Something Wicked Read-Along Update – Part Two

Something Wicked

A couple of weeks ago we talked about part one. We are now approaching the end of our read along. By today, 10/24, we should be wrapping-up part two, Chapters 25-44. This section is so bizarre and strange.

  • Continues to be very atmospheric but less so than part one.
  • What is up with the witch? The hot air balloon was a nice touch but strange and nightmarish.
  • Will & Jim continue to be too much alike. I like to refer to them as “Wim” because I have given up trying to tell them apart.
  • Will’s dad. We knew something was up with him but the whole thing with his hand… I can’t make sense of it.

On Twitter (#EnterTheRingmaster) one blogger wondered what Bradbury was on when he wrote the book. That’s a good question because part two seemed a little disjointed to me. You’ve got this crazy witch chasing the boys and the visuals he uses to tell that part of the story are so odd. Mr. Dark is still after the boys as well but he seems less of a threat than everyone else and virtually no time is spent AT the carnival. Another adult has been turned into a child, but for what purpose? Will’s father comes to their aid but it’s still questionable how he fits into all of this. I’ve spent the last day pondering what I’ve read but my thoughts are all jumbled up. Partly because of how this part was told. It’s a little chaotic. Pursuits and chases can be like that. I am anxious to see how this story ends.

Next up on the schedule?

  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st

If you wrote-up a post, just add the link in comments or feel free to comment away here or on Twitter using #EnterTheRingmaster as the hashtag.

Review: Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave
By Solomon Northup
(Graymalkin Media, Paperback, 9781631680021, February 2014, 248pp.)

The Short of It:

A true account of a free black man, kidnapped and forced into slavery.

The Rest of It:

While in Washington, D.C. on a business trip in the mid-1800’s, Solomon Northup was kidnapped and forced to be a slave for what became twelve long years. His story, as told to David Wilson, is shared here in this memoir.

Many of you may have seen the movie, which received several Oscar nods but as with most books made into movies, I am always interested in reading the book first, whenever possible so I have yet to see the movie myself. The book, although short, gives you just enough of the horrors of what he went through as a slave and it will make you angry. His relationships with the other slaves is the one saving grace. But the frustration over his situation is felt throughout his story and the worry and fear about his family is very compelling.

In one sense, it’s hard to believe that such a thing could happen and for so long, but his twelve years as a slave is riddled with pain, worry and fear over what will become of him. He encounters many slave owners during this time and although most of them are easy to anger and will stop at nothing when it comes to a delivering a good beating, there are others who treat their slaves as people, with the respect and dignity of an owner who appreciates hard work.

The story itself is very compelling and yes, unbelievable at times but the delivery of the story seemed a little formal to me. The language used to tell the story is very formal and dare I say it, somewhat cold and clinical. It’s as if this story was told to me at arm’s length, in a detached sort of way which of course took me out of the narrative many times. It’s very short, yet felt much longer than it should have. Perhaps the formality of it all added to this.

This was the September selection for my book club, chosen by me and of course that is the one meeting I had to miss due to back to school night, so I really don’t know what the others felt or how it compared to the movie. Will I see the movie? I had planned to prior to reading the book but now, I am not so sure.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? What did you think?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: Gorgeous Weather

Sunday Salon

It’s a gorgeous day!! The sky is a bright blue, not a cloud to be seen and the sunlight is working its magic. The Girl took all the Halloween stuff out and put it up yesterday. I think there are only five houses in the neighborhood that put anything up this year. Now, I just need to get the candy!

It’s been a busy week but it’s over now. The Teen took the PSAT, The Girl got to cheer at the high school game, they both had rehearsals for both Annie and the drama competition next week in Temecula. Not to mention doctor’s appointments and flu shots and the Title 1 meeting I had to attend. Mid-week, something bit me and my entire body itched and burned (which is weird) for two days!! Yes, it might have been the flu shot but more likely, the bug bite. I have no idea really but I never want to experience it again.

To all of you who gave me some insight into Title 1, you were all correct and in our case, the program does not follow her into middle school. Our school is a target-based Title 1 participant which means that the students who need addition help, had to be determined within the first 30 days of school. To err on the safe side, she was added to the program. This means she gets one-on-one math assistance four times a week. A good thing, right?

What am I reading?

Along with other books, including our read along book, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I started this one:

Driftwood

 

It is really good so far. After just a few pages, I was hooked.

What am I cooking?

The dreaded question. At the moment, I am making lemon scones but later? Who knows? I sort of want The Hub to pick-up some stuff from the Mexican market (rotisserie chickens, fresh tortillas, etc.).  I haven’t told him this yet.

What am I watching?

Tonight, The Walking Dead. Today? I have a number of movies to choose from. Moonrise Kingdom? Notting Hill? The Abyss? I need to catch-up with some of the newer releases but when I have time, I tend to want to re-visit my favorite movies. Did you know that they already posted ABCs 25 Days of Christmas schedule? I am almost in the mood to pull out Christmas Vacation.

No one wants to hit church with me today. I took a look at one of the online services to see what I’d be missing and it looks like our normal pastor is not there today. Not sure if I will attend by myself. I do like to go as often as I can. I feel as if it prepares me for the week but I like people to go with me too. The Girl got home late from a birthday party last night and we were up past midnight waiting for The Teen to return from Fright Fest so we are all exhausted.

I know many of you feel the same way today! I saw a lot of read-a-thon posts yesterday. I hope you all had fun. What do you all have planned for today?

Review: Big Driver (Audio)

Big Driver (audio)Big Driver (audio)
Written by Stephen King
Read by Jessica Hecht
(Simon & Schuster Audio | ISBN 9781442383746 | October 2014 )

The Short of It:

The kind of story you drop everything for. The kids can go hungry, but you’ve got to finish your read. You know the type I am talking about.

The Rest of It:

This little novella was actually part of a collection, originally published in Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King in 2010.  But in case you haven’t noticed, King is on the popularity train right now. Many of his books and short stories have been adapted for film or TV or are in the works to be adapted soon and he has another new novel coming out this November, Revival.  I have some fun scheduled for that one.

Tess Thorne, a thirty-something mystery writer who lives at home with her cat, runs into a little bit of car trouble on her way home from a book signing. What she encounters is horrifying and every woman’s worst nightmare.

The story is riveting and at times, brutal. I listened to it on my way home from work, and every time I pulled into my driveway I walked into the house with my ear buds firmly attached because it was so hard to stop listening! King’s story is not that unique but there are things about it that creep you out. One, the main character creates voices for those around her, her cat, the librarian and the person she is most afraid of.

These imaginary conversations are very disturbing. More so, because Jessica Hecht’s interpretation is downright chilling. I can’t say that I enjoyed her speaking voice all of the time. Sometimes, the main character, who is supposed to be a thirty-something, sounds like an 80 year-old woman and that’s not just because of what the character goes through. Because of that, at times, I didn’t feel that her reading was true to the character.

King includes all the classic “King” stuff that keeps you coming back for more. The weird little sayings, “It likes you, and you like it.” Said, over and over until you feel like you are on the brink of losing it. The strange mannerisms and yes, the zinger cuss words here and there, coming out of the main character’s mouth. Lends the story a crassness that keeps you on the edge of your seat because you don’t know what the main character is capable of. Is Tess losing it? Holding it together? Giving up? Your heart will beat out of your chest until you know for sure.

This also counts as a R.I.P read.

Peril the Second

As I mentioned above, so many King projects being translated for TV or the big screen. This is no exception. Big Driver is airing tonight, October 18th on Lifetime. Here is a little preview and if you miss tonight’s showing, you can catch it on Sunday, 10/19.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: I Am Malala

I Am MalalaI Am Malala
By Malala Yousafzai
(Little, Brown and Co., Hardcover, 9780316322409, October 2013, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

Malala Yousafzai was just a young girl on a field trip for school when she was shot point-blank in the face. This book is about that day, the events leading up to it and the role it played in her struggle for education equality.

The Rest of It:

My book club selected this book back in January to be read in October. That was before Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize and before her gunman had been identified, so imagine our surprise when she was back in the news by the time we met to discuss the book. Timing, it’s everything.

I didn’t know much about Malala prior to reading this book. I do recall the shooting in 2012 and some of the details behind it, but other than that, not much. In case you’re like me, I’ll give you a little info. As a young girl, Malala lived in the Swat Valley, a province in Pakistan. Her father ran a school for both boys and girls but as you can imagine, most girls in that region were kept home to help around the house or married young to start their own families. Education was not a priority for young girls and Malala took it upon herself to make sure that young girls got the same education that boys did.

This presented a problem for her father. Threatened and told to close his doors, he began to worry about making ends meet. Without female students, he would not be able to keep his doors open. Knowing this, Malala did what she could to support education for all children and this angered many in their town, including the Taliban which eventually led to the attempt on her life. Amazingly, the gunshot wound to her head, did not cause permanent brain damage but called for quite a bit of physical therapy. This required her to be moved to a London hospital and after much discussion, a decision was made to move the rest of the family there as well.

Instead of being fearful of what could happen to her in the future, she used the events of that day to her advantage and became even more vocal, knowing that at some point the Taliban could succeed in taking her life. However, this mattered little to her. What mattered more, is that education be accessible to ALL who wanted it. Through her efforts, she’s been awarded numerous prizes for her humanitarian efforts. An impressive list but especially so given her young age.

I was surprised at how readable the book is. With every page, you are reminded of Malala’s youth. She’s a young girl like any young girl, watching popular TV shows and wanting to wear make-up and try new hairstyles. She’s very likable and the book is written simply, without a lot of historical background. This is a plus as well as a minus. A plus because almost anyone can read the book but a minus because if you are looking to learn more about that region of Pakistan or the Taliban itself, you won’t find it here.

Since this is not a book I would have normally picked up on my own, I was hoping to get a little more insight into that part of the country but even though I did not find it, I still enjoyed reading about this remarkable young woman.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Euphoria

EuphoriaEuphoria
By Lily King
(Atlantic Monthly Press, Hardcover, 9780802122551, June 2014, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

A somewhat entertaining romp through New Guinea that happens to include a love triangle!

The Rest of It:

I had no idea that this book was loosely based on Margaret Mead’s life until I was a few chapters in. Lately, I find myself going into a book blind so I can avoid everyone’s opinions on it but I think in this case I would have read a little more closely had I known about Mead being a basis for the story.

Regardless, I found the book to be quite entertaining.

Bankson, a scientist, fails miserably at killing himself so when he encounters Nell and her husband Fen, also scientists he finds himself slightly obsessed with Nell even though she is obviously married to Fen and promises to find them a tribe to study. Mostly, this is due to his need to keep her around and not so much out of scientific curiosity. Nell is fiercely independent and somewhat aware of Bankson’s attraction to her so there is quite a bit of sexual tension throughout the book. Oddly enough, Fen enjoys having Bankson around as a distraction because Fen and Nell definitely have their moments.

Anthropologically speaking, I think the book needed a little more adventure and a little less romantic tension but that’s just me. I know Mead’s work and attitude toward sex is what shaped the sexual revolution of the 60’s but the book read more like a novel to me than historical fiction. I suppose I wanted a bit more of the history of things.

It was an enjoyable read and well-written but it felt a tad unbalanced to me. Have you read it? What did you think of it?

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: The Walkers Return

Sunday Salon

It was a short week for me since I had Monday and Tuesday off and yet…it still felt incredibly long.

We had some fun stuff going on. The Teen’s choir Cabaret concert was on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a fun show. And…The Teen DID get the part he wanted in Annie (Rooster), Ms. Hannigan’s good-for-nothing con-man brother. The Girl did not get what she wanted but she ended up with a featured dance part.

The Teen was invited to USC for a singing workshop which he unfortunately had to leave early for since he had a lead acting workshop scheduled later in the day but I think it was a good experience for him. Being on a large college campus and getting to hang out with the music director? Very cool.

In other news…

I thought The Girl’s cheer clinic was yesterday, but it’s TODAY. This morning, to be exact which means if we go to church, it’s going to have to be an evening service. Might not be a bad thing as I’ve been wanting to try an evening service.

But, who am I kidding? This weekend is ALL about the return of The Walking Dead. Yes! It’s back! I think tonight’s episode is going to be rough. I fear for the characters. I will be off social media from 6pm on to avoid spoilers.

What am I reading?

I am listening to Stephen King’s Big Driver and reading Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light. I am liking both, quite a bit. I did not know that Big Driver was coming to Lifetime though later this week. I am also reading Something Wicked This Way Comes for the read along I am hosting with Sandy.

What am I cooking?

I made all sorts of stuff yesterday. Chicken Taco/Enchilada soup and chili and corn bread. The chili and corn bread will be enjoyed later. I didn’t want anything to distract me from The Walking Dead so that stuff is cooked and ready to go Just needs warming.

Just now, I made myself a bowl of coconut Chobani Greek yogurt, added some gluten-free raw oats, some dark chocolate shavings, sliced raw almonds and sprinkled the top with toasted coconut. Divine.

What am I watching?

Later I will be balled up on the couch cringing, while watching The Walking Dead hoping with all hope to not lose a major character in the season opening. Will you be watching tonight?

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