At the moment I am reading F451. I just got done with Part One last night. This is my first full Bradbury Novel that I am reading. But this first thing I actually read of Bradbury's was an excert from Dandelion Wine this year in my English Class. Reading that inspired to read F451, but that was not the first I had heard of him. One of my early memories was watching The Twilight Zone and seeing The Body Eletric, but that just reminded me of the first time I expiernced Ray Bradbury was an old show on the Sci-Fi channel. I can't remember the name of it though. Can anyone help me out with it? It was a Ray Bradbury show after all...
HomerOAE, great to hear you are finding out more about Mr. Bradbury's works. They are "extensive" (understatement)!
After F451 (a real eye opener socially and educationally), read all of DW, then get to Illustrated Man or Golden Apples of the Sun, and next enjoy the poetic imagery of Martian Chronicles.
After that you will be well on your way looking for any RB work you can get your hands on.
Early works or current publications are consistently impressive and will prove somehow memorable: IE, from Dark Carnival(c.1947) to an interesting short collection in Dinosaur Tales (1983, great illustrations) and presently From the Dust Returned (2001) & One More For the Road (4-2002). To name a few....
I have started to collect Ray Bradbury books, again. I have always loved the man and his work. I first saw him when I was in high school at the West LA Unitarian Church. I remember giving a short speech about my search for truth and purpose in this life, or other such drivel, one of several who were asked to do so, and then Mr. Bradbury spoke to the assembly. This was in 1958-59. He was, even then, saying that people always asked him "where do you get your ideas". Later on, when he had the Ray Bradbury Theatre on TV that was of course the opening line. I have had a collection of Bradbury paperbacks since the '50s. More recetly, I had aquired several hardback first editions and Ray signed several for me and my daughter. Just Recently, I started buying additional first editions. I am rereading his books for the third or fourth time. Much of Bradbury's stories are set in and around a fictional little town he calls Green Town, Illinois. My father was born in Tiskilwa, Illinois, which was a farming town of probably several hundred people south of Chicago. I visited there with my Dad when I was about 10. We also visited Waukegan, Illinois, which is Bradbury's home town and is likely the place he wrote about in many of his stories. So there is that connection and identification with his work. Then, later on, Bradbury wrote about Venice, Ocean Park and Santa Monica. Of course I have many memories of the old Piers, both Venice and Ocean Park, which later became Pacific Ocean Park(POP). I worked there when I was attending Samohi High school. I remember the old laughing lady over the house of mirrors, she used to make my blood run cold. I couyld really identify with "The Dwarf" story. My mother and father met each other on the pier, I think Santa Monica, in 1939 or 1940. I have always loved the amusement pier atmosphere and the hustle and bustle of people out for a good time. Ray has added so much emotion to my life through the reading of his stories, I thank him for writing them and stimulating a lonely teenager to read other works in later life. I have come full circle and now I am rediscovering the world of Bardbury metaphors and similes, and can count myself among the earlies of his fans. Philip Trask
I was twelve years old and living in Hawaii at time. My class went to a college dramatization of "The Halloween Tree" "Halloween" my favorite holiday. Ghouls, costumes, magic, mystery. Given that I'm from New England the symbols all seemed more real to me, worn down old houses, pumpkin fields, barren trees and piles of leaves cold wind and black cats. I was entranced. When I discovered it was based on a book I wasted no time reading it. I was hooked. I don't remember how many times I reread it. There after I couldn't get enough Bradbury. I read everything I could find sometimes more than once. It wasn't until after high school that my obsession waned but I have never lost interest in his work.
[This message has been edited by Faber (edited 05-01-2002).]
The first story that I ever read was "There Will Come Soft Rains." in the seventh grade. It was in our english books, and at this time, i wasn't really interested in knowing authors. It wasn't until 2 years later that my aunt Karen loaned me her 40th anniversary edition of The Martian Chronicles that I found that story and fell in love. I have just recently found out that the book was not given to her, as I had thought, but signed Christmas Love 1992 by Ray himself.
I recently made a prose cutting of "There Will Come Soft Rains" for my Forensics class. It was really hard for me to do, because I had to cut out so much of the story to meet a time limit. But it was well worth it. After I performed the piece for the class, I had three different students come up to me and ask what book that was from, all of whom are rapidly becoming Ray fanatics. I ran out of time this year to perform the cutting in any tournaments, but plan on taking it next year, my senior year. I have also cut many Ray stories into prose pieces, and plan on doing an exerpt from F451 as a dramatic monolog next year.
All of the people that have found his name in our files have asked me about him, and now all of our Library's books written by Ray have been checked out. I am extremely exited that my love for Ray's wondeful works combined with a love of theater has helped me spread his name into the minds of so many people.
[This message has been edited by e_swingr (edited 05-20-2002).]
The first of Bradbury's works that I ever read was the short story The Veldt. I found it very interesting. After that, I started reading more and more of his stuff.
I'm surprised at the number of responses which quote "All Summer In A Day". This is the story that initially hooked me, although I didn't realize it at the time. It was in an elementary shool reading book, and I remember it almost exactly as the message from 'Tanja' described (the sun as a copper penny).
A couple of years later I read a story entitled "The Sound of Summer Running" (again in school). This story also appears as a chapter in "Dandelion Wine". I remember asking the teacher who Ray Bradbury was, and being surprised at how emphatically she described him.
The memorable and classic passages from Mr. Bradbury's writings may be outnumbered only by the Bible and Shakespeare. His style - with its exquisite imagery, metaphor, and irony - addresses the entire range of the human condition and man's emotions (love, hatred, hilarity, peace, horror, hope, fear, wonder, despair, compassion...).
The only thing that compares to reading his tales without outside distractions is to read them aloud so as to hear the melody of his word choice and to share with others the poetic rhythm which defines his prose. For teachers at any level (elementary to graduate studies), the sound of Ray Bradbury's works can inspire in countless ways.
How about these scenes and characters?
Those brand new sneakers. The loss of a boyhood friends and the death of a loved one. Discoveries and revelations when they meant the most. The mechanical dog. The winged uncle. That exhibit of endless mirrors. The arrival of the midnight carnival. The lions in the nursery. The time machine and those dinosaurs. Mars, its elegant structures, and graceful, timeless inhabitants. The relentless Venusian rains. Those Irish pubs, the elusive white whale, and the banshee in the woods. The little child lost to the lake. The pumpkins and ghosts of autumn. Those Mid-western houses filled with spirits, love, and sadness. The kind old man, his wagon filled with treasures, and passing it on. The planets, rockets, stars, and dreams of exploring and travelling into the future. The lightning rod salesman and the coming storm. That Dog carrying the countryside home, plus more. The man walking alone at night on empty streets. Just a few...
It's endless. Each is a case study of who we are, where we have been and where we may be going. "Inspiring" seems an ironic understatement. Appropriately, he has always found time to share a kind word with his readers along the way!
As Mr. Bradbury approaches his 82nd year on his journey to living forever, how fortunate we all are to have him with us to continue to read our minds, perform his magic, and offer wonderful medicine at a time when the world truly needs a good dose!
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 05-30-2002).]
I suppose there's a storythat made me look through all my points of view. it consists of some separate novels-"Green Shadows, White Whale". Can't describe my state of mind next 3 days after I read it. It put all the wrong things right and still I can't understand how it happened. Especially that story about the house> It just triggerred me in and still there's nothing I can do about it I like that feeling.
My first experience with Mr. Bradbury was in 1987. I was a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps stationed in Panama. One day while I was on Liberty (an off day) I went to the base library. I happened upon an old book titled "the Golden Apples of the Sun". I read the book at least three times. I remember that it was a firt printing. I wish I would have swiped that book before I came back to the states! I hope it found a good home when we gave the Canal back in '99.
The first Bradbury book I read was Farenheit 451 -- in 9th grade. I was, except for Mad magazines and Marvel comics, a total non-reader. I was in my adolescence and this was the era of the mini-skirt and the halter top. What could reading do to compete with that? My parents took me to a counselor to find out what to do about my refusal to read. The counselor told them to get me all the Mad Magazines and Marvel Comics they could, and to encourage me to read whatever was interesting.
In 9th grade, a friend of mine urged me to read Farenheit 451. I resisted. He loaned me his copy. I reluctantly took it. When I finally did read it, I was in shock. It had never occured to me that ideas mattered. The style and poetry of it . . . the haunting nature of the story and dialogue . . . all got to me. I took the book back to him and asked if he had any more. He gave me either The Martian Chronicles or Something Wicked This Way Comes -- I honestly don't remember which. In either case, I read it, loved it, and returned the book. I then went down to the bookstore and bought everything by Bradbury they had on the shelf.
I had become a reader! Through High School, I read about 60 books a year. From Bradbury, I went on to Clark, Sturgeon, Silverberg, Clarke, Heinlein, Ellison, Pohl, Herbert, Tolkien, Aldiss, etc. What was so fascinating to me was that reading Bradbury got me reading sci-fi, and reading sci-fi got me turned on to literature, philosophy, Theology, religion, etc.
For example, I was reading Starship Troopers and was talking to my dad about the requirement to serve two years in volunteer service for the government before you could earn the right to vote. The idea of having to actually "earn" a voice in government was interesting. My dad asked if I was interested in types of governments, and I said I was. He pulled down Plato's Republic off his shelf. I read that. Before I was out of HS, I was reading James, Aristotle, Plato, Sartre, Camus, etc. I wasn't (and continue not to be) a genius. I had just come alive intellectually. Literature, philosophy, religion, theology all actually had things to say about the human condition!
I have since earned a Masters Degree in English and another Masters Degree in Philosophy. When I teach Jr High and community college, Bradbury is always somewhere in the curriculum.
It is interesting to me that all of this education, passion, pleasure, and fun, stems from a 9th grade reading of Bradbury's Farenheit 451.
Can I pick a favorite? I don't think so. I absolutely love a lot of his short stories. I love Farenheit 451. I love Something Wicked This Way Comes. I love Martian Chronicles (I have students compare it to Hemingway's In Our Time and Anderson's Winesberg, Ohio.). Stories like The Pedestrian, All Summer in a Day, Kaleidescope, The Veldt, The Dwarf, The Skeleton, The Rocket Man, The Long Rain . . . these stories, when I read them now (at the ripe old age of 46) are still just as alive to me as they were when I was young.
Anyway, this was my start to Bradbury. Reading Bradbury continues to be an inspiration to me. I never tire of re-reading his work.
The first one was Farenheit 451 (in spanish), when I was 13. I was hooked for the rest of my life.
Today, almost 20 years later, I�m still in love with Ray�s stories. I read them in english now and even tough the language adds emotion and feelings, even in spanish they�re great.
Well, I'm sure that I was required to read Bradbury by some hapless English teacher in my high school days, although I honestly can't remember it, and, I'm ashamed to admit, I even taught Martian Chronicles six years ago, but it took several enthusiastic and enlightened eleven and twelve year olds to, two years ago, break through my English teacher, quasi-intellectual, snotty education and help me see the artistry in Bradbury's words.
As Bradbury himself says in "On the Shoulders of Giants" in Zen and the Art of Writing, the students became the teachers and "placed a gentle bomb" on my desk in the form of their reflections on reading Bradbury for the first time. Their thoughts led me to Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dandelion Wine whose value I had somehow missed in all my supposed education. Falling in love with Douglas Spaulding, Helen Loomis, and Mr. Halloway, I realized that, as Bradbury says, "there are Ideas here!" After having the soot knocked off my brain, I became a fan.
kagw: Yes, I often discuss Mr. Bradbury's background, read some of the book's initial pages to the class, assign home and silent reading, have students orally read some especially fine passages the following day, and then see what the students think. They can "get it" just fine!
The metaphors are there to enjoy, not to get hung up on. (See: David Gogen, Wayne Johnson books for highly detailed analysis on same, both well done.)
Mr. Bradbury's imagery is second to none. The emotions and characters take over. The students read and then go looking - or asking - for more. At least, this is what I have observed each time I have taught any of his works (DW, F451, SWTWC, IM, MC, or GAofS, etc.)!
I have not seen a similar reaction to any other author. It is a part of his magic
Consider, John Huff's leaving, Great grandma Spauling's death, Mr. Bodoni's love of his kids, Cecy's fantastic presence, Montag's enlightenment, the tremendous dinosaurs, a winged uncle, those delicate and ancient Martians, and antagonists that haunt you for years on end!
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 06-19-2002).]
From an earlier posting at another location. It seems more relevant here.
"What was Bradbury's inspiration to me? In ninth grade -- except for Mad Magazine and Marvel comics -- I was a total non-reader. This was the era of the halter top, and, at 15, what could be more compelling than that?
A friend pressured me into reading Farenheit 451. I tried, in vain, to tell him I was not a reader, but he was persistent. I finally read it. Never before had it occured to me that ideas really mattered. With Farenheit 451, the world of ideas, and the idea that ideas were what mattered, was opened up to me. When I returned the book, he loaned me Martian Chronicles. I read that and returned it. I then went to a bookstore and bought every Bradbury book they had. I read all those.
I then went on to Clark, Asimov, Sturgeon, Ellison, Silverberg, Heinlein, Pohl, Tolkien, Niven, Herbert, etc. These guys, following Bradbury, introduced me to the fields of religion, philosophy, political philosophy, literature, fantasy, poetry. As an example of how this worked, a reading of "Starship Troopers" introduced me to the idea that a citizen should have to invest two years as a volunteer to earn the right to citizenship and the ability to vote. I was talking to my dad about this, and he pulled Plato's "Republic" off the shelf. I was thus introduced to philosophy. I went on the earn Masters Degrees in both Philosophy and Literature. This all goes back to a ninth grade reading (under duress) of Farenheit 451.
I still have to go back to Bradbury (and my other touchstone, Thoreau) to come alive to life and to who I really am.
Years ago, I purchased a copy of Knopf's collection of Bradbury's short stories. He was to be there to sign. Typical, hero-worshipping fanatic that I was, I showed up hours early, bought the book and was wandering around the store with his book under my elbow. They had not even set up the signing table yet. While looking at some books, a person behind me asked if I was there to see Ray Bradbury. When I turned around, it was him. He offered to sign my book so I wouldn't have to wait in line. I happily agreed. My regret is that I was so awe-struck, I couldn't tell him how much he had influenced my life. I see him as one of the central figures in my life. He introduced me to the world of ideas in all of it's written categories.
He is still a touchstone for me. One of my great joys when I teach is to introduce his work to someone who has not had that exposure, and who is turned on to Bradbury's version of the world of ideas and feeling.
Thanks, Ray. Thanks."
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