Book of the Day Archive
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.
October 30, 2020
The smell of blood, warm and wet, rose from the floor and settled into the solemn stillness of the hospital air. I could feel it like an unhurried chill in my joints, a slow-moving red that smoldered in a floating either of dull, gray smoke. All around me, the bare walls expanded and converged into a relentless stretch of white. The bedsheet white of the hallway was an anxious white I knew by heart. White, the color of mourning, the standard color for ghosts, bones, and funerals, swallowed in the surface calm of the hospital halls.
October 29, 2020
Something will be lit on fire today. Noses and windows will get busted. Girls will cry. It’s the last day of school, and endings are always extreme. Like the Great Tribulation before the Rapture, the sun and air dark with smoke, armies of locusts with faces like men, tails like scorpions, two hundred million riding to cleanse the earth of those who lack the seal of God on their forehead.
October 28, 2020
My name is Cally Louise Fisher, and I haven’t spoken for thirty-one days. Talking doesn’t always make things happen, however much you want it to. Think of rain; it just happens when it happens.
October 23, 2020
I was born a colored man and don’t you forget it. But I lived as a colored woman for seventeen years.
October 22, 2020
Bernadette Terrell came home from school and caught her mother snooping in her room. It was an accidental bust.
October 21, 2020
El Bajio, Mexico, 1870: They all gave him different names. The authorities, who had been trying for months to catch him, called him El Lobo, The Wolf. La Legion called him Le Loup.
October 16, 2020
The accused man, Kabuo Miyamoto, sat proudly upright with a rigid grace, his palms placed softly on the defendant’s table–the posture of a man who has detached himself insofar as this is possible at his own trial.
October 15, 2020
When people ask me what I do–taxi drivers, dental hygienists–I tell them I work in an office. In almost nine years, no one’s ever asked what kind of office, or what sort of job I do there.
October 14, 2020
Chicago, my hometown. We call it Chi-town. Where bulls rule the city…and Al Capone was a real gangster who lived and died here. My Grandma says that just a few blocks away from my house Muddy Waters invented Chicago blues.
October 9, 2020
To think, only yesterday I was in chancletas, sipping lemonade and watching my twin cousins run through the sprinkler in the yard. Now I’m here in Mr. Patchett’s class, sweating in my polyester school blazer and waiting for this torture to be over.
October 8, 2020
And I could only have seen her there on the stone bridge, a dancer wreathed in ghostly blue, because that was the way they would have taken her back when I was young, back when the Virginia earth was still red as brick and red with life, and though there were other bridges spanning the river Goose, they would have bound her and brought her across this one, because this was the bridge that fed into the turnpike that twisted its way through the green hills and down the valley before bending in one direction and that direction was south.
October 7, 2020
Eight mornings before running away, I found myself at McDonald’s, wondering about the direction of my life. It was one of those moments that should have felt important. I should have said to myself, Hey self, you’re having a Pivotal Moment in a Sentimental Place.
October 2, 2020
Babygirl doesn’t even cry when I suck my teeth and undo her braid for the fourth time. If anything, I’m the one on the verge of tears, since at this rate we’re both going to be late.
October 1, 2020
Though brilliantly sunny, Saturday morning was overcoat weather again, not just topcoat weather, as it had been all week and as everyone had hoped it would stay for the big weekend–the weekend of the Yale game.
September 30, 2020
Flora Belle Buckman was in her room at her desk. She was very busy. She was doing two things at once. She was ignoring her mother, and she was also reading a comic book entitled, “The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto!”
September 25, 2020
At the police station in La Abra, I’m frisked: arms above my head and my legs spread apart while someone runs his hands across my body, my face hot and my heart thudding so hard I’m sure he can hear it, and I’m too afraid to ask what’s going on. When he’s done, I’m taken to a cramped, stuffy room with no windows and a door that shuts heavy and holds the sound in the room like a trap.
September 24, 2020
Steam belched and hissed. Sweat trickled down the back of my neck. Smaug the Terrible was furious with me. “What does it mean, ‘filter error’?” I asked.
September 23, 2020
“Mama, are you a virgin?” I was practicing the question in my head as I set the plates with the faded roosters down on the shiny yellow table. When Mama came back into the kitchen to stir the rice or turn the fish sticks or check on the greens, I would ask her.
September 18, 2020
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die. Even under the brightest sun, the frigid autumn sea is all the colors of the night: dark blue and black and brown. I watch the ever-changing patterns in the sand as it’s pummeled by countless hooves. They run the horses on the beach, a pale road between the black water and the chalk cliffs. It is never safe, but it’s never so dangerous as today, race day.
September 17, 2020
“I’ll race you to the corner, Ellen!” Annemarie adjusted the thick leather pack on her back so that her schoolbooks balanced evenly. “Ready?’ She looked at her best friend. Ellen made a face. “No,” she said, laughing. “You know I can’t beat you–my legs aren’t as long. Can’t we just walk, like civilized people?”
September 16, 2020
Something you should know up front about my family: We believe that Jesus is coming back. We believe heaven is a real place with gates of pearl and streets of gold, just as hell is a real place of eternal fire and torment.
September 11, 2020
Before we get started, I just want to make one thing clear about the guys I hang out. I did not, do not, and will not ever endorse our “name” or “motto”.
September 10, 2020
On moonless nights the men and boys of Jableh, a dusty fishing town on the coast of Syria, would gather their lanterns and set out in their quietest boats. Five or six small craft, two or three fishermen in each. A mile out, they would arrange the boats in a circle on the black sea, drop their nets, and, holding their lanterns over the water, they would approximate the moon.