Book of the Day Archive

May 21, 2020

I ran barefoot across the meadow toward the river. Once among the trees, I flung off my clothes, grabbed my favorite low-hanging branch, swung out across the river, and let go. A perfect landing!

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May 20, 2020

On a continent of many songs, in a country shaped like the arm of a tall guitarrista, the rain drummed down on the town of Temuco. Neftali Reyes sat in his bed, propped up by pillows, and stared at the schoolwork in front of him. His teacher called it simple addition, but it was never simple for him.

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May 15, 2020

True! —nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am, but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?

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May 14, 2020

Public school kids always ask, How do you meet guys if you go to an all-girls school? Immaculate Heart Academy is named for the pure love of God that flows through Mary’s heart. But here’s the real reason why our logo is a hunk of dripping muscle: five hundred girls in red plaid skirts. Even if we brushed with garlic toothpaste we couldn’t keep the vampires away.

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May 13, 2020

In the spring of 1865, as rain softened the hard ground, plenty of work was found for every pair of hands on the Williams plantation in Camden, Arkansas, despite the Civil War, which was still raging at the end of its fourth year.

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May 8, 2020

Edward watched intently as his father struggled into the blue uniform coat that he had made when he was elected captain of the Guilderland militia. It was a fine thing, he thought, to have Captain Teunis Van Alstyne for one’s father, but he did wish that someday, just once even, his father would take the Spanish Gun to the muster.

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May 7, 2020

Aisha stood in the middle of her room holding the letter, spacing out. She could hear her mother Louise laughing at something on television, no doubt stretched out on her bed as usual. It seemed like ages ago that her mother worked in a laundromat, washing and folding clothes.

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May 6, 2020

If you hit your head hard enough, your brain gets shaken up inside your skull. You might see stars or pass out for a few minutes, and after that, a bunch of things happen. It doesn’t matter how you got hurt–whether you slipped on ice or had a car accident or fell from a tree. People will start flashing lights in your eyes, talking about concussions and traumatic brain injury. And even though your head hurts and you’re exhausted, they won’t want you to go to sleep.

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May 1, 2020

Okay. Awago Beach is this place where my family goes every summer. Ever since…..like forever.

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April 30, 2020

Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit with you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit with the man from the corner shop instead–but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold Coca-Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again.

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April 29, 2020

The women resemble schoolgirls with gangly limbs, ruddy cheeks, plaited flaxen hair; they walk holding hands. Yet the older of the two is pregnant; her unborn baby rides high and round. And the younger woman’s left foot scratches a path through the leaves. She seems comfortable with her limp, accustomed to it.

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April 24, 2020

#437: the stupidest name for a sport is football. Why isn’t it called tackleball? Real football is soccer. Soccer is the second-stupidest name for a sport, unless it was the name for female boxing. But female boxing is already called boxing, even though boxing should be the sport to see who can pack up stuff, like clothes, the fastest. Why isn’t that a sport? If it was a sport, Ma would be a world-champion boxer.

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April 23, 2020

The pledge masters marched the fifteen pledges to the middle of the soggy yard. The ground was muddy and squished as they walked, and the frigid air whipped across the pledges’ wet T-shirts. Sharp needles of rain stung them as they stood there silenly waiting for instructions.

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April 22, 2020

Lorenzo Santillan had always been different. It might have been his head. When he was a a few months old, his mother dropped him on a curb in Zitacuaro, a town of about 100,000 people in the Mexican state of Michoacan. He already had an odd, pear-shaped head, but now he developed a lump on his forehead. Laura Alicia Santillan was worried. She decided that he needed better medical attention than he was getting in Mexico, so she began the long journey to the United States, eventually slinking through a tunnel under the border with Lorenzo in 1988. Lorenzo was nine months old. She was motivated by a simple desire. “We came to the U. S. to fix his head,” she says.

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April 17, 2020

The first time Teresa saw Brother was the way she would think of him ever after. Tree fell head over heels for him. It was love at first sight in the wild beating of her heart that took her breath. But it was a dark Friday three weeks later when it rained, hard and wicked, before she knew Brother Rush was a ghost.

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April 16, 2020

There came a time when the American people began to forget God. They turned away from His churches and grew arrogant and stupid. God needed a Prophet, and He chose a man called Beaton Frick. Frick was pure of heart and mighty of resources; he lived in a kingdom called Florida.

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April 15, 2020

In and around the Hillsboro Courthouse. The foreground is the actual courtroom, with a jury box, judge’s bench, and a scattering of trial-scarred chairs and counsel tables. The back wall of the courtroom is non-existent. On a raked level above it is the courthouse square, the Main Street and the converging streets of the town. this is not so much a literal view of Hillsboro as it is an impression of a sleepy, obscure country town about to be vigorously awakened.

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April 10, 2020

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.

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April 9, 2020

School was finally out and I was standing on a picnic table in our backyard getting ready for a great summer vacation when my mother walked up to me and ruined it.

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April 8, 2020

The story I am about to share with takes place in 1931, under the roofs of Paris.

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April 3, 2020

Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Here is the family. Mother, Father, Dick, and Jane live in the green-and-white house. They are very happy. See Jane. She has a red dress. She wants to play. Who will play with Jane?

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April 2, 2020

All he could see, in every direction, was water. It was late June 1943. Somewhere on the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Army Air Forces bombardier and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay across a small raft, drifting westward.

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April 1, 2020

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself tranformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

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March 27, 2020

I had a transcendental moment on the plane, eating my Haagen-Daz ice cream and listening to Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse macabre. Oh, by the way, I’m on the plane right now. It’s really hard to tell what time of day it is, and I can’t sleep. It’s still 7 hours till the plane arrives, but I’m already wondering what I’m supposed to do when I get off the plane (My Dad tried to walk me through it, but I forgot which order it’s supposed to go in).

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March 26, 2020

I like to think I know what death is. I like to think that it’s something I could look at straight.

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March 25, 2020

When I left my office that beautiful spring day, I had no idea what was in store for me. To begin with, everything was too perfect for anything unusual to happen.

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March 20, 2020

The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent promised to fly from Mercy to the other side of Lake Superior at three o’clock. Two days before the event was to take place he tacked a note on the door of his little yellow house: At 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 18th of February, 1931, I will take off from Mercy and fly away on my own wings. Please forgive me. I loved you all.

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March 19, 2020

It is starting like this. I am feeling itch like insect is crawling on my skin, and then my head is just starting to tingle right between my eye, and then I am wanting to sneeze because my nose is itching, and then air is just blowing into my ear and I am hearing so many thing: the clicking of insect, the sound of truck grumbling like one kind of animal, and the the sound of somebody shouting, TAKE YOUR POSITION RIGHT NOW! QUICK! QUICK! MOVE WITH SPEED! MOVE FAST OH! in voice that is just touching my body like knife.

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March 18, 2020

When my mother was pregnant with me, she told me later, a party of hooded Ku Klux Klan riders galloped up to our home in Omaha, Nebraska, one night.

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March 13, 2020

All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn’t his. Another guy I knew really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunman after the war. And so on. I’ve changed all the names.

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