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Recommended reading from Ray Bradbury

If you read my last post, you learned about a writing assignment from Ray Bradbury.

As part of his reading advice, Bradbury recommended authors who inspired him and shaped his writing. I’m noting some below in case you’d like to add them to your reading list.

Bradbury advises reading essays on a variety of topics, including biology, anthropology, and zoology. In particular, he recommends Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, and Loren Eiseley. Bradbury read Eiseley’s The Fire Apes (.pdf) and later wrote him a fan letter.

Also at the top of Bradbury’s list: John Collier – author of Fancies and Goodnights, a short story collection that won the Edgar Award and the International Fantasy Award in 1952. Bradbury described Collier as one of greatest writers of this century, who wrote brilliant short stories that deeply affected Bradbury when he was 22 years old and learning to write.

Other writers who influenced Bradbury were Edith Wharton, author of The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence, and Katherine Anne Porter, who wrote Ship of Fools and won a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in 1965 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter.

Bradbury also noted the short stories of Eudora Welty, who wrote “A Curtain of Green” and “A Worn Path, in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Optimist’s Daughter.

Other Bradbury favorites:

Richard Matheson, author of The Incredible Shrinking Man, What Dreams May Come, and I Am Legend, all adapted as major motion pictures.

John Cheever — The Stories of John Cheever contains some of his most famous stories, including, “The Country Husband,” and “The Swimmer,” and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1979.

Herman Melville (Bradbury worked on the screenplay for Melville’s Moby Dick), Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Frost.

For insight into how you can use reading to improve your writing, read this earlier post, Read well to write well.

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