TUESDAY MUST READS: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue (a guest blog by the Neighborhood Connect)

Hey, how ya doin’? How’s your Ma? Tell her I said hello, all right?

Ever since the government banned all books “just to make sure we keep the bad ones away from our precious children” the Neighborhood Connect has had nothing to do with published works. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Can’t help ya. Nothing to read here. Keep walking.

Look, I know why you’re coming around. Books. Everyone who wants to see me is looking for a good read. Legally, I don’t know what any of youse are talking about, you know what I mean?

But we can chat in certain, purely theoretical, terms that won’t ruffle any anti-reading ignorance enforcers out there. Let’s agree to talking about “imaginary wedding gifts” if books were what we gave as gifts to start lovebirds on their lives together. We’ll go Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue, all right?

OLD: Penguin Horror’s edition of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson with a key introduction by Guillermo Del Toro.

Jackson’s classic tale is a must read for horror fans, and this particular edition includes an amazing essay by the Oscar-winning director that serves as a master lecture on the genre itself. Not to be missed. I mean, thank the government this threat to wholesomeness is gone!

What this book looked like before The Ban. No idea where this could be found today, I swear. So don’t arrest me for nothing!

NEW (tie): Classic Monsters Unleashed edited by James Aquilone and Even in the Grave edited by James Chambers and Carol Gyzander.

Well, “new” has to be theoretical since books are banned now, right? Okay, but if they did exist, these two new anthologies would really launch a marriage well. Luckily, printed thought no longer tarnishes national safety.

But if they did? You kidding me? Classic Universal monsters roaming the earth again? Unleashed by legendary authors? It’s a slam dunk, McGuinness! (Theoretically speaking.)

Still newer (not that I know anything about illegal reading materials) is Even in The Grave, an anthology filled with authors from the tri-state area. A lot of them happen to be affiliated with Horror Writers Association’s New York Chapter (which I officially know nothing from nothing about, okay?), offering exciting chills to keep couples close and everyone else quivering in their boots.

What this book would look like in a joy-filled universe, ya know what I mean?
Officially, I can’t tell the government this book exists. Just saying.

BORROWED: Blood in The Garden – The Flagrant History of the 1990’s New York Knicks

If books weren’t banned around here, this would be a sports tome people purchased, read, cherished, and then some friend would borrow it and that’s all she wrote. Boom. Gone. Eventually, you would buy a second copy, reread it all over again, loving all the great details of Knicks basketball in that decade, enjoying Chris Herring’s fast-paced, full court press writing style, and then your brother would come over and “just want to see it overnight” and that copy would be history. Not that I have ever officially owned a book. Nope. Not me.

What do you mean you want my copies of this book, officer? I am flummoxed by your accusation!

BLUE: Since books are not kosher any more, I’m going to use this one to quote another form of writing. The world is crazy these days, but we each gotta live our lives anyways, ya know? And sometimes, well, things get bad there, too. We all go through pain and loss, and sometimes we need help so we know we aren’t alone. Ray Charles summed up that feeling well, and has helped heal me on many an occasion when he sang …

A rainy night in Georgia, A rainy night in Georgia, Lord, I believe it’s rainin’ all over the world, I feel like it’s rainin’ all over the world.

Hey, stay safe, and if you are able, do what you can to bring others in out of the rain.

And tell your Mom I said hello.

About chrisryanwrites

I do my best to tell fast-paced stories with humor and heart. My fiction work is available on amazon.com. Here, I’ll write about the sources for those stories from what I read, watch, listen to, and observe to my experiences as a former award-winning journalist, high school teacher, actor, and producer.
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