feeling fatigued and frustrated with being stuck at home in an effort to curb the virus. Even self-proclaimed introverts and homebodies are longing for those days when we can gather with our friends and family, or simply enjoy a meal at a restaurant without fretting about following COVID-19 guidelines.

What I miss the most is traveling. Though the vaccines are slowly rolling out in countries all over the world, we’re currently no where near done with this pandemic just yet. What can a person who has serious wanderlust do? Fortunately, there’s video games and Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of the ones that has made me appreciate the art of savoring the places you’re in.

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Book Backlog: Reading More Than One Book At The Same Time

Ever since I dedicated myself to increasing my book reading to be more or less what it used to be during my high school and college days, I would set small, attainable reading goals I think I can reasonably accomplish by the end of the year. Since then my reading goals have grown more ambitious. Last year I finished reading 19 books, and this year I’m looking to finish 20-25 books. What may have helped me is reading two, maybe three, books during some months. Is that how I approach all the books I read? It depends on what it is.

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All Good Things Come To An End…Mostly

In between writing, reading, and gaming I have been watching a few shows and movies on the various streaming services I’m subscribed to. What has dominated my TV screen are shows or movies about teenagers. While I may be past a certain age to be watching this genre I often find some comfort in seeing teenagers discover love for the first time, figuring out their identity, and come of age by the end of the story. Appropriately, two of Netflix’s well received original show and movie have recently finished their run with the streamer—Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Did both of these originals get a proper sendoff?

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The Strange Thrill Of Making A List Of Books To Be Read…Eventually

Since the start of the new year I have been hitting the ground running on a number of personal goals I want to achieve by the end of the year. Among them has been to read a lot of books. I don’t exactly have a process for how I decide which books I’ll be reading next. Some of it depends on mood, length, and what format I want to read it in (physical copy, e-book, or audiobook). Despite having quite the collection to keep me busy for the next several months or maybe years, I can never resist compiling a long running list of other interesting titles I hope to finally read.

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Toughing It Out With Ori And The Blind Forest

Being a gamer often means you’ll discover what types of video games you enjoy overtime. There will be genres you’ll most likely play each and every time, and others you’ll prefer to steer clear from. After playing a wide range of games in my short tenure as a gamer, I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. One of my biggest weaknesses are platformers. I’ve never been good with wall jumps or timed jumps that make up most Mario games and others of that type. This is why I mostly avoid them for fear of never really finishing the game, or if I have finished one, it’s almost always with a bit of help from the gamers in my life who are better at these than I am. But when faced with a game that has been given to me as a present, I’m more inclined to try and finish it. This is my current situation with Ori and the Blind Forest.

[Credit: Nintendo]
Originally released in 2015 for Windows and Xbox One, Ori and the Blind Forest became available to play on the Nintendo Switch in 2019. Like all other games that first come out Ori and the Blind Forest was a critical hit and a must-play. The images released from the game were beautiful and reminded me of a well-drawn, animated storybook come to life. When I heard Ori and the Blind Forest was a platform-adventure game, the word “platform” alone was enough to give it an immediate pass. I already knew where my strengths in gaming were and platformers, along with puzzle games, weren’t one of them. Then this past Christmas my older sister thoughtfully gifted me with two highly regarded games, and if you guessed Ori and the Blind Forest for the Nintendo Switch as one of them, you’d be right.

Whenever someone in my life spends the time and money to give me a game I may not necessarily have asked for, but knew it would be a worthy one to have in my backlog, there is a strong desire on my part to play and beat the game. If I don’t there’s a sense of guilt I feel for letting a game go neglected after a friend or family member carefully picked it out just for me. Granted I have just way too many games to play now, but it’s a concerted effort to try and prioritize the ones I received as gifts.

Over the past month I’ve been adding a few hours into playing Ori and the Blind Forest. As I expected the game itself is a beauty to behold from the first and very emotional opening scenes. The story follows a guardian spirit named Ori, with the assistance of a small orb called Sein, who is tasked with restoring a dying forest back to life. As Ori you collect valuable upgrades scattered throughout the forest that will help you along on your journey.

Despite playing on easy mode, because I can’t imagine trying to tackle this game on normal or higher with my poor platformer skills, Ori and the Blind Forest is still a challenging game for me to get through. Again, playing a game where the majority of it requires me to get from one high platform to the next with careful and timed jumps is my worst nightmare. What might probably take a better player about 2-3 minutes to make the jump, it would take me 20 minutes or an hour to finish one section. Once I achieve one hurdle in the game I’m pretty much ready to call it a day.

As frustrating as playing a platformer like Ori and the Blind Forest is I’m willing to try and beat this one, albeit very very slowly. When I’m not about ready to tear my hair out after Ori dies for the umpteenth time or I can’t make a somewhat complicated jump, it is a beautiful world to spend time in. It’s a small consolation for someone like me who has a steep learning curve with platform games.

Have you played Ori and the Blind Forest? What do you love or hate about the game?