Author Archives: Amanda K

About Amanda K

Amanda K holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies. She's a housewife, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a sewist, and an aspiring gourmet home cook.

Two Years and Counting!!

As my lovely colleague Marissa reminded me, today is the two year anniversary of the very first Do Nothing But Read Day. I spent a very snowy December 20, 2009, curled up in an easy chair, reading young adult fiction. This past summer’s DNBRD, I lounged outside on my porch, reading some Gary Shteyngart. We’re taking a little DNBRD break this holiday season, but don’t fear! I’m planning for a springtime DNBRD, which will be perfect for breaking in hammocks and picnic blankets everywhere.

 

How have you spent past DNBRDs? Are you having your own DNBRD anytime soon? Let us know! And sincerely, from the bottom of our book-loving, library-obsessed hearts, thank you for reading.

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Recipes: Gingerbread

There is nothing that smells more like the holiday season than gingerbread. Throw in some pine, and you’ve got Instant Yuletide!

I’m bringing some gingerbread to Thanksgiving this year. While I was adding copious amounts of molasses to copious amounts of butter, I thought, “This would be awesome with a cup of tea and a book.” And here we are.

Holiday joy in physical form

Note: I couldn’t find a 9×9 pan at my local store, so I used two smaller pans (7 7/8 x 7 7/8) and increased this recipe by half. It worked out pretty well!

Click through for the recipe!

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So far, a thoughtful read

You guys know that I love Stephen King, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I started reading his newest novel, 11/22/63. Yes, it’s daunting at 848 pages, but so far, I adore it.

The pacing is lovely; I’m on page 168 and I still really have no idea what’s going to happen, but I can see a framework being built. The characterization is fantastic. The main character, Jake, is an English teacher from Maine (as are many of King’s characters over the years; write what you know). Jake is still getting over a divorce, but he doesn’t seem bitter or mean. He’s more refined than many of King’s characters, and I don’t see any skeletons in his closet (yet? At all?). That’s sort of nice. While Jake’s character is a big part of the plot, because he has to make a lot of difficult decisions, the plot itself is absolutely fascinating.

It’s that age-old question: what if you could go back in time and prevent something terrible from happening? In this case, it’s the assassination of JFK. Imagine all the implications of JFK finishing that tour of Dallas unscathed. There are probably things in your own life that would be different. Maybe you would have been born 15 years earlier, maybe you would have never been born at all. It’s the butterfly effect with a gigantic butterfly. It’s especially powerful because these are events that really happened; we’ve all seen the Zapruder film.

Since this novel takes place in Maine (at least partly), expect some major integration of familiar names, places, and even plot from King’s previous novels. I love that he does that. Everything feels richer and more real.

I’ll tell you my final impressions of the book when I finish it! Happy reading!


In praise of a good cafe

If you are like me, which you might be, you enjoy reading while drinking warm things and munching on baked goods. Coffee shops and cafes are my favorite places to read when the weather gets bleary and my lovely porch is no longer that cozy. My new place to read these days is the Coffee Gallerie in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a half block from my apartment and their drinks are delicious. The chairs are pretty comfy, and there’s even a fireplace!

Today I’m reading Skeleton Crew by, who else, Stephen King. (It is Halloween, after all!) What’s on your Halloween reading agenda? Where do you like to read outside of the house?

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Geek Out: Baking

Editor’s Note: I know this is a site about doing nothing but reading, but let’s be honest: we fill our time with lots of other activities! This is a new feature, Geek Out, in which Marissa and I will tell you about the other things in our lives that we love.

I am mildly obsessed with baking cookies, cakes, pies, etc. Not that I actually do all of that, really, but I think I’m obsessed with the idea.

My boyfriend is in graduate school for his MBA, so he’s a really busy guy to say the least. To make him feel like he’s at home when he’s learning about dividends or whatever, I’ve been trying to bake little treats for him to take to school. The bonus is that I also get to eat them.

Baking not only makes me feel useful, but it’s sort of like magic. (Or as my favorite webcomic says, “Baking is science for hungry people!”) You can’t mess around with baked goods as much as you can with cooking. If you’re making a chicken dish, and oops, there’s not enough cream of mushroom soup, you can find something to replace it. In baking, substitutions sound more like chemistry equations.

My house smells amazing right now because I just made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate chips. I used the recipe on the Quaker Oats canister, but substituted (don’t worry, it’s one of those easy ones) some delicious chocolate for the evil raisins. I also used less sugar, because a cup and a half (3/4 brown, 1/2 white) seemed like a lot. They are amazing. I’m going to keep them in my adorable monkey cookie jar, and add them to his bagged lunches!

Question for you!

What’s your favorite cookie recipe?


Speak Out with Your Geek Out!

It’s Speak Out with Your Geek Out week! This event is an effort to make being a geek more acceptable, and to end bullying surrounding geek stuff. Geeks can be positive role models, so this week, a lot of bloggers are “coming out” with their geekiness.

I’ve been a reader and a book nerd since I was 2, and I used to get made fun of a lot. Spending my time reading a book during lunch was, apparently, not the cool thing to do. Now that I’m an adult, I’m the kind of adult who goes to comic book conventions, reads horror novels, and plays video games. Geeking out is about doing what you love, and not really caring what people think about it.

Question for you, Dear Reader:

What do you “geek out” about? What’s your nerdy passion?


Harry Potter, re-read

I love the Harry Potter books. I have a long relationship with them, spanning middle school, high school, college, grad school, and beyond.

The last time I read the series all the way through was when Book 7 came out, in 2007. This summer, I decided to re-read all of the books, straight through. It was glorious.

It took about three weeks to get through Books 1-7, and it would have taken less time if I hadn’t had a busy schedule during August. (Side note: I’m unemployed (boo!), so I have lots of free time for reading.) I had some days where I didn’t read anything, and one day where I finished the second book, read the entire third book, and started the fourth book.

Verdict: this series really holds up. Really. The seventh book, which I read in one day the first time around, is fantastic. Everything comes together so nicely! Reading the series from start to finish makes all those little connections so much more interesting. The characters age realistically, and, going along with that, readers who start out with the first book at age 11 will be mature enough to read the seventh book when they get to it, probably.

If you haven’t read the Harry Potter books in a while, add them to your reading list! Every library everywhere should have them, and if they don’t, they are silly.

Question for you, dear readers!

What’s your favorite series?