Breath of Summer

I read a collection of Ray Bradbury stories and vignettes over the weekend called Summer Morning, Summer Night.  It’s been a long time since I read any of Bradbury’s work – since Something Wicked This Way Comes, in fact, which I haven’t read in … what?  Twenty, twenty-five years?

I picked it up and it sang of old photographs, sepia-aged and filled with dusty nostalgic roads, wonderful images conjuring cicadas screaming from maples and oaks on canopy-covered streets littered with children playing barefoot on the lawns.  A fantastic journey through the author’s growing up in Waukegan, IL, transformed into Green Town for the sake of his fiction.  Each little story or vignette covers some aspect of small town life, in a sleepy little village.  Not all were set in Illinois, but the sentiment, the feeling, was the same in each.

Because I’ve come to associate Ray Bradbury with creepy or weird things, I kept waiting for something creepy or weird to happen.  In one story, a serial killer waits for his next victim in a dark house, lurking.  Other than that one, they were all rather charming and lulling.  A relaxing, enchanting read, without being boring.

It reminded me how good a writer Bradbury is, how much his work impacts writers in our time, and how much worth reading and studying his work is.  While it’s a light read, and a brief one, I still recommend it.  It’s a beautiful snapshot of the power words can have to set a scene, provide a slice of life and draw a reader into new, somehow familiar world.

All of which is pretty cool stuff.


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6 thoughts on “Breath of Summer

  1. I didn’t realize he was from Waukegan. The last thing I read of Bradbury’s was Farenheit 451 a couple of years ago. It was good. 🙂

    I read that one two, but I can’t remember when it was; more recently than SWTWC, actually, now that I think about it, but MAN, I don’t recall when. It was good. His prose is pretty astounding.

  2. Whenever I think of Bradbury, I always think of Ray Harryhausen, Bradbury’s friend who did some special effects on adaptations of his writings. And I love Harryhausen’s style.

    Not familiar with him; which Bradbury movie adaptations did he work on?

    Oh man, now I wanna go to my brother’s place, snag his copy of Clash of the Titans and watch it again. Oh how I love that movie.

    Yeah, you do. It was cool. I remember seeing it back in the 80s and it was awesome.

  3. Knyt

    Not a bradbury fan….but I know he is good read…I dont get it…why you like are the reads that are dark….well hope all is well with you….penelope and i are still putting good thoughts about your job search…zman sends

    Not all of Bradbury’s stuff is dark, Zman. This particular book was filled with warm images and even a smile-inducing story or two; you might like it. 🙂 Thank you on the job search thoughts, both of you. I’m still praying for you too! Have a good one.

  4. Woah, I’ve been re-reading THE OCTOBER COUNTRY.

    It’s like we’re connected man… now let us strip the the waist and frolic through the boysenberry patch!

    Hmm … nah. Let’s drink beer and see who belches more instead.

  5. Other good Bradbury: Dandelion Wine, a sweet but at times scary fictional treatment of… well, if not RB’s childhood in particular, then generally of growing up when he did.

    Also (in a different vein) Zen and the Art of Writing — written maybe 30-35 years ago; his version of what Stephen King did in On Writing, without a lot of the “here is how my personal life illustrates this issue”-type discussion.

    I’ve got to try and find these! The Bradbury selection in my library was … mm … let’s say “pathetic” and leave it at that. 😉 Thanks, JES!

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