News, Announcements and Cookies

Hello everyone!

It has been really quiet on this blog for quite a while and I’m sorry for my sudden and inexplicable silence. However, it isn’t as inexplicable as it seems as I’ve been really busy in the last two months since my last post.

The biggest and most time-consuming project was the launch of Mirage Boulevard. You might ask: “What is Mirage Boulevard?”

Mirage Boulevard

Mirage Boulevard (mirageboulevard.com) is the new website my friend Oliver Aeschimann (oaesch) and I started. It’s a German language online magazine focused on bringing you high quality reviews and articles on the world of movies, television and literature. Thanks to the help of our friends we have been able to push out content on a fairly regular basis. Please check it out!

A few days ago, “An Elusive Hero” was able to celebrate its first birthday! I want to thank all visitors who have read my posts so far.

This leads me to the announcement hinted at in the title: Thanks to the new project mentioned above and a wonderful new job in the world of online marketing, I’ve decided to narrow down the scope of this blog.

In the future, I’ll focus on my fiction writing here and hope to bring you new chapters of “An Elusive Hero” on a regular basis in the near future. For that, I’ll be relaunching this blog in the next few months including updating the design and functionality of it all. Stay tuned!

My normal commentary on pop culture and television will fully move to my YouTube Channel, where I hope to publish videos on a regular basis as summer and spring approaches.

I haven’t thought about the future of my posts on Switzerland and Zurich in depth yet. Either they’ll make an occasional appearance here or maybe I’ll outsource them completely to another platform.

As you can see, a lot of exciting changes and reboots are planned, so keep on visiting. And like I promised in the title, here is a delicious batch of cookies. (I also wanted to check out the new embed feature of getty images)

Embed from Getty Images

Hope to talk to you all soon!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope 2014 finds you in good health and good spirits and wish all of you the best of luck in the new year.

As for this blog, the new year bring new opportunities and new challenges. For that reason, some things are going to be changing on “An Elusive Hero”.

First of all, starting next week, I’ll be switching my posting dates to Tuesday and Thursday.

On Tuesdays, I will mostly post about Switzerland and anything of interest.

Thursdays will be reserved for my fiction writing and the continuation of my story, “An Elusive Hero”.

Changing the schedule from three times to two times a week gives me the chance to focus on writing longer and higher-quality texts. This year, I’m expecting to write more about interesting journeys within Switzerland and again have extensive coverage of the Zurich Film Festival and other high profile events in the country. As for “An Elusive Hero”, the story, this is the year I’ll hopefully be able to bring it to a fitting conclusion.

I really enjoyed making my last video and hope to publish vlogs on a regular basis in 2014. My vlog will focus on books, so my writing on that topic will probably decline. Please check out my YouTube channel and subscribe to stay updated!

Also, I’m working on a German language project with a friend, which is due to launch early this year. Even with a reduced schedule on my blog, I’ll be able to write and do something I love on various outlets throughout the Internet.

I want to thank everyone who read “An Elusive Hero” in 2013 again and hope to see you again in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

An Elusive Hero in 2013 (Recap)

As 2013 ends tomorrow, I’d like to wrap up the year with a short review of my posts this year.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has followed and read my posts since I started writing on “An Elusive Hero” in March. The feedback and support I’ve received has been invaluable for me to improve. Wednesday will look forward to the plans for 2014. But until then, let’s recap some of the most interesting posts from this year.

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A special kind of 4th of July party

My friend and I got back to Zurich from New York yesterday, which means we missed out on the 4th of July festivities in the US. But we managed to return in time for the Zürifäscht starting tonight. It also meant I got to celebrate a different kind of party at the English Bookshop by Orell Füssli.

I’ve loved bookshops since I was little, spending hours of my youth in Bern’s Stauffacher and Thalia as well in Frankfurt’s Hugendubel. Browsing in books, dvds and video games, they have been havens of relaxation for me. When I came to Zurich I quickly discovered the exclusively English Bookshop with its prime location on the Bahnhofstrasse. During my university years reading unfortunately took a back seat to other interests, but since the beginning of the year I’ve made reading at least three books a week a goal of mine. So naturally, I’ve been spending more and more time (and money) at the Bookshop.

Therefore, I was delighted to receive an invitation to a roaring twenties party at the Bookshop a few weeks ago. Fresh off seeing the visual sensation Great Gatsby, a party dedicated to the era of jazz seemed like a great idea. The discounts of 15% for regular customers and 20% for those who dressed up in 20% were another major draw of the evening.

It was a shame the 5% extra discount proved to be too little incentive for most men to bring their Gatsby style. It was left to the band and the employees to hold the banners of 20s style. On the other hand, the attending ladies put a lot more thought into their outfits then their male counterparts. Elegant dresses were seen on all levels with graceful headpieces being the accessory of the night. I can only tip my imaginary hat to all the fantastic get-ups seen yesterday.

The highlight of the evening however was the entertainment. Jill’s cocktail band playing tunes of the era and two skilled dancers providing the ambience for the party.  Watching them move and play I was able to feel like a time traveller. They made easy to imagine the Bookshop turned into a New York backdoor speak-easy with exquisite champagne, carefully curated food and delightful desserts.

I was able to talk to the young British couple Tom & Anna, who were stopping by Zurich on their Europe Interrail journey and came upon the shop by chance. The party and shop left them pleasantly surprised by the city and hopefully also Swiss culture. It’s these spontaneous events that make living in the city such a pleasant adventure.

Between talking to staff and enjoying the entertainment, I spent the rest of my evening browsing through my favorite sections and exploring the redesigned layout of the shop. The ground floor now features the sections probably least interesting to me at the moment: Fiction and Crime. The top level now includes all biographies and an extended young adult section with graphic novels and travel books now grouped on the lower level with fantasy, sci-fi and DVDs. Yesterday, I spent most of my time on the lower level thinking about buying the second season of Game of Thrones. However, I decided to opt for the Blu-Ray edition. The high-quality DVDs and books focused on Internet topics such as blogging are two of the gaps in the otherwise expansive selection at the Bookshop.

I ended up buying four books last night: The first one is Neil Gaiman’s “The ocean at the end of the lane” featured I’ve been looking forward to for a while (see my post on summer reading). To begin my science fiction education, I got “The Player of games” by the late Iain M. Banks. I also finally bought my own copy of the brilliant “A monster calls” to shore up my Patrick Ness collection. The last book is about Creative Writing, which will hopefully benefit the editing process of my story so far. Two graphic novels were on my list at the beginning of the evening, but unfortunately both of them were sold out.

The event yesterday took me on a journey to the twenties and provided me with books ready to take me on a journey to faraway worlds. It just shows that a venue that features books is always a portal into a different and magical world.

I do not work for the Bookshop or am in any way affiliated with Orell Füssli. I’m just a very happy customer and reader and would like more people to discover the store, especially as physical bookshops are under increased economic pressure. Over the years I’ve received many recommendations at the shop and so far I have yet to encounter a book I didn’t enjoy. So thank you to Schira, Rafael and Nick!

In another note, please also check out my new and updated “About me” page, the first step in the improvement to this website. So please subscribe, like and share! I’m back after the weekend highlighted by the Zürifäscht with a week full of more NYC and US-inspired posts.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

PS: I didn’t take my own pictures because, well, I’m a terrible photographer, but I’m sure some of the pictures will appear only at the Orell Füssli Website or Facebook page!

Six books for summer reading!

Summer’s here! Or so it should be. After showing a glimpse of its power on Monday, the sun has retreated back behind the safety of the clouds, leaving Switzerland longing for warmer days to come. But hope for sunnier days shouldn’t be abandoned. When summer finally arrives, one of finer pleasures of life is to take a book to your neighborhood park, the municipal swimming pool or the trendy café right down the road. And should the sun decide to skip town completely this year, holing up with a good book and cup of tea can at least take your mind to far-away places. My obsession of the week are the following reads I’d recommend to you for your summer reading!

I’ve made reading books a priority again since the beginning of the year, devouring them on my daily commute and on lazy days after going through a reading draught during my college days. I’d like to share some of the most interesting books I’ve read in the last months with you. Since I don’t work for a book shop or publisher, I don’t know which of the new releases will be great, so most of these stories have been on the market for a while. But that shouldn’t keep you from checking them out!

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness2013-05-29 19.26.45

The books I loved most this year were The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men, the three books forming the Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness. Set on “New World” in the distant future, it details the story of a boy and a girl trying to survive on a planet where no thought is a secret. Officially, it’s a young adult novel, but that shouldn’t deter you from picking it up as it is inventive, fast-paced and always unpredictable. Covering the journey of Todd and Viola from the little village they first meet to the biggest city of the New World, the two main characters find themselves fighting off enemies seemingly unbeatable. But together, they represent hope and the future of a damaged world. Mr Ness manages to incude an irrestible urge to find out if and how they will succeed. It is one of those books you can’t put down once you’ve started. Like when watching an addicting tv series, I found myself thinking “one more chapter” more than once. While many trilogies start out with their strongest effort, this one just seems to get better with every page.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

What happens when all goes wrong? This novel follows a year in the life at a small American college obsessed with baseball. The main protagonist is a young baseball prospect excelling at his sport and bringing glory to his college and his friends. Until one day, his confidence is shaken by his first mistake. The following downward spiral not only affects him, but also the whole cosmos on campus. Well-written and full of likeable characters, relationships take central stage in this book. Relationships between friends, father and daughter and of romantic nature are all explored at considerable depth, held together by the background of college life and baseball season.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is a book at the same time terribly sad and undeniably uplifting. The love story of teenagers Hazel and Augustus is full of tender moments, unexpected drama and never-ending hope. Their lives are complicated by the fact that both of them are battling or have battled cancer. While all the major characters are always aware of the fate that might await them, they are not deterred by this predicament. After meeting Augustus, Hazel learns to tackle life with youthful energy and renewed optimism. The story blends feelings of melancholy and episode of seriousness with the sweetness of love and passages of fantastic humor. It is a novel about life and making the best of the hand you’ve been dealt. I can say that it is probably the most inspiring piece of writing I’ve come across this year.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One tells the story of a future where in 2044 the real world has broken down due to wars and humanity flees into a virtual space called OASIS.  Wade Owens is one of many searching for a golden egg promising incredible wealth and fame. The prize however is hidden anywhere in the virtual world making the search comparable to looking for a needle in a haystack. Luckily, OASIS’ creator James Halliday left behind a riddle for the world to solve. As he adored the eighties, the riddle is filled with pop culture references from the decade I was lucky enough to be born in. Wade takes it upon him to solve the riddle, which proves to be the first of many challenges to overcome. While the modern and virtual world is imagined with a lot of care, it really is these inside jokes and easter eggs which breathe life into the book. A great read for everyone who (like me) has nerdy passions as movies, video games and 80’s music.

Extra: My personal summer reading list

2013-05-29 19.58.51

Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire

I’ve already read the books above, so what will I be reading this summer? At the moment I’m reading the second book of the “A Song ofIce and Fire” series by George R.R Martin (probably better known as Game of Thrones nowadays) and planning on starting to delve into the artistic world of graphic novels with the Sandman series. Continuing my quest of going through Neil Gaiman books, I’m also looking forward to his newest work coming out in two weeks “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. Non-fiction books on my to-read shelf include “The Signal and the Noise” by Nate Silver and the biography of Theodore Roosevelt written by Edmund Morris. As these books shouldn’t last me through summer, I’d be glad to hear your ideas and recommendations in the comments!

If you enjoy my writing, I’d be grateful if you share my blog with your friends or connect with me on Twitter! I’d love to hear feedback from you.

See you on Friday with chapter 5 of “An elusive hero”!

Sincerely yours,
Albert

Welcome.

Welcome to my blog “An elusive hero”.

A few weeks ago I posted the first chapter in the story “An elusive hero”. Thank you to everyone who has read the piece and given me valuable feedback on how to improve it. I’m editing “Chapter 2” at the moment as I am not very enthralled with the quality of my writing so far. I promise to have it ready by the end of the week (more on this below).

During he last six weeks I have thought long and hard about the direction I want to take this blog in. I’ve been in love with writing fiction since playing the RPG “Gothic” at the age of 13. But I am also interested in a wide array of things including but not limited to literature, film, gaming and travel. My appreciation for the creative minds behind books and movies knows no bounds. And the sight of the beauty of nature and architecture seldom fail to take my breath away.  That is why I decided to combine my interests to share them with you. The last few weeks have been used to come up with a strict writing schedule. Without further ado, these are the segments I will be posting from tomorrow on.

Monday: Mountains… and more

Every Monday I will write about the most beautiful or interesting places I’ve visited recently. At first, you’ll hopefully learn something about the beautiful country I live in – Switzerland. Most people think Switzerland is defined by cheese, chocolate, mountains and watches. All of which are present in extraordinary quality all over the country. But Switzerland also has a rich history of defying authority and fierce independence. And the alps are not the only beautiful spots around. I’d like show you the less obvious facets of Swiss culture and nature.

Wednesday: Obsession of the week

This blog is here to share my thoughts and interests with the world and to give myself an outlet for my writing. So on Wednesdays, you’ll  find a post about a skill, game, book, movie or random object I’m obsessing about. Feel free to agree or disagree with me. The first post will be online tomorrow.

Friday: An elusive hero

I didn’t start this blog with a welcome post, but with the first chapter of a story which I’ve wanted to write for years. Slowly but surely it is coming together. You can follow the footsteps of our young hero finding his path in the world unknown to him every Friday starting this week with chapter 2.

So these will be the regular segments of my blog “An elusive hero” and I hope you will continue to read. If you think this interests you, please subscribe! Publishing this strict schedule will help me be accountable for missing out on any of the deadlines. I’m very grateful for any feedback you have on my writing and topics, so please connect with me by e-mail or on twitter @AlbertGubler !

See you tomorrow and sincerely yours,

Albert