89. Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes. Ray Bradbury. 1962. 293 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.

Premise/plot: Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are best, best, best, best friends. One born a minute before midnight on October 30; one born a minute after midnight on October 31. They’ve lived side by side and done practically everything together. Still there’s a wild recklessness that beckons to Jim now and again. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, a carnival comes to town bringing strange, strange, strange people and mysterious dangers. There is something alluring and tempting about the carnival, but also unsettling and disturbing. The boys have free tickets to ride…but will they risk their souls for fun?

The carnival poses some risk to the whole town, for it’s not just kids or the young at heart with a sense of adventure and longing hearts. But for Jim and Will it poses extra danger because of their snooping.

My thoughts: I would recommend Something Wicked This Way Comes to those that love atmospheric reads with thrills and spooks.

It is well written. I didn’t love, love, love, love it. But I definitely liked it.

The trouble with Jim was he looked at the world and could not look away. And when you never look away all your life, by the time you are thirteen you have done twenty years taking in the laundry of the world. (40)

A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if, half an hour before, you spent just tent minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know, is bad, or amoral at least. You can’t act if you don’t know. Acting without knowing takes you right off the cliff. (198)

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
So vague, yet so immense. He did not want to live with it. Yet he knew that, during this night, unless he lived with it very well, he might have to live with it all the rest of his life. (186)

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky’s Book Reviews

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Solve the right problem

“A great solution to the wrong problem will always fail,” says Nielsen Norman Group’s Sarah Gibbons in her three-minute video on “User Need Statements in Design Thinking.” Nielsen Norman Group consults on website usability. However, much of what Gibbons discusses applies to other written materials, too.

User need statement

Gibbons defines a user need statement as “An actionable problem statement used to summarize who a particular user is, the user’s need, and why the need is important to that user.” Understanding this information will help you write better communications of all kinds. That includes blog posts, articles, white papers, and even emails.

It interested me that she spoke about the need to empathize with the user.

More resources

If you prefer to learn from written materials instead of video, check out Gibbons’ article on “User Need Statements: The ‘Define’ Stage in Design Thinking.”

To learn about my approach to understanding your audience, read my blog post on identifying “What problem does this blog post solve for them?” and my book, Financial Blogging: How to Write Powerful Posts That Attract Clients.

 

The image in the upper left is courtesy of Free photobank torange.biz [CC BY-SA 4.0].

The post Solve the right problem appeared first on Susan Weiner's Blog on Investment Writing.

BEANSTALKER and OTHER HILARIOUS SCARY TALES by Kiersten White / Book Review #BeanStalker

By: Kiersten White
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: July 25th, 2017
Ages: 8 & up
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Rating: 5 Owlets
An arc of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales; in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

Snow White is a vampire, Little Red Riding Hood is a zombie, and Cinderella is an arsonist — and that is only some of the mayhem the reader will find in this collection of fractured fairy tales.

A laugh out loud debut middle grade book from one of my favorite YA authors. Kiersten White has created my favorite mix of fractured fairytales and nursery rhymes to date! I loved the way she intertwined, and interconnected so many classics, and the spin she gave each one. If having vampires, zombies and stepmothers isn’t enough to entice you, the illustrations, and the narration will be. 

This is the perfect blend of fairytales and nursery rhymes. Who knew you could combine stories like Snow White, The Princess and the Pea, Jack & Jill, The Dish and The Spoon, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack Be Nimble, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Stepmother. White’s intertwining of these stories was awesome! Numerous times while reading this book I wondered how White was able to pull this off so well. 

The narration in this story is my favorite part of the entire book. Talk about sassy! The narrator definitely stole the show in this book. It’s what made this story so much fun to read. It’s not just their self awareness that makes the narrator so appealing either. The narrator would make a great language arts teacher. Numerous times in this story the narrator points out the homonym and homophone words that characters miss. Like The Princess and The Pea. Let’s just say it’s not, well, you wouldn’t want to sleep on that mattress. This narration definitely makes for the perfect, hilarious, read aloud. 

This book is a must read! It’s equal parts hilarious, and spooky, though it is way more hilarious than spooky. It’s spooky in the best way possible, because some of these characters are not the sweet, innocent characters we all grew up reading about. The spooky twists come from some of them being vampires and zombies. This may be written for middle grade readers, but it will definitely be appealing to all readers ages 8 and up. Including adults. It was part of my Halloween read up earlier this week, but this is one book that can be read all year long.