Screenshot of the cover of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury..Shows a small boy against a yellow background.

Ray Bradbury was a talented author, and, in many ways, my introduction into a genre called sci fi. In the 1970s sci fi felt like a new thing, but I think it has always been with humans, even from the time when stories were scratched into cave walls.

DANDELION WINE was one of my favorites. I remember how much I wanted to try to make wine from dandelions, which I had a long-standing love for, and still do. I remember how hot it was in this book, and in the 1970s, people with blue-collar parents, like me, didn’t have air conditioning. We had one huge window unit in the dining room of our twin brick house in Ridley Park, and my brother and I used to rush to sit directly in front of it, even though it meant being smushed up against the wall, and, really, too cold, as the air came out with frosty blasts, but in the summer heat in a tiny twin brick house, on a tiny nowhere street, icy was better than hot.

In DANDELION WINE it is the summer the main character, a young pre-teen fellow named Douglas, comes to realize that he is mortal, and that the time will come when summer won’t mean long days with nothing to do. It’s a book that is bittersweet, as Douglas learns that a time of year, a glorious season like summer, can be both lovely and sad, and real danger can be hiding around the corner, and that life is truly unpredictable, but also always ends the same way.

This would be on my summer sci fi reading list. What’s on yours?

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