Adventure is out there!

April 11th, 2014

As an English major, I’m required to read a lot of books in a very short period of time.  As someone who’staking a lot of medieval literature classes, a lot of what I read is either in a language I don’t understand or long-winded histories of saints.  Sometimes, it’s both.  A lot of the time, I read them because I have to, although I don’t particularly enjoy them.

I am, however, in the process of reading something that I genuinely love for one of my classes.  Most people know about Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales; that poem, however, is certainly not the only thing he ever wrote.  He composed the five volume poem Troilus and Criseyde in Middle English, and many scholars consider it to be his finest work.   The poem is set during the Trojan War, and tells the love story between Troilus, the second son of the Trojan king, and Criseyde, the high-born daughter of a traitor.  Their story ends tragically, with Criseyde returning to Greece alone and Troilus being left in Troy.

When I first started Troilus and Criseyde, I had low expectations.  Middle English is a difficult language to read, because it looks just off enough from English that one has to go very slowly; I also have never been a huge fan of romances, and reading an entire poem centered around one seemed daunting.  But as I became more and more immersed in the story, I started to fall in love with the setting, the constant mythological references and asides, and with the characters: the pragmatic yet still romantic Criseyde, the manipulative yet well-intentioned uncle Pandarus, and the warlike Troilus who is timid in love.  I had found something I didn’t expect to love at all, and now I’m devouring the poem every free second I have.

I feel like this happens a lot–we find a book that we’re not particularly excited about, and find that it’s everything we never knew we wanted.  It makes me excited to hit the library this summer–there are so many things to discover!  Adventure is out there!

-Beausenberry Pie

Recipe: This is a 14th century recipe for a pork pie.  I’ve never tried it, but I figure it’s appropriate given the subject matter for today.  Source: http://medievalcookery.com/recipes/mylates.html

 

2 – 3 lbs. cooked pork
4 eggs
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1 1/2 tsp. powder fort
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch saffron

pastry for a double-crust pie

Cut pork into approximately 1 inch pieces. Combine with eggs, cheese, pine nuts and spices in a large bowl. Mix well and place into bottom crust. Cover with top crust and bake at 350° until golden brown – about 30 minutes. Serve either hot or cold.

Source [Forme of Cury, S. Pegge (ed.)]: MYLATES OF PORK. XX.VII. XV. Hewe Pork al to pecys and medle it with ayrenn & chese igrated. do þerto powdour fort safroun & pyneres with salt, make a crust in a trape, bake it wel þerinne, and serue it forth.

 

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Shameless Self Promotion?

March 26th, 2014

I spent this past week in California where I had a lovely time, apart from missing the Beaufort office, of course. On my plane ride back to New York, I slept soundly throughout most of the flight. I didn’t exchange words with the woman sitting next me until we landed and I awoke to the jolt of the plane hitting the pavement and the sound of her voice asking me, “Do you like to read?” This seemed like an odd question. Of course, I love to read! However, in that moment I couldn’t imagine what her motive was in asking me this question. I stuttered “Yes, um, very much so.” She handed me a card with a book cover on it, and explained, “Shameless self promotion! My book is coming out next week.” I was both surprised and impressed, and I told her that I would check it out. After all, we book-lovers are rare these days and we ought to stick together, right? It turns out she had not only self-promoted her book, but self-published her book as well, and there should certainly be no shame in that either. So, if you are read this, Susie Orman Schall, props to you, because getting a book published, either here at Beaufort or all on your own, is a grand feat.  Susie recommended her book On Grace to me on the airplane, and in turn I will recommend Beaufort’s The Insider’s Guide to Book Publishing Success by Eric Kampmann and Margot Atwell to Susie and to anyone else with a passion for writing. This book is the guide for anyone who has ever dreamed of holding their own book in their hands, and even for those who have already done so. It gives invaluable advice from the experts here at Beaufort on everything from self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, to the question of whether or not to hire a publicist. I hope that Susie reads it, and is inspired to continue writing, publishing and promoting her books to strangers on airplanes.on graceThe Insider's Guide to Book Publishing Success Cover

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Where is Spring???

March 6th, 2014

As Spring limps its way closer, I am continually drawn to the outdoors.  Although I live, study and work in the city, I love the woods and outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping.  I love the feeling of freedom I get in the woods, from electronics, responsibilities, and the bustle of New York.  My favorite place to go is the woods by my house.  I can go and walk up to the top of a small mountain that is one of the state parks and just sit there for hours, looking out over the landscape.  I always bring a book with me, too, to read while I eat a lunch or relax.

At Beaufort there are all sorts of books about hiking.  Jennifer Pharr Davis has written two books on hiking in the Appalachian Mountains; she once hiked it in 46 days, an almost impossible number to imagine for someone who takes a day to hike up and down a small mountain.  There is a new book by author and hiker Kev Reynolds entitled A Walk in the Clouds, a story of hiking, meeting people, and exploring the world.

When the leaves come back on the trees, I’m going to start going to upstate New York and doing day hikes.  I’ll definitely be bringing some books with me–some old classics and some new ones.  And I will definitely be picking up A Walk in the Clouds, coming out on April 21st.

Desperate for spring,

Beausenberry Pie

 

Today’s Recipe: Organic Fruit Roll-Ups.  From An Organic Wife:

http://www.anorganicwife.com/2013/05/recipe-homemade-fruit-roll-ups.html

 

Take strawberries, or any other fruit, and cook them down in a saucepan.  Make sure to mash them, and try and boil some of the water Move them to a blender and puree them, to make sure there are no chunks in the mixture.  Take a cookie tray and cut out a piece of parchment paper to put on the bottom.  Pour the mixture evenly over the parchment paper, making sure it is not too thin.

Set your oven to the lowest possible setting, and put the trays in.  Make sure to check them often so they don’t burn.  Once they are out, you can cut them into all different shapes and sizes.

 

 

 

 

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The Future of Publishing – Part 3

March 3rd, 2014

Parts 1 and 2 of this series can be found here: 
http://www.beaufortbooks.com/2014/02/the-future-of-publishing-part-1/
http://www.beaufortbooks.com/2014/02/the-future-of-publishing-part-2/

So how can publishers stay profitable against the shifting tide? By finding ways to incentivize print copies. Remember, books are becoming a luxury, so their aesthetics are more pivotal to their success than ever before. This might necessitate investing more money in better design. For example, people can google recipes online, or download interactive apps that will put all their cooking needs in a simple, organized place:

Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cake-recipes-by-recipe-world/id407364073?mt=8

Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cake-recipes-by-recipe-world/id407364073?mt=8

This app costs 99 cents. Who’s going to spend money on a recipe book unless it is absolutely gorgeous? There’s no room for mediocrity. The book must be luxurious—it has to surpass being purely functional to a significant degree, or what justifies purchasing it? Luddites and the technologically inept will surely account for some of the sales, but that market is shrinking daily. Making nicer books will have the secondary benefit of combating the growing market of those turncoat authors, like my roommate, who have decided to forego traditional publishing contracts and self-publish instead. Their books typically lack effective marketing and good designs and layouts. Publishers need to keep it that way by insisting on a tangible difference in quality.

For example, check out Le Cordon Bleu’s The Chocolate Bible. Carroll & Brown Publishers clearly recognize that a cook book’s appearance has to be as decadent as its content. The thick, large hardcover book filled with enormous photographs delivers more than just functional recipes—it serves as welcome addition to be displayed in the kitchen of any gourmet.

Available for purchase here: http://www.midpointtrade.com/book_detail.php?book_id=55257

Better yet, why not also start creating apps to go along with print books and offer supplementary material, rather than simply competing with them? Publishers must embrace mobile technologies as the way of the future and invest in them immediately, given how fast the exponentially growing app market is moving.

The idea that stories have to be limited to books is already being challenged. Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction, has stated his Twitter activity can be considered a novel. Author Geoff Ryman has a completely free internet novel called 253, available at http://www.ryman-novel.com/home.htm. It details the thoughts of every single one of the 253 people aboard one of the London Tube trains. It is built to be an interactive digital experience: readers can freely hop from train car to train car, and click on passengers at will. The order they click on people will affect the order they read the novel. These characters often make observations about other passengers on the train, who can then be reached with an included hyperlink. Ryman even allows readers to submit their own 300-word character descriptions to be considered for his sequel. The concept seems absolutely seminal.

Publishers need not feel constrained to either traditional books or e-books. The future lies in applications, and there is an ongoing race to provide media in the most convenient and easily-digestible format. App technology will only continue to develop, and the only question is who will be profiting on this share of the market first? Will it be companies like Apple, who already have a multitude of book apps out there? Will it be self-published authors who decide to take a course on creating mobile applications? Or will publishers realize what’s happening before it’s too late?

As Josh Fisher, creator of an award-winning poetry app, describes in a blog post:

“Greater distribution, customization, social integration, and engagement can be found by putting time into producing a book application. It frees you from the design constraints of an ebook, and allows you to build stories that aren’t just books, but mobile experiences” (Source: http://www.appoet.org/2014/02/05/in-response-to-richard-nashs-lecture-on-the-future-of-publishing/).

Another technological innovation with far-reaching potential is the automatic book printer, like NYU’s Espresso Book Machine:

 Source: http://www.bookstores.nyu.edu/main.store/selfpublishing/

It can print “bookstore-quality” bound texts in customizable fonts, including an already 3.8 million+ titles in its database (some are even out-of-print), or allow self-published authors to print however many copies of their books they want. As such devices become better, cheaper, and more widespread, they could eventually challenge or even replace the need for traditional print runs by providing infinite inventory. Will publishers be a secondary part of this industry, simply supplying some of the titles, or will they be involved in developing and spreading it? It’s decision time.

Conversely, the quality of the books these machines can produce further highlights the need for design innovation. Traditionally published books will soon need to begin significantly surpassing the machine-produced texts in design.

Another technological marvel that can have far-reaching applications for book publishing is 3-D printing. It is a miraculous new development whose potential is only beginning to be explored. For example, it will be used to create cheap replaceable machine parts, grow entire living organs out of cells, or create life-sized models of fetuses for pregnant women. Book publishers need to innovate, and 3-D printing offers a fairly limitless potential to create objects, including books, like we’ve never seen before. It has already begun:

Source: http://www.appoet.org/2014/01/27/what-will-3d-printing-do-for-the-book/

3-D printing can even hypothetically be combined with automatic book printer machine technology. Limitless potential to reinvigorate the market is there. But book publishers need to hurry. The dour prophecies of people like my roommate need not come true, but like with any species or industry, it’s the survival of the fittest, and publishing will need to step up its game and evolve to stay alive. Today’s Darwinian scramble will determine tomorrow’s future.

–Beauchamp Bagenal

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The Future of Publishing – Part 2

February 25th, 2014

The first installment of this series can be found here: http://www.beaufortbooks.com/2014/02/the-future-of-publishing-part-1/

A second camp of people prognosticating the end of publishing are addressing the much more legitimate threat of digital books. I’ve recently moved apartments, and my new roommate is a self-published novelist in his forties who has seen considerable commercial success, reaching peak positions on several charts, including #4 on Amazon one month last year. We got to talking, and he made some very radical claims about the future of publishing. He thinks that bookstores are destined to become as obsolete as record stores—that they will one day be reduced to a few select locations catering to a niche audience.

E-readers do indeed present a formidable threat. They’re relatively inexpensive and fit entire libraries in one’s coat pocket. They have built-in dictionaries that look up unfamiliar words on the spot. I first bought my Kindle when I was moving to Korea because I didn’t want to be burdened with transporting books in my luggage or relying on the limited English selections in Korean libraries. It has proven to be an invaluable tool as I’ve drifted across countries, states, and apartments. Of course I’d rather be reading actual paperbound books, but the Kindle is just so much more practical, especially in a situation like mine. Actual books are a luxury for people who have the space to store them and the desire to pay slightly more for a nicer reading experience. E-readers are purely functional, and if publishers want to avoid my roommate’s grim prediction, they need to acknowledge that books are becoming a luxury item, and treat them accordingly.

Of course, there are exceptions to the practicality of e-books. Texts with extensive endnotes, requiring frequent flipping between distant pages, are unwieldy on e-readers. Nobody should suffer through something like Infinite Jest on a Kindle. But how long until the next technological innovation creates a workaround for this issue? It’s not even that complicated; I’ll invent and patent it myself: make it so it’s possible to click directly on any page and bring up the relevant endnotes immediately, without the hassle of navigating between the back and front of an e-book. I’ll be expecting royalty cheques, Amazon.

But books also have advantages that cold, impersonal, purely-functional e-readers cannot overcome: they are pleasant to hold. Their covers are nice to the touch and contain artwork that is beautiful, relevant, and sets a mood. They come with that patented new book smell, and after time passes, that old book smell, an acquired taste. One can flip through them quickly, instantly turn from one page to any other, scribble in the margins, and photocopy or dog-ear the pages. Hold them, love them, and make them yours. And share them with people who can see what you’ve done with them! One of my favorite aspects of college libraries was seeing decades-old comments and debates scrawled in the pages of books I checked out. Typed up notes on a Kindle can never fully replace this experience.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the introduction of e-readers has placed unprecedented strains on book sellers. Our hallowed citadel, Borders, has already fallen before the looming shadow. Yet many smaller bookstores appear to be prospering lately. When deciding to get into publishing, I interviewed a series of Brown alumni in assorted roles in the business. They included editors, literary agents, and Lexi Beach, the proprietor of the newly opened Astoria Bookshop.

Lexi told me that Queens residents were so deprived of bookstores that during her first months in business, people would frequently come in and thank her for opening her doors. I asked her how bookstores are competing with sites like Amazon—not only do they offer Kindles, but also the possibility of having the same exact books delivered to one’s doorstep, often at a cheaper price than in stores.

She told me that despite the internet’s advantages, it can never come close to simulating the browsing experience a bookstore offers. People can come in and physically hold books, sample reading them, flip through them, and immediately compare them to similar books nearby. People turn to bookstores to discover something new. Furthermore, bookstores are a gathering place for the literary-minded community. They are a valuable part of any neighborhood, as many of them run social events like book clubs and author readings.

When I asked if people come in, find the books they want, and then go home and order them for a cheaper price online, she told me that it doesn’t really happen—people typically understand that bookstores need support to survive, and make a point of shopping there to keep their doors open. Sidenote: buy books at the awesome new Astoria Bookshop if you live in Queens!

Source: http://www.queensmamas.com/queens_mamas/2013/08/astoria-bookshop-open-for-business.html

Source: http://www.queensmamas.com/queens_mamas/2013/08/astoria-bookshop-open-for-business.html

Yet the continued success of bookstores does not mean all is well. Other alumni reported layoffs across the board, loss of profits, and a general confusion in the industry about how to deal with the technological revolution of recent years. Sure, print media is likely destined to be around forever. For instance, The Paris Review vows it will never become an exclusively digital publication. But it’s not the general presence of printed texts that’s in question, but the degree to which they’ll continue to be relevant, popular, and profitable.

E-readers are still relatively new and haven’t reached their full potential. At the moment, many people have still never tried the technology, as they’ve grown accustomed to traditional books over decades of entrenched habits. But as time passes, more and more people will try e-readers, and the old guard will naturally reach extinction. Meanwhile, e-readers will become better and cheaper; all technology does.

So how can publishers stay profitable against the shifting tide? Check in next time for the third installment of this series!

–Beauchamp Bagenal

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The Future of Publishing – Part 1

February 21st, 2014

Many people can’t figure out how to dress appropriately for the upcoming day’s weather, yet when it comes to publishing, everyone’s a soothsayer. When I told family and friends that I intended to intern and get started in the business, the most common reactions were:

“…Why?”

“Are you sure?”

and “Don’t do it! Don’t you know it’s a dying industry?”

These concerns are valid. Ever since televisions came into existence, readers have been lured away from their books. Now more than ever, people are being bombarded with newer, faster, more engaging entertainment options. As both a former literature teacher and ex-youth myself, I can confirm that there has been a significant decline in the appeal of reading. Today’s culture is one of instant gratification. People want everything to be fast and simple, including their content. Why take the time and effort to read when one can mainline digital images? Reading historical fiction about the 1920s takes effort—accessing every episode of Boardwalk Empire immediately on Netflix does not. Searching a book for information requires work—googling does not. Where children once read about Roman phalanxes or Orcish hordes, they now relive those battles in interactive digital environments that let them become generals, thieves, knights, archers, snipers, wizards, and monsters—in a visually stunning format. Giant IMAX theaters are a supersensory barrage from all angles. Asia even has new “4-D” theaters, where interactive seats vibrate and add tactile sensations during pivotal moments in films. As with any pleasure, such a limitless inundation of thrills has the effect of over-saturating dopamine receptors in the brain, numbing people to the effects of slower and less intensive mediums like books, and forcing them to need BIGGER, faster, and *flashier* content for their next fix.

Source: http://www.advancedtechnologykorea.com/7931/

Source: http://www.advancedtechnologykorea.com/7931/

An idealist might argue that no simulation can ever surpass the infinite power of the imagination, and that books serve as an essential conduit for tapping into this potential. Yet there is no valid argument that digital content cannot also be an avenue to the imagination, or that it cannot also inspire creativity in those viewing it. And the entertainment industry has no plans of slowing down their efforts to seduce the public away from reading.

Against this general shift away from books, publishing is admittedly relatively powerless. But publishing’s doomsday prophets are forgetting one key fact: there are still more readers today than ever before. When people think back to the glory days of books, when printed texts were the primary form of content and entertainment available, there were also significantly less people reading! Part of this can be explained by a simple census: given the exponential growth of the human population, there are now billions more potential book customers on the planet. But perhaps even more significant is the fact that literacy and education rates have skyrocketed across the globe. 500 years ago, simply being literate was rare enough to ensure stable employment and a constant source of income. 150 years ago, higher education was limited to a select class of people, while the majority of the world was either illiterate or educated to a very minimal level. Every decade has drastically improved on not only the quantity of educated students worldwide, but also the quality of schools and classes. While today’s changing entertainment landscape might mean that a smaller percentage of school children will grow up to be regular readers, that won’t change the fact that a readership will always be present. As long as school curriculums continue to mandate literature classes, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and Salinger will continue to inspire students and create life-long readers, much like symphonies continue to exist and prosper despite the invention of electric guitars and synthesizers.

–Beauchamp Bagenal

This is the first section of a three-part entry. My next post will address e-readers and how they have affected the present and future of the publishing industry.

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Reality Bites

February 19th, 2014

I have recently had my mind on the public’s fascination with reality. Whether it’s reality television, the news, or the latest celebrity scandal, people seem to be more involved in the personal lives of others now more than ever.  As Beaufort Books is a publisher mainly of non-fiction, this appears to be working in our favor. Yet, there seems to be a line that those in the world of book publishing try to draw when it comes to the integrity and tastefulness of a story, a line that those in other media outlets often cross without a care. Certainly there are exceptions to this and tastefulness is not definitive. However, who else should uphold a standard when glossy gossip magazines are reporting that Khloe Kardashian might have a different father than Kim and Kourtney? Reality has become mediated and dramatized. I have for so long carried the notion that literary fiction was the ultimate art form, and yet I too occasionally find myself captivated by the latest scandal in the news. Not to say that there is anything wrong with this. The drama of other peoples’ lives has become the public’s new preferred form of escaping their own reality. People seem to be less interested in fiction, as the lines between public and private are increasingly blurred. So I ask myself, what is the role of non-fiction such as memoirs and biographies in all of this? They are not purely informative, nor are they pure entertainment. In reading them, we trust that they will reveal the truth. Perhaps it is the unreliability of fiction, of a fabricated story that can seem completely real as easily as it can seem completely false, that is turning us towards accounts of reality. Of course, it seems increasingly important to question the reliability of many sources of information and accounts of reality which claim to be true. Memoirs and biographies will never reveal a whole truth either, as they are written from the limited perspective of a subject. Nonetheless, I hope that people will continue to turn to these works of non-fiction to seek comfort and insight in an account of real life, when they are haunted by their mistrust of Selena Gomez’s publicist or the creators of the Jersey Shore.

-Violet Beauregarde

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Je suis arrivee!

January 30th, 2014

Well, hello!

My name is Rio, and I am one of the new interns at Beaufort Books this spring!  My nom de plume this year will be Beausenberry Pie, because I love pie: I love making it, eating it, and learning new recipes for it.  (My personal new favorite, which I made for the holidays, is a winter fruit fig-cranberry-apple-pear pie; it’s perfect for cold weather!)

As someone who is, clearly, obsessed with food, I have a special place in my heart for cookbooks and food books.  During the holidays, I received and gave myself two books having to do with food: the first, a yellow tome entitled The Gourmet Cookbook, and the second a collection of food essays collected by the New Yorker, called Secret Ingredients.  I’ve always found cookbooks to be far more than receptacles for ingredient lists and food stains, and the one I received was no exception.  Before each section, the author wrote stories about her family and their traditions, how she used the recipes, and different tips on how to prepare difficult meat or pastry dishes.  I’ve already started adding notes of my own, adding to the emotional weight of the book and making it just as important to me as my battered copies of the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Secret Ingredients captures the often strange world of food writing.  It contains words from everyone who’s anyone, from Woody Allen to Dorothy Parker to A.J. Liebling.  Together, they tap into the heart of what makes food so special: it relates us to other humans, keeps us sane, happy, and connected, and, in my opinion, can bring understanding of foreign culture and history closer than a textbook alone.  The people writing in this book clearly love food, and want to show their passion to the world.  Food and food writing is, at heart, a cultural exchange; by explaining food and our reactions to it, we explain ourselves.

I’m really looking forward to working at Beaufort Books this spring and getting to know everyone, through face-to-face interaction or through the blog.  I can already tell it’s going to be a fantastic spring!

With much gustatory love,

Beausenberry Pie

N.B.: As a way to make my mark on the blog this season, I’ve decided to include a relevant pie or dessert recipe for every post I make.  Since this is an introduction, I will give you the pie recipe I mentioned above.  If you’re gluten-free or don’t want to make your own pie crust, you can easily make a gluten-free one or use a store-bought crust and it will still taste delicious.

Winter Fruit Pie, from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Deep-Dish-Winter-Fruit-Pie-with-Walnut-Crumb-354977

Pastry

  • 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Walnut Crumb Topping (optional)

  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed (5 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) dried figs
  • 4 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2 inch thick (12 ounces prepped)
  • 4 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2 inch thick (1 1/4 pounds prepped)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

preparation

To make the pie pastry, put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl, stir to combine, then put the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Add the butter to the flour mixture and toss to evenly coat. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender, a food processor, an electric mixer, or your hands, just until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Stir the water and lemon juice together, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured work surface and press it into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch disk, then line a 9 or 10 by 3-inch springform pan with the rolled-out dough. Patch any holes and trim off any dough that hangs over the edges of the pan. Chill for an additional 30 minutes while you prepare the crumb topping and the fruit filling.

To make the walnut crumb topping, mix the flour, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the butter, then work it in with your hands until the texture of crumbs. Put the topping in the refrigerator while you make the fruit filling.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.

To make the fruit filling, remove the stem from each fig, then boil the figs in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Slice each fig into 4 to 5 pieces, put them in a large bowl, and add the apples, pears, and cranberries. Separately, rub the sugar and cornstarch together, then add to the fruit and gently toss until evenly coated.

Transfer the filling to the pie shell and top with the walnut crumb. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the crumb is golden, the fruit juices are bubbling thickly around the edges, and the fruit is tender when pierced with a wooden skewer. If the crumb is getting too dark, cover it with foil.

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Today’s the Day

January 23rd, 2014

With a heavy heart and a stomach full of Chinese food, I write this last blog post for my internship with Beaufort. My time at Beaufort has been so great and I honestly cannot believe that today is my last day here. Coming into this office with no publishing experience and no idea what to expect, I was so afraid of what would happen. Would they be monsters? Would they hate me? Would I have to make coffee runs five times a day for people in the office? The answer: NO. Except they might be monsters with really good disguises, just like that episode of Rugrats when Chuckie’s dad was really an alien. Instead of treating me like an intern, they treated me like a human and answered all of my questions. Yes, I did have to do filing and mailing and sometimes I did get coffee (but only when I was already going to Starbucks for myself). But I was also able to work on a ton of different projects and I always felt like my opinion was valued and heard. I loved writing my blogs and I feel like they have really kept my writing skills sharp, which is great for a recent college graduate who isn’t forced to write anything anymore and only writes texts (which turns your brains to mush).

I’m going to miss this internship, mainly because I’m going to miss the people that I’ve worked with here. Megan, Michael, and Felicia have been so amazing to work with and I’ve loved getting to know them over the past few months. The amount of enjoyment that I’ve gotten from my internship has just made me more confident in my career choice, which is awesome. To all current and future interns of Beaufort, heed these words: take advantage of every job or task you are assigned here. Everything that you are asked to do will help you in the future. Ask questions. Jump at opportunities to help out, even if it is just doing inventory of the book closet. The small, fun, inviting atmosphere of the office is something that you aren’t going to find anywhere else.  Also, if you can learn or already have a basic knowledge of magic and Arrested Development, that’s a plus.

-There’s Always Money in the Beaunana Stand

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The Golden Ticket

January 17th, 2014

January 17, 2014

Hello there! I’m Frankie, a new editorial intern at Beaufort Books, or as I shall be known here, Violet Beauregarde, not because I resemble a giant blueberry, but simply because Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favorite books as a child (and secretly still is). Despite the fact that I am, of course, also a fan of more mature works of literature, I have recently reread some of the books that captivated me as a child in order to ease up from some of the more serious works that I have been required to read, and to examine the elements which caused these books to leave such an impression. The fantastical descriptions of candy have obvious appeal to a child; however, I think the dark aspects of the story are what made it stand out from some of the more wholesome children’s classics. Some of my other favorite books as a child were James and the Giant Peach, also by Roald Dahl, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. Clearly, I have had a bit of an off-beat imagination from an early age. My mother passed on her love of books to me, as she reads at least one a week, never leaves the house without her Kindle, and has written a few books of her own. When I was first learning to read, we would read these books together, and only after finishing the books would I be allowed to watch the film versions. I now find myself a Comparative Literature major and a publishing intern, so upon reflection, I’m grateful for this ritual that my mother shared with me, as it has clearly had an influence. Not to mention, I still have a soft spot for English literature with somewhat macabre content (A Tale of Two Cities makes me cry hysterically every time). That being said, I’m eager to explore new books and learn more about the twists and turns of publishing as an intern. Hopefully my time at Beaufort will end more positively than the original Violet’s did at the Wonka Factory. We’ll see.

-Violet Beauregardetumblr_lqwf1z3ekV1qi2mrio1_500                                                                (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Paramount Pictures)

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