This month, we’ve got some new technology finds, including a music website that offers playlists for every occasion; the niftiest headphones bursting with color and sound; and iPad cases that are so pretty, you’ll want more than one. Plus, a great read you can upload to your reading tablet or stow in your beach bag for those last days of summer.
Get ready for the trendiest back-to-school item to hit the shelves this fall! J.Crew has partnered with the Scandinavian audio geniuses at Urbanears to create kid-friendly and fun headphones for all ages and personalities. They are one-size-fits-all and come in an array of unique colors such as “tomato,” “vintage berry,” and “mustard.” They even collapse so that they can be easily thrown into a lunchbox or a backpack without crushing them during activities. The sound is high quality with Urbanears’ signature “zound plug” and built-in play/pause button. Don’t forget to pick up a pair for your up-and-coming music-lovers and audiophiles this fall at jcrew.com. -RJG
By Chris Cleave
Simon & Schuster, $27
Kate and Zoe met at 19 when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling. Now at 32, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose. Kate is the more naturally gifted, but the demands of her life have a tendency to slow her down. Her 8-year-old daughter Sophie is fighting a recurrence of the leukemia that nearly killed her three years ago. Kate knows her daughter is fragile, but at the height of her last frenetic months of training, might she be blind to the most terrible prognosis? Zoe is intense and aloof, her compulsive need to win at any cost has more than once threatened her friendship with Kate—and her own sanity. Will she allow her obsession and the advantage she has over Kate to break the bond they have shared for more than a decade? Chris Cleave examines the values that lie at the heart of our relationships, and the choices we make when everything is on the line. -SB
Lately, I’ve noticed that every time I enter a coffee shop I am bombarded by technology. And I am not talking about what is going on behind the barista. It seems as if everyone, age 13 and up, has some form of communication device on their person at all times, myself included. But last year, when I finally (finally!) bit the bullet and invested in an iPad, I desperately wanted to at least try and make an effort to stand out from the Starbucks crowd. Alas, my search for a unique iPad case turned up cold. Apparently, everyone shops at the same store for iPad cases! Enter Nico and Lala, two Southern belle transplants in Chicago, and their colorful, preppy, and completely customizable merchandise, including, you guessed it, iPad cases! I was sold. With designs varying from leopard print to chevron stripes, these ladies know how to accessorize anything. Each case can be adorned with initials of your choice making the case yours, or a very thoughtful gift. Check out Nico and Lala’s full line, including stationery, calendars, cocktail trays, and, of course, iPad cases! nicoandlala.com-KM
Popular music portals like iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora offer fountains of artists, genres, and podcasts for all melody-minded and music-obsessed. But if you’re the kind of person always looking for new ways of browsing tunes, Camelback Music is a unique music blog with endless pages of fun, upbeat songs that you won’t find anywhere else. Cam Mullen, CEO and founder of Camelback, started compiling playlists of his favorite remixes, DJs, and house music before his freshman year at Vanderbilt University. Since then, Cam and his three best friends have transformed the site from a small experiment in their Connecticut homes to one of the most major music blogs on the Internet. From hip-hop and electro to pop and alternative, Camelback Music provides playlists for every occasion from spring break to study mixes. Check out camelbackmusic.com for cool beats and even cooler apparel exclusive to the site. -RJG