Summer Morning, Summer Night by Ray Bradbury

Ah!  There’s nothing like a breath of summer to chase away the late-winter chill.  Bare feet in the clover, fireworks going up on a sultry night, lovers walking in the moonlight—they’re all here in this collection of short stories.  For those of us who think of Ray Bradbury as a science-fiction writer, these stories come as a pleasant surprise.  Green Town, Illinois—Bradbury’s fictional rendering of his own hometown of Waukegan,Illinois—seems in these stories like a place you can visit on your next Sunday drive.

This is small-town Americana at its best and sometimes at its worst.  A ten-year-old boy falls in love with the town librarian in one charming story, but another involves two old spinster ladies who make “love potions” you would do better not to try.  In one story, a woman who has lived alone for decades is visited by someone from her past, while in another story two jealous little girls compete to see who has the most interesting tragedy in her life.

Although some of the stories have elements of the fantastic, the emotions and actions of the characters are very true to life.  In “The Death of So and So,” two older couples who are visiting each other just can’t get enough gossip about who has died and who is about to die.  Then there is the young man in “The Beautiful Lady“ who is so sick of hearing old folks brag about how much better everything was in the old days that he sets out to prove them wrong once and for all.

Several stories brought tears to my eyes, such as the bus driver who makes his lonely rounds until one night a girl gets on his bus who he just knows in his heart is the one and only girl for him.  Will he have the courage to speak to her?  Then there is the fourteen-year-old boy who adores his twenty-four-year-old teacher, and she, in her own way, returns his feelings.  Can they ever be more than friends, or can they even be friends in this small-town world?

This is a beautiful book, inside and out, filled with that special storytelling magic that Bradbury can do so well.  It may be a few weeks before you can really sit out on your front porch, sip some lemonade, and watch the world go by—but in Green Town you can do it any time you want.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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