Friday, January 20, 2006

Fine Writing

There are so many fine novels out there. So many fine works of non-fiction, too. And it's quite hard to pick a favorite. But I know that many of you tend to keep your books, regardless of whether or not they were good or bad.

I keep way too many books, that's true. But I like to know that my favorites are where I can find them. As well, I like to buy copies of my favorites as gifts for friends and loved ones.

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I just finished re-reading one of my all-time favorites: "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury. Love this book. It still manages to give me chills. Here's what one synopsis said about it:

"A classic fantasy novel about a mysterious carnival that arrives in an Illinois town and begins to damage the lives of its inhabitants. Two boys are the only ones who realize what is happening and it is up to them to fight a growing evil that destroys all it touches."

Or here's an Amazon.com reviewer on the book:

"A masterpiece of modern Gothic literature, Something Wicked This Way Comes is the memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a "dark carnival" one Autumn midnight. How these two innocents, both age 13, save the souls of the town (as well as their own), makes for compelling reading on timeless themes. What would you do if your secret wishes could be granted by the mysterious ringmaster Mr. Dark? Bradbury excels in revealing the dark side that exists in us all, teaching us ultimately to celebrate the shadows rather than fear them. In many ways, this is a companion piece to his joyful, nostalgia-drenched Dandelion Wine, in which Bradbury presented us with one perfect summer as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, he deftly explores the fearsome delights of one perfectly terrifying, unforgettable autumn. --Stanley Wiater"

Not bad, but this misses the fact that this tale is written so poetically that it almost brings tears to your eyes.

Now, I don't particularly care for poetry. And modern poems do nothing for me. Somehow the loss of rhymes and a kind of rhythm makes these 'poems' seem, to me, to be just short prose. At times they read, to me, like stream of consciousness. Not for me. I don't really want to read what somebody's psychiatrist should be reading.

That being said, Bradbury's prose here goes to a different place. It is not poetry, but reads so much as if it is. It is lyrical, melodious, rhythmic.

Now, whether or not you care for Fantasy, Horror, or Science Fiction - another of Bradbury's genres - this a novel that must be read. And savored. Read "The Martian Chronicles" , "Dandelion Wine", or "October Country" for some of the Bradbury flavor.

All I can tell you is that Ray Bradbury makes for some fine reading. He is a Master of Fine Writing. Go to the library, or the book store, or your favorite online book store, and find some Bradbury. You won't regret it!

3 comments:

Floridacracker said...

I agree, those are all excellent books and Ray B. is amazing.

Chris in Ontario said...

Dandelion Wine is one of my all-time favourites. He's gifted certainly.

sisiggy said...

And lest we not forget Fahrenheit 451. This was my favorite to assign my kids when I homeschooled. Not as beautiful as Dandelion Wine or Something Wicked..., but incredibly smart. I always thought of Bradbury as a writer's writer.