Until this summer, I had no idea that summer reads was a thing. I also see many of you do summer reading challenges. I’m enjoying this summer a lot. It’s a mix of activity, -with the teens at home, and me taking them to places-, and relaxation, -with week days in which I can enjoy a brunch by myself, with the company of books, my best friends.
I recently finished reading The Illustrated Man, by Bradbury. I chose it for the XX century classic, for the Back to the Classics Challenge.
It’s no secret that I love Bradbury. I must say I thought illustrated meant educated, as in the Illustration period. However, it meant a man whose torso is illustrated with tattoos that tell stories. But I won’t give anymore up. This book looks bigger than The Ambassadors, right?, but it’s 292 comfortable print pages, and it’s a short story compilation. While The Ambassadors seems short, but it’s 375 pages of smallish print. I read The Ambassadors in Spanish at my Kindle, which for some books like this, was more comfortable to me.
The Illustrated Man is a fast read. But the stories will stay with you. Most are ‘good disturbing’, there’s lots of space travel, life in Mars, astronauts. I ought to say that his sf feels homey, there’s nostalgia, and philosophical and existential questions. There’s also his unmistakable warmth in all this. A profound love for humankind.
It’s possible I’m idealizing him, as media seems to have made a saint of Kenue Reeves at the moment. But who can tell me of a writer who stayed married to his first and only wife for 57 years? He seems to have been a good man, a good American.
And I have to make a correction. Bradbury himself said he didn’t write science fiction. I’m not a die hard sf fan, but I like me some sf here and there. I may enjoy Bradbury tremendously because of how peculiar his sf is:
First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time—because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.
It’s true that his short stories couldn’t happen, not because of the technological advances, -some which could become a reality-, but the moral and philosophical scenarios are, as he claims, fantastical, mythical if you wish. It’s the outer space theme that borrows from sf, what makes us think of them as such.
My brunch explained: I believe we are all food and health nuts! We all have crazy ideas, or diverse ideas of what’s good, bad, healthy, unhealthy. I just love food. And good food. Like good literature, much of it is an acquired taste. It also has to do with your upbringing, your experiences in life, and your curiosity and imagination.
Some read only one genre type of books, eat from a limited range of foods. That’s not me! I truly believe I experience other cultures through food. I’m always up to try something new. I also like certain flavors close to home. The picture shows a spinach and goat cheese omelette, and an arugula, corn and blue cheese salad. The bread has some cream cheese and spice plum jam a friend made and gave us last Christmas.
I’m also half way into How Should We Then Live? I’ve read Shaeffer’s Escape from Reason, which is shorter and presents part of what this longer book does, in a concise and quite deft manner. My second time with Escape from Reason, I realized how much of what he says in it I’ve retained, and how all in it helps me understand and place art, music, literature, and culture. Both books are useful if one wants to understand past centuries world views, and how we’ve arrived to our current one.
My next books would be a P.D. James book that I got from the library. I did this after I read Carol’s review of another of her titles. Some of her short stories. Not Death Comes to Pemberly, -I’ve heard from good friends it’s not up to par-. Given that I love language, I should read Speak Memory. This is Nabokov’s biography. I’ve read some of his books and reviews of this one, and it promises to be very interesting. Has anyone read it? What are your thoughts?