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Book 24

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
  20. Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
  21. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  22. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  23. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  24. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)

Page count: 6053.

The cover to Farewell Summer calls it, "The eagerly anticipated sequel to Dandelion Wine." Bradbury in his afterword more correctly calls it an "extension" to the other. After all, how can something that has no plot have a sequel?

Farewell Summer, unlike its predecessor, is not a collection of vignettes recalling childhood. Rather, it is a story with a definite plot, taking place the summer after the events of Dandelion Wine. The plot seems contrived. Doug has had a dream wherein he dies, and so he forms an "army" to wage war against old folks and growing up. Meanwhile, his aged counterpart, Calvin Quartermain, decides to wage war on these youths. All this is to make a point about coming of age, growing up, loss of innocence, and so on.

Bradbury is still a great describer. He paints potent images for us, tells absorbing stories. But whereas Dandelion Wine rejoiced in a nostalgia for youth and a bygone golden age, Farewell Summer seems to have lost that, expressing cynicism about those who cling to youth and refuse to grow up. Whereas the one is a book for those forever young at heart, the other is a book for those old and dying. Heck, even the forbidding ravine that represents death in the former becomes green and inviting in the latter. The only connection between the two books is a similar cast of characters and the same location.

There's nothing blatantly wrong with Farewell Summer — the various adventures are fun to read about — but it just feels off, like watching something ever so slightly out of synch. I can't say I really liked it. And there's a bit at the end — I won't give anything away, but this is meant to bring resolution and forge a connection between Doug and Quartermain, between old and young, between entering life and entering death — that I merely found tasteless and unnecessary. I think I would have preferred not to lose the innocence of Dandelion Wine.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
elgatocurioso
Aug. 4th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
I last read all of Bradbury's book as a mid-teen. They were weird, and old fashioned even then. But that made them strange and good and paradoxically new for me, at that age. I wonder if I would feel the same rereading them now all these years later?

Bring back the "What shall I read next" poll ;). It's always fun making you read something you wouldn't normally read (esp. since I have no time to read anything myself).
spwebdesign
Aug. 4th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC)
Farewell Summer would have been written well after you were a mid-teen. It feels different in character from all the other Bradbury I've read.

Edited at 2008-08-04 06:34 am (UTC)
am0
Aug. 4th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
Bradbury
I think Bradbury has picked up a hint of meanness in the many decades between the two books. It's hard to tell if it's an intentional way to create the atmosphere he wants, as he created an atmosphere of terror out of the ordinary in Something Wicked This Way Comes, or if something new in his attitude has simply rubbed off in his writing. He is a master of creating mood so I didn't try to figure it out. I would be happy just to have better control over the moods or atmosphere in what I write.

Still, parts of the story did leave a sour taste afterwards.
spwebdesign
Aug. 4th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Bradbury
For all the sense of terror he created so masterfully in Something Wicked This Way Comes, it was still imbued with a sense of optimism. Bradbury still effectively set the mood in different ways in Farewell Summer, but I felt a cynical current running through it, more an undercurrent than a deliberate mood.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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