Something Wicked Read-Along Update – Part One

Something Wicked

Our read along for Something Wicked This Way Comes is in full swing! By today, 10/10, we should be wrapping-up part one, Chapters 1-24. What do you think so far? Here are my thoughts and then I have some questions for you to ponder:

  • Super quick read. The first 24 chapters flew by.
  • Very atmospheric. Think dark clouds, wind, dry leaves and the smell of ozone.
  • Odd narration. The language is a little stilted. Almost like a regional thing but not quite. Didn’t take long to get used to though.
  • Two main characters, boys, Will and Jim. Too much alike. Hard to determine who is talking sometimes.
  • CRAZY happenings involving a carousel and a weird little ‘nephew’ of one of the neighbors.
  • Right now, I am totally sucked into the story which promises to be very strange from what I’ve read so far.

Now, a couple of questions for you from Shmoop.com:

  1. We have a third-person narrator in this novel, but how much of this narration is influenced by Will and Jim’s way of looking at the world? That is, how “close” is the narrator to our main characters?
  2. What do you think is the target audience (age group) of Something Wicked This Way Comes? How might its meaning change for readers of different age groups?

Everyone on Twitter (#EnterTheRingmaster) has mentioned the narration. It’s a little odd. One blogger said the flow was a little difficult to pick up, but once she got over the hump, she was totally into the story. For me, the third-person narration is not an issue but the language, prose, whatever you want to call it, was a little disjointed at first. It did kind of add to the story though because it felt to me as if I was listening to someone from another part of the country. How close is the narrator to the boys? I’d say pretty close, almost too close because I am having a hard time keeping the two boys separate in my mind.

The target audience? Good question. Although the main characters are young boys, I’m not sure that’s the intended audience. There is something going on with Will and his father, something that maybe only an adult can appreciate. There is the whole old versus young thing too. I’m not sure a young person can appreciate youth when they have it. Do you?

My feeling right now is that the fun is just beginning. Part one dealt with the arrival of the dark carnival and part two is titled Pursuits.

If you want to still join us, it’s not too late. It took me one sitting to read through chapters 1-24. The biggest challenge will be finding a copy.

Next up on the schedule?

  • Finish Section 2 (Chapters 25-44) by Friday, October 24th
  • 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.

‘Something Wicked’ Begins Today!

#EnterTheRingmaster

Our group read for Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury begins today! It’s not too late to join us. To sign-up or to see the reading schedule, check out the announcement post. We’ve got an entire month to read this baby and I have to say, from the opening pages I am hooked.

Something Wicked cover

Plus, it also counts for the R.I.P IX challenge which a lot of us are doing as well.

I hope you can join Sandy and I!

The Sunday Salon: What a Week

Sunday Salon

It’s been a rough week. The Girl was sick-ish last week and guess what? Even with my excellent preventative measures, I am a walking petri dish right now. I can’t really figure out how I caught what she had because I hardly ever catch colds but I did. Monday, I knew I was a goner but was in denial and Tuesday was much worse but since I was alone in the office, I figured I’d tough it out and drown myself in cold meds and tea and hope for the best.

I am still sick though. The low-grade fever continues to linger which is not bad enough to make me bed-ridden but just enough to throw me off my game. I can still read but not without a lot of Sudafed. I’d go to the doctor but everyone seems to have this same head cold. There’s nothing that can be done. I just need to let it run its course.

But, the kids got through their first round of auditions for Annie. The callback list comes out Tuesday afternoon. Let’s hope they get to go another round. The Girl was coming off of her head cold, so her voice was a tad scratchy but I think for the most part, she got through it okay.

What am I reading?

I am still reading The Bone Clocks and finishing up Fahrenheit 451, which I started for Banned Books Week. But soon, I will be reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. More details on that below.

What am I cooking?

I am so done cooking! I made five dozen brownies for the choir bake sale and twenty or so fruit loop necklaces. I do have to go to the store later because I think my kids are sick of cereal and I have a tiny craving for Chicken Alfredo.

What am I watching?

I watched an adorable movie that just happened to be on, Definitely, Maybe. It was so darn cute! Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin. Adorable. Not sure what I’ll watch today.

Now for some exciting news.

Read Along Info:

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

Our read along for Something Wicked This Way Comes (hashtag #EnterTheRingmaster) starts this Wednesday, October 1st. Did you find a copy? Did you sign-up? Because there is still time to read this Bradbury classic with Sandy and I.

Something Wicked cover

Here is a little taste of what it’s about:

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmares (Indiebound). 

How can you resist?? Freaky carnival action? I am so there.

Review: The Sparrow

The SparrowThe Sparrow
By Mary Doria Russell
Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780449912553, September 1997, 448pp.)

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

This is one of those stories that innocently skips along and then delivers such a powerful punch to the gut, that you’ll want to forget what you’ve read as soon as you’ve read it.

The Rest of It:

I am not even going to attempt to describe the story to you in detail because that is half the adventure and this is definitely a novel you will want to experience on your own. I will say, that it’s about a newly discovered planet and the group sent to investigate it.

As you can imagine with a book like this, part of the suspense comes from WHAT is on the planet and how our group which includes Jesuit priests, a doctor, an engineer, an astronomer and an indentured computer specialist deals with what is thrown at them. And there is a lot thrown at them. Figuring out food and cultivating plants that they recognize is one challenge, determining the effects that the climate and environment have on their bodies is another challenge and really, just learning how to adapt to what they have in front of them is what keeps them busy much of the time.

What makes this an entertaining read is the group itself. Many were friendly back on Earth before their mission, so there is a lot of humor and well-placed sarcasm as everyone gets used to spending so much time together. They all fit, if that makes any sense even though many of them come from very different backgrounds.

But something terrible happens.

The story jumps around a bit between the before, during and after parts of the mission so very early on, you know that something horrible has happened and so this cake walk of visiting an unknown planet and the funny parts interspersed between the more serious issues, felt like I was being led along a very long plank and that any moment I would be plunged into the icy depths below. And that is EXACTLY what happens!

Everyone who reads this book says stuff like, “I feel totally wrung out”, “This book destroyed me” or “I cannot un-see what I’ve seen in my head.” I agree with these statements but what’s totally weird is that I saw it all coming and NONE if it really shocked me and yet, because I was strung along for so long, it hit me HARD. I read this for the #sparrowRAL (read along) and I finished it when others were still reading so when the air was sucked out of me, I had no one to turn to! I finished it at work too which added to my overall anxiety over the ending.

As far as science fiction goes, it felt very current to me even though much of it takes place in 2060. There is a sequel, Children of God, which I did not know about until after I finished The Sparrow but I feel absolutely no need to read the second book.

Things you should know:

  • Contains heavy religious themes but mostly deals with the question of whether or not God exists
  • Packs a punch and you will be a little ill after reading it. Make sure you have someone to discuss it with or you will lose your mind.
  • It takes a long time to get into the story (IMO). Lots of set-up and back and forth.
  • The idea of interacting with an alien race and how it’s handled here will fascinate you.
  • If you are at all interested in societal structure, you will have loads to consider.
  • After finishing the book, I suggest you gaze at pictures of cute puppies and kittens for a day or two because the images that Russell paints will be stuck in your mind for a very long time.

I can’t say that it’s a favorite of mine but it is a book that will stay with me forever and I am glad that I finally read it. Thanks Trish for hosting the read along. I probably would not have picked it up had you not chosen it.

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

The Sparrow – Midway Check-in

The Sparrow Read Along

I’ve already finished the book and my review posts soon but here is my midway check-in without any spoilers so I can be a good read-alonger and not be called a cheater cheater! Trish, just poking fun at ya.

1. How is The Sparrow matching up with your expectations going into the book? Are you surprised by anything?

I had no expectations going into this book and actually knew very little about the story but I must say, it took a me a very  long time to get into the story. From everyone’s comments, I expected to be pulled in a little quicker.

2. Do you feel the switching back and forth between past and present to be effective?

I am not a fan of jumping back and forth between past and present but I do feel it worked for this book. It felt a little cheater-ish to know up-front that something horrible happened and then not be told what for a very long time, but it did increase the suspense factor quite a bit by doing it this way.

3. Which characters do you want to hug and squeeze? Any you’d like to strangle?

I liked Anna and George a lot but I tired of Sofia and her uptight ways. I also did not care all that much for Emilio.

4. Any other thoughts? 

It was written some time ago but not all that long ago. I thought it was written in the 80s. I was way off there. It was written in ’96 and has a sequel, Children of God.

I can’t say too much more without giving stuff away so I’ll stop here. I can’t wait for the others to finish so I can discuss it with them. The ending. Oh, the ending. Gotta discuss it.

R.I.P. IX – Are you in?

RIP IX

I think a lot of us look forward to this “challenge” each year. I put challenge in quotes because even though I am the official loser at challenges, even I can do this one.

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings has all of the details for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, but in a nutshell, this is what it’s about:

  • The event runs from September 1 – October 31
  • Read or watch movies that fall into the following categories:
    • Mystery
    • Suspense
    • Thriller
    • Dark Fantasy
    • Gothic
    • Horror
    • Supernatural
  • Have fun reading and watching
  • Share that fun with others

There are lots of different challenge levels to select. Heck, there is even a level for one book to be read. Like I said, anyone can do it. Here is what I am signing up for:

Peril the Second

Peril the Second. Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the R.I.P. categories. Post reviews on the review site. I am signing up for two books but will mostly likely read more.

Peril the Screen

Peril the Screen. This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show or your favorite film. If you are so inclined, please post links to any R.I.P.-related viewing you do on to the Review Site as well.

There is also a group read planned for The Haunting of Hill House this month so be sure to check it out if that is something you’re interested in as well.

Hill House read along

And then after that read along, join ours (see below)! Because, there is always time for a read along with friends. Especially one that includes a creepy carnival setting. And guess what? You can count it towards the R.I.P Challenge.

What I plan to read:

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. If you want to join the read along, click the image above for details.
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (this one scared the heck out of Stephen King, hope I can get a copy)
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (this may be a stretch but there is mystery, a hint of the supernatural, and I am getting creeped out while reading it)

What I plan to watch:

  • Halloween (I watch it every year. It is not Halloween without seeing it at least twice.)
  • Halloween II (Who can resist Jamie Lee Curtis limping around with that busted ankle?)
  • The Shining (Seen it, love it. Jack is the life of the party!)
  • (I need a new movie to watch, suggestions?)

If this sounds like fun (and it is), then head on over to Carl’s to sign up.

Spending Some Time With ‘The Sparrow’

The Sparrow Read Along

Everyone talks about this book and I’ve never been able to participate in the conversation because I HAVE NOT READ IT!

But, luckily, Trish has come to my rescue by hosting this read along! Yay! Here’s some info from Trish:

“If you missed the details, we will be reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell throughout the month of September. I’ll put up a midway (linky) post on September 15th and a finale (linky) post on September 30th. It’s not too late to join us for the readalong and feel free to pick up the book anytime during the month.”

To sign-up, go here.

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