- Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
- McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
- Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
- Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
- Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
- Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
- Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
- Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
- Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
- Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
- Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
- Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
- Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
- Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
- Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
- Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
- Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
- Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
- Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
- Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
- Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
- Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
- Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
Page count: 5844.
Of the five books I've posted about since last night, this is the only one I'm writing about on the day I finished, having read the last words as the train pulled into Kilburn, one stop short of my own. I haven't had much time the past two months for posting or much of anything else, yet there's not much I can do on my commute but read. That'll soon change, though, as I found out this evening that my three-week contract that turned into about nine or so will come to an end tomorrow.
It'll be like the beginning of summer for me, like school letting out. Only I won't be gathering up dandelions and making wine. In fact, there aren't too many summer rituals I perform, but I'll probably take a walk down to Gladstone Park or Hampstead Heath and read. Maybe the sequel to Dandelion Wine.
Dandelion Wine isn't exactly what one would expect from one of the masters of science fiction. It isn't sci-fi at all. Then again, a sci-fi novel like The Martian Chronicles isn't exactly what you expect from sci-fi either. In fact, I'm not sure a single book I've read of his — not Dandelion Wine, The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, nor Fahrenheit 451 — qualifies as science fiction. At most we could say it's speculative fiction, but then isn't most. Bradbury seems more interested in character-driven slices of Americana than traditional plot-driven sci-fi.
Dandelion Wine is just that, a collection of vignettes spanning the summer of 1928 in Bradbury's fictionalized hometown. The stories are framed by numerous summer rituals (making dandelion wine, buying new sneakers, etc.) which, along with new discoveries ("I'm alive," old people are time machines, etc.) are kept track of by Bradbury's alter ego, Doug Spaulding. The lives and events of Green Town are recounted with vividness, warmth, and imagination, the hallmarks of Bradbury's style.
And, of course, Dandelion Wine makes for perfect summer reading.