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entertainment

McStorytelling

Though they’d surely cringe at the comparison, those McSweeney’s folks are starting to remind us of Starbucks.

Think about it: A hometown favorite turns megabrand by offering mental stimulation while continually rolling out new twists on its staple ingredients.

And we’re all hooked.

Their latest concoction: McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, a deliciously creepy sequel to last year’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. Edited once again by Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay), it’s another selection of contemporary masters trying their hand at horror, fantasy, and sci-fi. What you get is a sweet blend of solid literary talent and adrenaline-pumping intensity. There’s a Poe-like depiction of solitary confinement from Joyce Carol Oates, a campfire crowd-pleaser about a mountain retreat gone wrong by Heidi Julavits, and Peter Straub’s publishing-industry horror story. (Ooooh. That’s the scariest one of all.)

It’s the tastiest flavor of the month you’ll try this season. Splenda not included.

Available online at amazon.com or at your local bookstore.