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What YA Author Lois Lowry Can’t Live Without

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked legendary young-adult novelist Lois Lowry, author of A Summer to Die, Newbery Award winner Number the Stars, and (of course) The Giver quartet, about the Patriots T-shirt, lemon-pear marmalade, and SPF moisturizer she can’t live without.

I’m wearing a pair as we speak. The reason I actually know that these are the most comfortable shoes is because I have a granddaughter in grad school in Germany, and in the summertime, she works in the German post office. She has to drive in a bright-yellow car and wear a bright-yellow uniform driving around rural Germany delivering mail. It’s strenuous, and these are the shoes she wears. I honestly have maybe six or seven pairs and just ordered two in black.

They’re available at Jet for cheaper on select styles, too.

I live in a small town in Maine, where there’s a bookstore I go to often. They happen to sell these Tate’s cookies right near the cash register there, and one of the employees told me that there’s a computer system that tells them what the best seller every week is at the store. Clearly, this week it’ll be the Michael Wolff book, whatever it’s titled, but most weeks, it’s Tate’s Ginger Zinger cookies! It’s right there by the cash register, so you can’t not grab them. They have chunks of crystallized ginger and are just great. They do sell other kinds of Tate’s, but I’ve never bought those.

I’m currently in a love-hate relationship with this luggage. I needed new luggage, and I saw that these have great wheels, plus all those things you want suitcases to have. What I really loved was that it had a built-in locking mechanism, which is just the best. I have a whole history of suitcases on which dangle those little padlocks, to which I can no longer remember the combination. However, I used to like that you could plug your phone into your carry-on while you’re sitting and waiting at the airport, but I’ve just been told that the airlines are making you take the battery out of the suitcase so that’s no longer operative. That could be a class-action lawsuit. [Editor’s note: You do have to take the battery out of the suitcase if you check it, but not if you use it as a carry-on.]

I have a dog and two houses, and therefore he has two different collars. Each has his name (Alfie) and his phone number for each house. He wanders around, and more than once we’ve gotten a phone call to ask, “Are you missing a dog?” These Orvis collars are handsome, and you can get them in different colors — it’s just a very cool dog collar. I came across it leafing through the Orvis catalogue when I was probably looking for sweaters.

We often lose our electricity in Maine because of the weather, and so we always have to keep a flashlight in every room because you never know when you’ll be plunged into blackness. There are a zillion different flashlights, and I even bought one from this terrible website called wish.com. Have you ever heard of it? Well, it has everything you could want, whether a flashlight or umbrella or sweater, and it sells them for a pittance. I made the mistake of ordering what I thought looked like a great flashlight for $1.50, but when it arrived, it takes batteries that aren’t sold in the United States. And you can’t return it because it’s coming from China and there’s no return policy. Anyway, Maglite is the famous and reliable and probably too expensive flashlight I’m now using instead.

So I personally was responsible for the Super Bowl win of the Patriots last winter. You may recall they were playing Atlanta, and at the half, they were losing badly, like 21-3. I had friends over, and I suddenly said, “I’m not wearing my Tom Brady T-shirt!” and went into the bedroom and changed into the shirt. And in the next two quarters, they got 25 more points. So now I have my T-shirt at the ready for this year’s Super Bowl.

It’s so boring, but my father was a dentist, so I’m obsessed by dental products. This is a particularly good dental floss that I stock up on. My father would be smiling in his grave if he knew that. I probably have a lifetime supply. I can’t describe it well enough to tell you why it’s so great, but if you have extensive dental work as I have, it feels right on your implants.

I’m 80 years old, and my hair has always been blonde (I’m Scandinavian), and now it’s gray or white or some noncolor. Growing up, I would always get bad sunburns, and my father would get so pissed off at me because girls would go out and bake in the sun, and then you pay the price when you’re older. Now I’m older and wiser and really like this one. I hate the sunscreens with such high SPF that they’re thick and feel like lard. This doesn’t.

I have a summer home from May to October in rural Maine, and I look out my windows at apple trees in the morning, and they’re surrounded by deer. I’ve already gotten Lyme disease once, and it was not pleasant, so I’ve become meticulous about insect repellents. Most of them feel yucky on your skin, but this just goes on and feels like water.

Stonewall Kitchen is a Maine company that’s very popular, started by two guys who had stone walls (I think they were two gay guys), and I drive by their headquarters often and have a zillion of their products. I like them all, but this one in particular because I’m a wonderful — I don’t want to say wonderful, but enthusiastic and experimental; I guess imaginative is the right word — I’m an imaginative cook, and this is something I would smear on a pork roast or on an English muffin in the morning. It’s a nice, unusual pairing of flavors that you wouldn’t think of, but that works very well on lots of different things.

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What YA Author Lois Lowry Can’t Live Without