My last post has three videos of Ray Bradbury with advice for writers. I’ve taken some of his guidance to heart and ordered a number of books from his suggested reading list. All week they’ve been coming in the mail. “The Man Who Saw Through Time” by Loren Eiseley, “The Necklace & other Short Stories” by Guy de Maupassant, “The Best of Roald Dahl” and “The Road Not Taken & other poems” by Robert Frost.
It’s a rich collection of short stories, essays and poems which is just what the doctor ordered. Read one short story, essay and poem every night, says Bradbury, and at the end of 1,000 nights you’ll be stuffed full of new ideas and metaphors that will enrich your mind, your life, and your writing.
He describes the result loosely as having a mind full of metaphors bouncing around, connecting with each other to make new ones. I love the idea of new ideas synapsing in my brain. Who couldn’t use some new sparks firing up the ‘little grey cells’?
As a life long collector of metaphors, Bradbury’s mind has obviously proven to be a breeding ground for metaphorical mating. His writing constantly surprises and amazes me. See quote at the end of this post.
I also love the fact that Bradbury was self-educated and got his education in libraries.
Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
During his talk Mr. Bradbury suggested his favorite authors. He’s very partial to more classical short story writers and the names came off the top of his head, so I’m sure this list isn’t complete.
Here’s a list of all the authors he mentioned, which I will convert to a permanent page where it can be added to. To learn more about each author, the links go to their Goodreads page.
SHORT STORY WRITERS
John Collier (an author he especially favored)
After hearing his lecture I’ve been inspired to start a self-induced reading program which I hope to share with you here.
Fortunately since these are classical writers, their works are available at bargain prices. Where can you get them?
- Many of their works are available through Amazon’s third-party sellers for less than a $1.
- Library book sales: This weekend I found about 10 books I couldn’t live without at our Book Sale for only ’50 cents an inch’.
- I’ve also just discovered that the older writers like Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert Frost are available from Project Gutenberg for free Kindle and Nook (ePub format) downloads. Some are even available in audio format.
Today I finally had a plentiful supply of reading material. Since I fall asleep too easily reading at night I decided to try a threesome lunch, one short story, one essay and one poem. So with my black beans and roasted red tomatoes, I read “The Necklace”, a short story, an essay by Robert Frost, and a poem by Katherine Ann Porter. All from real books which is still my favorite mode. Hmmm. Kind of a nice lunch.
Just so you can have a brief experience of Mr. Bradbury’s writing style, here’s a random selection from Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I’m currently reading as well. In this passage, two young boys are watching the arrival of a train bringing a ‘dark carnival’ to their town.
The train itself appeared, link by link, engine, coal-car, and numerous and numbered all-asleep-and-slumbering-dreamfilled cars that followed the firefly-sparked churn, chant, drowsy autumn hearth-fire roar. Hellfires flushed the stunned hills. Even at this remote view, one imagined men with buffalo-haunched arms shoveling black meteor falls of coal into the open boilers of the engine.
Oh, to be able to write a paragraph like this.
Well that’s it for now. Let me know if you’d like to hear more about my discoveries in my oldies-but-goodies selection of books. I’m looking forward to reading short stories for a change and am on the look out for contemporary writers as well. I’m open to suggestions.
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