The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

What We’re Loving: Self-Help, Self-Hate, Sense and Sensibility

November 1, 2013 | by


In the last month, thanks to some timely advice from Sam Lipsyte in the Oslo airport, I’ve gone back to two books that I could never get through as a kid: Blood Meridian and Sense and Sensibility. Blood Meridian still defeats me, though I got about halfway through. Does every pueblo have to be ruinous, every puddle some shade of crimson? Will the Judge ever shut up about Darwin? The book it keeps comparing itself to is Moby-Dick, but Moby-Dick doesn’t compare itself to anything, and isn’t—or doesn’t feel—anywhere near as long. Sense and Sensibility, on the other hand, was just my speed. The last two pages are so good, I tore them out and pinned the sheet over my desk as a talisman. (The airport paperback had a painting of Spanish Gibson girls on the cover, and had to be thrown away.) —Lorin Stein

First published in 1957, the late Daniel Anselme’s On Leave chronicles one week in the lives of three soldiers, furloughed in Paris. Anselme, a resistance fighter and journalist, interviewed many conscripted men while researching the novel, and its unflinching look at the horrors of the Algerian conflict meant it was initially ignored by critics and never reprinted or translated. A new edition by Faber & Faber brings this “lost novel” to a whole new readership, and that’s a good thing. While it’s not a light or easy read (although David Bellos’s translation is spare and clear), it remains deeply affecting and, needless to say, relevant. —Sadie O. Stein Read More »


Mischief Night

October 31, 2013 | by


“I told a story a month ago, for Halloween, about the terrible pranks that were played in Lake Wobegon just before I came along that I never got to participate in. Things such as pushing over an outhouse when some sterling citizen was in it, tipping it forwards so it fell on the door and the poor man had to crawl out the hole. I never did this. It existed for me only in my uncle’s stories, but the stories were severely edited. So I had to reconstruct what happened when an outhouse was tipped, how it must have felt to the man inside and what a pleasure it must have been to the tipper.” —Garrison Keillor, the Art of Humor No. 2



Bride of Gertrudestein, and More Literary Halloween Ghouls

October 31, 2013 | by


Tim Taranto hails from Upstate New York and attended Cornell. In addition to The Paris Review Daily, his work has appeared on the Rumpus and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Tim lives in Iowa City, where he is studying fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.



Death of a Pork Rind King

October 31, 2013 | by


Trick-or-treating is really an exercise in cartography. I wouldn’t be able to give driving directions to the Alabama suburb where I grew up except under duress, but I could draw you a map of my Halloween neighborhood route with unerring precision. Sugar lust, after all, makes tacticians of all of us.

Here is the house that would only offer a few chalky rolls of Smarties for your trek up a steep, Virginia creeper–tangled front walk. There, a woman with a fake witch nose would request that put your hand in a container of peeled grape “eyeballs,” but reward you with a roll of quarters and a full-sized Snickers. Here, you’d find an empty bowl with a plaintive PLEASE JUST TAKE TWO PIECES tacked on the screen door, its contents long ago looted by a mercenary band of eleven-year-olds with pillowcases. That house, home to a diabetic child, gave out glow-in-the-dark slap bracelets, worth up to three packets of M&Ms in the candy bartering session at the end of the night. And here, the crown jewel of the cul-de-sac: the potato chip house.

The potato chip house was home to Major Bashinsky, an estate lawyer and heir to the Golden Flake snack food fortune. Bashinsky’s grandfather founded the company, which produces crackers, chips, popcorn, and ten kinds of flavored pork cracklins. Read More »


“The Lottery”: PG-13 Version

October 31, 2012 | by

In honor of the master of the creepy story, Shirley Jackson, we bring you this incredibly misleading pulp paperback cover. It must have led to some really disappointed —or freaked out—readers. Also: who is this demon lover of which they speak?




The Haunting; Or, the Ghost of Ty Cobb

October 31, 2012 | by

In July, a bat of Ty Cobb’s sold at auction for $250,000. The buyer, a Denver collector named Tyler Tysdal, said the bat was a present for his two-year-old son, John Tyler. This seemed to me very risky: as a small child, I was terrified of the ghost of Ty Cobb.

I can only imagine this had its genesis with my own dad. When I was small, he wrote a novel that dealt with the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, and baseball players of the era were a frequent topic of dinner-table conversation. In any event, I was somehow aware of the outfielder’s penchant for virulent racism, spiking opposing players, and general nastiness.

The real fear, however, did not set in until the day in 1985 when Pete Rose broke Cobb’s all-time hit record. Read More »