31 January 2010


And because it's the weekend for a few more hours...

Photo and recipe via Heidi of 101 Cookbooks.

30 January 2010

Four Eyes!

Since it's Saturday and since I boarded a bus this morning and am currently sprawled out on a bud's couch in the heart of DC prepping for this evening, I'm going to put any serious book talk on the back burner. Instead I leave you with this piece of wonderful.
(via Guardian)

This bespectacled reader wishes you a very happy weekend!

((Photo via))

28 January 2010

Hey, Babycakes (Kitchen Projects 3&4)

On Saturday I'm off to DC to attend a "Too Young to Feel Old" party. The plan is to have an old school sleepover and I'm sure it will be a fete for the record books. I tend to shy away from baking cupcakes unless I have an event to bring them to because, well let's face it, no one really wants cupcakes lying around the house just waiting to be eaten. Lucky me, because this event is practically begging for cupcakes.

Keeping in theme with "old school," I chose strawberry jam-filled cakes topped peanut butter icing and cookies & cream cupcakes frosted with creamy, oreo icing.

Recipes: PB&J (via BGSK) and Cookies & Cream (via How to Eat a Cupcake)

27 January 2010


In a few short minutes I will be heading out the door to a nanny job--separated from my beloved Internet until 11pm this evening.  Before I leave, I would simply like to acknowledge that it's T[ablet]-day and not a day I want to miss.  Check out this lovely tidbit in which Kate of The New Sleekness applies the 5 stages of grief to the Apple Tablet.

"For those not familiar, the 5 stages of grief are the typical steps one goes through when dealing with a stressful event. Usually it’s applied to grief over the death of a loved one. I argue that it can be applied to the birth of the Apple Tablet.
  1. Denial: “Pfft. It’s just an iPhone on steroids. How could you possibly want to read on that thing? No one reads on an iPhone anyway.”
  2. Anger: “What the hell are these secret ‘big six’ meetings about?! Why isn’t Apple meeting with us?! And now, waitaminute, Amazon has APPS TOO?”
  3. Bargaining: “Ok – we’ll wait for the announcement. We’ll see how many people buy it. Maybe Pogue’s review will help us make a decision.”
  4. Depression: ::Sigh:: “What’s the point of it all? Can’t we just keep doing what we’ve always done? This whole digital thing is confusing.”
  5. Acceptance: “Ok. The announcement came through. Let’s grab one for the company, tinker around with it for a bit and keep an eye on the reviews. Our eBook vendor apps are probably going to be available on the Tablet, so let’s give them a buzz and confirm they’re going to work with Apple on making our books available. There might be some money here…”
For extra reading see below:
Pssssst: Tune in at 12:30 for a livestream show hosted by Crunch Gear's John Biggs and NonSociety's Meghan Asha

26 January 2010

The Digital News Pile

I awoke this morning to a nanny cancellation. For those outside of the childcare industry (read: all of you) this means Child X came down with a contagious something or other and any and all who wish to remain in good health should stay far, far away. Poof! 4 free hours I hadn't planned on having. Lovely.

Considering that today is day 1 of the first annual Digital Book World conference (#DBW) I spent my morning sorting through a bevy of digital news. Below are my favorite news bites from the last few days.

A little glam for your bookshelf and a little afternoon cheer for your Tuesday

Look! Design*Sponge featured a round up of fantastic book ends--all under $100.
Click here for the article (including purchase information).

Kitchen Project #2: Popovers with strawberry butter

Popovers with Strawberry Butter
Inspiration via: Cupcakes & Cashmere

Behold! How I occupy my worried mind.You see, late night baking is my vice. The kitchen seems like a much calmer place after 10PM. Many an evening I've found myself inching toward the kitchen well after bedtime, unable to rest, too much on my mind, intent on producing something caloric and good. Last night was no different.

25 January 2010

Writing for Kiddos vs. Writing for Grown-ups: the experts weigh in

Like many of my fellow Gen-Yers I've filled many a quotation book with interesting bits and pieces. Blame in on our abysmal attention span. Blame it our need to find purpose in each and every sentence we read. Regardless of the root, as a generation we like our insight like we like our Starbucks order--delivered in 5 minutes or less. That being said I was beyond thrilled when I found these gems at the end of the most recent post from Collecting Children's Books.

The question posed: Is there a difference between writing for children and writing for adults?

Essentially, though, when I am writing for children, I feel a certain responsibility toward them and the kinds of stories I find myself wanting to tell them likely reflect that. When I’m writing for adults, the characters are old and seem to curse a lot. - Gabrielle Zenvin 

I love writing for kids because I'm a person with an agenda usually. I should've been a preacher. I usually have something on my mind that I want to talk to people about, change their mind about and writing for kids, you still have that opportunity. You don't have much opportunity when you write for adults of changing their minds. - M.E. Kerr

I guess one thing that is handy about writing for children is that books tend to be shorter, so I've written a large number of books in a short amount of time, and that's good training. - Lemony Snicket

Writing for children brings you down to basics.- Kevin Brooks

I don't really believe that writing for children is very different from writing for adults. What makes good children's books is putting the same care and effort into them as I would if I were writing for adults. I don’t write anything—put anything in my books that I'd be embarrassed to put in an adult book. - Louis Sachar

Happy Monday afternoon!

24 January 2010

Kitchen Project #1: Sunday granola

Generally speaking, I believe Sunday is the best day to make granola. Not only will the end result provide breakfast and snackage for the week(s) to come, the warm, sweet cinnamon notes always allow even the most stressed of job seekers to forget that Monday is looming on the horizon.

Tonight I stirred together a combination of several recipes. SK's pepita granola, Steph Chow's pumpkin ginger granola, and little bits from Mama Doctor's recipe (mother to the one Jill Doctor, former roommate extraordinaire).

Here is my take on an age old snack.

1.) Mix the dry.
In this case: oats, cinnamon, allspice,
cloves, ginger, nutmeg, almonds, and brown sugar.

2.) Add the wet.
In this case: honey, canola oil
a smidgen of maple syrup and a vanilla

3.) Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Chop up fruit while the oat mixture works.
In this case: figs (look at how beautiful they are!),
apricots, and raisins.

4.) Mix in the fruit. Bake for 10 more minutes.
Allow to cool on a rack for 40 min-1 hour.
Grab a book and leave the room. If not you'll
eat the entire batch in one sitting. I might
be speaking from experience.

Additional ideas:
* Other fruit: dates, dried blueberries, strawberries, etc...
*Other nuts/seeds: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews
*Add orange juice in with the wet and chocolate chunks at the end.

Happy Sunday to one and all!

Weekend = Pancakes

Photo and recipe from Deb's Smitten Kitchen

23 January 2010


I may be late to the party but at least I showed up...
The Book Seer.com...where have you ben all my life?

It's simple and simply perfect.
You enter what you read last and the book seer tells you what to read next.

14 days!

It's been 14 days since I've stopped in to say hello. Two weeks! A fortnight! Sort of ridiculous if you really think about it. What have I been up to? Hm, I think I'll employ a bullet point summary:

  • Cruise: I jumped on a ship and twirled around the Caribbean. It was just as wonderful as it sounds. I read and slept and took full advantage of the 24-hour soft serve.
  • Work: This week I logged 32 nanny hours and 13 hours with my other odd jobs. Conclusion: Max for President by Jarrett Krosoczka (Knopf Books for Young Readers 2004) is pretty great. 4 hours of sleep a night? Not so much. 
  • Illness: A byproduct of nannying is that I am constantly sort of under the weather. I am currently suffering from what may or may not be an ear infection/throat thing/ something resembling the black death. 
  • Reading: I returned home to find an inbox in the 100s and Google Reader that left the 1,000 mark around two Tuesdays ago. Well, this morning I plopped down with a pot of coffee and sifted through all of my articles. No, I did not read all 3,238 of them, but I am nothing if not a grade-A skimmer (hat tip, liberal arts education). 
Since I've been gone for 14 days, here are my favorite 14 articles (from the last 14 days):
  1. The coolest way to read undercover. Sa-weet book jackets. (via Book Bench)
  2. "30 PR Experts You Should Follow on Twitter" (via E.Releases)
  3. "Gen Y, Stop Doubting Yourself and Start Taking Action" (via AdAge by Adrienne Waldo, one of my favorite marketing bloggers)
  4. "Meeting Blog Friends" (via MarianLibrarian) I had an abso-effing-lutely lovely meet and tea with Marian. So great!
  5. "How Writers and Publishers Can Use Formspring.me" (via GalleyCat) Personally, I've found this tool to be annoying but I do recognize the potential. 
  6. "Where Digital Marketing is Heading in 2010: Part 1" (via AdAge)
  7. "Where Digital Marketing is Heading in 2010: Part 2" (via AdAge)
  8. "Top 10 Librarian Blogs to read in 2010" (via LISNews via Fuse #8)
  9. "Top 10 Publishers of 2009" (via Michael Hyatt) 
  10. "Best Picture Books of the Last 10 Years" (via Omnivoracious) 
  11. "Publishers: boost your viral marketing with digital galleys" (via Follow the Reader)
  12. Stuff Hipsters Hate scores a book deal and the blogger's agent Jason Ashlock explains why this blog-to-book might be different. (via GalleyCat)
  13. "Werner Herzog Reads Curious George" (via eBookNewser) Hi-larious. "Don't get into trouble said ze man."
  14. A new to-read that I wasn't expecting: "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right" by Atul Gawande (Reviews: NYT, New Yorker, NPR)
Alright, I'm off to more coffee and a stab at my e-mail inbox. This evening I'll be spending time with a sweet 9-month-old and a Curious George-loving 3.5-year-old. I know, I know, please try to contain your jealousy. 

09 January 2010

Oh, and because it's the weekend:

And the weekend means pancakes. 

Photo and recipe by Joy the Baker
For additional joy, check out her pancake section

Vacation Reading:

I am heading out of the country for 5 long, wonderful, and hopefully sunshine-filled days. A stop in Mexico! A stop in Belize! I'm taking my very first cruise.

Almost immediately after booking our tickets my thoughts turned to reading materials. "What will I read" I pondered, probably aloud. Well, turns out that thought was fleeting because my mind wandered over the next few weeks to Christmas and job searching and general, everyday life bites. Last night I found myself in a panic with two days to go and not a reading list in sight. Well, 30 minutes later and I've got a book bag packed. Thank you public library! Thank you Conde Nast!

Clockwise, from the upper-left-hand corner:

  1. The Sweet Potato Queens' Books of Love by Jill Connor Browne (Three Rivers Press 1999): This was a hilarious and perfect Christmas present from my friend B. For months she would say "Have you read the Sweet Potato Queens books yet?" When I answered with a sheepish "no," she would exclaim, "Well you should. I think if you wrote a book it would sound like these do." I'm a hundred pages in and not entirely sure how to interpret her comment. I will say that these books are funny from page 1--give them a go.
  2. The Maples Stories by John Updike (Everyman's Library, 2009): I read "Snowing in Greenwich Village" on a bus ride from Granada to Valencia. After Valencia the bus made two more stops before ending up in Madrid. Fittingly, I read the story two more times as well. Hopefully I'll finish learning about the Maples before I dock in Miami next Saturday.
  3.  The Book of Other People edited by Zadie Smith (Penguin, 2008): Zadie Smith, Nick Hornby, David Mitchell, Dave Eggers and Aleksandar Hemon...that's why. 
  4. This week's New Yorker
  5. W Magazine: Fun fact alert. When I was younger I thought W Magazine was only sold in airports.  I suppose it's because my bookshops didn't have magazine sections and the newspaper stands of suburban Illinois did not seem to want for the pages of W. For this reason I began to think of the oversized leaflet as special. Reserved for those with places to be and planes to catch. I think that's why I pick one up almost every time I'm in an airport. It's all about the cheap thrills. 
Cross you fingers to keep away the rain clouds!

PS: Book jacket photos from Barnesandnoble.com; Magazine photos from newyorker.com and wmagazine.com. Thanks!

04 January 2010

Wait, Wait! Did I tell you about?

Just like the rest of you, I am looking ahead, hoping for a bright and shiny tomorrow. But just for a sec, would you hold off the resolutions and forward thinking? This wonderful list slipped through my attention last week and I would really like to share it with you.

Click on the linked title to see Ms. Lamy's descriptions.

Nicole Lamy's "10 unforgettable books of the decade"

“White Teeth’’ by Zadie Smith

“Interpreter of Maladies’’ by Jhumpa Lahiri 

“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’’ by Dave Eggers 

“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’’ by Michael Chabon 

“A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide’’ by Samantha Power 

“My Name Is Red’’ by Orhan Pamuk, Translated by Erdag Goknar 

“The Known World’’ by Edward P. Jones 

“Gilead’’ by Marilynne Robinson 

“The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals’’ by Michael Pollan 

“2666’’ by Roberto Bolano, Translated by Natasha Wimmer 

Okay, phew. Thank you for letting me get that out of my system. 

03 January 2010

On Change:

"This is the decade when book publishing will (finally) be transformed from a business that chops down trees and puts returnable books into bookstores... into one that finds ideas, funds the writers that need it, and uses their (authors' and publishers') leverage and skills to promote those ideas to people willing to pay for them, in whatever format is the most efficient way to get that transaction to occur. 
If that doesn't happen, and the industry (led by reactionary old-school CEOs) persists in defining itself as being in the book business, it will be 15% the size it is today by the end of the decade. It's our choice." 
- Seth Godin What Changes Will We See in Book Publishing in the Next 10 Years?
(via GalleyCat)

PS: I thought this might be a nice way to ring in a brand new decade of reading.
PPS: Here here, Mr. Godin!

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