Sunday, January 8, 2012

serendipity with an old favorite book: Ray Bradbury's stories

The Stories of Ray Bradbury: Knopf 1981
Last week when I wrote about my 1980 lunch with Ray Bradbury, I mentioned that his newly published volume of stories had been propped by my typewriter at The Times. Even after coffee and dessert I had felt too shy to ask him for an autograph so I hefted the unsigned book in my arm and walked to my bus stop. The 606 was an express that snaked from downtown Los Angeles out to the coast. It took an hour and I read the entire way.

That late afternoon by the open window of my mom's beach house I settled in for more reading. I love Mr. Bradbury's stories. They're straightforward and just odd enough to make me squint at the ocean and wonder if there might really be a translucent mermaid floating in the tide pools. It sure seemed possible in his "The Shore Line at Sunset." I lost this treasured book unfortunately in one of my many moves.

Fast forward three decades. I ordered a copy from Amazon and it arrived just the other day. It's a hefty thing so I put it on our digital scale to check its weight: three pounds! Compared to my Kindle it's like carrying around a cat.

Then I went to our kitchen nook, eager to read my all-time favorite, "The Sound of Thunder," about the time machine that zooms back to the day of Tyrannosaurus Rex. But when I opened to the title page, my jaw dropped. Was that Ray Bradbury's signature in blue ink? I think it is! Looks familiar somehow, I don't know why, but it seems strong and sweeping enough to be authentic. [PHOTO above]. In any event, I'm thrilled. I feel reunited with an old friend.

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