Friday, May 29, 2009

Bookstore Wanderings

I adore bookstores, fullstop. I have recently realized, however, that my love for used bookstores differs greatly from my love for the regular flavor.

At a regular bookstore you can walk in, ask if a certain book is available, browse the new releases, and lovingly finger hardcover books you can't afford. You can do all this while listening to jazz music and sipping your hipster coffee. You can instantly find that philosophy book you are really only going to flip through, and flip through it quietly while eying the cute guy over in "Poetry." (OK, so maybe that's only me. Or maybe I'm the only one who's going to admit it, at least.) The point is, at a regular bookstore, it's intellectual heaven. Even if what you end up walking out with is the latest teenage vampire romp (and that I'm *not* admitting to).

At a used bookstore, it's an entirely different experience. First of all, most used bookstores I've been in are musty. They're cramped, and oddly organized. They're at the mercy of whatever box of books has been dropped off, so their collections are inconsistent, nonsensical, and delightfully jarring. At a used bookstore I was in today, the entire collected works of Shakespeare were leaning against several books by William Shatner.

What makes these bookstores fun for me are not just the ridiculously low prices. I love the detective game that becomes shopping in them. You cannot go in looking for something in particular--I promise you that you will not find it. You have to search through the stacks, looking simply at your options, and often what you find is bizarre and wonderfully silly.

My adventure today unearthed a murder mystery about tea (Death by Darjeeling) and several fairy books from the 70s. Would I have found these in a regular bookstore?? Probably not. Mostly because most anyone with any sense wouldn't buy either. But for two dollars each, can you really resist?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Honey Honey, how you thrill me

I had a pretty wonderful day today, as it was full of reading and writing, and I even managed to take a quick trip to my favorite bookstore in the world, Kramers Books, and gaze longingly at novels I cannot afford and history books I really do not need.

BUT what made my day particularly special is another topic this blog is meant to encompass: TEA!

First, some background: I used to be the kind of person who always put milk and sugar in their tea. I don't know why, but it tasted particularly delicious to me that way. Unfortunately, I eventually moved to college, where I discovered that milk goes bad very, very quickly, and that sugar is kind of a wasted expense. The solution? Well, there wasn't one for a while. I simply started drinking all tea black.

Until one fateful day when I was introduced to wonders of wonders: honey. Specifically, honey in tea. Not only is this completely delectable, but it naturally sweetens the tea, and there's really no need for milk (though milk and honey is its own special thing). On top of all that, honey doesn't need to be refrigerated, which is just tons of points in its favor from the dorm room perspective.

I'm sure many people have been putting honey in their tea for hundreds of years, so this is nothing terribly exciting. However, I do believe that there is a bit of a science to honey in tea. In fact, I would argue, not all types of honey work in all types of tea, and furthermore not all types of tea taste good with any type of honey.

In my rather limited experience, I have decided that Earl Grey tea always tastes good with honey. Now I just have to experiment a bit, and figure out what doesn't work. As always, suggestions would always be welcome.

As for me, I'm off to make more tea. Perhaps I'll try some honey in de-caf variety?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Magical Creatures, and Where to Find Them

Whilst we continue to move in the direction of getting this site on its feet, I thought some might be interested in this piece of literary news:

The Mythopoeic Awards Nominees have just been announced! See the list here.

I'm particularly excited about reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Jason Marc Harris' Folklore and the Fantastic in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction. Though I am a huge Gaiman fan and a huge Victorian Studies nerd, so I suppose neither of those choices is surprising.

Good luck to all the nominees!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Every time I go on holiday, I get excited and want to be productive--and then when I get back to school all those ideas get pushed to the wayside. But not this time! I'm on a long summer vacation, and I will make this blog happen. Bear with us, as we're still under construction, but hopefully soon this will be bursting with fun posts about books, food, life, and other oddities we may happen to experience.

See you soon! :)