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Esther Inglis-Arkell

The Scariest of All the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Author Alvin Schwartz and illustrator Stephen Gammell have a reputation for teaching a generation of kids to fear the dark. They didn’t. Instead, their series of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books taught children to love the dark, to be thrilled by it, and to use their imaginations to populate it.

The pair also gave young readers lessons in identity, in getting to know their own character. I remember kids on the playground or at birthday parties trading details about their favorite stories from the books. Some kids were most disturbed by the body horror of a spider laying eggs in a girl’s cheek, while others related to hallucinatory confusion of a woman on vacation who fetches medicine for her sick mother only to return to her hotel and find every trace of her mother erased. What scares us is as personal to us as anything else—it tells us who we are.

And yet “Harold” is, no question, the best story of the bunch.

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Five Superhero Romances We Need to See On the Big Screen

Romeo and Juliet. Rick and Ilsa. Jane and Mr. Rochester. Bonnie and Clyde. Harry and Sally. These are a few of the most famous pairs in history, and they feature in some of the world’s best pieces of entertainment. Romance can be tragic and comic, smart and silly, utterly wicked and deeply moral. It reveals the changeless nature of the human soul or the fleeting peculiarities of a subsection of society. It makes people cry on the street or lets them walk on air for days at a time. It has both the rich history and limitless potential of any other genre of fiction.

Of course, in spite of all this, romance still has its detractors—people who dismiss it as fluff, as the domain of adolescents, who bemoan the genre’s supposedly tired tropes, stock characters, and predictable endings.

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