From the pricking of my thumbs…

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

Hat “It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself “

This week one book immediately sprang to mind and once I had it in my mind it had to be the one.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

My favourite this week is, again, as last week unsurprisingly the cover I’m most familiar with:

wicked3

Which is your favourite?

Next week – Gold

Future themes:

07/07/2017 – Gold “All that is gold does not glitter”

14/07/2017 – Boats “The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea green boat…”

21/07/2017 – Planet “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those who live on it”

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Roll up, roll up, roll up

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

Circus “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town!

Again, it feels like we only just had this theme so coming up with another cover was not easy.  I’m not sure if my choice falls more into ‘carnival’ than ‘circus’ and I’m not sure if it matters so I’m just going to go ahead anyway:

I like a few of these.  The copy I own is the green and black on the top row.  I rather like the middle cover, the red one with the stormy clouds and the mysterious figure but I love this one:

something9

 

Which is your favourite?

Next week – Easter

Future themes:

14/04/2017 – Easter “The rabbit of Easter. He bring the chocolate”

21/04/2017 – Bridge “I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to push forward”

28/04/2017 – Beach/Seaside”Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!”

05/05/2017 – Lion “If you place your head in a lion’s mouth, then you cannot complain one day if he happens to bite it off”

12/05/2017 – Phone “Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it”

19/05/2017 – Plane “When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it ….”

26/05/2017 – Mice “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘it might have been’…”

02/06/2017 – Moon “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

09/06/2017 – Mummy “It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness”

16/06/2017 – Guitar “You couldn’t not like someone who liked the guitar”

23/06/2017 – Cat “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this”

30/06/2017 – Hat “It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself “

07/07/2017 – Gold “All that is gold does not glitter”

14/07/2017 – Boats “The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea green boat…”

21/07/2017 – Planet “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those who live on it”

Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

FFO.jpg

‘Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme being hosted by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite books covers.  The rules are fairly simple and can be found here.  Each week, following a predetermined theme choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.  Simples.  This week the theme is:

‘A cover which is predominantly green’

A book that I thoroughly enjoyed and my first Ray Bradbury book.  Something Wicked this Way Comes (oddly, I was inspired to read this by the song in the Harry Potter film (the title of this post is a snippet of the lyrics).

 UK   :   US

I love the UK book cover.  I just can’t help it – it’s so deliciously dark and gothic.  It makes me think of foggy streets and evil and things that go bump in the night!  Scary things – Jack the ripper, Jekyll and Hyde – you get the picture I’m sure!

Next week’s theme:

‘Water, Water Everywhere’

Come join in the fun!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

So, two out of two for Ray Bradbury then so far!  First, Something Wicked – which was just excellent and then the thought provoking and shocking Fahrenheit 451 which has kept me thinking for days!

This is an excellent story, quite serious and very well written.

The setting is a futuristic America, no place specific made mention of exactly (I don’t think).  The main protagonist is Guy Montag, a regular, everyday fireman!  Goes to work and comes home to his loving wife.  Okay, scrap that.  Nothing is ever as simple as it seems and the world in which Guy now lives is a strange dystopian world where the only need for firemen is to burn the few remaining books that have survived this strange world!  Yes, Guy burns books – in fact all the firemen burn books.  Guy then goes home where his wife, headphones placed firmly in her dainty ears listens fixedly to her three tv walls!  She only needs the fourth wall to have a full house (pun intended – and sorry!).  Then, one day, as Guy walks home, feeling feelings that he doesn’t really understand he meets his new neighbour – a young 17 year old girl called Clarisse.  She comes across almost ethereal in this strange world of enforced living zombyism!  She throws Guy’s world seemingly into turmoil by simply asking him if he’s happy.  And from there things start to unravel at quite apace and in a frightening way.

I’m not really going to go into the plot.  This isn’t a new book so I’m sure it’s not possible to really give away spoilers at this stage but I still think this book is best read with little advance warning as basically you start off reading thinking everything is relatively normal.  Then you think ‘hold the phone’ followed swiftly by ‘what’ and ‘no way!’.  This may start off as a narrative of a relatively everyday man, living his life relatively normally until little by little Bradbury deconstructs that idea and tiny piece by piece shows you how completely different this world he has created really is.  People living their small lives, disconnected from each other and reality, soaked in tv with their only reading matter cheap magazines, fueling their unhappy lives behind closed doors, lacking conversation and thought.

I thought this was a really good read.  It’s thought provoking.  I’m not entirely sure whether Bradbury is trying to get across a tale of censorship (and it’s also not clear how this situation was ever reached – other than it appears that ‘they in power’ seem to think reading is troublesome) or whether he was simply expressing through this story his possible concerns about the influence of other forms of media and entertainment and how this would affect people’s lives and reading habits.  It’s certainly easy enough to see the effect that tv has had on Guy’s wife who is almost addicted to her living room walls where the tvs have become her family and all she longs for is a fourth wall of tv – and yet, actually she’s not happy really.

The same with Guy.  He started the story doing his job but with inner remote niggles.  All of a sudden he finds himself longing for the conversations that he imagines his next door neighbours have as they stay awake into the early hours of the morning in their brightly lit and animated house where conversations seem to take place.

Somewhat of a sad read, definitely shocking and incredibly thought provoking.  I’m glad I read this and would have no hesitation in recommending it to others.  A masterpiece of dystopia.

I’m submitting this book as one of my reads for the Little Red Reviewer’s Vintage Sci Fi event and also Stainless Steel Droppings 2015 Sci Fi Experience.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

‘The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.’  I love this opening line.  It draws you in immediately and piques your interest.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Just finished reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury which I really enjoyed.  I wanted to read this book for a number of reasons, it’s on my classics list, it’s on my RIP list, I’ve also read plenty of good things about it  but, in fairness, and bizarrely the real thing that kept bringing this to my mind, was one of the Harry Potter films, and I can’t remember which one, but it starts with the Hogwart’s choir singing ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.  What a strange and whimsical fashion to choose your books and yet it feels oddly appropriate with this particular novel.

I really enjoyed this.  It’s the story of two young boys, living in a fairly typical town.  The type of boys who are usually up to a bit of mischief, albeit harmless, creeping out of their bedroom windows of an evening when their parents think they’re tucked up safely in bed to go and play in places they shouldn’t really be and to conjure magical adventures.  Then, on one such evening, the carnival comes to town and the boys become involved in something much more sinister than they ever imagined.  A fight for life in fact.

Firstly, a note on the author’s style of writing.  Fantastical is probably the best description that I can come up with.  The prose are almost poetic at points and strangely evocative.  The author definitely has his own style but as soon as I’d become accustomed to this I was totally drawn into the story.

Will and Jim are the two main characters.  Both rough and tumble, best friends.  Jim borders a little more onto the dangerous and darker side and it’s this side of his nature that draws him to the carnival and brings him to the attention of the strange performers.  This carnival isn’t of the everyday.  The illustrated man is not all he seems and many of the performers are held in a strange and subdued captivity.  There are so many interesting characters and concepts here.  The witch, and particularly her strange form of magic, the whole scene with the hot air balloon was really quite freaky.  The carousel – well, all I can say is I don’t think I can ever enjoy a ride on one of those again!  The maze of mirrors – I must admit I find the Hall of Mirrors in any fairground a bit unnerving but this particular maze magnifies that feeling.   This maze reflects the person’s darkest fears a thousandfold.

I’m not going to go into too much more detail.  The story was undoubtedly creepy.  The plight of the boys reaches a great dramatic climax.  It’s a great look at good and evil and the different shades in between and the strange nature of people that draws them sometimes to things that are dark and supernatural.  On top of this it’s one of those stories that you read and can immediately feel that it’s had an impact on other writers.  And finally, it’s a wonderfully dark and perfect tale to read on an autumn night leading up to Halloween.

I’ve read this for Stainless Steel Droppings RIP event.  This also counts to my Classics Club list.