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July 2011 (137 posts)
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.
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: Ann Patchett's new bookstore.
All of us have wondered, at one time or another, what it would be like to try a different profession—maybe without giving up the one we've already got. This week the Los Angeles Times reported that writer Ann Patchett—the genius behind this summer's beloved and bestselling novel State of Wonder—has just announced she's opening up her own bookstore in her hometown of Nashville. "I see this as a gift to the city," Patchett said. "Not as an investment, not as a smart business move, but really as somebody who loves Nashville..."
We chatted with Patchett about the nitty gritty of owning a store—from managing two careers to interviewing in-store pets.
Oprah.com: What kind of books do you want to feature: the classics? Modern fiction? Do you have something unexpected or quirky that you'd love to put on that front table or in its own section?
Ann Patchett: I'm an equal opportunity bookseller, though I will admit I despise furious political nonfiction built on rumors and mean-spiritedness. I'd like to not sell any of those. I certainly will want a little table of books I love and love to recommend, like Edith Pearlman's short stories, and Jeanette Haien's tiny and utterly perfect novel, The All of It, and, of course Moss Hart's autobiography, Act One. I'm just broken-hearted that I've already read Act One. It makes me feel better to think that other people are reading it.
Sauteed lettuce. This is part of a ramen-crusted skate recipe, but I'd skip the fish (leave dredging skate in instant-ramen breadcrumbs to Chang) and go straight to the vegetable: Add a head or two of iceberg or butter lettuce, torn, to a skillet that's already sizzling with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil and a "nice big knob of butter." Toss in a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the lettuce is wilted but not completely slack, one or two minutes. Chang gives bonus points if you season it with a dash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon.
We were happy to find the American Trauma Center's interactive map that allows us to spot "safety zones" at a glance--because a skilled medical professional is more valuable in a health emergency than an expert pie-maker (unless a margherita pizza is your dying wish). The purple splotches denote areas where advanced trauma care is just 45 minutes to an hour away. Looking at the map, we were startled to see that some popular summer destinations fall into the country's most unsafe areas.
If you never know what to expect from your hair in the morning, you're going to love the new (free!) app "Curls on the Go." The creators of NaturallyCurly.com worked with a chemist to create an equation based on temperature, precipitation, humidity and dew point that provides you with a daily, 3-day, or weekend frizz forecast, tailored to your kind of curls and where you live.
You can also browse a list of products recommended to keep things under control. They're road-tested and reviewed by women with a curl pattern similar to yours (the app breaks curls down into 9 types--from wavy swavy to kinky ziggly). Plus, there's advice from experts, a salon-finder to help you locate stylists in your area who specialize in cutting and styling curls, and how-to videos so you can treat your hair like a pro. With this tech-y tool in hand, you'll never have to guess about what Mother Nature has in store for your curls--making bad hair days a thing of the past.
Keep reading for more curly hair advice:
Curls gone flat? Val explains why and what to do about it
The best products for your hair type
Every week, we'll be letting you know about new releases the editors at O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. On sale today, a paperback that's required reading for anybody whose battled tragedy—without surrendering to the emotional monsters and muck. If you missed it in hardcover, please, please don't let it slip you by at the bookstore.
by Karen Russell
The genius plot: A 13-year-old girl tries to save her family's Florida alligator park while her sister communes with swamp ghosts and her brother works at the competing mega-attraction the World of Darkness.
The twist: Expect the heartbreaking and true, not just the wacky and possibly paranormal.
The riveting opening scene: "Mom swam...the entire length of the lake. People screamed and pointed whenever an alligator swam into the spotlight with her, a plump and switching tail cutting suddenly into its margarine wavelength, the spade of the monster's face jawing up at her side."
The moment that changes everything: "Hilola Jane Bigtree, world-class alligator wrestler, terrible cook, mother of three died in dryland hospital bed in West Davey on an overcast Wednesday March 10, at 3:12 p.m."
The bit of reptilian trivia we'll always remember: Alligators can run faster than Arabian horses on land.
A crucial element to savory tomato pies is cheese: Art Smith's Tomato Pie uses grated cheddar or Pepper Jack and Parmesan, the perfect foil for yellow and red baby pear tomatoes. Bon Appetit's Tomato and Cheddar Pie is heavy on the extra-sharp cheddar, plus some Parmesan too. And Williams-Sonoma's Savory Skillet Pie gets some kick from the one-two punch of cheddar and bacon.
Why should sweet pies get all the love this summer?
The pie Oprah can't stop raving about
Beefsteak Tomato Tart with Asiago Cheese and Thyme
Last week, the Institute of
Medicine, a leading medical advisory panel, recommended that all insurers
be required to cover FDA-approved contraceptives for women free of charge—that is, no co-pays or deductibles required. This is part of a set of eight empowering
recommendations that also include free preventative services like screening for gestational diabetes and lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding
(for example, rentals of breast pumps that would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars). You can read about all of the IOM's recommendations on the organization's website.
The next step is for the Department of Health and Human Services to review the IOM's report and make the final decision. Although the DHHS could act within the next few weeks, the earliest we'd see this affect our insurance plans (and our pocketbooks) would be January 2013.
Monday is too stressful. Wednesday is already hump day. But Tuesday is "you" day: a day when you have the energy to do—or plan—something fresh and unexpected that might just turn your whole week around.
Squeeze the juice—and antioxidants—out of the last few days of July, also known as National Blueberry Month. Whip up a fresh, cool brain-boosting blueberry smoothie.
When the heat goes on and on and up and up: Here's how to cool off without air conditioning or how to boost the cooling power of your air conditioning—without tools or big investments of time and money.
Get ready to make some unexpected friends in public places. How to make conversation with strangers this Friday, National Talk-in-the-Elevator Day.
Walking along the wet sand, collecting seashells, is one of summer's most unforgettable pleasures. Learn how to identify their real names—from Scotch Bonnet to the Paper Fig.
Out of vacation days? Take yourself on fantasy trip to the beach...or Paris.