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Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2)
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Common reads > Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

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Werner | 1805 comments We've started our common read of Something Wicked This Way Comes, first published in 1962 and written by acclaimed master of speculative fiction Rat Bradbury. This will be the thread for posting all of your impressions, comments, questions, reactions and information, as you read, or look back on previous reading of the book. (Be mindful that some participants on the thread will be reading the book for the first time, and that everyone reads at different rates; so be sure to use spoiler tags to hide your comments or parts of them when you need to.)


Werner | 1805 comments Already, I've discovered I was mistaken in one of my impressions about this novel. Since it's also set in 1920s Green Town, as is Bradbury's earlier book Dandelion Wine, I'd always automatically assumed that Bradbury alter ego Douglas Spaulding was the protagonist of both works. But the two boys on the cusp of puberty who are at the heart of this novel are two entirely different individuals.

Being a librarian, I have to give an approving thumbs-up to the way Bradbury (whose own love affair with libraries, like mine, started when he was a kid) brings out a real sense of the vast vistas of wonder and enchantment that lay before you when you enter a library door, as only Bradbury can --no other writer uses the English language quite like he does. That's a sense of promise and excitement that adult readers too often lose in the bustle of a busy life that doesn't have time to think and reflect; I get the feeling that part of what makes Bradbury's vision unique is that he never lost it.


Werner | 1805 comments Has anyone else started reading this book yet?

Bradbury's symbolism here is not necessarily explicitly Christian. But I'm inclined to think that if Mr. Dark isn't a Satan symbol, he's still a reasonable facsimile of one.

There was a film adaptation made by Disney of this novel in 1983, starring Jason Robards; but although Bradbury himself wrote the screenplay, he wasn't happy with the special effects and felt that much of his vision had been destroyed by the filmmakers. (This link has more information on this, and on the film in general: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086336/ .) I've never seen it myself; but has anyone else in the group done so?


message 4: by Deb (new)

Deb Atwood | 284 comments Werner wrote: "Already, I've discovered I was mistaken in one of my impressions about this novel. Since it's also set in 1920s Green Town, as is Bradbury's earlier book Dandelion Wine, I'd always aut..."

Yes, I love the library scenes, too! I know from a past read that the library will come in more than once. I agree about the language. I sometimes use passages from this book as examples of various forms of figurative language. Tons of allusions and extended metaphors.


message 5: by Deb (new)

Deb Atwood | 284 comments Werner wrote: "Has anyone else started reading this book yet?

Bradbury's symbolism here is not necessarily explicitly Christian. But I'm inclined to think that if Mr. Dark isn't a Satan symbol, he's still a reas..."


I haven't seen the movie, but I just watched the trailer. It looks pretty good to me; maybe I'll watch the movie.

In the book, Bradbury brings up allusions of Christ as well as Buddha counterbalanced by some dark figures of history. Maybe Something Wicked isn't strictly Christian, but it does seem to be about the dichotomic forces of good and evil, light and dark--even with the sort of split of one boy into two.

And the names of the boys. Nightshade evokes some dark possibilities. Will Halloway makes me think of someone with the will to walk the hallowed way. Perfect timing for our upcoming Halloween!


Georgann | 35 comments I feel the same way as Bradbury describes about libraries, although I admit most of my reads are not very deep. I haven't seen the movie, but plan to after I read the book. I also got the audio book to listen to on our upcoming trip. Good thoughts, Deb, about the boys' names. I especially liked Charles Halloway's reaction to the "Bells on Christmas Day" song. I'm only at Chapter 15 so far.


Georgann | 35 comments Just finished it and ...I am ... I don't even know what to think!! Wow. So so creepy! I think my Christian beliefs entered into a lot of what I got out of this, but especially, LIVE life and enjoy it!!


Werner | 1805 comments Georgann wrote: "Good thoughts, Deb, about the boys' names." Yes, Deb, thanks for those insights!

I'm just getting ready to start Chapter 29.


Werner | 1805 comments Bradbury and Henry James aren't often compared to each other, and in many ways they're very different writers. But in reading this so far, I'm struck by the marked degree to which Bradbury's characters here sense or intuit important things, and how the author accepts (and encourages the reader to accept) these intimations as absolutely valid. Of course, that's also a defining characteristic of James' writing. (Whether it's a good, bad, or neutral characteristic, in any given work or part of a work, is of course a matter of opinion!)


message 10: by Werner (last edited Oct 16, 2017 03:32PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Werner | 1805 comments One reviewer has compared this novel to Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus (which, of course, we read as a group back in 2014). IMO, though, the similarity is only on the surface, in term of some of the formal elements (both revolve around a mysterious traveling carnival/circus is which sub rosa magic operates, and kid characters play key roles in both). But the tone, plotting, messages, and the whole ethos of the magic is quite different. What do the rest of you think?


Werner | 1805 comments I finished the book yesterday. My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... . Maybe it will help spark some discussion. Looking forward to reading other people's reviews!


message 12: by Deb (new)

Deb Atwood | 284 comments Today I'm thinking about mirrors and reflections--not sure what to make of them yet. There's that scene in which Miss Foley wonders "what she must do about mirrors, Will Halloway, Jim Nightshade, and...the nephew." And there's the part where Will "saw himself, saw Jim, two little pictures posed in reflection on that single eye."

Anyone have thoughts about mirrors and reflections in this book?


message 13: by Deb (new)

Deb Atwood | 284 comments Georgann wrote: "Just finished it and ...I am ... I don't even know what to think!! Wow. So so creepy! I think my Christian beliefs entered into a lot of what I got out of this, but especially, LIVE life and enjoy ..."

Yes, Georgann, I think that is so true. Also, I would say live life and enjoy it without trying to grab that brass ring that doesn't belong to you. Some people were trying to grab power or wealth or youth. That sure seemed to end badly.

I think there was something in there, too, about moral purity and willing corruption.


Georgann | 35 comments Werner wrote: "I finished the book yesterday. My review is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... . Maybe it will help spark some discussion. Looking forward to reading other people's reviews!"
I enjoyed your in-depth review. As much as I appreciated some of Bradbury's poetic use of language, I did find myself skimming to get on with the story. And what a story it was!


Georgann | 35 comments Deb wrote: "Georgann wrote: "Just finished it and ...I am ... I don't even know what to think!! Wow. So so creepy! I think my Christian beliefs entered into a lot of what I got out of this, but especially, LIV..."
Good thoughts, again! Not trying to grab what doesn't belong to you, moral purity and willing corruption. Yes.


message 16: by C. (last edited Oct 31, 2017 02:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

C. | 51 comments I have read this and watched the film several times as I love both. Rated the book 5-stars, but I have never thought there was any Christian analogy at all!

Here is my review~https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Werner | 1805 comments Georgann wrote: "I enjoyed your in-depth review."

Thanks, Georgann!


Werner | 1805 comments Last day for our official read/discussion of this book (though of course this thread will always stay open)! Thanks to everyone who's participated so far, for helping to make this a rewarding experience.

Here's a link to a review of this book by our fellow Goodreader Carol, which I officially liked sometime ago: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... . Though she's not a group member, I'm sure she wouldn't mind being referenced here. Her take was more positive than mine, evidenced by the higher rating.

In message 3 above, I suggested the possibility that Mr. Dark is a Satan symbol. But having now read the whole book, I'm going to back-pedal from that; I don't think a direct connection along that line was really Bradbury's intention.


message 19: by Deb (new)

Deb Atwood | 284 comments Werner wrote: "Last day for our official read/discussion of this book (though of course this thread will always stay open)! Thanks to everyone who's participated so far, for helping to make this a rewarding exper..."

Thank you, Werner, for once again leading us on an October read! It was fun to hear what others said and to read the reviews.


Werner | 1805 comments You're welcome, Deb! Doing common reads in this group was originally our fellow group member Dylan's idea, back in 2008; I think it's been a good idea that's served us well, even though it's gone through some changes in the ensuing nine years.


Rosemarie | 79 comments I read this one last week and found it an engrossing read-and enjoyed it a lot!


message 22: by Deb (new)

Deb Atwood | 284 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I read this one last week and found it an engrossing read-and enjoyed it a lot!"

Hi Rosemarie,
I like this one, too. There are so many themes and symbols and allusions in this book. I find it works well for lit students to write about.


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