Author: Vidovic Art

My Favorite Books of 2018 (So Far)

A man holding an open book
Posted: 10/19/2018 | October 19th, 2018

I’ve been terrible this year when it comes to books. I started off with a reading bang but writing my own book and planning TravelCon took up so much time this year that I must admit that I haven’t read a lot this year. By the end of the day, I just didn’t have the energy to process words. I used to read a book every week or so and, this year, it’s sometimes taken me months to get around to finishing one.

I broke a habit and now getting back into the flow again is proving tougher than I thought (though I am setting specific time in my day to read again so that’s good).

And that is why it’s been a long time since we had a “best travel books of the year” list. I’ve been asked for recommendations and I just haven’t had many to give. However, I finished a few books in the last couple of weeks, I finally feel I have enough suggestions to warrant a new post!

So here is a new post on my favorite books of 2018 (so far). There’s a lot of non-travel books in this list as I’m trying to expand my reading genres!

Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune by Frank HerbertI love the cheesy Sci-Fi channel movies based on this book and finally decided to pick up this massive 800 page tome. The story centers around Paul Atreides and the desert planet Arrakis, one of the most important planets in the cosmos because it produces the “spice”. I couldn’t put this book down. It had character depth, intrigue, action mixed in with philosophy and what it means to have power and lead a good life. I was hooked from the start.

Souvenir (Object Lessons), by Rolf Potts

Souvenir by Rolf Potts From the author of the backpacking bible Vagabonding, this new book by Rolf Potts explores the hidden lives of ordinary things. Potts goes back several millennia to examine the relic-driven journeys of Christians to the gimmicky souvenirs you’ll find at any shop in any tourist destination. It’s a small, easy read that is a great treatise on why we buy the things we do when we travel.

Conspiracy, by Ryan Holiday

Conspiracy by Ryan HolidayThis is a real life story of how Gawker outed PayPal founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel as gay and how, seeking revenge, Thiel helped fund the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that, in the end, brought down the Gawker empire. Featuring interviews with all the key players, this book is a fascinating and sometimes scary read about how one man can bring down an empire, ego, and the nature of conspiracies.

Tip of the Iceberg, by Mark Adams

Tip of the Iceberg by Mark Adams Back in 1899, Edward H. Harriman (a rich railroad magnate) converted a steamship into a luxury cruise for some of America’s best scientists and writers and embarked on a summer voyage around Alaska. Now, author Mark Adams retraces that expedition, traveling over 3,000 miles across the coast of the state. Mark is one of my favorite wraiters and this book is very reiminsicent of Turn Right at Machu Picchu. Mark brings insight into the people, history, and culture of the state in a way he did with his other book.

The Black Penguin, by Andrew Evans

Black Penguin by Andrew EvansAndrew Evans’ life was laid out for him: church, mission, university, marriage, and children. But as a gay kid stuck in rural Ohio, he escaped to the pages of Nat Geo (which he now works for). After being shunned by his family, Evans set out on an overland journey halfway around the world. This is the story about his 12,000-mile journey through deserts, mountains, and jungles until he eventually reaches his ultimate goal: Antarctica. This is a really beautiful read that touches on faith, family, and self.

Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear Not travel related, but Atomic Habits gives you a solid framework for improving yourself every single day. In this book, Clear discusses habit formation and reveals strategies that will teach you how to form new good habits will breaking the bad ones. As he says: “If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system.” James is an amazing writer and person and I was super excited to get my hands on his book when it came out!

The Fish That Ate the Whale, by Rich Cohen

The Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich CohenThis is the true story of Samuel Zemurray, a self-made banana seller who went from a roadside banana peddler to kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary. When Zemurray showed up in America in 1891, he was penniless. By the time he died 69 years later, he was one of the richest men in the world. It’s a fascinating story of the kind of Gilded Age capitalism that doesn’t exist anymore (for good reason) and will give you a new look at the whole sordid nature of the banana industry.

Why the Dutch are Different, by Ben Coates

Why the Dutch are Different by Ben CoatesBen Coates got stranded at Schipol airport, where he called a Dutch girl he’d met a few months earlier, and ask if he could stay over the night. He never left. Fascinated by his adopted home, this book is a travel book wrapped in a history book wrapped in a memoir. It is a look at modern Dutch culture and society as well as how it got that way and what the future holds for the country. It’s one of the better books on The Netherlands I’ve read!

Rediscovering Travel, by Seth Kugel

Rediscovering Travel by Seth KugelFormer New York Times’s Frugal Traveler columnist Seth Kugel is one of the world’s best travel writers. In this book, Kugel challenges the lack of spontaneity in adventure in today’s world because of all the websites (like this) that exist out there to allow people to plan everything to a T instead of letting travel just happen. It’s a collection of amusing stories designed to inspire you to be a little less shackled to technology on your next trip! I got to read it before it came out. It’s good. Pre-order it!

The Dutch Wife, by Ellen Keith

The Dutch Wife by Ellen KeithSet in Amsterdam in 1943, Marijke de Graaf is sent to a concentration camp in Germany with her husband where she faces a choice: death, or join the camp’s brothel. It is there she encounters SS officer Karl Müller. Keith’s ability to seamlessly combine different timelines and narratives as well paint the tough emotions that come from tough choices is superb (and why this book topped the Canada best seller lists when it came out!).

Blackout, by Sarah Hepola

Blackout by Sarah HepolaEver blacked out so hard from drinking that you forgot hours of your evening? This was Sarah Hepola’s life, during a time where she spent most evenings at fancy parties and dark bars until last call. This self-reflective and poigant book about the causes of her alcoholism, the effect it had on her life, the lives of her friends, and Hepola’s rediscovery of herself is a touching book that will make you think about the negative habits in your life – and how you might be able to break them.


So there you are! Those are my favorite books of the year so far. I know there are a few months left to go before the year is over. But, for now, enjoy these good reads. I’m hoping to go on vacation later this month with a pile of books so leave your suggestions in the comments as I’m always looking for a good travel book!

For more of my favorite books, check out these other posts:

The post My Favorite Books of 2018 (So Far) appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Chain Reaction: An International Print and Illustration Show of Bicycle-Inspired Art

As part of a unique collaboration with the Design Museum of Chicago, Colossal asked some of our favorite poster makers, illustrators, designers, and artists from around the world to make prints featuring bicycles. The international exhibition is in conjunction with the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Keep Moving: Designing Chicago’s Bicycle Culture.

Participating artists include Arna Miller (previously), Janice ChangAlex Senna (previously), Ovadia Benishu, Lisa Congdon, Fran Labuschagne, Jay Ryan, Eleni Debo, Mara PiccioneBrent Couchman, Mart Aire (previously), Daniel Jamie Williams, Vance Lump, Lydia Fu, JW and Melissa Buchanan, and Rafael Esquer (previously).

Prints will be available for purchase online in the Colossal Shop and at Design Museum Chicago’s Block 37 location, starting November 16, 2018. A portion of all proceeds will benefit Blackstone Bicycle Works, a local community bike shop and youth education program. If you’re in Chicago, join us for a free, all-ages opening party from 6 to 8pm on Friday, November 16th! Keep an eye on our event page and RSVP via Facebook for details.

Video Game Designers Show the Carefully Orchestrated Movements That Bring Their Stop Motion Characters to Life

Vokabulantis is an episodic video game by author Morten Søndergaard, animator Johan Oettinger, and puppet animation studio Wired Fly. The team used stop motion to animate the two main characters—Kurt and Karla—which the player leads through a series of language-based puzzles. The intention of the interactive universe it to bring a tangibility to language, creating a space where users can interact with its form rather than merely read through static text on a screen.

The single player game is a mix between a point and click adventure and a puzzle-based platform, which allows the user to explore worlds while they complete brain teasers or tasks with the two main characters. The game was initially developed for PC, but may be adapted for console-based platforms or handheld devices down the line when it is released in 2019. You can follow updates regarding the release of the Kong Orange-produced game on Vokabulantis’s website, and take a look behind the making of the stop-motion game in the video below.

Vokabulantis's characters Kurt and Karla

Vokabulantis’s characters Kurt and Karla

Spooky X-Rays Reveal the Bone Structures of Oregon Zoo Residents

As a seasonally appropriate topic for Halloween, the Oregon Zoo is posting a few of their favorite animal X-rays taken during routine health exams. Included in the mix is a branch-dwelling chameleon, open-beaked toucan, and a bat that appears to be caught mid-flight. The scans are a normal part of the check-ups at the zoo, and are used by animal experts as a helpful diagnostic tool to minimize anesthesia and provide faster results. You can follow more of the zoo’s spooky posts on Twitter.


A Student Lost in the Easy Freedom of Youth Depicted in a Cross-Stitch Mural by Aheneah

Ana Martins, who works as Aheneah, recently reflected on the relaxed freedom of youth and captured that feeling in a cross-stitched intervention on a wall in Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal. The work is along a popular route to a local school, and is comprised of over 2,300 screws and nearly 760 yards of yarn.

The 22-year-old artist isn’t far from the experience of transitioning from student to adult. Martins shares with Colossal, “Every day, for many years, thousands of kids pass by this wall while going from home to school and from school to home. Most of the time just floating in their thoughts, lost in space, time and routine. Until their paths have to change directions. This happened to me a few years ago.”

She graduated in 2017 with a degree in graphic design, and in her professional work explores the connections between digital and analogue mediums, seeking to  “deconstruct, decontextualize and transform a traditional technique into a modern graphic, connecting cultures and generations.” You can see more from Martins on Instagram and Facebook.

An Undulating Brick Facade Imitates the Free-Flowing Movement of Draped Fabric

German architecture firm Behet Bondzio Lin Architekten recently constructed a new headquarters for the Association of the Northwest German Textile and Garment Industry in Münster, Germany. The firm wanted the building to allude to the association’s work with fabric, and designed a facade that would imitate its folds through a gradient of bricks oriented at different angles.

The decision to recreate the appearance of a soft textile from a firm material was inspired by the alabaster folds of Max Klinger's statue of Beethoven located at the Leipzig Art Museum. The carved composer sits shirtless on an armchair with what appears to be a piece of fabric draped over his knee. The fluid nature of the sculpture’s scarf is believable, despite its composition of solid stone. A similar experience is shared by the new headquarters, however created from bricks rather than rock. You can see more of the Behet Bondzio Lin’s designs on their website. (via Jeroen Apers)

Delicate Flowers and Interlocking Tessellations Carved into Fruits and Vegetables by Takehiro Kishimoto

Japanese chef and skilled food carver Takehiro Kishimoto (previously) explores the traditional art of produce design on his captivating Instagram account. Here he posts cucumbers, radishes, and avocados that have been transformed into detailed patterns and skillfully rendered motifs, in addition to kiwis and carrots that blossom into ornate flowers. His most impressive designs might be his interactive apple and watermelon works which he carves to expand like lanterns when pulled from the top.

The popular food artist is from Kobe, Japan, and has only been carving for the last three or so years. Many of his designs are based on traditional Japanese patterns, yet combine inspirations from both Thai fruit carving and the Japanese art of decorative garnishing, or Mukimono. Take a look at some of his more intricate work in the videos below.


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