Friday, November 28, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse


Once again, it's time for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, an online gathering of bloggers who love books. If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post. Thanks to our most excellent host, my friend, The Armchair Squid.
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This month, I flung my collective neurons into an old favorite that I hadn't read for quite a while: I Sing the Body Electric: And Other Stories by Ray Bradbury. Holiday cleaning required removal of all books on my shelves and there it was...hello, old friend.

Published in 1969, the book is a collection of short stories. Later, in 1998, it was republished and more short stories were added to that edition, but I'm a purist...no, that's not the correct word. What do you call someone who holds on to old books they love? Well, I'm THAT word.

Whether Bradbury is writing from an earthbound state or transporting your mind beyond the stars, he has a definite style that is all Bradbury. This particular collection is all over the map, topically, which I tend to think is a good thing; there's something for everyone. Personal taste will dictate which tickles your fancy. I'm just going to mention a few.

The title of the book is also the name of one of the short stories, and holiday sentimentality steered me back to it. "I Sing the Body Electric" is one of my all time favorite stories. Timothy, Agatha and Tom are children without a mother...and without another family member to fill the void. Father orders an "electric grandmother." With amazing cleverness, patience and affection, she fills the needs of the family - till they need her no more. In an brilliant twist, she promises to return "when you are old and gone childish-small again" to help them in the infirmity of old age. I just loved that one; always have. 

"Night Call, Collect" is a classic that tells the tale of Emil Barton's long presence on Mars and his manic frustration with a problem of his own creation: a series of mechanically tripped messages from the young Barton to the old. After fifty years alone on the planet, it's not as endearing as he must have thought it would be.

Maybe you're not a science fiction fan? No worries. This collection is far less sci-fi that many of Bradbury's other books and the human factor raises the bar for Ray a bit. Many people think this particular collection is a bit "meh," but don't be a lemming! You can read the book free by clicking right here

Or check out the classic Farhenheit 451. The man wrote published 300 stories, according to the notes. Go find your favorite. One way or another, I'm going to corner you into getting a dose of Bradbury. I'm persistent. 

JOIN THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE GANG: The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:

27 comments:

  1. Good morning and happy Black Friday, dear Cherdo!

    Edgar Allan Poe was one of Ray Bradbury's early influences and Bradbury, along with Poe, was one of mine. At a very early age I cultivated a love of science fiction and horror and consumed it in books, comics, TV and movies. Bradbury's stories were adapted for the new medium of television which was in its infancy when I was in mine. His tales became episodes of the radio and television series Lights Out and the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone . His stories, scripts and screenplays were used in scary movies my big brother took me to see including It Came From Outer Space (1953) and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953). In 1954 the Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 was published as a serial in Playboy Magazine and through the years the iconic mag has referenced Bradbury and his work on many occasions. Ray Bradbury invited us all to think outside the box and I thank you for remembering this brilliant 20th century writer.

    Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. Could you scoot that excellent comment upwards by about six inches and put it in my post?? I know that I Sing the Body Electric! was a Twilight Zone episode, too. If you haven't read it, follow the link above and read the online pdf. I'd love to have your take on that one - it is a favorite.

      I knew you were my brother from another mother - I love Poe, science fiction, horror flicks, etc. As a child, I read comic books, but mainly stuff like Tales From the Crypt and few other ghost story themed comics (for the life of me, I can't remember their names).

      Have a great weekend, keep your head down and stay away from retail!

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  2. I'm way behind on Bradbury. I've read Farhenheit 451, Martian Chronicles, "All Summer in a Day" and that's it. I tend to clump him with Vonnegut, of whom I've read more. I know their styles are quite different but they were mutually-admiring contemporaries.

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    1. I've read much less Vonnegut, but I like his stuff. Do you re-read favorites? I literally have books that are worn out from re-reads when I can't find a new book to draw me in. I love to read, and your bloghop reminds just how much I enjoy it.

      Have a good weekend, Squid!

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    2. I try to stick with new stuff just because there are so many books I haven't read. But I usually re-read one or two a year. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: I'm sure I'm well into double digits on re-reads of that one.

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  3. I haven't read any Bradbury, I'm ashamed to say, and I love scifi. I'll have to rectify that situation.

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    1. Follow the link above, go to the pdf of the book, and read those two stories - if nothing else! Give me your feedback on I Sing the Body Electric! It's a great tale.

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  4. I haven't read enough Bradbury but I happen to know for a fact that I have this book kicking around on one of my book shelves from a garage sale score. I shall bump it up on my list to pursue at my earliest convenience.

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  5. I've read some of Bradbury's work but not these short stories - thank you for recommending them.

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    1. Follow the link! I love I Sing the Body Electric!

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  6. I have read many of his novels and short story collections, but not this one. He is an amazing writer. I'd like to read and reread all of his books one day.

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    1. I have to be in a Bradbury mood, but when I am, I revisit favorites.

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  7. I've read a little Bradbury. I have never forgotten a short story of his that we read in high school, except I have no idea what the title was.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Check out the one I recommended. I'd love feedback.

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  8. Glad you found that book behind the others. I am one of those people too and my dusty library can attest to that:) Glad you refound the gem

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  9. Your review of I Sing The Body Electric reminded me of the quality work I had seen on The Twilight Zone. I just checked, and found out that Rod Serling did use Bradbury's story. Unfortunately, Bradbury was disappointed that the most integral scene did not make the final cut. Thanks for the wonderful review, Cherdo!

    PS - I just saw that you and Shady beat me to the punch!

    Julie

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    1. Ha ha ha...finally, we were faster than somebody! It's a holiday miracle!

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  10. I last read Bradbury in middle school (The Illustrated Man). It's high time I get back around to him, I think.

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    1. It had been quite a while since I read it, too,but I'm glad I went back and checked it out.

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  11. Didn't they base a Twilight Zone based on that? The old lady robot who comes and takes care of children until they're grown?

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    1. Yes, ma'am - the short story is better, though.

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  12. I've never even heard of this Bradbury collection. I many have to see if I can find a copy.

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    1. There's two printings, and the more recent one has more stories added.

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  13. Both of those short stories sound good. Night Call Collect must have a streak of humor in it. Thanks for sharing your book. :)

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    1. In that particular story, you are drawn into his frustration pretty quickly.

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  14. Gosh, I'm not a sci fi enthusiast but I'm going to check these out!

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo