Your Last Literary Summer Dash: 'The House of Bradbury'

I start many books but do not finish them. At Bennington College I began to read the extensive literary cannon, and finished the undertaking at Columbia University when I received my masters. We consumed 2000 pages per week: an extraordinary experience that destroyed the thing I enjoyed most: reading.

After Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Melville, Bronte, and Flaubert, most literature becomes a pale pursuit of disappointment. Calvino, Marquez, Fenimore Cooper, Crane, and Conrad, still outshine Exotica, All the Light We Cannot See, and A Fine Balance. Excavating my soul to reconcile jealousies I have as a writer, I truly just get frustrated by modern fiction. Ashamed that the summer would end and I would have nothing but a stack of unfinished books, I went to a local book fair at the library in Bend, Oregon.

Talented travel authors, and those who wrote and lectured on psychological creativity abounded. Then I saw it: The House of Bradbury, Spark Press. The author, Nicole Meier, a slim blond, answered multiple questions about her historical fiction.

“Ray’s House?” I asked.

“Are you a fan?”

“I haven’t read your book yet.”

“Oh no, I meant of his!”

Meier spoke about her inspiration for the book. Originally from Los Angeles, she was familiar with the old walks of Cheviot Hills and the Spanish tile roofs of traditional West Hollywood. When Meier first discovered Bradbury’s house was for sale, all she could do was imagine what it would be like to live there. Among the iconic walls where Bradbury conceived his stories, would you feel the burden of anxiety or be forever inspired?

The House of Bradbury is the story of Mia Gladwell, a young woman struggling to write again after a failed first novel and bad reviews. Her ex-husband, a powerful producer, financially obtains the property. The caveat? Mia must babysit his starlet upon her departure from rehabilitation. I brought the The House of Bradbury home to my back porch, supporting local talent.

The story flowed faster than I filled my wine glass. I stretched out each chapter as my deck light dimmed; when I looked up from the book my own house was dark. Meier is masterful at chapter endings and I kept turning pages.

Amid the story were beautiful reflections and discussions about Bradbury’s work and detailed descriptions of the place he called home for half a century. A lovely scene where Mia tells the younger character, Zoe, about Fahrenheit 451 is handled with respect. Meier drove her own narrative forward with excellent cliff notes on Bradbury. For the first time in twenty years, I finished a novel, in less than 48 hours.

Meier has received deserved accolades; Redbook, Sunset Magazine, Coastal Living and Refinery 29 selected the book as a top read for summer.

“I wrote the book with admiration for Bradbury. I wanted to imagine a world where the house wasn’t torn down but rather purchased by an appreciated writer.”

Acquired by an architect who swore to maintain aspects of its history, the Los Angeles Times headline read: “Bulldoze first, apologize later.”

When the house was demolished fans went to collect small remains, much like pieces of the Berlin Wall. A friend of Bradbury sent Meier, a chunk of the stucco wall, and his daughters’ shared their blessing for keeping his memory alive.

There are a few days left of summer, the barbeque still smolders, and nights are long. Sit back this Labor Day weekend and feel a literary sense of accomplishment by reading The House Of Bradbury. It is the best back porch or beach read you will find this year…and you’ll finish it.

Author Nicole Meier

Read Author Nicole Meier's Bend, Oregon Q&A!


Andes Hruby is ConciergeQ's Fitness Correspondent and resident 'Fit Guru'. Look for fit fun from Andes, who has appeared on NBC Connecticut, owned Studio Blue, and now also serves as the retreat coordinator for Manu Retreats, a luxury resort and yoga retreat in Costa Rica. 

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