The Gift Giving Solution

The Gift Giving Solution

A long list of books to look for this holiday season
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Every year around Christmas we all go through an experience that some dread and some look forward to as the highlight of the year. Namely, Christmas shopping. Due to the sheer size of my immediate family, gift giving can be quite the quandary for me. After all, finding individual presents of reasonable quality (giving everyone a candy cane doesn't count) for twelve different people and staying within the budget of a poor college student (I like to pretend that I have no money, it makes gifts from me seem more meaningful) is not an easy task. Thus, I have taken the time to formulate the perfect strategy for the cheapskate present giver. The plan, give everyone a good book. Books are awesome. Everyone should have them in gratuitous quantities. And almost as important, books can be bought at little cost to your wallet. The average book at most used bookstores costs about $5, sometimes less. If one is really inclined to splurge prices can be rocketed by buying the book new, but I personally prefer a used copy in most cases. This is also a way to encourage you, non-reader friends, to pry themselves away from the telly and read. Perhaps one day you may even make a geek out of them.

To further facilitate this amazing Christmas plan I have taken the time to compile a long list of my favorite authors and some of their best books. These all make suitable gifts, though I would not recommend some of them to some readers. The list is rather long. So bear with me. One thing to note, PMEE stands for "and pretty much everything else they wrote". I will start with mostly older authors, so if you want more modern (meaning in the last 50 or so years) skip to the bottom. If I miss some great authors I apologize beforehand. If I do not list books for an author then usually that means that their writing is good, but I cannot remember specific books to tell you. Without further ado, on to the books!

J.R.R Tolkien-The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, PMEE

C.S. Lewis- The Space Trilogy, Mere Christianity, The Chronicles of Narnia, PMEE

George Macdonald- The Princess and The Goblin, At the Back of the North Wind, PMEE

G.K Chesterton- Just read him. He is awesome.

Sir Walter Scott- Ivanhoe, Minstrelry of the Scottish Border

Lewis Wallace- Ben Hur

Victor Hugo- Les Miserables

Howard Pyle- Robin Hood

Jane Porter- The Scottish Chiefs

Alexandre Dumas- The Three Musketeers

E. Nesbit- The Book of Dragons, The Enchanted Castle

Ralph Moody- Little Britches, PMEE

Mark Twain- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, PMEE

Charles Dickens- A Christmas Carol

Eddie Rickenbacker- Fighting the Flying Circus, Rickenbacker (This guy was amazing by the way)

Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice, Emma

Harper Lee- to Kill a Mockingbird

Robert Louis Stevenson- Treasure Island

John D. Fitzgerald- The Great Brain series

L.M Montgomery- Anne of Green Gables Series

Jules Verne- Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 leagues Under the Sea

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry- The Little Prince

Lewis Carrol- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

Meindert DeJong- The Wheel on the School

Andrew Lang- The Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, and every other color you can imagine, books of fairy tales

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Richard and Florence Atwater- Mr Popper's Penguins

Eric Metaxas- Bonhoffer

Phil Vischer- Me, Myself, and Bob

Harold Keith- Rifles for Watie

Laura Ingalls Wilder- The Little House books

Rosemary Sutcliff- Black Sales Before Troy

Jeff and Michael Shaara- Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, The Last Full Measure

Brandon Sanderson- The Stormlight Archive (I was close to tears at points in these books, go read them like now), the end of the Wheel of Time series

Robert Jordan- The Wheel of Time Series

Dianna Wynn Jones- Howls Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, the Chrestomanci series, PMEE

David Eddings- The Belgariad

Ben Tripp- The Accidental Highwayman

Tad Williams- The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series

Orson Scott Card- Ender's Game Series

Terry Brooks- The Sword of Shannara, The First King of Shannara, The Magic kingdom of Landover series

Robin Mckinley- The Blue Sword, The Hero and The Crown, Spindles End

Anne McCaffrey- Black Horses for the King

Eoin Colfer- The Artemis Fowl Series

Brandon Mull- Fablehaven series, The Beyonders Series, The Five Kingdoms series (none of these series have the highest of reading levels but they are all well worth reading)

John Flanagan- The Ranger's Apprentice series, the Brotherband Chronicles

Vivian Vande Velde- The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

Cornelia Funke- Inkspell

Jonathon Stroud- The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Angie Sage- Septimus Heap series

Movie art books/making of books- these books are usually more expensive than your typical used book, but they are awesome if you have a movie buff on your Christmas list.

As I stated earlier, there are probably thousands of various good books and authors that I am missing here. A lot of the authors listed here have more good books that I neglected to list, but as far as good books go this is a decent start. Now go overwhelm your friends and family with books for Christmas!



Cover Image Credit: Joseph Landon

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Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.

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One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.


In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.


Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.


After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.


Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.


Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?



The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.



The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.



Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

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