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Books: Then & Now

“A good book is the best of friends. The same today and forever” – Martin Tupper

I couldn’t agree more with this quote. However, there’s an important distinction Mr. Tupper would have failed to even be aware of during his life in 19th century England. While I agree that a good book remains the same today and forever, I think it would have been more accurate for Tupper to say plot or story. Because, as we’ve seen in the past few years, the book’s form and format is rapidly changing.

Today I decided to describe one particular way I’m learning to live outside the line. “According to the Association of American Publishers, 2009 e-book sales (in a year when plain old book sales ebbed 1.8 percent) increased 176.6 percent over 2008, to $169.5 million. E-sales rocketed to $117.8 million through April of this year, at an annual rate double 2009’s. Americans now own an estimated 2.8 million e-readers – not counting computers, still the most common kind. At fewer than 3 percent of all books sold, e-books are still a small corner of the publishing market. But such rapid growth suggests that a new age of reading has begun” (Timpane).

I can attest to this popularity, and I’m proud to be a member of the growing e-book community. Even if this does put me in a minority group that’s largely made up of “those older than 40” (Timpane). However, I can relate to the mass market’s trepidation. Originally, I was very hesitant to adopt the e-book format. My mom gave me a Barnes & Noble Nook as a Christmas gift last year.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive this gift. I hadn’t specifically asked for an e-reader, but as usual my Mom knew me better than I did. I think most of my hesitancy has to do with my aversion to change. But my mom pushed me outside of the lines and I’m grateful for that.

To aid in your understanding I’ve compiled a list of reasons I love my Nook followed by the reasons I will never completely convert to electronic reading only.

A step in the right direction…outside the line J

Reasons I’m a Book Progressive

1)      Lightweight and extremely portable. One of my favorite things about the Nook is the ease with which I can bring it with me. Whether I’m tossing it in my purse for a road trip home or bringing it along on an airplane ride, it saves me the unnecessary weight of lugging around a few books.

2)      I can download books I see in the online catalog and have them in seconds. As someone who is not very patient by nature, I really appreciate the very quick download speed.

3)      The Nook is a space saver. I have at least three full bookshelves overflowing with books dating back to infancy. As much as I love the visual reminder of my passion for reading, It’s difficult to continually find new places to put new books. The nook comes with 2GB, that’s enough for approximately 1500 eBooks. I can also get a very inexpensive microSD card with the potential to store up to 17,500!

4)      Money saved. As I’ve already mentioned, my Nook was a gift so I didn’t have to pay the $149 for it up-front. But even if I had(and  I encourage potential buyers to consider this) I am ultimately saving money because ebook downloads are significantly cheaper than the paper version. For example, new titles are normally priced between $18-$20 at a bookstore, while the ereader version will be between $10-$15.

Reason’s I’m a Book Traditionalist

1)      I will use and every excuse at my disposal to visit libraries and/or bookstores. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve lost track of hours simply wandering the shelves of books at the local library or bookstore. I love the sense of history and peace that comes from being surrounded by books. Growing up one of my favorite Disney movies was Beauty & The Beast. And without a doubt, my favorite scene was when the beast shows Belle the forbidden wing which contains the library.

I remember marveling at the humongous room with rows upon rows of beautiful books and large French windows to allow the perfect amount of sunlight for reading and thinking to myself, “Someday, I want a room just like that.”

2)      As much as I appreciate the sleekness and portability of my Nook, the sight, smell, and touch of a real book is impossible to replace. And sometimes I need original.

3)      I love tradition and I’m a big believer in keeping tradition alive. Whether that means making lefse (a Norwegian pastry passed down to me by mom) during the holidays, or kicking it old-school and reading a paperback version.

What I’ve come to realize is that I can have the best of both worlds. Using the Nook doesn’t negate the original book. I can enjoy both; or in other words, I can have my book and read it too!

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Pumpkin Cookies

I have always loved the holidays. I realize this is a lot like saying I love soft cuddly puppies but nonetheless I do J I think it has something to do with the element of family gathering and tradition. I love getting together with the people I love most and just eating, relaxing, and catching up. But mostly I love helping my mom, sister, grandma, and aunts with all of the cooking and baking. Not to mention the end result—all the delicious food on the table at Thanksgiving & Christmas.
But the real fun starts during Halloween.  It snuck up on me this year. Before I knew it the aisles of the grocery store were stocked with candy corn, mallow crème pumpkins, and bags upon bags of candy for trick-or-treaters. But what caught my eye at Target this past weekend was canned pumpkin. You know the kind I’m talking about…

 

 

 

The recipe itself was pretty straightforward. I’ve provided handy dandy pictures illustrating the steps. It’s mainly combining the dry ingredients with the wet. Then I formed the dough into tablespoon size balls and put on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (yay for easy clean-up!).

The cookies were then taken out of the oven and cooled on wire racks. Once the cookies cooled completely – I gave it about an hour – I whipped up the cream cheese frosting. Quick tip: I learned from my mom that one of the easiest ways to make cookies look fancier is by drizzling frosting with a piping bag. Don’t have a piping bag? No problem, neither do I! All you need is a Ziploc bag. Fill the bag with the frosting and then snip off a tiny corner and abra cadabra! A piping bag!

 

 

 

Overall, I was very pleased with these cookies. My apartment smelled beyond delicious for the remainder of the evening and the cookies had a pleasant pumpkin taste set off by the light drizzle of cream cheese frosting. Definitely worth a try, but let your taste buds be the judge. Give this recipe a try!

Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen blog

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:

  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  9. 1 cup white sugar
  10. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  11. 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  12. 1 egg
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  14. 4 oz. cream cheese
  15. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  16. 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture by hand until just combined. Drop on prepared baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls; Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in a bowl of sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about ¾ inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on wire rack. Once cookies have cooled completely, frost or drizzle with cream cheese frosting.
  4. While the cookies are cooling make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice and beat until smooth and creamy.

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

The above widely known musing of Shakespeare’s Juliet suggests that the names we ascribe to objects are often random. However, that doesn’t stop me from overanalyzing the importance and significance behind any given name.

Perhaps this stems from my education as a communication major. I believe that words have meaning and therefore a name holds importance. I’m almost ashamed to admit how much time I spent trying to think of a name for my blog. I wanted it to be short and sweet but also bold and interesting. So after a couple of hours of back and forth I finally decided.

Growing up one of my all-time favorite stories was Harold and the Purple Crayon. This classic book follows a young boy (Harold) who has the power to create a world of his own, simply by drawing it with (you guessed it) his trusty purple crayon. Harold wants to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there is no moon, so he draws one. He has nowhere to walk, so he draws a path. He has many adventures, but, in the end, he draws his own house and bed and goes to sleep.

It amazes me how stories that are written for children can hold so much relevance for adults. Harold taught me the value of self-reliance, acceptance, gratitude and the power of imagination. As a classic Type-A personality, I tend to see the world through a black and white frame. But in the past few months I’ve been learning the value of living life without a constant agenda and timeline.