Ray Bradbury died this week at the age of 91, leaving behind an enormous legacy in literature, one that I fear will be excessively defined as a canon of science fiction, rather than merely of great writing.
My favorite Bradbury novel is the gothic horror story Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I ranked at #28 on my list of the best novels I’ve ever read. It’s a brilliant thriller, one that relies on implied fear rather than graphic violence, but it is also a wonderfully written work that includes one of my favorite lines in all of the novels I’ve ever read:
He laughed, then stopped.
For he though he heard a soft tread
Off in the subterranean vaults.
But it was only his laughter
through the deep stacks
on panther feet.
That last sentence has stuck with me for over a decade since I first read the novel. Not only is the idea of walking “on panther feet” a phenomenal, evocative image, but there’s poetry in the sentence itself: The rhyme between “back” and “stacks;” the assonance with those two words, “laughter,” and “panther;” the way the sound recedes as you read (or say) the sentence, almost like the words are descending a staircase away from you. It’s just one line in a 200-page book, not even a critical line in the story, but it’s one bit of evidence that Bradbury was more than just a great writer of speculative fiction – he was a great writer of prose.
To the links…
First, my own content:
* American League draft recaps.
* National League draft recaps.
* My day one recap.
* My June 5th chat, which took place during rounds 2 and 3.
* Where each team’s top drafted prospect ranks in their farm system.
* Podcasts: Thursday and Tuesday, plus my Tuesday hit with Colin Cowherd.
And from others…
* Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat, by Michael Ruhlman. I’m on board with all of this except the quotes from the farmer about the animals being “good with it.” If they had that kind of cognitive ability, we wouldn’t eat them at all, right?
* The New Neuroscience of Choking, by the superb Jonah Lehrer. I have two main problems with applying that study to the question of whether clutch or un-clutch players exist in MLB. The larger one is that the subjects were not highly trained since youth to perform the task they were then asked to perform with the reward promised to them. The smaller one is that my longtime argument about choking isn’t really addressed here – that players who are unable to perform under pressure would likely be weeded out long before reaching the majors, because pressure situations exist at all levels of baseball, and merely playing baseball at all in front of a crowd, knowing that your career hinges to some extent on your performances in front of scouts and your statistics, is in and of itself a pressure situation. That stance, of which I believe Occam would approve, is fully compatible with the study’s findings.
* To Grow A Craft Beer Business, The Secret’s In The Water, from NPR. Have they stepped up their coverage of food/drink subjects, or was I just behind the curve in noticing it?
* Cuisines Mastered as Acquired Tastes. Are non-native chefs who learn “ethnic” cuisines somehow at an advantage because they are more willing – or able – to think outside of the box?
* McSweeney’s Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do. Very witty but with some useful tips in here … including some I should probably try myself.
* Bonus link: An interesting infographic on how healthful, local food creates jobs. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the report and data behind it, though.