Do you ever find yourself coming back to a certain story at a certain time of year? I often re-read books during a specific month or season that I feel is inextricably tied to the book. Here’s what I’m reading right now to get in the spirit of the season.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury)
This short novel, published in 1962, is basically the original “Goosebumps” book. R.L. Stine has said it’s his favorite scary book and it had a big influence on him as a teen (here’s a cute video of him talking about it for Google Play.) But even beyond the dark fantasy/horror genre, it’s really a classic in American literature.
SWTWC is the story of two 13-yr-old boys—Will and Jim, one light, one dark—who get caught up with Cooger and Dark’s Combined Shadow Shows when it comes to their small Midwestern town at 3am one late October day. Will and Jim are curious boys, but the carnival will do anything to protect its secrets…and it’s always looking for new members.
The story’s horror aspects stay in “creepy” territory, and I like how psychological it is. This is really a perfect book for teenagers, but at the same time stands up to multiple re-readings as an adult. The prose is simply gorgeous and the book has so much to say about concepts like temptation and desires, growing up and then growing old, friendship, fatherhood, and conquering your fears. Every time I read it I’m struck by new profound and beautiful phrases. This is actually the only Bradbury I’ve read, and I have no idea why because this is the kind of writing that is sadly missing from a lot of popular literature.