Check It Out: From the blog to the bookshelf

Social media have created ways for people to interact to share, communicate or exchange information.

Twitter, with its 140-character-or-less tweets, allows one to post questions or comments. Instagram's users can use digital filters to post videos and photos, which can also be shared on Facebook and Flickr.

Facebook allows people and businesses to connect with each other to share photos and stories.

A blog is an online journal intended for the public and updated on a frequent basis, often about a specific subject such as family, food or social issues. Blogs have exploded in popularity since they were introduced, and some have made the transition from website to printed book.

Late in August 2002, Julie Powell became tired of answering questions at her government job regarding the plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center. To do something she enjoyed away from work, she made the decision to cook every recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (1961) by Julia Child in one year, although her minuscule kitchen was not quite up to the one Child employed.

As a motivation to keep up her promise and to document its progress, she created a blog called the Julie/Julia Project. The rest, as we know, became a bestseller entitled "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 534 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen," which later went on to be a hit movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Deb Perelman's cookbook, "The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook," is the result of her blog of the same name, which is written in a puny 42-square-foot circa-1935 sort of half-galley kitchen with a 24-foot footprint, a single counter, tiny stove, checkered floor and noisy window at the end looking down to the avenue below.

Describing her blog as "fearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York City," the highly popular author believes food should be accessible. Her humorous writing style, delectable recipes and appetizing photographs have attracted more than 5 million followers to her website.

Starting in 2004 as an anonymous waiter, Steve Dublanica began the blog The Waiter, which later became In a fun, enjoyable style, Dublanica wrote about the lives of the customers and wait staff in the restaurant where he worked.

From a brand new restaurant worker to a jaded spokesperson, he discussed bad tippers, conversations in the restaurant, meals and morals. In 2008, his writings became the book "Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip — Confessions of a Cynical Waiter," at which point the author gave up his anonymity to appear in bookstore promotions and interviews.

Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman, has written her eponymous blog since 2006 and has quickly become a best-selling photographer, author, writer and food show personality. Drummond, born in Oklahoma and educated at USC, met her husband, changed all her plans and moved back to Oklahoma to live and work on a cattle ranch, homeschooling her four children and writing about it all.

Her three children's books and four adult books (including a biography and three best-selling cookbooks) have received wide interest, and her work has been optioned to become a motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon. She was even featured in a recent cover story in Sunday Parade, which is distributed throughout the country. With a down-to-earth country feel, fun commentary, crisp photography and descriptive recipes, she has become an American blogging sensation.

From a personal challenge to a permanent record, blogs can become books. These blogs and others have become popular books at the Newport Beach Public Library. Visit the library to find your way to blogging and cooking and reading entertainment.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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