Website find: Standard Ebooks

If you’ve been looking for something to read, or you’re frustrated by the terrible layout, mis-spellings, etc. of free and public ebooks, well then Standard Ebooks is the site for you! Free and open-source, each ebook is available to download in multiple formats, including epub (for most eReaders, Calibre, Books on Apple devices, etc.), azw3 for Kindle (you’ll need to download the cover thumbnail seperately), kepub for Kobo, and advanced epub if desired. As mentioned, each ebook also has a nice illustrated cover and a clear and consistent (if somewhat simple) cover title so you can easily recognize each ebook.

Being open-source, anyone is welcome to contribute to the project, whether to improve existing titles or help bring new titles up to their standards. If you aren’t technically inclined or don’t have the time to contribute, you are still welcome to donate to the project, to help those working on the project along with the costs of website hosting, etc. One-time and monthly options are available.

As noted on each ebook page, the titles are made available freely as they are presumably free of copyright in the United States; each book’s copyright status may not be the same in other countries, and you will need to check your local laws prior to downloading outside of the United States.

Website find: Watch It Played

Recently I had a renewed interest to learn how to play CATAN, a board game my wife gifted to me a couple Christmases ago. While there is a newer Assistant app to learn from, I decided to just search YouTube and sift through the results. Among those was a really well-done video from the Watch It Played channel. The host, Rodney Smith, is very articulate and engaging. Thanks to that, along with the video’s nice editing and production, my wife and I have continued to watch other How to Play videos. If you’re looking for a channel to help learn some board games, and at the same time possibly get encouragement to get back into gaming in general, I highly recommend this channel!

Website find: Freeze Frame Pictures

Many years ago I wrote about horror short films, briefly mentioning some that I had found on YouTube. Since then I have on occasion continued to find new ones, and one of the standouts has been Freeze Frame Pictures. A small group from South Australia, their total output over the years has been small, but certainly high-quality. The two major standouts for me are The Secluded House and The Museum Project. They have released a third longer short film in 2019, The Groves; I’ve somehow not watched it yet, but it is certainly on my to-watch list! The atmosphere, tension, and dread packed into these short films are incredible, and put many higher-budgeted feature films to shame. I look forward to what they do next, whether it continues to be shorter films or if they possibly one day attempt a full-length feature!

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander is a book I first read many decades ago. While he was known for other books, namely the Chronicles of Prydain, this book served as my introduction to his writings. I have re-read the novel a few times since then, and recently did so after many years. I’m happy to say the book still holds up. There is a wonderful cast of characters, each with their own unique appearance, behavior, and little mannerisms that help the reader imagine them, even when many of them are together in a chapter. The overall story ends up being far different than what is expected, both for the main character as well as the reader. If you are looking for something to read that’s on the lighter side of fantasy, and also outside the default and cliche western European setting, I highly recommend this!

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