I’m so jealous of the Boy Scouts of America. They have killer uniforms, they participate in an annual Pinewood Derby competition, aaaaand they regularly hang out in the wilderness and tell scary stories around a campfire.
I think we normal adult people should get in on this spooky-story-campfire action. After all, the scouts already get to have their uniforms and derby all to themselves. Share the spooky stories, boys, stop being such cool-tradition-hogs.
Below, some great books to get your Cool Big Kids Campfire started.
From the self-proclaimed Japanese Edgar Allen Poe (say Edogawa Rampo slowly, yes, you got it), these stories are gorgeously crafted, spooky-bordering-on-outright-screaming-scary, and you get bonus-plus cultural points from getting your thrills and chills from the Land of the Rising Sun. How scary are these stories? The first story, “The Chair” is about a furniture maker who builds himself a chair to hide inside so he can experience physical contact with the woman he built the chair for, his unrequited love. THAT scary.
We got some Asian spooky stories, now let’s get our Middle Eastern scare on. Keret is an Israeli author who has been featured on THIS AMERICAN LIFE and NPR’s SELECTED SHORTS. He comes all Liberal Media Gift-Wrapped and tied in a big, red Public Radio Bow. Thank you Liberal Media and Public Radio! Keret’s stories are short even for short stories. Despite their skinny-minny size, they still manage to pack a crazy-twisted punch? How crazy-twisted? In the short story “Fatso,” a man discovers that his girlfriend becomes a hairy, overweight dude by night. THAT crazy-twisted.
Ms. Bender has gotten lots of love recently for her second and most commercially successful novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which I have not read, but I hear is all things lovely and amazing. Even if I do read her novels, I think my heart will always belong to Bender’s short stories. They’re so weird and sad and spooky and perfect. How weird and sad and spooky and perfect? In one story, “End of the Line,” a man buys a miniature human being at a pet store, brings him home, locks him in a cage, and proceeds to torture the little man. THAT weird and sad and spooky and perfect.