Something Wicked This Way Comes

I’ve touted my love of horror on this blog before:  Stephen King, Joe Hill, Thomas Harris. I did not expect to find it when I picked up Ray Bradbury, but I sure did. Something Wicked This Way Comes is old school horror at it’s finest.

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Set in quiet, classic little town, Bradbury’s novel is creepy from the very beginning. We have two young best friends, with birthdays at midnight on Halloween. A storm is coming quick, so says the lightning rod salesman, got to prepare!

Except that storm isn’t thunder and lightening. It’s a circus that comes in the middle of the night–which made me want to don my black and scarlet. Unfortunately, this isn’t Morgenstern’s circus, but something much more sinister.

There is a lot of philosophy in Bradbury’s book–most of it surrounding the concept of Death. The moral of this story is all about how you live your life, saving each moment in time. Death is nothing, an idealistic myth we’ve created so we don’t have to think about now.

It was interesting to read this immediately after reading Blackford’s book, because they were so closely related. I unintentionally gave myself a course in mortality philosophy. Funny how that works out sometimes, huh? And now I’m going to go play a little more George RR Martin’s game.

Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind is one of those movies that is so timeless that even though we live in the time of constant remakes, this is one that would be impossible to redo. Almost everyone has seen this movie at least once…ok, most have seen it half a dozen times or more. I know I have. Could you imagine anyone playing Rhett and Scarlett other than Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh? No way. We’d probably end up with Channing Tatum and Megan Fox. Pardon me while I go throw up.

As many times as I’d seen the movie, I’ve never read the book until now. I had found a copy in a used book sale somewhere, calling out to me to finally grab it.

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And folks, I’ve read a lot of books that have been made in to movies, and there are not many that have been done THIS well. About the only thing I don’t remember from the movie is Scarlett having two other kids. Did that happen in the film? Maybe I just need to go watch it again, but the only film baby I remember was Bonnie. And Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh? DEAD ON CASTING. Whoa.

What most people say about this book/movie is this:  “Oh my gosh, BEST LOVE STORY OF ALL TIME!!!”

Yeah, ok, there’s a love story here. Kind of. I see it. But the love story is so far off on timing, that I wouldn’t really call it the best ever. And really, I don’t think that’s what the book is about.

For me, this book is one of the strongest historical fiction novels based during the Civil War and Reconstruction that I have read so far. Mitchell did her homework, and left nothing out. If you are reading it just for the passion, you’re missing so much.

She writes in detail about the politics of the time, the historical figures, how the slaves were treated. There’s a a part in the book where Scarlett is thinking about how the Yankees read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and took that as the bible on slave ownership. They thought that all slave owners whipped and branded the slaves, and how frustrated Scarlett was when she tried to explain otherwise.

(And…for the record…I’m not saying I agree with slavery, but I appreciate Mitchell giving us more points of view into a history that we can no longer see. If that makes sense. I always enjoy learning about the past.)

It’s that sort of thing that fascinated me about Mitchell’s writing. She could have just given us a standard romance novel and women would have been thrilled. But, this book has turned classic because she went so much deeper than that.

Mitchell also appealed to me on a feminist level, and I’m sure a lot of housewives have picked up this book with that same feeling too. Scarlett O’Hara did not conform to societal norms. Life tried to beat her, and she fought back, until she became a strong, hard woman. She had her own business, she was active and intelligent in politics–even going against what her husband and friends believed in. She did things in her life that, while other people found them to be trashy, had to be done to survive. I don’t agree with all of her choices, but I understand why they were made.

This one is going back on my shelf to be read over and over again. I loved it, not for the passion, and “romance.” Because frankly, I found it annoying. Scarlett’s obsession with Ashley frustrated the hell out of me, and Rhett needed a good thrashing sometimes (and if it were Clark Gable…I’d be glad to do it. *ahem*). But there are so many things to learn from this book that get missed in all that nonsense. Reread it. You’ll find it too.

Read This Month

I did a number on the list I had created for myself, and that was a doozy! It was mostly ebooks, so unfortunately, it’s not much of a picture…more of a list.

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Here’s the complete list, with authors and links to any reviews I did:

  1. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
  2. Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
  3. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
  4. Aaron’s Rod by DH Lawrence
  5. Dorothy Must Die Danielle Paige
  6. Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
  7. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  8. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  9. The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer
  10. IT by Stephen King
  11. Greyhound by Steffan Piper
  12. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
  13. It Happened on Broadway by Myrna Katz Frommer

It Happened on Broadway

I grew up in a family that loves musical theatre. From the time I was young, we watched Disney movies and acted them out in our living room. The carpet was light blue, so it was often the ocean. Or, in the reenactment I remember most vividly, it was the Nile River, since The Prince of Egypt was one of my absolute favorites. The music in that one, am I right? I’m pretty sure we have video of it somewhere, too. Gawd.

Oh, and of course there were church plays. My most notable performance being some weird joke about taxes during “We Like Sheep.” The adults all though it was hilarious, but my partner and I had no idea what was so funny. I sure wish I could remember the punchline now. Something about keeping receipts in a shoebox. *shrug*

My sisters and father were also pretty heavy in our local community theater, show choir, the works. I was much happier putting on plays at home than in front of people, so I stayed in the audience.

Then I met my husband, who was equally enthralled with the theatre–I’ve told you about that before.

All this to say, when I saw It Happened on Broadway on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. I thought it was going to be a grand history of the stage, an in depth look at some of the most favorite actors, producers, etc.

Unfortunately…I did not get what I wanted. For people who grew up in the golden age of Broadway (that is to say, people much older than myself, living in New York City), this may be the perfect book. They are going to be intimately acquainted with the people speaking in this oral memoir.

But for me, this was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I knew exactly one person–Carol Channing.

And instead of that grand history? It was as if I was at a party, trying to grasp on to pieces of conversation from everyone around me. I was so confused. This is the type of introvert nightmare that I avoid! There’s no structure, no chapters or themes. Just a bunch of people thrown together talking.

Now, maybe if this were done documentary style on camera where we could see the vibrant personalities, this would have worked terrifically. But with words on a page, it was lacking something.

As much as I love theatre and history, I am just not the target market for this book. It’s too bounce-around, and I’m just not familiar with the contributors. I mostly skimmed through and read a few, grabbing memories from people I recognized, but I just couldn’t finish the whole thing. It didn’t hold my attention long enough. I am not going to completely discredit it, though, because I am sure there are a lot of people who are going to find this oral history extremely amusing. It was just wasn’t for me.

 

Disclaimer:  I was given an ecopy of this book by Netgalley for review.

WWW Wednesday 10/29/2014

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What are you currently reading?

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Greyhound by Steffan Piper

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

 

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Fairies by Skye Alexander

The Iliad by Homer (We’ll see…I have some really huge titles on this TBL. I didn’t plan this out so well. I may have to rethink this one.)

You Can’t Just “Shake Off” Depression

A link was shared with me today that raised my blood to full boiling point. You can check out the article by clicking HERE. (Oh, and the IUPUI’s Press Release, because it is being endorsed by the school:  HERE). Trust me, it’s not pretty.

A freshman at IUPUI decided it would be a fantastic project to pop a video camera in the schoolyard, play Taylor Swift’s peppy new song “Shake it Off,” and let people dance with clown hair and other props. All with the tag for suicide prevention.

Because people with depression can absolutely SHAKE OFF their sadness, emotions, and SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.

 

 

My initial reaction when I saw who made the project was the typical excuse. “Oh, he’s a freshman, he has no maturity. He’s just some dumb kid with a video camera.” But you know what, no. That’s not an excuse. I have had brilliant conversations with 15 year olds who know exactly what depression is. They feel it. Every single day they battle with it. They know what it is like, to sit in a dark room, hiding under blankets, afraid to talk to anyone, not really caring even to open a book or turn on the TV, because nothing feels. Not even feels right, just nothing feels like…anything. They go to school because they have to, and no one understands why their work is “half-assed,” when they are really intelligent kids. It’s not because they aren’t trying on purpose, it’s because their brains just have no energy left. They have essentially run out of gas.

So all those excited, happy people dancing on the video? What we aren’t seeing are the depressed people sneaking by behind the camera. “Please don’t see me, I can’t dance today.” And that’s just those who are even walking on campus, trying to make it to class in the sunshine.

Sunshine. What a curse it is sometimes. Like dancing, it is a sign of happiness, joy, life. And for some, it’s the devil, nosing in the window to see if you’re ready to come out yet. Why can’t the world just leave well enough alone?

 

My depression was situational, not clinical, thankfully. There was a period of about 2 years where the darkness closed in and I really just didn’t know what to do. My life was broken, and so I felt erased, worthless, and so completely emotionally damaged that most of my strength was just gone. I didn’t ask for help, I was too proud, too ashamed. I was never suicidal, thankfully my world never got that black. But the monster that attacked was a very real thing.

That’s over now, and looking back, it’s so frightening to see the pit I had dug for myself. Sometimes you don’t realize how far down you have gone until you’re out of it. And mine was only one long moment. One chunk of life. My heart crushes at the thought of my friends who suffer from clinical depression–those that feel this way on a periodic or cyclical basis. I’ve had people close to me snuffed out too soon, and while their pain ends, it’s devastating to the family and friends who cared for them. We never really know the depth of the pain people are in.

Depression is a beast.  Sometimes, it grabs you all at once and sucks you under. Other times, it takes you like that frog in the slowly heating pot of water, warming you until you boil. And what is really, truly scary about it, is the entire time it’s taking you….you stop caring. It steals your feelings, it steals your ability to choose what happens to you. It becomes this big dark blanket that wraps around you, at first it is comfortable, soft, warm. Ok, it’s nice to be alone and quiet for a bit. And slowly, slowly, slowly…you suffocate. And by that point, you’ve isolate yourself so well, that no one recognizes that you’re drowning. And that is why everyone is always so surprised when someone commits suicide.

 

This is why the video and the article upset me so much. You can’t just “shake off” depression. It’s not just a bad day or an attitude that you can dance away. Even if there are depressed people in that video, and there might very well be–I don’t know their story–chances are…it’s a mask. We are really good at masks (another reason people get surprised).

I am sure Harris’s point was to raise awareness. I see that at it’s base, and I am sure that is why IUPUI is endorsing it. These things go viral so quickly. We saw what happened with the Ice Bucket Challenge. And while a lot of great awareness and money raising came out of that…I just don’t see a real benefit to this specific video. All I see is a really terrible catch phrase, and a whole bunch of hurting people being pushed further into the dark. I hope I am wrong. Or, that someone comes up with a twist to this that actually promotes suicide awareness in a different, more helpful light. It is so needed.

 


 

A Disclaimer, and some information:

  • I am clearly not an expert on depression and mental illness but it is something that interests me and is near to my heart, so I spend a lot of focus on it personally. I experienced it myself, and I’ve had a lot of discussions with my friends who have seen and experienced this. I’ve also done a lot of reading on the subject…because that’s what I do when I’m passionate about something.

If you need help, please please please, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed or scared to ask for help. There are SOOOOO many people out there who have gone through what you have gone through, or have been trained to help you. Tumblr now will even pop up and check on you if you type Suicide in the search box. Reach out to your people. Even online people. We are here. And there are more of us who love you than you think. Don’t let that monster take you under. We will notice. You will be missed, I promise you that.

 

Reading This Next

I’ve been talking and talking about rereading Game of Thrones, but I’ve had so many other things in front of it. I know the series is going to be a beast, but I’ve so been looking forward to it.

Finally, it is next on the list. I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to blog about it–whether I’m going to blog each day, each section, or just each book. I don’t normally blog my rereads, but I feel GOT is something that deserves to be written about. I think once I get into the nitty gritty, the writing will come. We’ll see. I look forward to the discussion, and there will be spoilers, so if you haven’t read or watched the shows, be warned.

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Favorite Place to Read

The husband is out of town for awhile, which is kind of awesome for my introvert side. She goes, “YOU MEAN I GET TO DO NOTHING BUT READ FOR 10 DAYS? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.”

I do have yoga classes, and Benedict Cumberbatch tomorrow. But yes, Introvert Side, you do get to read uninterrupted a lot more than usual.

I’ve turned my office (our second bedroom) into the perfect introvert space. My desk is in here, obviously, but the other corner is my reading corner. I have my bookshelves on either side. It’s pretty much just heaven.

The couch isn’t very pretty, but it suuuuure is comfortable! (shhhh don’t tell my husband I said that. I’m determined to get a new couch downstairs someday!)

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Update:

Sometimes Diva Kitty Queen of the Heavens likes to join me.

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Teaser Tuesday 10/28/2014

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

“It was a man’s world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took the credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness.”

–Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Witches’ Brew

One many pros about working from home is having access to my Keurig. I can’t have caffeine, so I was never able to have coffee at work. I still don’t drink it every day, but I treat myself once or twice a week with some yummy creamer.

Peppermint tea is another favorite of mine. Any kind of herbal tea, really!

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Isn’t my headset hair just fabulous? Haha!