Thrift shopping is something of a family tradition. My mom always took us to the local thrift before taking us to the mall at the beginning of each school year - I hated it as a child but now I appreciate it so much. This long-time tradition has made me a pseudo expert on finding awesome stuff at the thrift store. Like, fun fact: did you know that Target donates all its un-purchased clearance to Goodwill?
However, as much as I like a deeply discounted Target find, it’s actually vintage books that I’ve become more recently obsessed with. Most Goodwills sell hardcovers for about $2.99 and most other thrift stores will go even lower than that. And while you may expect to find a million copies of Chicken Soup for some such soul (and indeed, you will likely find at least 100 per store) - you are also likely to find some serious gems if you know how to look.
Those three right there? A 1970s National Geographic book on planetary lifeforms (left), a book on the real lives of Gypsies from the 1980s (center) and a Random House picture book on Astronomy from the 1970s (right). Found all of them in ONE stop. Here’s how I did it:
1. Peel back those dust covers: Oftentimes dust covers are pretty elaborate and focused on trends, because it’s cheaper to print on paper than on the actual book binding. There can be some seriously brilliant stuff behind those covers. There was possibly the ugliest illustration of the sun I have ever seen on the cover of that Astronomy book. That got tossed in the trash heap and its amazing binding is now on display.
2. Look behind the neatly organized rows: The thing about a lot of thrift stores is that they are wickedly disorganized. Don’t fret - this is to your advantage. Books are a popular donation item because they are heavy and take up a lot of space, so what most thrift stores do is they create deep rows of books per shelf. Behind the first row there is usually another row or just a general heap of books. That’s your treasure zone.
3. Don’t be afraid of a stink: Unless you can SEE the damage, whether that be water or dust or dirt, don’t put something down because it has a bit of a smell. My foolproof way for getting rid of a strange smell in books? Putting dryer sheets between the covers and between every 40 to 50 pages. Close it up and leave it be for a few weeks and then remove the dryer sheets. So simple.
4. Make the reference section your friend: A common organizational method at thrift stores and used book stores is: fiction, non-fiction, reference. Why? Because Encyclopedias were a ridiculously common gift pre-internet and now every widow, divorcee and retired librarian is donating those hulking books. However, often times a lot of other great hardcover books that are about that same size get thrown into that mix. It’s because they either don’t seem to have a logical location OR they have a binding that looks suspiciously like a reference book.
5. The children’s book section is full of awesome: Ok, so this is a weird one, but it’s a fact I’ve found to be true over and over again. A lot of illustration books are thrown into the children’s section because: no words = for kids, I guess. At least that has been a consistent theme in my experience. Photo books usually don’t end up here, but if you like illustrated books or compilation books with lots of random artist’s illustrations - then you are likely to find them here.
Good luck finding your new book porn. Before I let you go shopping though, here’s a fact about these books: I actually do buy books I am interested in - not just because they have a rad cover - although it can be tempting. But I also see books as art, which is why I probably will never read every page of these books. Some people may find this wasteful. I think it’s smart. So find something you like, buy it, page through it and then find it a great spot in your home. It’s like any coffee table book - it’s for conversation and appreciation.
Thursday seems like a perfect day for a giveaway. And while many of you are headed back to class, I always find that autumn is the perfect time to pick up a new book. Or how about 12 books in the case of this giveaway?
If you like emotional thrillers, than you are probably no stranger to Ellen Hopkins’ books. Since the release of her New York Times Bestseller Crank 10 years ago, Ellen Hopkins has continued to write powerful verse fiction that has been impacting readers for the last decade. And Rumble promises to be just as amazing.
Here’s what you’ll WIN:
A copy of Rumble PLUS the back-catalog of Ellen Hopkins books, including:
*The fine print: Giveaway only open to US readers. All prizing is provided by Simon & Schuster and Being Geek Chic. The total value of the prize is $75 plus shipping and handling. The giveaway also includes the cost of shipping to one address in the continental United States. Please follow the rules and be kind to one another.
Here’s hoping “The Fault in Our Stars” is the start of a new class of YA book film adaptations.
I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of TFIOS this week and I can definitely say it is one of the few film adaptations I’ve seen recently that is easily as good as the book, if not better.
Taking popular children and teen books and bringing them to the big screen is, well, a big business. YA film franchises have the power to launch the careers of their lead actors — whether the films are successful or not. And of course, they’ve all discovered that the rabid fanbases will wait with bated breath — even through splitting “final” books into multiple films.
So, I went into TFIOS with two things concerning me: (note, spoilers from here on out,friends!)
First, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort recently played opposite each other in another YA book film adaptation: Divergent. Only, in the dystopian future they played brother and sister — and there are at least 2 more sequels still to come.
Second, Ansel Elgort (having only ever seen him in Divergent) really was not “my” Gus when I had been reading.
Neither turned out to be an issue. In fact, it will probably be stranger now to go see the next Divergent film — all I’ll see is Hazel and Augustus.
What I loved about TFIOS was you could see the author’s hand in preserving the details of the book. The scene where they leave for the airport is changed, and a conversation as to whether Augustus should wear a polo shirt or a blue button up is dropped. And yet, in the film version, he arrives wearing that blue button up.
In true book-to-film fashion, a number of subplots were dropped and more complex plots were smoothed over — but to me, they all worked. Hazel’s somewhat obnoxious friend from before she left school, who was under the belief she was a middle-aged British woman, simply was not missed in the film. Neither was Augustus’ ex-girlfriend who had previously died from a brain tumor.
Bottom line for TFIOS? Bring your tissues. It’s every bit as heartbreaking on the big screen as it was on the page. But, be prepared to balance out the public crying with some laughs: Isaac, their blind friend with ocular cancer, is dry and sarcastic, there’s a scene where Augustus plainly sums up the trio as having “5 legs, 4 eyes, and 2 ½ sets of working lungs,” and Willem Dafoe dances quietly in a chair to Swedish hiphop.
It has been a mixed back over the last few years in terms of YA book-to-film adaptations. The Harry Potter franchise really set the bar for excellence over the years (while Twilight sort of settled in at the opposite end of the spectrum).
Recently, we’ve seen good adaptations: The Hunger Games is off to a great start, and the Perks of Being a Wallflower was well-done and long overdue.
We’ve seen middling ones: Divergent could have been better but thankfully wasn’t worse. It’s only the first offering of the series, so we can still hope it will get better with time.
And, of course, we’ve seen the ones that have been downright awful: Beautiful Creatures and Percy Jackson, to name a few. (both of which accompany book series that I really love, so these films were a huge disappointment — and maybe disproportionately so.)
I’d drop The Fault in Our Stars in that first bucket — well cast and true to the story while still making a good film for someone who didn’t read the books first. You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate it (any more than you would need to be a kid to appreciate the book. Yes, I’m looking at you, Slate). If you follow author John Green on social media, you can see how much he not only was involved with the film, but really seemed to love the film.
Still to come this summer is the adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver — a classic book assigned to pretty much every school kid in the 90s. The film comes two decades after the novel was first written, but so far I’m not excited by what I’ve seen. The actors look way too old to be the 12-year-olds of the novel — and yet, the age of the characters is so key to the plot.
I’d love to hear from our BGC readers what they thought of The Fault in Our Stars! Let us know in the comments!
Post by Emma Carew Grovum. She is the web and social media editor for Foreign Policy magazine and uses her newsroom colleagues as taste testers. Emma has previously worked for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Webbmedia Group, The Cooking Club of America and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.
So remember how I JUST put together my summer must have reading list? Well, time to amend it. I know, it’s only the first week of June, but when I got this giveaway opportunity, I knew it was worth it.
Let’s talk about the reasons why The Enemy series is completely addicting so many nerds. For starters, it’s set in the streets of London in a dystopian future. Kids are the only ones surviving a rampant human flesh eating virus - so that’s fun. Oh and did I mention they are living in the incredible Natural History Museum? Yeah, that too. And now Book 5 is out and everyone wants to know if these awesome, survivalist kids are going to find a cure.
So don’t you want to know?
We’re giving away ALL 5 BOOKS in The Emeny Book Series this week if you tweet:
Compiling an awesome summer reading list with @lizgiorgi over at beinggeekchic.com. Loving #TheFallen - what’s on your list?
HERE’S HOW YOU WIN:
2. Enter by Monday, June 9th, 2014!
*The fine print: Giveaway only open to US readers. All prizing is provided by Big Honcho Media and Being Geek Chic. The total value of the prize is $75 plus shipping and handling. The giveaway also includes the cost of shipping to one address in the continental United States. Please follow the rules and be kind to one another.
It’s 85 degrees today in my second home and it’s freaking summer. I can’t believe it. The grass is green, the birds singing in the morning and I literally found myself thinking, where the hell is my swim suit today? So of course I’m thinking about days in the hammock reading books. Here’s what I’m reading:
#GIRLBOSS - To be honest, I had no idea who Sophia Amoruso or Nasty Gal was until a friend recommended this book. Think Chelsea Handler, Suzi Orman and Beyonce having a weird sister. It’s great advice for lady’s with serious entrepreneurial instincts or just people who want to kick ass every day.
The Circle - Do you ever feel like Silicon Valley and the entire cult of cool tech is sometimes a little weird? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate ping pong tables, but why do bosses in the tech world feel the need to be so cool, instead of just getting shit done? This creepy tale takes that idea and just expounds and expounds until you’re all wrapped up in conspiracy theories about Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
Four: A Divergent Series - This book doesn’t come out until next month, but I have really high hopes. We’ve talked a lot about Divergent in these parts because the books are serious page turners. Don’t pick one up unless you have at least 2.5 to 3 hours to read. You’ve been warned.
So tell us, lady geeks, what are you reading this summer?
Who is excited for the new Divergent movie this weekend? We definitely can’t wait. In the Divergent series, future Chicago has divided the population into five factions, each with the emphasis on a personality trait: caring, honesty, intelligence, courage and kindness. The start of the second book opens with a number of the characters spending time in the Amity sector of the city.
Amity is the faction that values peace above all. They have no formal leader, as the other factions do. Their citizens work as counselors and caretakers, though the city’s farms and fresh food supply is also managed by the Amity.
In the second book, Tris passes off eating the bread served by the Amity because it “tastes strange.” They come to find later that the bread is infused with a “peace serum” to help keep the faction’s residents calm.
I envisioned this bread as being a simple bread, but somewhat more enriched than the plain bread Tris describes eating in Abgetnation. I opted to use honey as the “peace serum.” It won’t make you calm, but it should at least be delicious and make you happy.
Recipe: Amity Peace Serum Bread (adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Bread Every Day)
Note: You will need to prep your dough the night before you are going to bake it. I use a stand mixer, but you can just as easily do without.
Ingredients for Amity’s Peace Serum Bread:
Let’s Make Some Bread!
1) In the bottom of your stand mixer, sift together the flour and salt using the paddle attachment. In a large measuring cup, dissolve the honey into the warm water, then whisk in the yeast and stir in the vegetable oil.
2) Turn the stand mixer on low and pour the liquids slowly. Keep the mixer at the lowest setting for at least one minute until the liquid is completely combined. Turn the mixer off, scrape any excess off the paddle attachment and allow to rest for 5 minutes to hydrate the flour.
3) Add the nuts and seeds and switch the mixer to using the dough hook. Mix on medium-low speed for six minutes to combine the nuts and seeds, then increase to a higher speed for the last minute. The dough should feel sticky but strong and have some elasticity.
4) Sprinkle some flour on your countertop and transfer the dough from the bowl. Spritz your hands with an oil spray and stretch as far as you can, then fold the dough genty back over itself. Place in a lightly oiled bowl for 10 minutes, repeat at least twice. (Watch Peter Reinhart’s technique here.)
5) Cover and refrigerate the dough overnight. Cling wrap and a large rubber band work to keep the dough from drying out in your fridge.
6) Remove the bread from the refrigerator about three hours before you want to bake it. Divide it into two equal pieces and shape into boules (rounded loaves).
7) Place each loaf on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been sprinkled with about 1 TBS cornmeal. Mist the loaves lightly with spray oil and drape with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 2-3 hours.
8) Prep your oven by preheating to 500 F. Place one rack in the center and one at the bottom of your oven. If you own a pizza or baking stone, put it on higher of the two racks. If you do not own a stone, you can use a regular baking sheet (though, I would recommend choosing an older one, the high heat may warp it slightly). Place a large rectangular pan (like a lasagna pan) on the bottom rack. Preheat for at least 15 minutes.
9) Pull the bottom rack out and gently, slowly pour 1-2 cups of water into the pan, making sure it covers the bottom of the pan entirely. Pull the top rack out and slide the bread onto the heated baking stone or sheet.
10) Lower the heat to 425 F and bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pans then bake an additional 25-30 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.
11) Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing, then serve with honey.
Recipe by Emma Carew Grovum. She is the web and social media editor for Foreign Policy magazine and uses her newsroom colleagues as taste testers. Emma has previously worked for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Webbmedia Group, The Cooking Club of America and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.