|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Each week, we'll be letting you know about the new releases the editors of O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're obsessing over the short-story collection:
The News from Spain
By Joan Wickersham
A woman who's been married for 26 years—and whose husband has just had an affair—connects with an old friend on the eve of his wedding to a woman he doesn't love. The middle-aged owner of a bookstore tries to balance two deep and demanding attachments: a feverish reconnection with her elderly, ailing mother and a wild romance with a male customer. In each of these seven piercing stories, author Joan Wickersham reveals uncanny and complex parallels that occur when very different people love each other under very similar circumstances. What ostensibly links the tales is that somewhere along the line, the characters receive news from Spain. That news can be metaphorical (one twosome receives theirs via the wind rushing through a seashell on a beach) or realistic (a young bride is informed of her husband's death in Madrid). Furthermore, the stories all feature the same title, "The News from Spain," because each one is—in subtle, structural ways—a retelling of the previous tale. This tight organization displays a virtuosic control by the author, but the more compelling triumph is Wickersham's emotional cannonball into every single one of her characters. The masterpiece of the collection comes on page 79, when she explores the relationship between a paralyzed ex-ballerina and her gay caretaker, Malcolm. Malcolm's boyfriend is working in Europe, and so is the ex-ballerina's husband. Neither Malcolm nor his charge is sure whether his or her respective partner still wishes to be with him or her. The doubts and tenderness they share with each other as they stay at home, monitoring the mail without ever openly discussing their private feelings, are excruciating—in the best ways, ones that only the finest fiction can create, because you, the reader, feel as much or more than anyone on the page, be it the private, searing heartache or the over-the-top, sloppy happiness that so often happens in real-life love.
Write your own life story
17 unforgettable books to read this month
Best-selling author and spiritual teacher Gary Zukav sits down with Oprah for a conversation about how to tap into your authentic power—a concept that has stayed with Oprah since she read about it in Gary's book Seat of the Soul 13 years ago. Watch the awakening interview and learn how to tap into your own authentic power this Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on OWN's Super Soul Sunday.
After the death of their mother, three feuding sisters are trying to come together and settle things from their past. But when deep secrets are revealed, it turns in to an even bigger task at hand. "I'm really gonna have to pull out my big guns for this one," Iyanla says. Be sure to tune in to Iyanla: Fix My Life on Saturday, October 20, at 10/9c on OWN.
It's Friday! This week we're oh-so-grateful for...
Dads sing "Little Mermaid" song at the requests of their daughters
8-year-old dresses as a different historical figure every day [via Omaha.com]
Extraordinary story about breast cancer survivor groups in areas with major ethnic conflicts [via Tablet Magazine]
In October, you were delighted by the story of Mr. T, and many of you shared that you gained a new perspective on having a rat as a pet. But before you decide to bring one home, rat expert and director of adoptions at the San Francisco SPCA Laura Routhier says there are a few things you should know.
"People tend to think rats are dirty, but they can easily be trained to use a litter box," she says. "In fact, they groom themselves almost as much as a cat." Routhier recommends getting your rat neutered or spayed, to help avoid tumors—or an unexpected litter.
She also suggests giving a rat in need a home by adopting from an animal shelter or rescue group (find one near you at adoptapet.com). "And you might want to consider which gender is better for you," Routhier says. "Females are on the go and full of energy, while males are mellow and love to be cuddled."
A: Nothing against big, sweet, heady fragrances, but the ones you've been trying may be too big, sweet, and heady, says Adam Eastwood, cofounder of luckyscent.com. He suggests you try something light and sheer with a citrus or white floral base (like gardenia or jasmine). But if you've already gone down that garden path and still smell a bit more indecorous than you'd like, you may be one of those people whose skin just doesn't tolerate fragrance. (Why the intolerance? There are so many variables in formulas and skin chemistry, it's probably impossible to determine.)
Calice Becker, executive perfumer at fragrance and flavor company Givaudan, has a solution: Spray your favorite fragrance in your hair, where it won't react with your skin. And because hair contains oils, it's very good at retaining scent, she says.
Keep in mind: Some fragrances are specially formulated for hair; try the sexy Serge Normant Avah Eau de Parfum ($60; sergenormant.com). For details see Shop Guide.