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Historical Group Reads > Sept/Oct 2010: Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

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message 1: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (last edited Jan 16, 2011 12:11AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Barry nominated the winning book this month and has agreed to be the discussion leader for Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.

The discussion starts on the 15th of September.

Take it away Barry!

ETA: Barry seems to have disappeared, taking his posts with him, which means that the conversation is a little strange.

Remember to mark spoilers, please!


message 2: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I'm anxious to start it. I've never read this before & don't remember reading anything else by Bradbury except a short story or 2 in the past. That was so long ago that I don't remember which ones. If I can handle this monster-sized book (a collection of his work), I have much to choose from when we're done with this book. This title is one of my favorite book titles .. how descriptive!!


message 3: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
This will be a first reading for me. I have read (and loved!) Fahrenheit 451. Such a wonderful, horrifying and very timely (unfortunately) book. And I have also read, but do not remember The Illustrated Man.


message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments This was the first time I have read it and I just finished it this morning. I have never read Bradbury before and enjoyed the story quite a bit. It seemd to get mixed reviews but I liked the style and the characters. Great suggestion. I look forward to talking about this more but since I am one of the first to finish I will save some comments for later.


message 5: by Jamie (new)

Jamie (karstenspyros) | 1 comments I am very excited to read this book. It seems to me that I have heard of Bradbury before but it has yet to come to me. As soon as it gets here I look forward to participating in the discussion more.


message 6: by K.B. (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments This is a long-awaited first read for me. I recall reading Fahrenheit 451 and I know that Bradbury was a prolific writer, but I don't recall reading much of his work.


message 7: by K.B. (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments That's okay, Barry. I'll be trying my hand at moderating next week on the Book Addicts list. We'll be discussing Drood, and at the moment, I'm way behind in my reading!


message 8: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Hi Barry, I just fixed the rad Ray. I am going to pick up a copy this weekend and get started.

Thanks for moderating this discussion.

Donna


message 9: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) Am sure you'll do fine, Barry! I'm looking forward to it ... just hope I can keep up with the reading. Shame I have to go to work every day! :-)


message 10: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35435 comments Barry

I first read this years ago, probably shortly after it came out. I remember reading it while we were watching the Ed Sullivan Show. I loved it then so I am a little trepidatious about re-reading it now. A number of books that I have tried reading again that I read in that era don't hold up so well from this side of the age barrier.

I started it tonight and I liked the first couple of pages.

I went on a great Ray Bradbury kick when I was 13-15 or so. As I indicated earlier, he also wrote some of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. I don't know if my also being from Illinois means that I understand his language or not. But he had the ability to write a story that could be taking place, at least to me, down the street or around the corner.

So I read most of the books he had out then and a number of short stories that ran in the magazine "Alfred Hitchcock Presents". Don't know if that magazine is still in business. It was around the time of his TV show and Bradbury wrote for that, too.

I'm sure you'll do a good job at leading the discussion.


message 11: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 444 comments I've ordered the book from the library and there were no requests so it should be coming in soon. As I said in another post the description reminded me very much of Stephen King's plots and so I am curious to compare the two. I've never read Bradbury although of course I am well aware of his reputation and his connection to The Twilight Zone TV series.


message 12: by K.B. (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments Carol, I seem to recall reading in one of Stephen King's books that he was a fan of Bradbury's work.


message 13: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn | 11 comments This is my first reading of Something Wicked This Way Comes. In high school I read Fahrenheit 451 in senior language class (taught by the young good looking male teacher we all had a crush on)Soooo I don't remember much about the book :) I finished our group read today. Bradbury's descriptions are unique. When I think Bradbury, I think "Twilight Zone" style. I've appreciated other members references to that. I'm ruminating about the book. I'm going back to read again.
Good book choice for group.
FYI: this is my first time as a group member. Right now I'm still wading through signing up, developing a profile etc. The whole process along with BlogHopping has really opened up the world to a whole new venue.


message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura Picking up my copy at the library today. Really looking forward to this! I haven't read Bradbury since high school.


message 15: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments This is a book I've always wanted to read and am excited that it is this month's pick. It is en route from the library as I type, so I look forward to starting it soon!


message 16: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 444 comments By the way, as this will be my first group read here, how does one handle spoilers up to whatever point in the book you are discussing? Noting Spoiler Alert and/or Chapter at top of post?


message 17: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Hi Carol/Bonadie. Most people put Spoiler in bold or all caps then some space so people who haven't finished the book, or at least not to that part, can quickly scroll to the next entry.


message 18: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I have ordered it from audible.com. Will download it tonight. Silly me! I have this huge book of his work. I thought Something Wicked This Way Comes was in this monster collection. WRONG!! It's all short stories!! On a happier note, I won't have to hold that book ... at least until I decide to read some of the stories!!


message 19: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35435 comments I thought he had done three Twilight Zones instead it was just the one. I wonder if I have confused him with someone else.

I was surprised to learn, however (at http://www.imdb.com/find?s=all&q=...), that he wrote the screenplay for Moby Dick - the one with Gregory Peck.

But at the age of 90 he is still working. Writing and involved with productions of his work. Check out his website http://www.raybradbury.com/.

I am wondering if what I did in the early '60s was read his volume of short stories Dark Carnival and turned them in my memory to much larger works. So, Martha, I'd take a look at those short stories because I'm thinking he wrote some pretty good ones back then.


message 20: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Donna wrote: "Hi Carol/Bonadie. Most people put Spoiler in bold or all caps then some space so people who haven't finished the book, or at least not to that part, can quickly scroll to the next entry."

Forgot to mention that... thanks for reminding me.


message 21: by Faith (new)

Faith | 136 comments I just reread it for the umpteenth time. I first read it when I was about ten. As the years have gone by I've gotten more and more with each reading. It's been a while since I read it last and I was happy to see that it held up.


message 22: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I just started it tonight. I feel already that it's going to be wonderful!! Jan, I plan to do that when I've finished this. Have also ordered another book of his.

Wasn't he involved in another tv series about 15 or 20 yrs ago ... horror or supernatural theme? The opening or closing credits showed him in his office. I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with the title, but I'll have to research it on the web. I remember liking the show.


message 23: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I found this on Wikipedia -
From 1985 to 1992 Bradbury hosted a syndicated anthology television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, for which he adapted 65 of his stories. Each episode would begin with a shot of Bradbury in his office, gazing over mementoes of his life, which he states (in narrative) are used to spark ideas for stories. During the first two seasons, Bradbury also provided additional voiceover narration specific to the featured story and appeared on screen.


message 24: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (SandyLamar) | 33 comments First impression: I'm about 75 pages in to SOMETHING WICKED, having just finished Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury is certainly a master at setting a creepy, magical, shivery mood. I can't get over how beautiful his prose is. His descriptions of the two boys, the father, the lightning rod salesman, much less the mirror maze just draw me in. It's the kind of complete visualization that I love about the whole scifi/fantasy genre. To have an author cause you to see a fully realized world in a completely original way is quite wonderful.


message 25: by Monica (new)

Monica | 75 comments Just started...and already i think i stayed up too late last night reading. For me a sign of a good book = i can read more than 10 minutes in bed without falling asleep.


message 26: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis | 5 comments I only just joined the group. I'm looking forward to reading Bradbury again. We read Fahrenheit451 at school, but that was a long, long time ago. Something Wicked sounds very interesting. Let's see how far I get into it tonight.


message 27: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn | 11 comments Does Goodreads have an explanation on how to give a book a specific rating from 1-5? Or is this done by each reviewer's individual system?
Being a "newbie" I couldn't find it. I saw different rating definitions on blogs. Any help appreciated.


message 28: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn | 11 comments Nanette wrote: "Hi Leann,
I don't know what GR says, but this is how most people (I think) do it:

1 star - hated it

2 stars - lots wrong with it

3 stars - could mean anything from: I like it...to...it's ..."


Nanette wrote: "Hi Leann,
I don't know what GR says, but this is how most people (I think) do it:

1 star - hated it

2 stars - lots wrong with it

3 stars - could mean anything from: I like it...to...it's ..."


Thanks for replying. I wasn't sure if it was a general "go with your gut feeling" or had to be more precise. Glad it's simple.


message 29: by LeAnn (last edited Sep 16, 2010 08:54PM) (new)

LeAnn | 11 comments Hi Barry,
Good choice for book. I think the first time we do anything is a little rocky. Keep on sharing your ideas and keep on co co co facilitating! I feel like I needed Goodreads 101 and blogs 101. My number one passion is reading. I always wondered how the book sites came up with their ratings. . . .


message 30: by Jodi (new)

Jodi | 2 comments LeAnn wrote: "Does Goodreads have an explanation on how to give a book a specific rating from 1-5? Or is this done by each reviewer's individual system?
Being a "newbie" I couldn't find it. I saw different ratin..."


Hi LeAnn. I am new here too. I've found that if you mouse over each star, it tells you what it means. 1 star = didn't like it, 2 stars = ok, etc. Hope that helps!


message 31: by K.B. (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments Getting back to the book, I'm about a third of the way through and it's not as magical, perhaps captivating is a better word, as I expected it to be. The writing is certainly good, but I can't help comparing Jim and Will with my teenage son and his friends. Jim and Will certainly are not typical teenagers in my experience. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I'd read it when I was younger.


message 32: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis | 5 comments I read the book yesterday, and I'd like to thank Barry for this inspired pick. I don't think I would have read it otherwise.

K.B., the book certainly lives with the narrator's voice, not the realism of the characters. I felt this most strongly in the dialogs. At the beginning I thought, this is bold, this can go so wrong, and later on that was exactly what happened: the boys sounded so corny.

But still, the book mesmerized me. Some of the descriptions are amazing, like this one: "Miss Foley, a little woman, lost somewhere in her grey fifties."


message 33: by K.B. (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments Perhaps I shouldn't have said they weren't typical teenagers. What I should have said is that I'm having problems relating to them as characters. So far all the characters seem only partially drawn. Almost as though they are figments, and maybe that's the point.


message 34: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis | 5 comments I totally understand you. Something Wicked doesn't read like a modern day novel. It's more like a medieval allegory. I don't want to spoil the read for you, but it's all got to do with how the characters relate to the carnival and what it means. The characters are more types of people on a moral scale.

Uh, this is all very abstract. I just wanted to say that I understand your irritation. I think it will become clearer as the novel moves on.


message 35: by Chris (last edited Sep 17, 2010 08:45AM) (new)

Chris (cbrunner11) | 53 comments K.B. I can see where you are coming from and agree that they are not the kind of teenager you would relate to in today's world, but what I loved about the book was not so much the characters but the fact it made me think back to when I was younger. I was the same type of kid who rode around the neighborhood on my bike looking for odd happenings. I always wanted to be that detective most kids think they are and this book brought back fond memories. Getting back to the characters, I think if they were written as pre teen characters it might have felt less Corny. I loved the fall fell to the story and the Halloween tone sicne this is the perfect time to read that. I really just thought of this as a great story but can see where you are coming from.


message 36: by K.B. (last edited Sep 17, 2010 09:14AM) (new)

K.B. Hallman (kbhallman) | 302 comments I can see the comparison to an allegory, but I don't feel that it is of the same caliber as a medieval allegory. And having graduated quite some time ago with a lit degree, I am comfortable with how what is referred to as a "novel" has varied through the years. But at this point in the novel (about 1/3 done), I feel that most of Bradbury's efforts have focused on setting the tone, and I keep looking for more character development. But as I said earlier, maybe it would have been a lesser work if he'd clearly defined Jim and Will. Leaving them almost as shadowy as the carnival characters makes everything feel ethereal.


message 37: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I grew up in Louisiana & our fair was in September. Love that time of year b/c the heat of the summer was finally coming to an end. Still love fall the best.


message 38: by John (new)

John Karr (karr) | 122 comments I don't believe it. I actually started Something Wicked again just a few days ago without realizing it was the Sept/Oct choice here. Maybe I can actually contribute something decent.

For instance, the impression I get so far, and I'm only about twenty pages in, is that Bradbury portrays the boys quite sentimentally. Almost overly so.


message 39: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda | 1 comments Barry wrote: "Ray Bradbury creates by alchemy i think. can't imagine his typing, cause he turns words into magic."


my thoughts exactly!


message 40: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments First, I had a hard time shifting my mind to accept Bradbury's writing style. His prose is fluid and almost poetic at times, which makes one have to re-read some passages to understand what he's talking about. And then you have to think about why he's phrasing something that way. After you get used to the style, it's really quite enrapturing.

Some comments have mentioned the lack of character development and partial glimpses we have into them. I think that Bradbury does this on purpose. It seems a parallel to the mirror maze: fragmented pieces of a person that create a vast and complicated whole.

Btw, the maze is by far the scariest thing I've come across so far. It truly gives me the jibblies.

I'm thinking that Jim represents the dark half; wild, unruly, unrestrained, a child that not only doesn't think about consequences, but would welcome them if he did.
Will is the balance: the light, the conservative, walking a straight line, more mature in ways he does not yet know, and above all, the protector. Some might see him as a coward, but I think he's likely the bravest character in this book yet because he knows something is very wrong and despite the want to just go home to his warm bed, casts that comfort aside to protect his friend who clearly needs him.
Physically we see this with Jim being dark featured (lush dark hair) and Will being light featured (almost white hair).

I wonder what the lightning rods symbolize. Haven't come up with a good theory on that one yet.


message 41: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments John wrote: "I don't believe it. I actually started Something Wicked again just a few days ago without realizing it was the Sept/Oct choice here. Maybe I can actually contribute something decent.

For instance..."


I agree with this too, and I think it is to a purpose. One of the themes here seems to be obsession with youth, it's wild vitality, it's inevitable loss, and the potential to literally steal it back. But innocence once lost can never be regained.

Has Jim already lost his innocence? Bradbury describes him as having taken in enough of life to be aged at only 20 while Will has turned away enough to be aged at only 6.


message 42: by Jodi (new)

Jodi | 2 comments Amanda wrote: "First, I had a hard time shifting my mind to accept Bradbury's writing style. His prose is fluid and almost poetic at times, which makes one have to re-read some passages to understand what he's ta..."
Spoiler if you haven't completed the book:



I agree with your insightful analysis- a pleasure to read. Re: the significance of the lightening rod, I think it foreshadows the coming storm in the form of the carnival, and by extension, a life-altering event. Also, the boys' repsonse to this potential threat reveals their personalities and respective roles in this adventure. Jim's house was to be hit by lightening and he is quite excited about this and doesn't even want to put the rod in place, while Will wants to take no chances and encourages Jim to mount the rod. Jim is interested in adventure while Will is thinking of the adverse consequences of a lightening hit. "Why spoil the fun?" says Jim, in response to Will asking if he will attach the rod. Due to Jim's curiosity and unrestrained ways, the darkness of the carnival is exposed. But without the thoughtful and empathetic Will ("Jim, think of your Mom. You want her burnt?"), and with the help of his father, Jim would have died and the evil carnival would continue to live.


message 43: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments Jodi wrote: "Amanda wrote: "First, I had a hard time shifting my mind to accept Bradbury's writing style. His prose is fluid and almost poetic at times, which makes one have to re-read some passages to understa..."

Ah of course! I think that's dead on:D


message 44: by John (last edited Sep 23, 2010 10:31AM) (new)

John Karr (karr) | 122 comments Barry wrote: "Hi John,
I'm kind of the co-co moderator this time.
Great timing. Welcome. Yes, he does paint the boys sentimentally. He is one for that. Manages to make it moving and longing for being young again..."


Hey Barry,

Bradbury is a superb writer. I have a bunch of his short stories as well. The one with astronauts floating off in space is a shot to the gut. And I've always enjoyed the Time Travel one (title escapes at the moment) where they hunt dinosaurs in the past. And Farenheit 451 is classic for all the right reasons.

I was a bit further along in this than I thought (page 70 or so). Hope to do more reading this weekend now that a busy week is winding down.


message 45: by John (last edited Sep 23, 2010 10:37AM) (new)

John Karr (karr) | 122 comments Amanda wrote: I'm thinking that Jim represents the dark half; wild, unruly, unrestrained, a child that not only doesn't think about consequences, but would welcome them if he did.
Will is the balance: the light, the conservative, walking a straight line, more mature in ways he does not yet know, and above all, the protector. Some might see him as a coward, but I think he's likely the bravest character in this book yet because he knows something is very wrong and despite the want to just go home to his warm bed, casts that comfort aside to protect his friend who clearly needs him.
Physically we see this with Jim being dark featured (lush dark hair) and Will being light featured (almost white hair).
..."


Interesting insights into the boys and their symbolism. Could be right on. Also like what Amanda wrote Re: the significance of the lightening rod, I think it foreshadows the coming storm in the form of the carnival, and by extension, a life-altering event.


message 46: by Martha (new)

Martha (marthas48) I'm enjoying your posts, but I had to stop reading for a bit so am behind. It's another one that I think I would enjoy the book more than an audiobook ... a little easier to re-read passages than to back up! :-)


message 47: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments Martha wrote: "I'm enjoying your posts, but I had to stop reading for a bit so am behind. It's another one that I think I would enjoy the book more than an audiobook ... a little easier to re-read passages than t..."

Oh yeah, that would be much harder to "re-read" :)


message 48: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments John wrote: "Amanda wrote: I'm thinking that Jim represents the dark half; wild, unruly, unrestrained, a child that not only doesn't think about consequences, but would welcome them if he did.
Will is the bal..."


I wish I could take credit for the lightening rod foreshadowing the storm/carnival, but that would be Jodi's brilliance!


message 49: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (SandyLamar) | 33 comments Thinking about Amanda's insight, which rings true to me also, what does it mean about Will's father? He's described as old, old, old. But he is the only one who can stand up against the carnival and it's rather ancient evil. I can't decide quite what he represents, though. Is he a thoroughly good man? Why has he been such an uninvolved parent, then? Does he represent rationality and caring? Is entirely normal? Am I missing some sort of mythological reference with the library and the books which take on a life of their own but then don't seem to do anything? (I am a librarian, and love books, but felt I was missing some of the significance of those also). At any rate, I would enjoy hearing some theories about Mr. Halloway.


message 50: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 11 comments Sandy wrote: "Thinking about Amanda's insight, which rings true to me also, what does it mean about Will's father? He's described as old, old, old. But he is the only one who can stand up against the carnival ..."

I've been struggling with his character too. It feels like he serves a purpose of showing the sadness any adult harbors about never being able to literally be young again. He also seems sad with the choices he's made in life, though if that includes having a son, I'm not entirely sure. The library seems to be an escape; the books that "take on a life of their own" may serve Mr. Halloway in that respect. We are given the impression that books can take you anywhere you want to go, and Mr. Halloway craves that escape.

It's interesting you touch on his distance from his son and family. Maybe because he can't bear to see the youth that he'll never have again. Why this bothers him so deeply though I don't know. I don't think this makes him a bad man, just a lost and lonely one.

Since I haven't finished the book yet, I wonder if Mr. Halloway will learn of the powers of the carousel and attempt to turn back time for himself...


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