Welcome back to the second installment of The Book Monster. As you may have heard Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest science-fiction writers of all-time, passed away on June 5th, 2012. He wrote some classic books, like “The Martian Chronicles” (my favorite), “Dandelion Wine”, and “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.
He has also championed free speech throughout his career; his greatest example of this being “Fahrenheit 451”. Bradbury’s essay, “Coda”, which can be found in the back of certain copies of “Fahrenheit 451”, is a scathing criticism of censorship and I highly recommend reading it.
With Bradbury’s passing I wanted to recommend a particular short-story that resonates deeply with me as an Oregonian. It’s called “The Long Rain”, and you can find it in Bradbury’s book, “The Illustrated Man”. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say that the story is about a group of astronauts who land on a very-rainy planet, Venus. It’s almost like Bradbury wrote this story for the people of the Pacific Northwest.
R.I.P Ray Bradbury, and thank you for everything.
“Churches in Early Medieval Ireland”, By Tomás Ó Carragáin: Let me start off by saying this isn’t a religious book. This is a book about architecture. I checked this book out from the University of Oregon’s summit library (they borrowed it from Reed College) to do a a project for school. As an amatuer medievalist I was drooling at the thought of looking through this book, and it did not disappoint me. This book has great pictures of ancient churches, but what makes this book is the text. O’ Carra’ga’in’s book is well researched and well written. He brings understanding to this architecture. Some of the highlights of this book include: a chapter on drystone churches (no mortar) which date back to the sixth century, a chapter on double vaults, which are an architectural oddity, and plenty of information and pictures of the round towers of Ireland. The book is expensive so it may be best to use the library or buy it used.
“The October Country”, by Ray Bradbury: This book may be one of Bradbury’s lesser known works but it’s still a great read. It’s a collection of short stories that deal with darker-seedier themes than Bradbury’s other work. It could also be considered borderline horror writing. My favorite story in this book is called “Skeleton”. It’s about about a man who is deathly afraid of his own skeleton. There is also a great story about a man who stumbles upon the job of being responsible of bringing death to people by the stroke of his scythe. If you’re looking for a dark book to read, or maybe you want have a little scare in your reading this summer you should pick this book up. What better way to pay homage to one of the masters of literature?
“Dads Are the Original Hipsters”, by Brad Getty: I stumbled upon this book at the Duckstore last week, and I couldn’t stop chuckling out loud as flipped through the pages. This book is filled with pictures that attribute hipster style and culture to none other than dads. This book is a must have for the coffee table. Or if you’re a hipster this book maybe an essential guide to studying your roots. Unfortunately I didn’t have the money to buy it and put it on my coffee table (it’s not expensive). Maybe in the future.