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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 hidden life of bookstores.
Do you remember the fairy tale where little elves popped out of the woodwork at night and helped the cobbler repair his shoes? Personally, I've always imagined similar creatures living at my local bookstore—tiny, luminous Tinkerbells restocking the picture books, surprisingly silent giants transporting boxes of dictionaries and atlases, a very organized troll in charge of the whole operation from the cashier's counter.
Turns out I was wrong. People set up bookstores. People who move very, very, very fast—as Galley Cat proved to me in this silly, surprising video of a bookstore built in one minute, 17 seconds.
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.
* You don't have to be a sports fan to appreciate the Flannel of the Month blog which tells the stories behind historical baseball shirts. [Flannel of the Month]
* On this week's Moth podcast, TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone tells the sweet, funny story of using a traumatic event from his childhood to shield his daughter from the world's impatience. [The Moth]
* "When I read about people of great character like this, I am inspired to stay true to my own values, give back to the world, and be thankful for the freedoms we all take for granted."—Gary Sinise on Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini, a juvenile delinquent turned Olympic runner turned World War II POW. [O Magazine]
* "Raise the aesthetic standard—the public is more perceptive than you think."—Walter Allner, the art director famous for getting everyone in the Time Life building to leave their lights on to spell out 500 for a Fortune cover, who died this week at 97. [NYTimes.com]
"When reading facial expressions, different cultures home in on different parts of the face. In the United States, we focus on mouths; the Japanese, by contrast, search for feeling in the eyes. These emoticons say it all."
Keep Reading: 6 reasons to smile now
When Congress decided to ban the energy-sapping bulb, though, Hasbro engineers were faced with a challenge. But kitchen-minded kids (and their parents) can relax: The oven isn't going the way of the Atari 2600. It's evolving--something that's actually very much in the spirit of the Easy-Bake, which has spawned a gourmet Easy-Bake cookbook with recipes from famous chefs, recipes sites that include such creations as Wild Mushroom Flan, and even a PC that let you cook pancakes at your desk (okay, that one isn't real, but wouldn't it be fantastic?).
The latest incarnation of the Easy-Bake, which goes on sale this fall, has a fancy internal heating element instead of a light bulb, and doors on the left and right sides instead of in front. Such innovations--plus a larger cooking chamber and baking pan--blow the menu of baking options wide open to include cookies, red velvet cupcakes, pizza, pretzels, cinnamon twists and brownie sticks.
As much as I love the idea of an almost 50-year-old toy getting a modern makeover (and we're nothing if not fans of constant evolution), I think Michelle Paolino, VP of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro Girls Brands, put it best. She has strong ties to the Easy-Bake, having played with one as a kid in the early '80s, and she was excited work on the update: "A lot has changed," she says, "but that feeling of creation is still really relevant today."
When In Doubt, Bake
7 Decadent, Retro Desserts
Common Baking Pitfalls
You're two days away from the weekend. Here are a few fun finds to help the time go by faster:
Dining Room Measuring Spoons, $24. Why save the good silver when you can put it to use everyday? So much prettier than the plastic kind--you might be tempted to keep them on display instead of tucking them back into the kitchen drawer.
Magic Wand Programmable TV Remote, $90. Calling all Harry Potter fans! Control your television with this magic wand; it learns up to 13 commands from your existing remote and maps each to a unique motion (flicking the wand from side to side changes the channel, flicking up increases the volume--and you can do it all minus the Hogwarts degree).
Joie de Vivre Banner, $10. Celebrate life (or a friend's birthday) by hanging this festive French phrase on the wall or above a door.
Creme Filled Cookie Soaps, $5. Give these chocolate-scented, Oreo-shaped soaps to your favorite cookie monster.
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: A love letter to the paperbacks we've left behind.
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.