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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Wow. Just wow. Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books that I've always meant to read and never done (until now.) It's a short little book, only 150 pages or so. In terms of reading time, it was a fast little book, but it took me over a week to read it. I knew before I read it that it would be powerful, I mean, how could it NOT be??

Here's the part of the summary from
"In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."

So much of this book is scarily like today. People don't want to think or read challenging things. *I* don't want to read challenging things. I like my life to be easy and happy. Bradbury takes it to an extreme. Decades of life without books, without philosophy, poetry, fiction. No one just talks. Families aren't in love, parents don't care about kids, school is only about the sciences. Politics are boiled down to soundbytes. Happy ones. There is a war, but it's vague, and no one knows the details because it's not about them. Sound familiar?

Fahrenheit 451 is fast. The action is non-stop. One event leads to the next with no pause for breath. The entire book is a buildup to the climax. I really enjoyed this. I can't believe I never read it before. If you haven't read it, go read it now. (Hmmm. A challenge? Shall we? Let me ponder this...)

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