Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fahrenheit 451

By:  Ray Bradbury

Summary:  The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnights runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do...

***Reposting from Last Year because I think this is a very important book to read***

I read this book in High School and apparently I didn't retain any of it, because as I made my way through the audiobook, I didn't remember much of it at all.  I listened to the audio read by Scott Brick and as usual he did a fantastic job.

If you do read this book, make sure you read the afterword and the coda.  They were very enlightening.  Particularly the coda and it's extremely relevant today.  In it, he talks about how the book burning and book banning started not with the government but with the people and with what he calls minorities.  However he doesn't mean racial minorities necessarily but anything that you identify yourself with that separates you from other people, cat-lover, tea drinker, tree hugger, Republican, Catholic, etc.  The phrase he didn't have then was Political Correctness.  He was right, you can see it happening all the time.  One person gets offended by one little thing and it's a major deal.

He also touched on another issue that we don't ever see or know much about.  How much "censorship" or book burning goes before the book is even published?  Or in later editions.  He talked about editors and publishers changing things around to make them more suitable to the target audience, not considering what the author had intended or wanted.  Is that right?  Where does it stop?  You take out one "damn" or "hell" and then a sentence or two, then maybe a paragraph, then what's the point of the book if you've started to change the whole flavor?

He brought up some things in the book that are happening now.  That it started with the newspapers dying.  That's evident now.  Subscription rates are down, they're laying off workers, they're going out of business.  He talked about how kids would be going to school at younger and younger ages so their parents wouldn't have to deal with them.  Our parents (for the most part) didn't have public school Kindergarten, now our kids have public school Pre-K. 

I thought this was a very timely book to read considering the Koran burning going on this weekend.  So go read this book, go read another book, hoard the ones you have and don't let anyone burn them!


ParaJunkee said...

Interesting post. I read 451 in high school and probably didn't retain much of it either. Mostly because things didn't hit home with me that much back then.

I think somethings might hold true to today, but I think the death of the newspapers might have more to do with online, blogs, ezines etc., and the wealth of information available at people's fingertips, instead of an unwillingness to read. I think it might also have to do with the fact that most major newspapers are very biased in their opinions and people are tired of getting skewed facts so they are going to other sources for their information.

Great post got me thinking. I really hope hope hope that this Koran burning does not happen on Saturday. I'm hoping this pastor caves under the pressure and backs out.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Softdrink over at Fizzy Beverage just finished reading this too. Between the two of you, I think you have convinced me to add it to my TBBought List. Especially now that you mention the Qur'an burning, something I think is deplorable and terribly embarrassing for America. I'm sure this read could help to put things into perspective, perhaps we should recommend it to Pastor Jones.

Tasha said...

I haven't read this before but I do have it sat on my shelf. I think I need to bump it up nearer the top of the tbr pile. Thanks for the review and reminding me that I have this book lol.

Jessica said...

I havent read this although I do have a copy as my husband is a huge Ray Bradbury fan.

I agree that its a timely book to read right now.

Chrystal said...

I think I will pick up a copy and read the extras you mentioned. Sounds very interesting actually.

Great post.
Found you via Blog Hop.
And am now a follower. :)

Jen Vincent said...

Hi! I'm a new follower from the hop! I know I started to read 451 in high school but I'm not sure if I finished it or not because, like you, I can't really remember it all. I may have to read it again myself. I do remember reading The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury and liking that book. I think it's interesting to reread books when you're older to see how your perspective changes. :)

Emily said...

Excellent review of an excellent book. I really like your comments about the afterward. I remember that part very distinctly, even though I read it nearly eight years ago. Bradbury is one of my favorites.

Claire Dawn said...

Nice post. Thanks for entering my contest.