Friday, November 2, 2012

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, a winner of many awards for his fantasy and science fiction stories, died this past June. He had a long and successful career as a writer. I am sorry to say that I had not read any of Bradbury's books till a year ago. I had run across Fahrenheit 451 multiple times working at a Public Library. I was told that it was about censorship. A year ago I read an excellent article on Fahrenheit 451 by Robert M. Woods. This article motivated me to read this book and I am glad I did. Since that time I have read two more books by Bradbury, Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked this Way Comes. 

Fahrenheit 451 in some sense is about censorship, but it is also much more. The characters had already stopped reading before the firemen began burning books. The book is also about marriage, relationships, culture, and technology. It shows how the knowledge contained in books can be easily lost. Fahrenheit 451 is quite relevant to our own time.

Dandelion Wine is a book about the remembering the summer of 1928 through the eyes of a twelve year old boy. Douglas's grandfather tells him that the dandelion is noble because it represents all the potential of summer. The dandelion is "a common flower, a weed that no one sees, yes. But for us, a noble thing, the dandelion" (13). The dandelion symbolizes the ordinary things of life. If we are not careful, we will miss them. We must slow down and smell the dandelions! We must like Douglas and prepare ourselves for all that life might bring.

I finished reading  Something Wicked this Way Comes on Halloween. I thought it was a good fit. The book is about a carnival that comes to town early one October. This carnival is not the typical carnival that you would expect. It brings with it much evil. In Something Wicked this Way Comes you have a classic battle between good and evil. It is the type of book that makes your hairs stand up on your neck.

So I have now read three books by Ray Bradbury. What do I think of him as a writer. This is just a small sampling of his work since he wrote around thirty books, but I do think these three books give you a feel for the author. Bradbury knows how to tell a good story. The writing requires multiple readings to get all that exists in the books. The author does not shy away from confronting evil head-on. He also explores the good things of life, love, beauty, and goodness. I plan on reading more works authored by Ray Bradbury.

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