For Word on Fire blog contributor Ellyn von Huben, summertime means books. Sometimes they're new, sometimes they're old, but they're always worthwhile. Today she reflects on author Ray Bradbury, who passed away last week at the age of 91.
Summertime, and the living's easy.
And what makes it easy, when faced with heat, humidity, mosquitoes? Because when school is out, you have unlimited time to read anything you want. I have been out of school for a long, long time but that summertime reading feeling has persisted long past the last diploma, long past the days of the library summer reading club where we each ‘grew’ construction paper caterpillars with a segment for each book read.
When the days grow longer and warmer I start to consider my summertime reads, which usually includes rereading favorites. Some Shirley Jackson, E.L. Doctorow’s “Ragtime,” and of course, Walker Percy’s “Love in the Ruins.”
The sad news of the death of Ray Bradbury not only touched me, but nudged me to put that long ago favorite “Dandelion Wine” on my reread list. Oh, how I loved that book. I read it over many summers, enjoying the nostalgic picture it painted. Those I considered to be ‘scary’ parts made it perfect for hot summer nights. My neighborhood gang (and I use gang in the happy, suburban 1960’s sense) had even endeavored to make our own dandelion wine. This was a comic disaster, as we clearly had not absorbed from our reading that it is the petals of the dandelion that are crushed and distilled to create the elixir for winter. We wound up with a tub of decaying dandelion greens. The odor became too disgusting, and we moved on to some other adventure...