Well, you know that every October I have to re-read and talk about Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. My reading it this year was even better than usual because I had my very own copy, given to me by Mr. CR last Christmas with a card that said, "Now you have your very own copy!"
Why do I have to read it every fall? Well, because:
"So it was on this night that blew warm, then cool, as they let the wind take them downtown at eight o'clock. They felt the wings on their fingers and elbows flying, then, suddenly plunged in new sweeps of air, the clear autumn river flung them headlong where they must go.
Up steps, three, six, nine, twelve! Slap! Their palms hit the library door.
Jim and Will grinned at each other. It was all so good, these blowing quiet October nights and the library waiting inside now with its green-shaded lamps and papyrus dust." (p. 13.)
I love autumn, and Bradbury's book is like experiencing an especially intense prototypical autumn. Every year I re-read it, and every year I find something new in it, and every year something in it soothes me like you can only be soothed when you know what it is to be up at three a.m. with worry or sickness (and most adults know what that is) and need something both completely removed from your surroundings and something which gives you the strength to accept your surroundings.
This year what particularly struck me was remembering that this book stands as one of my greatest readers' advisory triumphs and one of my biggest failures. I gave it to my sister and now it is one of our literary touchstones ("it reminds me of that part in Something Wicked this Way Comes..."); we both thought our Dad, who always liked Arthurian legends and myths and fiction, would really take to it, and so passed it along. He hated it. Hated it from the very start. He just brought it up to me the other day as the weirdest book he's ever started, and what was I thinking giving it to him? So that just makes me laugh. Now, I know my Dad about as well as one reader can know another, and I still am capable of misfiring on what he'll love or hate (he recently read and loved the religious allegory The Shack, which I had no time for). So, all you readers' advisors out there? Give yourself a break if you can't always find readers books they love. Books are bigger than we can always define, and know, and really, so are readers. So don't be so hard on yourself.
*"One year Halloween came on October 24, three hours after midnight."