Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Future Without Books

Fahrenheit 451 Publisher: Ballantine Books
A Future Without Books

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature where paper combusts and is the perfect name for this classic tale where firemen don't put out fires but they set them! Guy Montag is such a fireman. In a world where book are banned to the point of burning all of them and people are fed what to believe through government controlled videos, we find all sorts of parallels to our current lives.

Montag, the main focus of the story, meets a neighbor who has him questioning all he believes and yes, he finally steals a book from one of his burning gigs.  It is the turning point in his life. (Reminds me of a cop who told me he read Lord of the Rings 'cuz all the hippies he busted had a copy.) Montag then reads some poetry to his wife's friends and she promptly turns him in! His subsequent race for freedom is quite revealing.

I read this book more than 40 years ago, when it was not yet a classic. I found the book a little confusing as Bradbury can be at times, but a quick read with some outstanding images that still haunt me today. My terror as a young, voracious reader at the thought of no more books ever was overwhelming. The thought that the government would kill someone innocent just so the public would know it was impossible to run was stunning. But that wall size television?  Boy do I want it, only I want it in the form of a computer.

I give this book thumbs up for images. While the story may move a little slow in the beginning and may be a bit confusing, the overall book reads quickly. The writing is good and the characters are well done. This may not be a book to give to teenagers, but anyone with more experience in the world will find the book fascinating, not just for the story but for the foretelling of so much from the distant 1950's when it was first written.

1 comment:

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