30 Day Book Challenge: Day 3

Day 3 – A Book That Makes You Happy

Dandelion WineThis one is easy: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. It’s summer. You can sit outside in the sun and enjoy a glass of wine, watch the bees buzz around your table and chat with friends. You can walk through the clean summer rain and smell the earth and still not be cold. You can watch things grow: children, flowers, pets. Life is in bloom. That’s how I feel about this book. It’s a book that makes me happy – and alive too!

The premise is simple: one summer lovingly written down semi-autobiographically by Bradbury and bottled up for us as Dandelion Wine. I read this book for the first time in eighth grade at an age when I was just beginning to understand life (although now I don’t claim to understand any of it!). I’d say the reading age is open and if you’re looking for a summer read to enjoy alone or to share with kids and family, this is a good one. The novel is structured as a series of short stories which are linked together by the main characters and the setting, making this a book you can put down and pick up at any time. I can attest to by the fact that my copy is dog-earred and some chapters read many more times than others.

The book has been recreated for film in Russia (no English version exists) and the Colonial Radio Theatre produced an audio play, which Ray Bradbury highly approved of.

You can read the first chapter at Ray Bradbury’s website and listen to the first section of the audio play here.

This book may come a shock to those unfamiliar with it, but who love Bradbury’s more popular science-fiction work and those who were required to read Fahrenheit 451 in school (another great book). Still, it’s one of those books that makes you remember all the good things about your childhood and all the wonder that can still be found in life. Don’t get so caught up in work and responsibilities and mundane activities without realising how magical it all is. With that in mind, I wanted to share a different excerpt than what is on Bradbury’s website:

Douglas opened one eye.

And everything, absolutely everything, was there.

The world, like a great iris of an even more gigantic eye, which has also just opened and stretched out to encompass everything, stared back at him.

And he knew what it was that had leaped upon him to stay and would not run away now.

I’m alive, he thought. . . .

The grass whispered under his body. He put his arm down, feeling the sheath of fuzz on it, and far away below, his toes creaking in his shoes. The wind sighed over his shelled ears. The world slipped bright over the glassy round of his eyeballs like images sparked in a crystal sphere. Flowers were suns and starry spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipped stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven. His breath raked over his teeth, going in ice, coming out fire. Insects shocked the air with electric clearness. Ten thousand individual hairs grew a millionth of an inch on his head. He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened. . . .

“Tom!” Then quieter. “Tom . . . does everyone in the world . . . know he’s alive?”

“Sure. Heck, yes!”

“I sure hope they do,” whispered Douglas. “Oh, I sure hope they know.”

Here’s something slightly more special: a recipe for Dandelion Wine. Make it before the summer ends and you miss your chance!

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

1 package dried yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 quarts dandelion blossoms
4 quarts water
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped orange peel
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped lemon peel
6 cups sugar

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. Wash the dandelion blossoms and drain in a colander. Put the water in a heavy pot and add the dandelion blossoms, orange, lemon and lime juices. Add the cloves, ginger, orange and lemon peel and sugar. Bring it to a boil and cook for one hour. Strain through filter paper (such as coffee filter) or a very fine sieve and cool. While still warm but not hot, stir in the yeast.

Let the brew stand overnight, then pour into bottles. Place the bottles, uncorked, in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Then cork the bottles and store in a cool place. Makes about 4 quarts.

2 Responses to “30 Day Book Challenge: Day 3”
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  1. […] already used Dandelion Wine for another day in the challenge, so I had to think deeper and find another book which fit the […]

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