Book of the Day Archive
January 15, 2021
Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
January 14, 2021
This is a true story. We are real people. We started out as kids in the toughest neighborhoods of Newark, New Jersey, and today we are doctors.
January 13, 2021
Naledi and Tiro were worried. Their baby sister, Dineo, was ill, very ill. For three days now, Nono, their granny, had been trying to cool her fever with damp cloths placed on her little head and body.
January 8, 2021
Intriguing Fact: The word “psychology” comes from the Greek word “psyche.” It means the study of the mind. I don’t want anyone to study my mind. That’s just creepy. But Dad says I no longer have a choice.
January 7, 2021
I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it. Mine is the historian’s task, to record the events of the last century, showing God’s mighty hand in ridding these southern lands between the Garona and the Rose rivers of the heresy of the Albigensians.
January 1, 2021
Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow’s nest, being the ship’s eyes. We were two nights out of Sydney, and there’d been no weather to speak of so far.
December 30, 2020
Who are you, Sylvia Plath? A cold comet locked in place by gravity? A glint in the cracked ceiling above my bed? Something shimmers out of your chasm. Your language feels like words trapped under my tongue that I can’t quite spit out on my own.
December 31, 2020
He rode into the dark of the woods and dismounted. He crawled upward on his belly over cool rocks out into the sunlight, and suddenly he was in the open and he could see for miles, and there was the whole vast army below him, filling the valley like a smoking river.
December 25, 2020
One Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound–a sound a friend told me I’d never hear–the ringing of Santa’s sleigh. “There is no Santa,” my friend had insisted, but I knew he was wrong.
December 24, 2020
She is plucking her bird of paradise of its dead branches, leaning around the plant every time she hears a car. The woman will never find the old house behind the hedge of towering hibiscus at the bend of the dirt road. Not a gringa dominicana in a rented car with a road map asking for street names!
December 23, 2020
This was the beginning. Angie bit the end of her thumbnail awaiting the result. She had –unwittingly–found a rival. A rival was the last thing she needed halfway into her rerun of a freshman year.
December 18, 2020
I shall never forget the first time I laid these now tired old eyes on our visitor. I had been left home by the family with the admonition to take care of the house until they returned.
December 17, 2020
Shirley, my grandmother, was in study hall when Joe, my grandfather, walked in for the first time. As Shirley always told the story, she stopped on a dime at the sight of him.
December 16, 2020
I am the voice in the dark, calling out for your help. I am the quiet voice that you hope will not turn to silence, the voice you want to keep hearing cos it means someone is still alive. I am the voice calling for you to come and dig me out. I am the voice in the dark, asking you to unbury me, to bring me from the grave out into the light, like a zombi.
December 11, 2020
To us it is just dirt, the ground we walk on. Scoop up a handful. The gritty grains slip between your fingers. On wet days, heavy with rainwater, it is cool and squishy, mud pie heaven.
December 10, 2020
Nicholas Young slumped into the nearest seat in the hotel lobby, drained from the sixteen-hour flight from Singapore, the train ride from Heathrow Airport, and trudging through the rain-soaked streets. His cousin Astrid Leong shivered stoically next to him, all because her mother, Felicity, his dai gu cheh–or “big aunt” in Cantonese–said it was a sin to take a taxi nine blocks and forced everyone to walk all the way from Piccadilly Tube Station.
December 9, 2020
There are plenty would call her a slut for it. Me, I was just glad she had shown me. Now I could get this embarrassment off me. Now I knew what to do when it stuck out its dim one-eyed head.
December 4, 2020
Forget him not. Though if I could, I would forget much of that racial memory. No: I remember, like a haunted tree set off from other trees in the wildwood by one bare bough.
December 3, 2020
June 17, 1972. Nine o’clock Saturday morning. Early for the telephone. Woodward fumbled for the receiver and snapped awake.
December 2, 2020
The king is ready for war. Louis of France is not yet thirty, and already he is the greatest king in Europe. He loves his subjects. He loves God. And his armies have never been defeated. This war, though is different. He is not fighting another army. He is not fighting another king. He is fighting three children. And their dog.
November 27, 2020
Dear Mr S Harris, Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It’s jam, not blood, though I don’t think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn’t your wife’s jam the police found on your shoe.
November 20, 2020
Once upon a time. Upon a time? Something got on a time? What is a time? When it got on a time, could it get off? Could it get on a time two times? Three times?
November 19, 2020
The first I heard of the beach was in Bangkok, on the Ko Sanh Road. The Ko Sanh Road was backpacker land. Almost all the buildings had been converted to guest houses, there were long-distance telephone booths with air-con, the cafes showed brand-new Hollywood films on video, and you couldn’t walk ten feet without passing a bootleg tape stall.
November 18, 2020
You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to inform his surroundings of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long. So the idea had barely taken hold in the old man’s head before he opened the window of his room on the ground floor of the Old Folks’ Home in the town of Malmkoping, and stepped out–into the flower bed.
November 13, 2020
Carswell, North Carolina, August 1965. The summer before fourth grade, the summer before Roland. Addie is playing with her little brother in the blow-up pool under the poplar tree, in the shade. Fair-skinned children. Claree, their mother, doesn’t want them to burn.
November 12, 2020
Anyone who watches even the slightest amount of TV is familiar with the scene: An agent knocks on the door of some seemingly ordinary home or office. The door opens, and the person holding the knob is asked to identify himself. The agent then says, “I’m going to ask you to come with me.”
November 11, 2020
These Kurbs owned an Island as well as the sky above it. And with their POWER they controlled both day and night. For Kurbs have always thrived in darkness, turning to the dark as moths turn to light.
November 6, 2020
That morning, after he discovered the tiger, Rob went and stood under the Kentucky Star Motel sign and waited for the school bus just like it was any other day.
November 5, 2020
I’m a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks. I’m seventeen years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I’m six-foot-one. I have a crew cut, yes a crew cut, sallow skin, and the kind of mouth that puckers when I breathe. I’m wearing a shirt that reads MIAMI BEACH–SPRING BREAK 1997, and huge, bland tan pants–the only kind of pants I own. Eight pairs, all tan.
November 4, 2020
I have kept only three possessions from my childhood. Each one is a book. The first is a coil-bound sketch pad with a cover made of heavy cardboard, a muted olive green. the pages are filled with drawings — of trees and flowers, of animals and soft nudes, but also of fantastic creatures, some beautiful, some hideous, entwined and growing out of one another, out of eyes, bellies, tongues, mouths.