Finding Bradbury and L’Engle in Alexandria, VA

Earlier this summer I got to vacation in Washington DC. (I blogged about part of my trip here.) While we were there, my family and I stayed in ‘old town’ Alexandria. It’s easily one of the most interesting places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. The town was built when the country was brand new (or still being formed) so the streets and architecture look and feel colonial. It’s the type of place where you can just go on a walk and accidentally find something historic and unique (True story: We went for a walk and ended up sitting in George Washington’s pew at Christ’s Church).

In addition to resting our buns in the same spot as a founding father, a couple other treasures were found at the local used book store. I took my son, stroller and all, into the store for some respite from the 100 degree heat. I then realized that I must have been standing in the nexus of a magical rainbow and a light from heaven as I experienced what every book-nerd parent dreams of: my toddler fell asleep in his stroller, giving me as much time as I wanted to roam the bookstore.

I found two excellent editions of hardcover books by two of my favorite authors. My book-lovin’ heart did a back flip.

Madeleine L'Engle

Ray Bradbury, short stories

I’m about halfway through each book. I’ve been reading them bit by bit before as I go to bed most nights. I would say that The Toynbee Convector might be Bradbury’s best collection of short fiction because every story has so much power in it. He connects with universal, human themes more in this collection (I think) than many of his others. And though I don’t claim to be an authority on poetry, The Weather of the Heart, is a fine read because L’Engle puts so much of her love and commitment for her husband, and her god, into each one. It’s the type of book that makes you want to love the one you’re with even better than you already do. Both books are warmly recommended.


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