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Ruth Baron (67 posts)
It's Summer Reading Week at Oprah.com! This week we're profiling the writers and books that you love, as well as some unexpected tidbits about all things literary. Today's homage: The websites that enhance our reading experience.
Are you, like O's books editor Sara Nelson, lucky enough to read at your desk in the middle of the day without anyone flinching? No? For those of us who must remove our noses from our favorite books when duty calls, the these three sites are a great way to get your literary fix online.
1. Forgotten Bookmarks
Everyone knows used bookstores are packed with treasures just waiting to be discovered, but what we don't think about is that sometimes the best items are inside the books. This site collects the, yes, forgotten bookmarks, ranging from "oh, neat!" retro like cardboard game pieces (fittingly found inside a vintage copy of Swiss Family Robinson) to the breathtakingly personal: wedding photographs inconspicuously stashed within Pamela Wayne's Ann's an Idiot.
2. The Book Inscriptions Project
In that same vein, The Book Inscriptions Project chronicles handwritten messages readers come across in hand-me-down or borrowed books. Love letters, poetry, and the most down-to-business notes all provide a totally compelling peek into strangers' lives.
3. Slaughterhouse 90210
"Kurt Vonnegut, meet Brenda Walsh" is the tagline for this Tumblr which pairs high-minded literary quotes with stills from TV shows. Snooki and Charlotte Bronte? Lisa Simpson and Raymond Chandler? Unlikely bedfellows, sure, but matches made in heaven all the same.
Personalized Reading Recommendations from Sara Nelson
Summer Movies Inspired by Some of Our Favorite Books
An Ode to the Humble Paperback
I love a book by cramming it into a handbag even when it clearly doesn't fit, by holding it close to my chest when I'm sopping wet from a swim, by eating my dinner over it (I said mostly between my plate and my mouth), by turning the pages with so much enthusiasm that they have been known to rip. I can't help it, but I also cannot blame my mother for flat out refusing to lend me anything she hopes to reread in the future.
When Claudia Kincaid, heroine of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, grew tired of the injustice of having to both empty the dishwasher and set the table on the same night and bored of the sameness of every week, she devised a plan to break free from the monotony of everything. That plan involved running away from home to hole up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and for many readers of E.L. Konigsberg's 1977 children's classic--I include myself among them--a museum-based slumber party has long represented the ultimate escape fantasy.
I still haven't figured out a way to sleep in a bed that is also an 18th-century work of art, but the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is offering an opportunity Claudia Kincaid would have schlepped across the country for.
I have this idea. I've had it for a while. It's a good one. Are you ready? A trampoline amusement park. You're probably thinking, "I want to go there." And you might also be thinking, "Lawsuit waiting to happen." And to that I say...well, it's possible that you're right. The thing about my trampoline amusement park is that I think it would be a fun place to visit, but that doesn't mean I have any desire to invest in real estate or equipment or liability insurance or even, for that matter, the time it takes to do a Google search showing me I would apparently have a number of competitors.
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* Public Service Announcement: Father's Day is this Sunday. Whether he's a sucker for gadgets or a lover of jazz, we've got 27 unique ways (in every price range) to say, "Thanks, Dad."
* "If you're a man who abhors sexism, take up the spatula.... The only way to erase [stereotypes] from our unconscious minds is to provide our minds, and the minds of our children, with images that counter the stereotypes."—Washington Post reporter Shankar Vedantam in Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families (Algonquin Books, $15.95)
* Meet Craig Dietz, who was born without limbs, and yet swam in a 4.4 mile race earlier this week. (The Stir)
* Adorable dads pose with their equally adorable children for The Sartorialist. (Racked)
* Last we checked, thoughtful relationship advice wasn't a qualification to become People's Sexiest Man Alive, but it turns out it doesn't hurt. "Relationships ending move you from who you were to who you are at a much more accelerated rate than almost anything else on earth."—Ryan Reynolds (Details)
Imagine someone tells you a joke—in two separate languages—and not only do you not get it, but it seems like maybe you're the butt of it. It's an age-old problem, and last week it happened to the Dalai Lama on Australian TV.
Once again, His Holiness the Dalai Lama shows an uncanny knack for handling an uncomfortable situation. His response: Laughter always helps. It's a graceful demonstration of compassion for the journalist who looks desperate for a time machine, and it helps us forget that we've just heard a groan-worthy punch line.
It made us remember what the Dalai Lama once told Oprah: "I don't take myself too seriously! That makes me happy." Today it makes us happy too.
(via The Hairpin)
Do deadlines make you feel like you're unwillingly starring in an action movie and you have to choose between the red wire and the green wire while a giant clock menacingly ticks off seconds? Well, what if instead of controlling a bomb, those wires were connected to something that would release colorful balloons and confetti from the ceiling and shower everyone around you with joy just in the nick of time?
That second option is the idea behind the Twitter feed Kickstarter Hero (@ksr_hero), brainchild of Kickstarter developer Tieg Zaharia. Kickstarter is a site where you can back creative projects ranging from the functional (an incredibly simple smartphone stand) to the whimsical (an inter-species dance performance) to the downright inspired (this vertical garden is a recent favorite). Projects only get funded if 100 percent of their request is pledged by backers, so Kickstarter Hero catalogs the ones that need a little extra boost—"anything that may have fallen through the cracks," Zaharia says—and calls attention to them before their fast-approaching deadlines. There's a built-in thrill to helping someone make their creative idea into a reality, but getting to feel like Keanu Reeves in Speed while you do it? Well, we think that's worth at least $5.