012) Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, finished February 5
A couple days before Orson Scott Card's short-story collection Keeper of Dreams hit stores, my copy arrived in the mail. It is a lovely volume, and enormous. I tore into it, excited to read it. And it starts off excellent, with two fine stories, the second of which I still regularly think about. But, somehow, my reading slowed down. And although the book has never left my bedside, I'm still not done. Before reading the most recent story, at least two years had past since I read from it.
But I finally did get it going again and tackled the long, next story, "Feed the Baby of Love." Card's note following the story reveals it is set in the world of Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, and so I pulled it off the shelf and read it next. Although I don't agree with Card that this is the best thing he's written, I did find it engaging and intriguing and I really wanted to see how it connected to its source-world while Card's version was fresh in my mind.
So the last two or three weeks I've read Bradbury's short novel while walking to and from school. It's very Bradbury---as much poetry as prose and as concerned with seeming as being. It is a lovely book, an idyll of a summer, the last great summer of childhood (implied in Bradbury, codified in Card), the summer Doug Spalding was twelve.
Much happens here and although every page is fully Bradbury, it flits from genre to genre, the utterly fantastic Happiness Machine and the top-notch suspense of the Lonely One. It's no surprise that chunks of this had been published previously, but its episodic quality is a feature, not a bug. This is absolutely a coherent novel.
And---as Bradbury says in his introduction (1975) and Card says in his note---this novel makes a strong argument for the lovely and the kind, the joyful and the desirable as worthy topics for high literature. The world is not all sadness and despair. This book sees all those things and retains its innocence and its optimism.
Anyway, good book! next up for me, Bradburywise, is probably either Something Wicked or Green Shadows. (Although, I should note, although I do not own it, Bradbury did write a direct sequel to Dandelion Wine, Farewell Summer.)
two or three weeks
013) My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, finished February 15
Another classic kids book I'd never read before. It's filled with the brand of nonsense you'd expect from, say, a Little Golden Book, but it's spread out over ten chapters. And that's really only act one of the story! Even the baby could tell that was an odd place to end! So I'll have to hit up the library for the next two (presumably equally short) volumes.
about ten days
014) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, finished February 16
I'm not sure how many times I've read Gatsby---three or four? five?
Incidentally, this is why keeping track of such things is helpful. Eight years ago I claimed to be reading it for the second time AND that this read-go-round I found the novel pointless and hollow. And here I was prepared to say the novel's growing in depth and interest each time I read it!
Memory is a fickle thing.
Anyway, I enjoyed it. I'm preparing to teach it for maybe the first time, certainly the first time in AP Lit. And, following on the heels of Fences as it will, I can't help but to notice the many many many parallels---and how ironic and cruel they are, given the differences.
Recommended! You could do it in a day, if you wanted!
015) Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, finished February 18
Although, allegedly, I will not read the same comic aloud to the same kid twice, quality counts for something.
under two weeks
016) A Desolating Sickness: Stories of Pandemic edited by D.J. Butler, finished February 21
I wrote more about this collection in an earlier post. I hope they make it into an actual book because it definitely is worthy.
maybe two weeks
017) Nothing Very Important and other stories by Béla Petsco, finished February 22
Upsettingly, my copy is missing pages 197, 198, 205, 206---out of 209. So that upset me. The anteanteantepenultimate story completely upped the book's game and the anteantepenultimate story carried on strongly. Then Agyar is home again (it's largely a missionary book) and the final two stories are each missing an entire spread.
So that wasn't great. Buyer beware.
(But seriously: buy one. You'll be out, like three books.)
007) iPlates: Zerin's Sacrifice by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 21
008) iPlates: Alma in the Wilderness by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 24
009) Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, finished January 27
010) Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished February 4
011) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, finished February 4
003) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, finished January 6
001) The Sun Has Burned My Skin: a modest paraphrase of solomon's song of songs by Adam S. Miller, finished January 3
002) You're a Pal, Snoopy by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 4
004) Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished January 9
005) Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished January 17
006) Shem in Zarahemla by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 19