Articles by " Adam"
8 Dec
2014

KU’s Great Gift Ideas: The Christmas Series! Stocking Stuffers for the Reader(s) in Your Life!

Let's be honest, KU is pretty much stocking stuffer central.  Santa shops here for the stuff he puts in your stocking.  Seriously.  Also he loves us.  Obviously.  Anyway, here are some stocking stuffer ideas for your favorite bibliophile!

Letterpress tattoos!  So you can make your favorite book quotes on your skin!

Letterpress tattoos! So you can make your favorite book quotes on your skin!

Literary wristwatches!  (Also we have a ton more that aren't literary but are frickin' epic, so, there's that.)

Literary wristwatches! (Also we have a ton more that aren't literary but are frickin' epic, so, there's that.)

Book cover t-shirts!  They rule so hard, you guys.  Again, we have a ton more designs.

Book cover t-shirts! They rule so hard, you guys. Again, we have a ton more designs.

Secular Saint devotional candles!  Here's Vonnegut (he's the patron saint of humanity, misanthropes, and the fantastic!) pictured with his books, but we also have Freud, Darwin, Shakespeare, and several other secular saints!

Secular Saint devotional candles! Here's Vonnegut (he's the patron saint of humanity, misanthropes, and the fantastic!) pictured with his books, but we also have Freud, Darwin, Shakespeare, and several other secular saints!

Shakespeare's Star Wars (and The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return) does double duty as the perfect gift for a Shakespeare fan AND THE BEST GIFT FOR ANYONE EVER BECAUSE IT'S THE COOLEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!!

Shakespeare's Star Wars (and The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return) does double duty as the perfect gift for a Shakespeare fan AND THE BEST GIFT FOR ANYONE EVER BECAUSE IT'S THE COOLEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!! Plus, who doesn't want a Darth Vader cookie jar?

The Greatest First Lines of LIterature mug needs neither introduction nor explanation.  Get it.  Got it?  Good.

The Greatest First Lines of Literature mug needs neither introduction nor explanation. Get it. Got it? Good.

Ditto for the Jane Austen mug!  (We also have Poe and Vonnegut mugs which kill!)

Ditto for the Jane Austen mug! (We also have Poe and Vonnegut mugs which kill!)

All this and much much (MUCH) more at KU this holiday season!  Come down and see us! <3!

By    No Comments
4 Dec
2014

St. Nicholas Day! Or, a story about being a kid!

Man, St. Nick is a baller.

Man, St. Nick is a baller.

Ok, so.  First of all, my parents never really had us believing in Santa.  I don't really know why, seems like a harmless enough myth to me, but it wasn't for us.  When she was in second grade, my sister apparently was telling people that Santa wasn't real.  So her teacher runs into my dad and goes, "Mr. Marthens, Rosalie is telling the other children that Santa Claus isn't real!"  and my dad goes, "Well you know he isn't, right?"

snickicon

ANYwho.  St. Nicholas is a real saint from whom Santa Claus derives.  He was a Greek bishop who lived in the 4th century and because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession is sometimes called Nikolaos the Wonderworker which, if I'm being honest, is a pretty B.A. moniker.  He had a reputation for giving many small gifts, especially to children, hence Santa being derived from him, but his feast day (12/6) is also celebrated by the giving of small gifts in many countries.

So when we were kids, my grandmother whose father came from a family of German immigrants would always remind us to leave out our shoes on the night of December 5th so that St. Nicholas could leave us presents.  As with Santa, I think we knew all the time that the gifts were from her, but somehow St. Nicholas Day always seemed a little more mysterious and fun I guess because the gifts weren't labeled.

So if you like giving your kids or grandkids cute little toys and oranges and candy, teach them about St. Nicholas and leave them some mysterious presents!  It's the best!

BONUS INFORMATION!  The European traditions surrounding St. Nicholas also encompass the cautionary tales of Pere Fouettard (some crazy butcher guy who kills bad kids or something.  It's all very confusing if you're not French) and Krampus! (The supernatural German version who's like a hairy devil or some craziness.  We have a book about him!)

krampus!

This is Krampus. Pretty much the opposite of St. Nicholas vis-a-vis looks and/or motivations.

By    No Comments
1 Dec
2014

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: December!

gianttree

This picture is from The Daily Mail, but in spirit, the driver of that car is KU.

OH MY GOODNESS YOU GUYS.  IT'S DECEMBER AND KU IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT!  WE LOVE THE HOLIDAYS AS MUCH AS ANY HUMAN BEINGS CAN LOVE ANY SINGLE THING!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  CLICK READ MORE TO FIND OUT WHAT WE'RE UP TO!

Read more >>

By    No Comments
17 Nov
2014

Let’s talk about the miracle of Homemade Bread!

Dear god, yes!

Dear god, yes!

Ok folks, here's the thing.  I do not go in for this New Age, wheatless nonsense.  Give me carbs and give me a lot of them.  I could eat nothing but bread for the rest of my life and die a happy man. This man could live by bread alone.  And the best kind of bread, the very best kind, is homemade bread.  Bread is one of the oldest cooked foods known to man (it's approximately 30,000 years old!) and there's a good reason why.  Bread is freaking delicious.  Also it's a way better way to eat wheat than just as cream of wheat or whatever (ugh.)

So November 17th is Homemade Bread Day, i.e. the best day ever.  So in honor of the best day ever, let me give you the recipe for my favorite homemade bread, English Muffin Bread!  (From allrecipes.com which is the best website.)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornmeal
6 cups bread flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
DIRECTIONS:
1. Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan until very warm (125 degrees F/50 degrees C). Lightly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle cornmeal inside pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda. Stir milk into the flour mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff batter is formed. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.
Here it is in all its toasted and buttered glory.  Bask in its amazingness.

Here it is in all its toasted and buttered glory. Bask in its amazingness.

By    No Comments
7 Nov
2014

Get out your deerstalkers and greatcoats, it’s Sherlock Holmes Weekend!

This is an actual promo picture from the Cape May Holmes Weekend.  Yes, you need to be there.

This is an actual promo picture from the Cape May Holmes Weekend. Yes, you need to be there.

Yes, my dear Watson, November 7th through the 9th is a weekend of Sherlockian shenanigans in Victorian Cape May, New Jersey.  But even though the actual events are happening out there (I was TOTALLY there this summer, but it wasn't Sherlock weekend then sadface) anywhere is perfect for celebrating how awesome Sherlock Holmes is.

Anyone with a mustache game this strong must have been awesome.

Anyone with a mustache game this strong must have been awesome.

First of all, if you've never read a Sherlock Holmes story, read one right now.  This blog post will still be here when you're done.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote some pretty baller crime stories.  And while they're not exactly what you will have come to expect from other mystery writers, they have this fantastic tension and the characters of Holmes and Watson are just so great.

They are so perfect it hurts.

They are so perfect it hurts.

So now that you're familiar with the source material, let's talk about two of the recent adaptations of these works to the screen.  The BBC's Sherlock is probably the best show that is currently available.  People are constantly complaining about how the series (which is what the BBC calls seasons, i.e. the first season of Sherlock is called the first series) are so short, but they kind of have to be considering each episode is about as long as a normal feature-length film!  Featuring the acting talents of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson as well as an absolutely flawless supporting cast, I'm realizing that this post is starting to sound like a review/commercial for Sherlock so suffice it to say that everything about the show is perfect and you need to watch it.

The other important adaptation (IMO) is the duo (soon to be trio!) of films featuring RDJ as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.  Period pieces as opposed to the modern update presented in the TV show, RDJ and Jude Law are almost as perfect as Holmes and Watson as are Cumberbatch and Freeman.  Plus the movies are a lot more star-studded and have people like Rachel McAdams and Stephen Fry in them, so that's pretty BA.

These two: also perfect.

These two: also perfect.

So enjoy this weekend, my fellow Holmes lovers!  And take heart!  Series 4 begins filming some time in 2015...  That's not actually good news, is it.  It's ok, though.  It'll be worth the wait, I'm sure.  In the mean time, enjoy these posts about Sherlock from BuzzFeed!  Here's one!  Here's another!  Here's a third!

By    No Comments
1 Nov
2014

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: November

thanksgiving-dinner-21

November might be the best month of the entire year.  The weather is finally juuuuuust the right mix of pleasantly brisk but still bright and happy, apple-derived and -flavored things abound, and, of course, November has the year's best holiday, Thanksgiving!  (Sorry, Christmas.)  There's plenty of other great times in November, though!  Click READ MORE to find out what's going on!

Read more >>

By    No Comments
30 Oct
2014

They write the books, you read the books, everybody’s happy!

November 1st is National Authors' Day!  An author is to book lovers what a great chef is to gourmands, what an oasis is to dehydrated desert travelers, and what a favorite teddy bear is to children.  American writers, from Hawthorne to McCarthy, from Poe to Hemingway, have isolated, distilled, described, and defined America, what it is to live here, and what it is that makes Americans who we are.

It's pretty much impossible for me to pick a favorite American writer, so I'm going to give you my top 5!

grrm

5.  George R. R. Martin! - Not necessarily part of what you'd call classic American literature, but my fantasy obsession runs too deep for me to mention favorite American writers and not include him.  If you love the TV series (i.e., if you have a pulse), give the series that the show is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire, a try!  They're pretty great!

edna

4.  Edna St. Vincent Millay! - Since she's not a novelist, she's again someone you might not think of as a classic American author, but Millay is my mother's favorite poet and she is therefore a big part of my literary history.  Her work is deeply affecting; a true emotional roller coaster.  If you're not familiar with Millay's poetry, read The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.  It will make you cry, though, so just be advised.

mary

3.  Mary Robison! - Her postmodern novel Why Did I Ever is probably my favorite book that I ever read for a class.  Reportedly written over the course of several years with each separate snippet/section/vignette on a separate index card, the book is hilarious and touching and the easiest read of any great book ever.  Get on it.

kurt

2.  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr! - To any person who reads English, this man needs no introduction.  Cat's Cradle is one of the best books ever.  That is all.

donna

1.  Donna Tartt! - Full disclosure, I have not found time to read The Goldfinch yet.  I am, however, completely in love with The Secret History.  For a person whose other favorite books are LotR and Pride and Prejudice and The Count of Monte Cristo, I never really knew that I could find a (relatively) contemporary, non-historical, non-fantastic piece of literature that I would love as much as I love those other books.  But I found it in The Secret History.  That book rules.

By    No Comments
27 Oct
2014

You want ’em, we got ’em! Halloween hats for all!

Everyone knows that the perfect hat is integral to any good costume.  Hats make winners or losers.  The hat is the king of Halloween.  With that in mind, a few customers helped us employees show you some of the best ones.  Enjoy!

It's a fez.  Dylan wears a fez now.  Fezzes are cool.

It's a fez. Dylan wears a fez now. Fezzes are cool.

Our friend David preferred the pirate king look.  It suits him.

Our friend David preferred the pirate king look. It suits him.

Everyone, meet Keira the confused robot!  (She wasn't sure how she could look robotic, but I think she nailed it.)

Everyone, meet Keira the confused robot! (She wasn't sure how she could look robotic, but I think she nailed it.)

Lorax-Athena reminds you to be kind to the environment.  She speaks for the trees and you do not want to hear that disappointed tone.

Lorax-Athena reminds you to be kind to the environment. She speaks for the trees and you do not want to hear that disappointed tone.

This is JP's attempt at a stern Prof. McGonagall face.  (It pretty much is just her normal face, you guys.)

This is JP's attempt at a stern Prof. McGonagall face. (It pretty much is just her normal face, you guys.)

Viking-Yogi will pillage your heart with his cuteness.

Viking-Yogi will pillage your heart with his cuteness.

And I am ready to stalk some deer.  And/or dangerous criminal masterminds.  #MuntjacsOrMoriarty

And I am ready to stalk some deer. And/or dangerous criminal masterminds. #MuntjacsOrMoriarty

By    No Comments