I don’t know if any author has given me as much enjoyment as Ray Bradbury. I suspect I’ll be revisiting his stories, which I first encountered as a 4th grader in Elko, Nevada, for the rest of my life. I hope so.
His stories are generally linear, moving from point A to point B, but he chooses wonderful places to start and often blood-curdling places to end.
This list of Ray Bradbury books is a work in progress. I won’t expand on the short story list much because there is a lot of duplication between the various volumes.
Ray Bradbury’s Novels
The Martian Chronicles
Every story in Chronicles could stand alone. But together they are better. Together they tell the story of human expeditions to Mars, and their colonization efforts. It seldom goes as well as they had hoped, which makes for a wonderful almost-novel.
In this most nightmarish of nightmare futures, reading can get you in a lot of trouble. The main character is a “fireman,” a jerk whose job is essentially to burn books and make trouble for people with ideas. He comes around, though.
Another book of stories that falls somewhere between novel and collection. I look at Dandelion Wine the way I view Hucklberry Finn and Tom Sawyer: an author’s love letter to childhood, and boyhood specifically. This book has the feel of those long summer days when you had nothing to do but explore, play, and worries were few.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
A carnival comes to town, led by the sinister Mr. Dark. The carnival is a perfect setting for scares, and Bradbury knew it. Mr. Dark and his troop of crazies are pitted against a couple of young boys and, of course, a heroic librarian. The movie was actually pretty scary for its time as well.
The Halloween Tree
More young boys in peril here, this time as they travel through time trying to find one of their friends. They also learn about Halloween and meet one of Bradbury’s most vivid creations: their guide, Moundshroud.
Death Is A Lonely Business
Someone is bumping off old people in the small town of Venice, California. A writer in the town composes his stories and becoming increasingly involved, ultimately helping a detective as eccentric (or more so) as Sherlock Holmes work to catch the killer.
A Graveyard For Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities
A sequel to Death Is A Lonely Business. If you are a movie fan, and a fan of movie tribute and homages, this is the book for you. Bradbury has written another murder mystery without supernatural elements. This book serves as a history of Hollywood, a mystery that you probably won’t figure out until Bradbury lets you, and has some set pieces that are a lot of fun.
Green Shadow, White Whale
Bradbury’s autobiographical novel about his trip to Ireland reminds me of Twain’s Innocents Abroad. He’s there to write a screenplay for an adaptation of Moby Dick for Director John Huston. But the real stories are about the people he meets, the things he sees, and the strangeness of being in a new country. A touching, often hilarious book.
From The Dust Returned
This is like The Addams’ Family taken up a few notches, and without all the corny sight gags. This is a lovely story about one of the most peculiar family reunions you’ll ever read about. In my opinion, one of Ray Bradbury’s strongest works.
Let’s All Kill Constance
The final adventures of the unnamed writer from Lonely Business and Graveyard For Lunatics. Another case. Another criminal. Another tale that only Bradbury could have written.
An extension of Dandelion Wine, 50 years later. Different stories, same feel. It is similar enough that fans of Dandelion won’t be disappointed, but different enough to stand on its own. Not that Bradbury fans will need much convincing.
Ray Bradbury Short Story Collections
There is a lot of overlap between some of these collections. Don’t think you have to read every single volume to read all Bradbury’s shorts. Consider this a list for collectors and/or completists.
The Illustrated Man
The Golden Apples Of The Sun
The October Country
A Medicine For Melancholy
The Day It Rained Forever
The Small Assassin
R Is For Rocket
The Machineries of Joy
The Autumn People
The Vintage Bradbury
S Is For Space
I Sing The Body Electric
Long After Midnight
The Fog And Other Stories
One Timeless Spring
The Last Circus And The Electrocution
The Stories of Ray Bradbury
A Memory of Murder
The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone
The Toynbee Convector
Classic Stories 1
Classic Stories 2
The Parrot Who Met Papa
Quicker Than The Eye
Ray Bradbury Collected Short Stories
One More For The Road
Bradbury Stories: 100 Of His Most Celebrated Tales
Is That You, Herb?
The Cat’s Pajamas: Collected Stories
A Sound Of Thunder And Other Stories
The Dragon Who Ate His Tail
Now and Forever: Somewhere A Band Is Playing And Leviathan ’99
Summer Morning, Summer Night
Ray Bradbury Stories Volume 2
We’ll Always Have Paris