The Pick Six: Best NFL Games of the Day

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Happy Sunday everyone! I really mean that, unless of course you’re a fan of the Eagles, Giants, Redskins, or 49ers, then I hope you’re day is terrible from start to finish, but for everyone else, all the people out there that deserve to be happy, I hope your day will be just that. Someone at work the other day asked me what my favorite day of the week was, and the obvious choice was Sunday because that’s when you can spend all day watching NFL football and napping as needed on the couch in front of the TV, which is one of my favorite things in the world because apparently I’m seventy-seven, not twenty-seven as my birth certificate would have you believe. The only downside to Sunday is the fact that you have to go to work the following day, which is kind of a bummer as that reality hits while the Sunday Night Football game is winding down, so despite liking the NFL more than college football, I might have to say that Saturday is my favorite day of the week since I don’t have to get up for work the next day, plus there is football on all day Saturday as well. My point is, Sunday is one of the best days of the week, and now that it’s here, let’s all enjoy it by keeping a close eye on the games I’m about to tell you about that are the most interesting of the day. Here’s the Pick Six.

6. Cowboys/49ers at 3:05
You know your favorite team isn’t having an ideal season when they are only four point favorites against a San Francisco team that still hasn’t won a game through six weeks, but the good news is that the Cowboys still have plenty of time to turn things around and get back on track, which I think they will begin today with a win over the 49ers. I will say that although the Niners haven’t won a game, that’s a deceptive fact because in reality most of the games have been really close, so there’s a chance it could be that way today, but I’m not counting on it. Dallas is coming off a bye week and I’m banking on the whole team, which includes our abysmal defense, to be ready to play today and win by more than four points.

5. Broncos/Chargers at 3:25
When the Cowboys and 49ers game is in commercial breaks, this should be your go-to afternoon game, which is a rematch of the second game in the first Monday Night Football doubleheader of the season, where the world was introduced to the one and only Sergio Dipp, who in turn introduced us to Vance Joseph, the talented young coach of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos won that week 1 game by a field goal, and while they are coming into the game today with a better record, I’m looking for the Chargers to keep it close today. Denver is a 2.5 favorite on the road, but I’m taking Los Angeles to get the big home upset over their division rivals.

4. Redskins/Eagles on Monday at 7:30
When I was a younger, more petty man, I used to hate watching games between two NFC east teams when the Cowboys weren’t playing, because as a fan of the Cowboys, I never wanted any other NFC east team to win, ever, so watching a game where one of them had to win was really annoying, but now that I’ve grown up a little bit, I can appreciate watching these games now. I can appreciate and enjoy the entertainment of two good teams playing a good game of football while not dwelling too much on the fact of how the game will effect the Cowboys. I’m so mature. Am too. Am too. Am too. Am too. That being said, I would love to see the Eagles get beaten since they are sitting at first place in the NFC east right now, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening. Philly is a four point favorite and I think they’ll win and cover.

3. Saints/Packers at Noon
I think Green Bay is my least favorite team in the NFL because without a doubt, Aaron Rodgers is my least favorite player in the league, and while you never want to see anyone get hurt, you gotta make lemonade out of the lemons life hands you, so it should be pretty enjoyable to watch the Packers struggling without their arrogant superstar quarterback. Saints are favored by four on the road, but I think they’ll win and cover and Packers fans will be crying into their cheese hats for the rest of the year.

2. Buccaneers/Bills at Noon
I thought the Bucs were going to be really good this year and the Bills were going to be awful, but we’re coming into this game with Buffalo having the better record. It seems unfathomable to me how Tampa Bay has only won two games giving all of their weapons on offense, but I think their struggles will continue today on the road in Buffalo, especially since Jameis Winston is coming off a game in which he injured his shoulder. I would love to say that Winston will be fine, that he will come out and have a huge game today, but I don’t think he’s going to be a very effective passer, which is why he’s on the bench in my fantasy league this week and Jared Goff is getting the start. I know, I’m screwed, but my point is, the Bucs need Jameis throwing the ball if they’re going to win, so I’m picking Buffalo -3 to get the win and to cover.

1. Falcons/Patriots at 7:30
It’s a rematch of the last Super Bowl, which was an incredible game, making it the obvious choice for the best game of the weekend. The Patriots have really surprised me by how pedestrian they’ve looked so far this season with the absence of Julian Edelman. We knew that their defense was awful, but now their offense doesn’t look like what we’ve come to expect with Brady at the helm. I’m hoping New England has figured out some of their offensive struggles because they’re going to need to keep pace with the falcons offense, which is going to have its way with the Patriots D, in order to keep the game close. New England is favored by 3.5, but I just think that Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense is going to be too much for the Pats to handle, so I’m picking Atlanta to do what they couldn’t do in the Super Bowl and get the win.

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The Pick Six: Best Games in College Football

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Being sick is never fun, especially on the weekend when you have so many things that you want to do, but when you wake up sneezing uncontrollably with your nose stuffed up, there’s not much you can do but roll with it, so rather than focusing on the negatives as I tend to do so often, let’s look at this in a positive light. Maybe being sick on a Saturday is actually perfect since resting is key to the healing process, which gives me the perfect excuse to sit on the couch all day and watch college football, which I will absolutely be doing, at least until the Benadryl I’m going to take knocks me out, but first, I’ll give you this week’s Pick Six, because that’s just the kind of guy I am, giving other people what they want while pushing my personal well being to the back burner. I think the word hero might be word you’re looking for. Alright, let’s do it.

6. Tennessee/Alabama at 2:30 on CBS
I love the afternoon CBS SEC games, but since the SEC has been so abysmal this year I haven’t watched many of them, so I’m looking forward to doing that today. I put this one at six because I really don’t think this is going to be a good game, but it should be pretty entertaining to watch Alabama destroy an already dejected Tennessee team. This team has been calling for their coaches job since the beginning of the season and each week seems to get worse and worse for the Vols, so I can only imagine how fun social media here in Tennessee will be after the Tide rolls annihilates them. Alabama is a 33 and a half point favorite, which seems like a lot, but if you watched the Ole Miss or Vanderbilt match ups then you know what the Tide is capable of, so I’ll take Alabama to cover.

5. Syracuse/Miami at 2:30 on ESPN
I never thought I would put Syracuse in one of the most interesting games of the day, but I also never thought Syracuse would beat Clemson, which is exactly what they did last week while Miami was struggling to beat an unranked Georgia Tech team. The week before that the Hurricanes only beat unranked Florida State by 4 points, and what the scores of these games tell me is that Miami is not an offensive powerhouse that is going to just come and run right over you, which is what I believe Clemson to be, so if Clemson struggled against Syracuse, then it only stands to reason that Miami will as well. I think the Hurricanes will win, but the point spread is 14 and a half which seems absurd, so I’m picking Syracuse with the points.

4. LSU/Ole Miss at 6:15 on ESPN
I can’t figure out LSU, much in the same way I can’t figure out their head coach; I mean is he a human being or some type of pig alien that has adopted a somewhat human form? I have no idea how they pulled off the win over Auburn last week, or how they lost to Troy earlier in the season; their ups and downs are a complete mystery to me. Ole Miss just hasn’t really looked good at all, with the exception of their win last week over Vanderbilt who was exposed fairly early in the season when they got destroyed by Alabama. In all honesty I don’t think either of these teams is good, but I do think it will be a close game. Ole Miss is a 7 point underdog at home, and I’m taking them with the points.

3. Louisville/Florida State at 11 on ESPN
So this is the only game on the Pick Six today that features two unranked teams, but despite that fact, I think this will be a really good game. Both of these teams started the season ranked in the top 10 so we know they have raw talent, and it will be fun to watch that on display today. Florida State is a 6 and a half point favorite at home, but I think without their quarterback, who was injured in the first game of the season, Louisville is the better football team and will get the upset win today.

2. USC/Notre Dame at 6:30 on NBC
Here we have two top 25 teams that are both still hanging around, hoping to get into the college playoff at the end of the year, a dream that will end for one of these teams with a loss tonight making it their second loss on the season. Notre Dame is a 3 and a half point favorite at home, but I think the Trojans are going to show up to play today knowing what’s at stake, and will get the big road win.

1. Michigan/Penn State at 6:30 on ABC
This is the big one, two top 25 teams, number 19 on the road against number 2. It’s the marquee match up of the day, the one I’ve been seeing commercials for all week, so that’s why I have it in the number 1 slot because it’s probably the game most fans of the sport are looking forward to. That being said, I think Penn State is going to run away with it. I’ve watched Michigan play a couple times this year and they haven’t looked good at all, and I don’t think that on the road in Happy Valley will be any different. Penn State is a 12 and a half point favorite and I think they cover easily.

I hope you all enjoy this Saturday full of college football and make sure to come back tomorrow for the NFL edition of the Pick Six to see what games to watch and my picks against the spread. I’m about to head to the store to get some soup and medicine and then hopefully won’t leave my house for the rest of the day and I’m sure I’ll be feeling better in no time, because football makes everything better.

Booing Chandler Parsons

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Your home is a literal shelter. It should be a safe haven from the cruelties of the outside world, a place that brings you peace and comfort, a place filled with people that accepts you for who you are and will support you through all times, the good and the bad. Home is, according to one of the definitions in the Random House Dictionary that is falling apart in one of the cabinets at my workplace says that a home is a place of refuge, which is defined as a shelter from danger, or trouble, so that, at its essence, is what a home should be, so it’s reasonable to expect that the home court of a basketball franchise would also serve as a place of refuge for all of the home town players, but last night, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When Chandler Parsons came into the game last night and missed two consecutive free throws, his first two attempts of the season, which was met with a smattering of boos throughout the FedEx Forum, the home court of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Last summer, the Grizzlies signed Parsons, to a four year, ninety-four million dollar deal, which was in retrospect, a mistake on the part of Memphis. Even when the deal was signed it seemed like we were risking so much for the very slim possibility that Parsons would be the player he was before all of his knee injuries. We got screwed, but that’s not on Chandler, it’s not like he’s going out there trying to play poorly, but he just didn’t look that good and seemed to hurt the team more than help us when he was out on the floor, so he ended his season early and had another surgery, hoping that by doing so he would have enough time to rehab and get back into basketball shape before the next season began, because like it or not, he’s still under contract for three more years. I will admit, last year there were times when I was upset and even took to Twitter on occasion to voice my displeasure, but by the end of the year I decided to let go of the resentment I was feeling, because it wasn’t Chandler’s fault that the Grizzlies had spent so much money on him, and also because I realized that nothing good would come from my negative feelings, so since that time, I’ve tried to be optimistic, hoping for the best out of Parsons and looking forward to the time when he would be a big time contributor to the team and prove all of the haters wrong. I hoped it might be this year, but his preseason play left a lot to be desired, but still I remained hopeful going into the season.

When it was announced earlier in the week that he wouldn’t be in the starting lineup and would instead be coming off the bench, I was annoyed. Since we gave up Z-bo and Tony Allen this offseason, it was sad, but it seemed like we were moving into playing a new style of basketball, one where Chandler Parsons would be counted on to step his game up if we wanted to continue having success and make it to the playoffs. We were relying on Chandler to be one of our top scorers, so it only makes sense that it would be in the starting rotation and getting a lot of playing time, but the coach decided to have him come off the bench, so there was nothing to do but accept it, move on, and hope that he would have great success in the role, which is exactly how I was feeling last night when he came onto the court in the first game of the season, hoping for the best, but then he missed those two free throws, and some fans, fans of the team he was playing for, started booing at him. I was upset, not because he missed the free throws but because fans of the team I support, people who live in the same community as me were being so disrespectful to one of our own. I get it that you might be upset that he is being paid so much money and isn’t producing results that are up to your preconceived standards but to yell “booooo” at the man that is on your team, the man that has been training and working hard to help your team, is not only classless but absolutely ridiculous.

We are supposed to be the city that rallies around and embraces our players. The city is one with the team and the team is one with the city, in this together, working hard and grinding, on and off the court, so to ridicule one of our own, at home, booing him for missing free throws, just isn’t what we’re about. We need to lift up the players who are struggling, encouraging them and cheering for them through thick and thin instead of what too many people are doing with Chandler and looking for reasons to dislike the guy. For the record there were a lot of people at the game standing up and cheering for him after the boos started, doing what needed to be done and showing Parsons that we as a fan base were behind him, but it’s just frustrating that there are people out there, who claim to be fans of the Grizzlies, that would treat one of our players that way. I’m still holding out hope that Chandler will start playing at a higher level, but I think that’s a lot less likely to happen if there are fans in the stadium on our home court audibly ridiculing his every mistake while he’s just out there trying his best to be the player everybody, including himself, wants him to be. Maybe we can set aside how we feel individually about Chandler and come together in spirit of unity rather than one of division and support the effort that he is making, and hold onto the hope that it will eventually pay off. It’s a lot more fun being optimistic than it is looking for things to be upset about; I’ve lived both ways, so trust me, I know.

Worst Restaurant in the World

When I went to France for the first time thirteen years ago, it was my first trip out of the country and I was excited both to see all of the magnificent sights that Paris had to offer, but also to experience and try all of the unique food that is renowned as some of the best in the world. Going in, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Sure my dad had given gone over some of the basics of French cuisine with me, getting me well acquainted with crepes in the years leading up to the trip, and talking about escargot anytime I needed a good laugh, but past that, I wasn’t really too knowledgeable about the food aside from the fact that it is considered to be really, really good. The food in Paris lived up to it’s reputation, leaving me to walk away from every meal full and completely satisfied. It’s almost like Paris is a dream world, because you eat and eat, sometimes spending a couple hours eating multiple courses for dinner, and by the time you leave the restaurant you are completely full, unable to eat another bite, but somehow you are able to summon the energy to walk back home like you hadn’t just eaten a four course meal that was so good you didn’t have the willpower to leave any food on the plate uneaten. So yes, for the first few days in France, everything was perfect and despite having never eaten any of that stuff before, I was really taking a liking to the food, but then one fateful night, we veered right, completely swerving off the path of traditional French cuisine, and ended up in the murky swamp of Parisian Thai food.

Sometimes when you are dating someone, that person can posses a certain amount of control on your mind, using that power to get what they want, say for instance, Thai food in Paris, which is exactly how my dad and I ended up in a Thai restaurant with my dad’s friend Brian, and his girlfriend, Laurence (pronounced Looo-honce). I think to the extent which Brian is to blame is only that he was dating somebody who liked this particular restaurant, because even though he acted like it was partly his idea and that he wanted to eat there, I think he was clearly urged in that direction by Laurence via the aforementioned mind control. We walked into the restaurant which was brightly lit, bathing everything in an obnoxious hue of yellow. This is one of the few things I remember about the décor which should tell you how bad it is that I still remember that bright light vividly more than a decade later. Where going toward the light is normally a reference to heaven, this was more like walking straight into the depths of hell but instead of being tortured for all eternity, it only felt like that long.

We didn’t have to sit on pillows around a low table, but honestly that probably would have been a lot more comfortable. The table we were led to was a small one that was fairly low to the ground with two benches on either side of it, which doesn’t sound all that bed, but that’s only because I’m not finished describing it yet. The benches, that were like rectangular ottomans were bolted to the floor, completely unmovable, which wouldn’t have been so problematic had there been more space between the bench and the table. As it were, the only thing that could have slid comfortably into that microscopic space was a single sheet of printer paper, which didn’t bode well for us humans. I put my left leg over the bench and wiggled it until it found breathing room below the surface of the table, then brought my right knee up, contorting my body like I was a member in Cirque de Soleil rather than an American teenager in a French restaurant, and somehow managed to slide that into place under the table without pulling something out of socket or tearing any major ligaments, which might be the most impressive thing I’ve ever accomplished.

The menu came and it was fairly big which is usually a good thing since there is a lot to choose from and you’re more likely to find something that looks good, but this menu was in a language that was foreign to me. I don’t know if it was in French or Thai, but it definitely wasn’t in English, not that it should have been, but the point is that I couldn’t read the menu at all and my dad seemed to be nearly as clueless as me. I probably could have asked Brian or Laurence for help translating, and that is absolutely what I should have done, but playing the part of the adventurous traveler, I just decided to point at something on the menu, and hope that it was edible. I think to that point in my life I had never eaten Thai food before so I didn’t have any prior knowledge as to what I would like anyway, so asking for a translation might not have affected the outcome at all, unless there was something on the menu called chicken tenders with honey mustard. The waiter arrived with the food, and sat completely at attention, completely still, partly because I was nervously waiting to see what I had ordered, and partly because I was so tightly wedged between the bench in the table that any movement at all was completely impossible.

The plate was set on the table before me; four green bundles stared up at me, leafs wrapped around something that hopefully looked more appetizing than the first impression that I was getting. I unwrapped the leafs like little gifts, optimistically thinking that good things come in small packages. After the small piece of twine was removed and part of the leaf flopped open to the left, as if it couldn’t wait to get away from whatever was inside of it. The air rose out from within the leaf, like the last stale breath before death finally sets in, hitting me square in the face, letting me know that I made a very bad decision. For the life of me I can’t remember what was wrapped in those leaves, but I know that I didn’t eat very much of it, picking at it with my fork and taking small and invisible bites until everyone else finished eating and we were able to leave my least favorite restaurant in the world behind. As we walked back to Brian’s apartment, the Eiffel Tower lit up the night sky, flashing it’s hourly greeting, reminding me that I was in one of the greatest cities in the world, and nothing, not even a terrible meal at a Thai restaurant could change that.

The Pick Six: NFL Week 6 Edition

45139bafbe44765118822d5c37e1dacc1Today is going to be a great day, I can just feel it. I woke up feeling great because both Memphis and Alabama won their respective games yesterday, and since the Cowboys aren’t playing today, there’s no chance of a crushing defeat like last week to bring me crashing down from this victorious high. Since it’s the Cowboys bye week and I have no rooting interest today, I’m looking forward to kicking back and watching NFL Redzone, which I think will be a first for me, watching a full slate of games on instead of focusing on one more than others, so that should be fun, or at the very least interesting. Here are the best six games of the day and my picks. Enjoy.

6. Giants/Broncos at 7:30
I thought the Giants would be bad, but I never imagined them being this bad, 0-5 to start the season. I love it, but you have to think at some point that they’ll get things figured out and get a few wins because I still don’t think there’s any way they finish with a worse record than the Jets who are completely surprising me on the other side of the spectrum. The Broncos have looked really good thus far so I don’t think the Giants are going to get things pointed in the right direction today. Denver is a nine point favorite and I think they’ll cover it easily.

5. Buccaneers/Cardinals at 3:05
Arizona is once again underperforming this year, due largely in part to the fact that their running back, one of the best in the league last year got hurt in the opening game, but this is the NFL, where excuses don’t matter, so we’ll see how they handle a talented Tampa Bay team today. I really like the Bucs and think they can be a real playoff contender this year in the NFC. They come into the game as a one point underdog which is irrelevant because they’re going to win the game leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are the better team.

4. Packers/Vikings at Noon
It’s a rivalry game in Minnesota and while I think Green Bay is the better team, anything can happen in a rivalry game, one of the only times the home team has a clear advantage in the NFL unless you’re playing in Seattle or Green Bay, and this game is in Minneapolis which will elevate the play of the Vikings and keep the game competitive. Ultimately, I think Green Bay, the four point favorite, will win the game and cover the spread, but it should be an entertaining game nonetheless.

3. Jets/Patriots at Noon
If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season that through five weeks in the season, the Jets and Patriots would have the same record I would have run away from you quickly, because clearly you are insane, but here we are and both teams are coming into this game with three wins and two losses, which to be honest is more wins than I thought New York would have on the entire season. New England is a nine and a half point favorite, and while I think they get the win, I’m going to take the Jets with the points and hope that they can keep it close and decide to stave off their inevitable breakdown for another week.

2. Lions/Saints at Noon
The Lions are clearly the better team, yet for some reason the Saints are a three point favorite. I think it will be a good game but I think Matt Stafford and the Detroit offense is going to rip apart the New Orleans defense, and despite valiant efforts by Drew Brees and the offense, they aren’t going to be able to keep up. Lions win.

  1. Steelers/Chiefs at 3:25
    At first glance, this was easily the best game of the NFL weekend, and after looking further into the other games, this one still holds up as the best and the one I’m most excited about. There is a real chance that the only undefeated team in the league goes down today at the hands of the Steelers who are only a three and a half point underdog. While I think it will be a close game, I think the Chiefs will walk away the win and remain unbeaten.

The Pick Six: Best Games on Football Saturday

We’ve been having some cooler, fall weather the past few days, so I thought since the temperatures were going to get back up in the eighties and low nineties today, I would get up first thing this morning and take the dogs for a walk to enjoy a little bit of the cool while we still had it, so a few minutes after eight, with the temperature at a comfortable 64 degrees, I, along with the two dogs, left the apartment full of optimism for a fulfilling walk. Unfortunately, after they went to the bathroom, Mocha, the smaller of the giant rats, decided she wanted no part in the walk and just refused to do so, forcing me to have to pull and drag her across the grass against her will. After a few attempts at this, starting and stopping several times, the walk was over, all thanks to the selfishness of Mocha, so excuse me if today’s Pick Six seems to have an air of frustration about it, because that’s just how I’m feeling right now.

6. South Carolina/Tennessee at 11 on ESPN
As someone who lives in the state of Tennessee but is not a fan of the team, it brings me a sort of twisted satisfaction whenever they lose, and this year has been pretty fun so far, and I see no reason that has to change today. For some reason I always seem to be optimistic about South Carolina after they win a couple at the start of the season, before they inevitably sink back down into the pit of mediocrity from whence they came, but I think today they’re going to get back on the right track with a win over Tennessee who is a two point favorite. Upset for the Gamecocks on the road.

5. Georgia Tech/Miami at 2:30 on ABC
After watching the Miami game last week, and seeing their offensive struggles, I have serious doubts about how good that team actually is. Last week was by far their biggest game of the season, against a team that came in with a losing record, and they almost lost the game. On the other hand, Georgia Tech has beaten both Pittsburgh and North Carolina, and lost by one point to Tennessee, which to me are much more impressive than any of Miami’s wins except for maybe Florida State, whom they barely beat. Miami is a nine and a half point favorite, but I think it’s going to be closer than that. It will come down to Tech’s offense against Miami’s defense that will decide the game, and while I think the Hurricanes will probably win this one at home, I’m picking Georgia Tech with the points.

4. Oklahoma/Texas at 2:30 on ESPN
Remember when the Red River Rivalry actually meant something in college football, back when two relevant programs were playing the biggest game of their season? Those were fun times, and while I certainly don’t think today will be like those great match-ups in the past, I do think this game could possibly be interesting and worth keeping an eye on. Texas is trying to turn their season around and Oklahoma is coming off a huge loss last week, so both teams really want to prove something today. Oklahoma is a nine and a half point favorite, and I’m picking them over the Longhorns against the spread.

3. TCU/Kansas State at 11 on FS1
Kansas State was in the top 25 for a couple weeks to start the season, so we know they have some talent on that team, and I think TCU is overrated, so this could make for a good match-up. TCU is a four and a half point favorite, and I’m going to pick them against the spread, but I do think it will be a good and competitive game today.

2. Texas Tech/West Virginia at 11 on ESPNU
Somehow Texas Tech is in the top 25, and are the underdog today against an unranked team, which makes zero sense to me, but regardless of how dumb I think that is, I do think this will be a very good game to watch. West Virginia is a seven point favorite at home and it seems like a no brainer to me, but I’m going to take Texas Tech with the points. Show me you deserve to be in the top 25.

1. Memphis/Navy at 2:45 on ESPNU
Picking this game as the best game of the day is completely biased, but it’s the one that I’m most interested in outside of the Alabama/Arkansas game which should be a complete bloodbath, whereas this one I think will be close. This is another one of those games where Navy is in the top 25 but Memphis is favorite. This would be a huge win for the Tigers, their second win over a top 25 ranked opponent this season, and I think they’re going to do it. I’m rolling with Memphis -4.

October Reads Part 1

IMG_4306It’s Friday, which means it’s time to talk about books. You might be wondering to yourself why I’m acting like this is a normal weekly occurrence when oftentimes the day of the week is sporadic and I didn’t even talk about what books I’ve been reading last week, and while those are both valid points, I’m going to try doing better going forward about making Friday the official book review day every week, to give a recommendation or two to get the weekend started off right for everyone whose idea of a perfect day off work involves being sitting in a big comfortable chair with a good book. As for why I didn’t do it last week, I was wanting to wait until I finished the current book I was reading, which ended up taking a lot longer than I’d intended, but more on that later. With Halloween being at the end of this month, for the entirety of October I’m going to be reading books that are spooky, scary, creepy, or Halloween themed, so today.

To get the Halloween season kicked off the right way, I read “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew Sullivan, his debut novel. Not knowing much about the book, except that it was one of the bestsellers on Amazon’s new novel list at the time that I was browsing early last month, I took a chance, intrigued by the title, and the short description about a late night death in a bookstore, and it really paid off. The book starts with a suicide of a bookstore regular, found by one of the employees, one of a few people in the world that he trusted and would talk to. From there the book follows that employee, Lydia, on a journey to find out what pushed her friend over the edge. Guided by clues left behind by the deceased, Lydia learns all about his life, and discovers a lot about hers as well as she is forced to face some of the haunting demons from her past. A quick read with perfectly placed twists that will leave you frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next, “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” was thrilling, suspenseful, and at times very eerie, making it the perfect way to kick off October. This is definitely near the top of my list in terms of favorite books that came out this year and would recommend it for anyone looking for a thrill ride that might leave you gasping audibly in disbelief, which happened to me at least one time over the course of this exciting journey.

The second book I read, “The Halloween Tree” by Ray Bradbury, was more of a traditionally themed Halloween book, and in fact is actually set on the thirty-first of October. It’s a fun spirited fall tale that follows eight boys and a skeleton on a journey to find their friend who they can never seem to catch up to, and also to discover the history of Halloween. While I did enjoy reading it, I found myself a little bit lost and confused during certain parts, but I feel that was mainly my fault. It’s a fairly short book, and I think would be best read in one to two days so it flows cohesively all the way through, but my mistake was getting distracted too often and letting it stretch out for more than a week, breaking up the pace of the story too often so the only thing that stayed with me from day to day were fragmented parts of the story rather than keeping up with the big picture. Even though I messed it up this time and didn’t enjoy it to the fullest extent, I would still recommend checking it out if you want a fast paced, fun book to get you in the mood for Halloween, but I would definitely suggest trying to read it in one to two days, which is easily doable lest you get distracted like me.

Whether you read either of these books or you choose to read something else altogether, the important thing is that you read, even if only for a few minutes. Open your imagination up to all of the exciting worlds out there, and I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.