THE HALLOWEEN THAT ALMOST NEVER WAS BUT COULD HAVE BEEN

THE HALLOWEEN THAT ALMOST NEVER WAS BUT COULD HAVE BEEN

     I’m meandering the ever-changing aisles of the downtown Family Dollar Store after work, trolling for Halloween candy with which to bribe any would-be evildoers who appear on our porch on The Night. Since we live in Norman Bates’ mother’s house, a beautiful 105-year-old carpenter gothic dwelling that fits us like an old shoe, I am constantly aware that we may or may not see trick-or-treaters this year. Some years, the ‘hood is too bereft of children and too daunting to parents who are afraid to drive down a street that sports, among other things, a permanent giant Smiley Face placed there by the Lost Boys, many years ago. Then, other years, parents are brave and adventuresome and bring their kids to see what’s what, in a community that just might nourish ghosts and ideas about ghosts.

    This makes my task easy. Just in case nobody rings the bell this year, I stock up on goodies that Liz and I won’t mind having around—stuff we ourselves like. I pick up a bag of candy corn, but it tastes of Clorox and a bit of staleness, so I’ll have to find another brand in another place on another day. I get Reese’s Cups for Liz so that I can always tell from her peanut butter breath when she’s been into the stash. I buy a dark chocolate bar for Liz, because she loves that stuff. I pick up some small candy bars mixed together in a variety pack and try not to eat all the Mounds Bars on the way home.

    By Halloween, we’ll be all set for the kids. I’m dressed as a weird-looking bearded geezer, just to play along—it’s a come-as-you-are Halloween event. Liz dresses like the smiling and sweet and always-interested-in-kids person she is—she’s ready to play all year long.

    Will the Munchkins come and will we see our fair share of Star Wars characters and princesses and zombie dudes and Bat Man midgets, or will we be sick to our stomachs by Thursday, having eaten all that candy ourselves? Stay tuned

      © Jim Reed 2012A.D.

www.jimreedbooks.com

jim@jimreedbooks.com

ANOTHER SCARY BOOK FOR HALLOWEEN

THIS WEEK’S HALLOWEEN-RECOMMENDED BOOK IS ONE

YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN, PROVIDED YOU REALLY, REALLY READ IT STRAIGHT THROUGH…

IF YOU ALLOW THE STORY TO CARRY YOU ALONG…

IF YOU SUSPEND ALL JUDGEMENT TILL THE LAST PAGE,

YOU’LL HAVE QUITE A RIDE.

You’ll never find this bestseller on the New York Times bestseller list, but it’s a book that will stay with you the rest of your life…a book that hasn’t been out of print for two centuries.

In keeping with the month of Halloween, this is one to scare you:

Once you’ve read the scariest books ever written, Halloween is never over, and you are never the same.

NOW READ THIS:

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe  

 (“…my only way to go about an attempt for an escape was, if possible, to get a savage into my possession…”)

     This is a 200-year-old novel, based on a true story, about a man totally isolated from other human beings. The theme is universal: how would you survive if you had only your wits, if you had no-one else to rely on?

     And how would you deal with the solitary confinement of a desert island, never knowing whether you’d be rescued, whether you’d be eaten alive, whether you’d be taken by a virus or an accident?

     And, what would happen if you got your wish, only to be surrounded by cannibals whose only mission is to have you for dinner—literally?

     Hey, give it a try. It’s worth the effott

READ AND CRINGE!

© 2010 A.D. by Jim Reed

www.jimreedbooks.com

THINK ABOUT THINKING ABOUT THESE THOUGHTS

THINK ON THESE THINGS
 
A great way to discover and re-discover ideas and artifacts is to catalog them.
 
At the shop, I’m placing an enormous amount of sheet music online, to go
with the other 47,000 items already listed. This way, if you’re looking for
lyrics to a song that keeps running amuck in your head, you can go to Reed
Books’ website and enter the title. If it pops up, that means I have it in the
Shop and can pull it from the archives for you to peruse and purchase.
 
Today’s trove of songs produces a little tune I’d almost forgotten, from the
musical SOUTH PACIFIC.
 
It’s a blatant and poignant diatribe against bigotry, intolerance, racism and ignorance.
 
Well worth reading:
 
You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.
You’ve got to be taught from year to year.
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear.
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
 
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
 
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
 
–Oscar Hammerstein II & Richard Rodgers
 
You can’t get much more specific and un-subtle than this,
and it’s such a nice surprise in the middle of an otherwise
sentimental musical. It reminds me of my favorite Shel
Silverstein poem about the same subject. Read on:
 
NO DIFFERENCE
 
Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We’re all the same size
When we turn off the light.
 
Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We’re all worth the same
When we turn off the light.
 
Red, black or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.
 
So maybe the way
To  make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!
 
–Shel Silverstein
 
End of today’s morality thoughts.
 
It’s good to contemplate these things once in a
while…even better to think about them every day…
even best to practice them
© 2010 A.D. by Jim Reed

www.jimreedbooks.com

ARE YOU A FRAIDY CAT? WATCH OUT FOR THIS BOOK!

THIS WEEK’S RECOMMENDED BOOK IS ONE

YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN, PROVIDED YOU REALLY, REALLY READ IT STRAIGHT THROUGH…

IF YOU ALLOW THE STORY TO CARRY YOU ALONG…

IF YOU SUSPEND ALL JUDGEMENT TILL THE LAST PAGE,

YOU’LL HAVE QUITE A RIDE.

You’ll never find this bestseller on the New York Times bestseller list, but it’s a book that will stay with you the rest of your life…a book that hasn’t been out of print for more than a century.

In keeping with the month of Halloween, this is one to scare you:

Once you’ve read the scariest books ever written, Halloween is never over, and you are never the same.

NOW READ THIS:

Dracula by Bram Stoker  

 (“As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder…”)

Bram Stoker published this wonderfully wicked and terrifying novel at about the same time another horror story was being published: The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells. Yes, both books are horror stories with villains never before seen in 19th-Century literature.

DRACULA is particularly suspenseful because it takes place in real places, places you can find on the map to this day. The extended train ride that young Jonathan Harker takes to meet Count Dracula is horrible enough—Stoker makes sure you have indigestion and a sense of foreboding long before anything really creepy happens. You’ll see what I mean.

READ AND CRINGE!

© 2010 A.D. by Jim Reed

www.jimreedbooks.com

ANOTHER SCARY BOOK YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN

THIS WEEK’S BOOK YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN

I recommend another book you’ll never find on the New York Times bestseller list, but a book that will stay with you the rest of your life.

In keeping with the month of Halloween, this is one to scare you:

Once you’ve read the scariest books ever written, Halloween is never over, and you are never the same.

NOW READ THIS:

The scariest book I ever read: Castaway by James Gould Cozzens, published in 1934.

I don’t know why every teacher of literature, every writing instructor, isn’t assigning this book to students who are interested in really writing scary, writing well. This book leaves a lifetime impression and may even defy categorization. It could be called a horror story, though nothing really supernatural occurs. It could be called a dark fantasy, but there are no levitations or spells or exploding heads. It could be termed a remarkable work of avant-garde fiction, but nothing about it is pretentious. It might be a mystery, but it’s even hard to define what’s mysterious about it.

I won’t reveal more, because I want you to read it for yourself. Let’s just say it’s the story of a man trapped in a department store. Let’s just say it might be a re-telling of Robinson Crusoe. Let’s just say it’s a survivalist tale, a morality tale. Let’s just say it will stick with you.

The amazement of books such as this is that one short line can make you jump, can make your neck-hairs stand on end, can bring chills… 

 (“What he would do if he heard it, Mr. Lecky did not know. In despairing anticipation he feared to hear as much as he feared not hearing anything. To be pursued and know it was hardly better than to be pursued and not know it…”) 

 

READ AND CRINGE!

© 2010 A.D. by Jim Reed

THIS WEEK’S BOOK YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN

THIS WEEK’S BOOK YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN

I recommend a book you’ll never find on the

New York Times bestseller list, but a book that will stay

with you the rest of your life.

In keeping with the month of Halloween, this is

one to scare you:

Once you’ve read the scariest books ever written,

Halloween is never over, and you are never the same.

NOW READ THIS:

Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham  

 (“How do you get to be a geek?

I can’t understand how anybody can get so low.”)

William Lindsay Gresham’s novel about the dark edges 
of carnival life was written from his experiences 
with magic (he knew Harry Houdini) 
and midway life. The film, starring 
Tyrone Power, is equally dark and kind 
of oblique. One thing is sure—you’ll 
never use the term geek carelessly again. 
What a geek is will haunt you for years.

READ AND CRINGE!

www.jimreedbooks.com