Thursday, June 07, 2012

Thanks Ray

I got a little excited when I heard snippets of one of my favourite books. Farheinheit 451, on Radio 4's PM as I drove home last night.

When I realised it was because Ray Bradbury had died at the the grand old age of 91. I was disappointed that it wasn't a radio adaptation, and sad that he was gone.

I found his books trawling the shelves of the library as a student librarian at secondary school. The library was my cool refuge from lunchtime taunts, and I relished the scanning of the barcodes and even the reshelving. I loved the old librarian and the new librarian and choosing from list of books to provide new treats.

I'd set myself the challenge of reading one book from every author in the fiction section from A to Z, but when I got to Ray Bradbury, I just stopped. I read the short stories and felt my insides churn and my ideas of the world peel away from my eyeballs like shedding of snakeskin. I read Farheinheit 451. As someone who sought refuge in books, this strange world where books were banned haunted me, as did the seasheel radios and large screens. How could Ray have known all this?

Finding Ray lead me to Asimov and to Vonnegut and to Arthur C. Clarke and M. John Harrison.

Thank you Ray. For books that got me through my teens, for a life long love of thought altering literature, and the chill I get everytime I read one of your short stories.

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