It’s been a bad year for the passing of authors, another literary great, Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday.
Bradbury was born August 22, 1920, and much of his early years were spent in the Carnegie Library in Illinois reading classic authors such as Verne, Poe, and Burroughs. He starting writing during this time, but states that meeting carnival performer ‘Mr Electrico‘ in 1932 changed him somehow and that he has written everyday since that encounter.
In 1938 he started publishing sci-fi stories in a variety of fanzines, publishing many collections of short stories in magazines during the 1940’s. His first major breakthrough and still possibly his most famous, was the Dystopian story, Farenheit 451 published, originally in Playboy magazine, but then as a novel in 1953. This story features a future where books are illegal, with ‘firemen’ tasked to destroy the written word. This title is required reading in most literary and librarian university courses. He went on to publish 27 novels and dozens of collections, essays and contributions.
Bradbury died at the age of 91 from a lengthy illness.
The folks at Lit Reactor have come up with their top ten best opening lines of novels over on their website. Some are expected, such as Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Stephen King’s The Gunslinger (the first line of which appears on many a T-shirt), but others came as a bit of a surprise. Tolkein’s The Hobbit came in at 5 with “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit” and Ray Bradbury’s famous Sci-fi story Farenheit 451, which incidentally is required reading in any Library related university course, was the runner up!
Dickens failed to make the cut with “It was the best of times it was the worst of times” and surely Doug Adams’ “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun” should have had a mention?
However, JK Rowling’s 7 book epic starting with: “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” is probably rightfully left off.
What do you think should have made the cut? Are there any you think should be forgotten?