Ray Bradbury

A very partial library of essential works.




By Ray Bradbury


"A wind blew the long years away past their hot faces." As our columnist Paul Di Filippo notes, Ray Bradbury's short stories frequently opened with an arrestingly vivid image -- and went straight up into the Empyrean from there. This volume collects 100 of his most celebrated short works, including classics like "The Illustrated Man", "The Toynbee Convector", and "The Pedestrian" among its riches.



Dandelion Wine

By Ray Bradbury


Though inaccurately pigeonholed as a science fiction writer, much of Ray Bradbury's fiction was hard to classify -- he could shift with ease between convincing realism, dreamlike fantasy, heady speculation, and gripping suspense. In this quasi-autobiographical novel, he conjures up the life of a midwestern town in the 1920s -- a vanished world mapped in achingly loving detail, seen through the eyes of a child. An American era, distilled.



Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury


Before The Hunger Games taught a generation of readers what the word "dystopia" meant, Bradbury's cunning, subtle evocation of an America under the sway of willful ignorance set the standard for all dark imaginings to come. Steering away from the global vision of political terror that Orwell brought to 1984, Bradbury teased out a strain of nightmare closer to the everyday. The author has said that his education was entirely conducted amid the shelves of the public library -- a fact that makes this indelible meditation on the fragility of knowledge all the more powerful.



Becoming Ray Bradbury

By Jonathan R. Eller


"I believe there was always one core of belief in me that burned from the time I was twelve on: I want to be different, to be different from everybody else.... It is only that hard core of wanting to be different that separates the true artist, I believe, from the man who writes merely as a means of livelihood." Jonathan Eller's revealing biography of a truly self-made man puts the focus on the reading life that nurtured a sensitive soul through the years before his literary triumphs made him a household name.



The Martian Chronicles

By Ray Bradbury, performed by The Colonial Radio Players


This unique suite of short pieces -- which Bradbury himself has suggested were written much more in the mode of Greek myth than any contemporary science fiction -- use the imagined settlement of our neighboring planet to build a deftly interlayered fantasy about human nature itself. Its multivocal tapestry of tales lends itself perfectly to audio treatment, here performed by longtime Bradbury collaborators The Colonial Radio Players.

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.