Book of the Day Archive
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.
September 9, 2020
I never liked Sister Souljah, straight up.
September 4, 2020
My sister, Lynn, taught me my first word: kira-kira. I pronounced it ka-a-ahhh, but she knew what I meant. Kira-kira means “glittering” in Japanese.
September 3, 2020
The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.” Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert-clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far West than Middle West. The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, a ranch-hand nasalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetsons, and high-heeled boots with pointed toes.
September 2, 2020
Wes stared back at me after I’d asked my question, letting a moment pass and a smirk flicker across his face before responding. “I really haven’t thought too deeply about his impact on my life because, really, he didn’t have one.”
August 29, 2020
Joe Pepitone once gave me his New York Yankees baseball cap. I’m not lying. He gave it to me. To me, Doug Swieteck. To me.
August 27, 2020
Air-conditioned, odorless, illuminated by buzzing florescent tubes, the American supermarket doesn’t present itself as having very much to do with Nature. And yet what is this place if not a landscape (man-made, it’s true) teeming with plants and animals?
August 26, 2020
The blue cloud finally opens–just when the bell rings to let the Juana Ross School out for the weekend. I’d been watching the sky from the classroom windows all day, wondering just when the rain would pour down.
August 21, 2020
Every winter morning when the sun opened one eye, Dona Flor grabbed a handful of snow from the top of a nearby mountain. “Brrrrrrrr,” she said, rubbing the snow on her face to wake up.
August 20, 2020
Sing to me of the Man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.
August 19, 2020
The boy stands alone by the door of the cabin, in the radiant warmth of the bright Arctic sun. Strewn in the mud at his feet are the heads of a half-dozen mallards, their eyes gazing skyward, their scalps slick with blood, their necks hacked clean through.
August 14, 2020
My hands aren’t really clean until I’ve washed them twelve times, one for each year of my life. I soap-rinse-one soap-rinse-two soap-rinse-three soap-rinse-four soap-rinse-five soap-rinse-six open my palms to the scalding water, and repeat. I do it quick- so no one notices. . .
August 13, 2020
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
August 12, 2020
You’ve never met anyone like me. Unless of course, you’ve met someone who survived her mother trying to drown her and now lives with an alcoholic father.
August 7, 2020
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation?’
August 6, 2020
“Look here, Mac. I’m going to give it to you straight. Grown-ups lie. Sure, they like to say that kids make stuff up and that we don’t tell the truth, but they’re the lying liars.”
August 5, 2020
Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiinng! An alarm clock clanged in the dark and silent room. A bed spring creaked. A woman’s voice sang out impatiently: “Bigger, shut that thing off!”