This is The Giver for adults Here, another example of overpraised books that shockingly do live up to the hype It s a resplendent petition for life, beauty, literature an AMEN for The Book s very core of existence THE BOOK that actually worships other books like The Bible does with God Personal events and not the battlefields of Tolkien sized scope I mean small occurrences such as breakdowns, unpleasant jobs, below par relationships tightens the razor sharp string of terror a severe lack of details is a tenacious and masterful way to portray this post apocalyptic nightmare in the most disconcerting way If you are a lover of books, this seems like some Dantean form of poetic retribution 451 is an example of when planets aligned just right and gave the writer a light for him to share This, a writer s capacity for collecting metaphors is absolutely enthralling I am amazed A PLUS read the edition with the 3 introductions by the inspiring Bradbury there are 451 printings or so of this novel after all save a couple bucks in a creative writing class His writing tips are genuinely far out As I write this review, the year is 2012 We do not live in a perfect world in fact, in many ways we don t even live in a good world But one thing I believe with all my heart is that we live in a world which, on the whole, is better than it was fifty years ago Now, I know I m writing with limited perspective and that progression and development hasn t been the same all over the globe and even the definition of those words can change depending on what part of the world you live in But here s what I do know the average world life expectancy is higher, the infant mortality rate is lower, access to education is greater and the amount of countries that hold regular, fair elections has increased.
On average, people today are smarter than they were fifty years ago And I know this is where older generations throw up their hands in indignation and start yelling about how exams were much harder in their day and they really had to work for it I am not disputing this, I have no idea if it s true or not But what is true is thatpeople today than ever before are going on to further education after high school, the barriers that once stopped the working class from being as smart as society sprivileged members are slowly starting to break down bit by bit Literacy rates have been on the rise the whole world over It s true We have entered the age of computers and electronics, social networking and personal media players and the world has not ended, the robots haven t taken over and people haven t become so stupid that they feel the need to rage a war against books And this is the main reason why I think Bradbury s dystopian tale is out of date and ineffective The author was writing at a time when technology was really starting to get funky, the digital age was still decades away but people were doing all kinds of crazy things like listening to music with little cones plugged into their ears Bizarre Readers often choose to view Bradbury s story as one about censorship instead of technology because that allows amodern reader to connect with the world portrayed But taken as it was intended, I just don t share the author s sentiments Not all technology is good, but I m of the opinion that the good outweighs the bad medical advancements, entertainment, access to information via the internet I m the very opposite of a technophobe because, in my opinion, forward is the way to go And I m sure it s because of the age I was born into, but I cannot relate to the apprehension that Bradbury feels when he tells of this true story note this is not in the bookIn writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned The woman held in one hand a small cigarette package sized radio, its antenna quivering From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap opera cries, sleep walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there This was not fiction I know many still think today that we are becoming a completely unsociable species because of mobile cell phones, social networking sites, etc but I have made friends from all over the world thanks to technology I have talked to people that fifty years ago I would never have known, I have learned about different cultures and ways of life because I have access to most areas of the world through the web So, no, I m not scared of this so called technological threat that is somehow going to turn our brains to mush and create a society where we cannot concentrate long enough to read a book And here is where I finally get on to details of this novel.
What I am supposed to believe in here is that because of technology humanity has become so stupid that they couldn t concentrate on books So books were simplified at first for easier understanding, then banned, then burnt Why I am okay with the realistic aspect of people have short attention spans because of technology so they don t want to read books , but why burn books I don t see why this would need to happen and why it would become a criminal offense to have books in your home This is where I understand why so many people prefer to apply this novel s message to censorship, because it works so much better that way The argument for the technological side of it is weak even for the time in question.
The best thing about this whole book is the discussion about the phoenix and the comparisons made between the legendary bird and humanity in the same way that the bird dies in flames only to be reborn again from the ashes, humanity constantly repeats mistakes made throughout history and never seems to learn from them Secondly, to give credit where it s due, the writing is suitably creepy for a dystopian society and I understand why people who do actually share Bradbury s concerns would be caught up in the novel s atmosphere But, overall, this wasn t a great dystopian work for me, I didn t agree with the point it was trying to sell me and I don t think it made a very successful case for it Further, I had some problems with the pacing The book is split into three parts and the first two are much slower and uneventful than the last one which seems to explode with a fast sequence of events in a short amount of time and pages Disappointing.
Guy Montag Is A Fireman In His World, Where Television Rules And Literature Is On The Brink Of Extinction, Firemen Start Fires Rather Than Put Them Out His Job Is To Destroy The Most Illegal Of Commodities, The Printed Book, Along With The Houses In Which They Are HiddenMontag Never Questions The Destruction And Ruin His Actions Produce, Returning Each Day To His Bland Life And Wife, Mildred, Who Spends All Day With Her Television Family But Then He Meets An Eccentric Young Neighbor, Clarisse, Who Introduces Him To A Past Where People Did Not Live In Fear And To A Present Where One Sees The World Through The Ideas In books Instead Of The Mindless Chatter Of TelevisionWhen Mildred Attempts Suicide And Clarisse Suddenly Disappears, Montag Begins To Question Everything He Has Ever Known There must be something in books, something we can t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house there must be something there You don t stay for nothingThe burning of books is such an effective tool for controlling the population, so the message of Ray Bradbury s Fahrenheit 451 is scarily real If society s wisdom could be taken away, then so could their freedom If knowledge was burnt, then the people would be left in a complete state of utter innocent ignorance There would be no room for free thought, that way they could be told anything about history and themselves If all books were burnt, then they are just sheep to be led into a future dictated by the government To make it worse the men who do it enjoy it books have become illegal thus, owning them is a form of disobedience against the state and a violation of the law The books are burnt by a special group of firefighters, yes firefighters, which hunt readers mercilessly When they find them, they burn their beloved collection and leave them to die One woman burns with her books by her own choosing rather than submit to ignorance The firefighters don t know exactly why they do it, they rarely question it, they just do it unflinchingly because that is what they are told to do And they cannot understand why somebody would fight to the death to defend the written word Guy Montag is one such firefighter He lives a mundane life with an equally mundane partner He s miserable He carries out the book burnings, like the others, without a second thought until one day an innocent young girl changes his life forever She is his next door neighbour and she is a closet book reader she asks him a series of questions that makes him realise how stupid and worthless his existence is He takes solace in a collection of books he has stolen whilst on the job, a symbol that he and the world could one day be free The knowledge he gains changes his perception of the world forever books have fallen out of favour as other mediums have taken priority over them People have become hostile to books because they feel inferior when faced with an educated reader thus, if they are removed forever everyone will be the same and minorities will be removed Individuality would die Consequently, when Guy begins reading, he does not know what to do any he has been conditioned to act in a certain way, and when liberty presents itself, he is reluctant and confused by his new knowledge He is a reluctant hero but a hero, nonetheless He has stolen one of the last surviving copies of the Bible but doesn t know what it is However, a professor of the bygone age does and what comes after is one of the most powerful and symbolic endings I ve ever read in science fiction This really is required reading for anyone who is serious about science fiction and dystopian fiction because it really is one of the best in both genres FBR Twitter Facebook Insta Academia 451 It was a pleasure to burn 1984 .
You can check out thousands of better reviews here and across the internet, but here is all you really need to knowThis is one of the best books ever written This is one of my favorite books of all time ALL TIME This is the third time I ve read it I audiobooked it this time Every line of Fahrenheit 451 is beautifully written Poetic Metaphoric Transcendent Awesome The beginning, middle, and ending all amazing If you consider yourself a fan of science fiction or dystopian novels or classic literature or banned books or books high schoolers read or thought provoking books, and you have not read this book wow just stop whatever you are doing right now, which is reading this review, I guessStop reading this review Put down your laptop, your phone, your iPad, your mouse and keyboard, your floppy disk drive, your PlayStation 4, your Smart TV remote, whatever Just stop Grab your car keys, hop on a bus, walk run to your nearest bookstore Dash frantically through the aisles, locate the fiction section, maybe science fiction Maybe just ask someone who works there Find a copy of this book It s written by Ray Bradbury, but my God, if you don t know that by nowDemand a copy of this book from the bookstore, happily open up your purse or wallet and pay whatever price they make you pay for a copy of this book Don t ask any questions Don t have them put it in a bag for you Don t get a copy of your receipt Just hand over the money and get the hell out of there Dump all of your spare change you ve collected onto the counter Tap into your 401k if you need to Rush home and instantly sit down in your easy chair or whatever it is you like to sit, lay, or stand on while reading The bathtub perhaps A recliner A porch swing It really doesn t matter Pour a glass of wine or grab a beer Pour a glass of wine AND grab a beer Take two shots of whiskey then pour a glass of wine and grab THREE beers Then, in one sitting just plow the hell right through this book Just breathe it all in like the cool, salty ocean air Let it sink down deep into the depths of who you are as a person living as a human being in the world right here on Earth Let it just smack you right in the mouth with how awesome it is Let it punch you right in the jaw with how mind blowing it is Let it leave you lying on the floor with your mouth wide open trying to figure out what in God s name just happened to you Let it elevate itself high above pretty much every other book you ve ever read, maybe all the way to the top of that damned prestigious mountain, and let it hoist its flag into the soil of your mind and proclaim to every other book ever written that it is king of literature Other books can bow down and bring burnt offerings to it It shall reign forever Don t wait to get it from the library Don t even think about ordering it on , and I don t even give a damn if you have Prime and woohoo look at me I can get it shipped in two days One day shipping if I pay a few bucks No Run Get a physical copy of the book Don t settle for reading text on your Kindle or whatever it is you digitize books into Get up now I don t care if it s late and the bookstore is closed Go wait outside like it s Black Freaking Friday I don t care if you re the only one out there all night Are you a reader or not Do you care about books How have you not read this yet What s the matter with you Why are you still reading this Why haven t you left yet GodI love Fahrenheit 451 And I love you enough to demand that you read it Reread it Yes This is wonderful This is going to be one of the best days of your life Maybe the best day of your life Are you ready Can you handle it Have fun.
Few appreciate irony as much as I do, so understand that I understand this review The message of this book is decent knowledge should not be censored However, the rest of the book is utter shit I found myself actually screaming at several points as Bradbury spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot It is too damn flowery to be understandable by anyone In other words, an English teacher s dream In addition, the story was about the message not the story in and of itself Those of you who know me understand that this is that I detest most about classics, tied with how everyone reveres them without reading them.
The Coda and Afterword just add to the confuse making me confused on whether Bradbury is a very hateful man or just a hypocrite The main plot of the novel itself is that the majority rule canceled out intellectualism while in the Coda maybe Afterword, I don t remember which was which Bradbury blasts minorities all, including racial, religious, etc for creating an overly sensitive society Oddly enough, his heroes are the minority Ha Further, the Coda is a hefty Fuck you to anyone that wants to critique his work in any way not positive Therefore, I feel obliged to respond in turn Fuck you, Ray Bradbury Your writing style is shit and I won t force it on my worst enemy Harsh, I know, but true If you do need to read this book, I suggest a Cliff Notes version as long as you can appreciate that irony.
The good writers touch life often The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies That is a very unpleasant metaphor, and Fahrenheit 451 is an unpleasant book It feels like it was written by a teenager, and if I were his teacher I d give it a B and not let my daughter date the weird little kid who wrote it.
Its protagonist, Montag, lacks any character he changes as Bradbury s shitty story requires him to, from the dumbest kid on the world his cousin once offered to pay him a dime to fill a sieve with sand and he sat there for ages crying and dumping sand into it I understand that s a metaphor, but it s a metaphor for a moron to a mastermind telling Faber how to throw the Hound off his scent You ever see film of someone skipping a pebble in reverse Me neither, but I bet it s like this plop plop skip skip wtf Each other character exists solely to advance the plot There s the hot underage Manic Pixie Dream Girl her face fragile milk crystal who teaches him how to smell dandelions and whose beauty is harped on endlessly and then disappears off stage Faber, who s all of a sudden like best friends and then disappears off stage the bonfire circle of retired professors who happen to be right there when he stumbles out of a river looking for them.
There s his wife thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon He seems to loathe her, and all real women Millie Does the White Clown love you No answer Millie, does He licked his lips Does your family TV entertainment love you, love you very much, love you with all their heart and soul, Millie He felt her blinking slowly at the back of his neck Why d you ask a silly question like that There s a real conservative streak to this book It looks backwards, as conservatives do Bradbury blames his world s disgust with books on minorities, what we nowadays call special interest groups Colored people don t like Little Black Sambo Burn it White people don t feel good about Uncle Tom s Cabin Burn it These are the only specific examples given during Captain Beatty s central speech about why literature has been banned.
There are some nice moments here A disturbed and immature but intelligent kid flailing around will hit a few marks The central idea No, no props for that book burning was invented centuries ago But the moment when the TV instructs all citizens to open their doors and look for Montag, that s nice And the suicidal Captain Beatty is the book s only living character, although his speech is littered with what I swear are just random quotes I even like the idea of a circle of book readers, each responsible for remembering a certain book but it s dealt with so lamely here We ve invented ways for you to remember everything you ve ever read, so it s no problem Well, in that case I got like half the Canon, y all can go home Losers Wouldn t it be cooler if these people had to work for it Point is, those little flashes of competence are so overwhelmed by terrible philosophy and so ill sketched themselves that I have no idea how this book has escaped the bonfire of apathy, the worst and most blameless fire of all It s just a lame, lame book I wouldn t burn this or any book But I ll do worse I ll forget all about it.
I am in 6th grade My Language Arts teacher assigns us a book report tells us we can choose the book but that our grade will be based on the maturity of the novel the report is based upon.
My mother and I are in K mart I ve mentioned to her about this book report to be done, and so before we leave with a basket filled with clothes I know I will be embarrassed to wear, we stop by the rack of books She selects a few pulp paperback titles, throws them into the cart.
A few days later she hands me Fahrenheit 451 I ve read those books I purchased, she says I think this is the best of the bunch You should like it I am skeptical When does a 12 year old boy like anything that his mother does I admit to myself that the cover looks really awesome a black suited, menacing man shooting flames over something that looks like books I give it a go.
Tearing through the pages, the chapters, the three sections, I finish it over a weekend and am in awe A fireman that starts fires books are outlawed I look at the small library that I ve had since childhood a shelf of about 30 books They now look to my 12 year old eyes as books of a child Fahrenheit 451 is the book that launched me from childhood, my first book dealing with the adult world.
I ask my mother to box up my old books and put them in the attic I am proud to start a new library with this novel as my first edition I carefully, lovingly, sign my name on the inside cover Let the firemen come, I think, I am proud to be a book reader I continue to read this book again and again through the years I enroll in a college course at Penn State my freshman year, simply because this book is on the course materials I memorized the entire poem Dover Beach because it is the selection Bradbury chose to have Montag read aloud to his wife and her friends As the years roll by, and I age through my 20s and 30s, I noticed that fewer and fewer of the people I know read any books Even my avid reading friends from childhood moved on to their careers, their marriages, their children In the late 1990s a friend invited me to his house to show off a proud new purchase a television screen the size of one of his walls I mention how frightening this was, that he was basically mainlining Bradbury s foreshadowing He handed me a beer and fired up Star Wars told me to relax I watched the movie and felt like a traitor.
The last time I read F451 was about 10 years ago I think I was afraid that if I were to pick it up again that it would diminish in its importance to me much like Catch 22 and The Sun Also Rises But on this first day in May I have a day trip to Socal for business and I bring this book with me And I love it, all over again, as if reading it for the first time Until Infinite Jest came along, this was my favorite book I remember why.
I joined Goodreads in 2009 with low expectations I am not a social media person I ve given up twice on Facebook the last time for good But there was something I found here that reminded me of Montag s joining the campfire of fellow readers We may all be from different walks of life from places all around the world, but we come here often and with excitement because we love books They are some of the most important things to us and our lives would be ruined without them.
So to you, my fellow Goodreaders, tonight I raise a glass to each of you, and I want to say thank you thank you thank you for making my life better, for exposing me to authors I would have never known, and for reminding me that although I ll never get to all of the books I want to read in this life, I can stand on the shoulders of you giants and witnessof the wonders of the written word.
Fast forward 15 years later I just bought a copy the other day to register at BookCrossing for their Banned books Month release challenge The ALA celebrates Banned books Week in September, so one BXer challenged us to wild release books that had at one point or another been banned in this country during the entire month Fahrenheit 451 fits the bill an irony that is not lost on anyone, I trust Everyone knows Fahrenheit 451 is about the evils of censorship and banning books, right The title refers to the temperature at which paper burns I didn t intend to start reading it I really didn t Somehow it seduced me into it I glanced at the first page and before I knew it, it was 1 00 in the morning and I was halfway through with the thing It s really good No wonder it s a modern classic Montag s inner emotional and moral journey from a character who burns books gleefully and with a smile on his face to someone who is willing to risk his career, his marriage, his house, and eventually his life for the sake of books is extremely compelling That this man, product of a culture that devalues reading and values easy, thoughtless entertainments designed to deaden the mind and prevent serious thought, could come to find literature so essential that he would kill for it Something about that really spoke to me.
It raises the question why What is it about books, about poetry, about literature that is so essential to us There is no doubt in my mind that it is essential, if not for all individuals although I find it hard to imagine life without books, I know there are some people who don t read for pleasure, bizarre as that seems to me , then for society Why should that be books don t contain any hard and fast answers to all of life s questions They might contain great philosophical Truths, but only subjectively so there will always be someone who will argue and disagree with whatever someone else says In fact, as Captain Beatty, the evil fire chief, points out, no two books agree with each other What one says, another contradicts So what, then, is their allure What is it that made Mildred s silly friend start to weep when Montag read the poem Dover Beach aloud to her Where does the power of literature come from I think the reason that books are so important to our lives and to the health of our society of any society is not because they give us answers, but because they make us ask the questions books good books, the books that stay with you for years after you read them, the books that change your view of the world or your way of thinking aren t easy They aren t facile They aren t about surface they re about depth They are, quite literally, thought provoking They require complexity of thought They require effort on the part of the reader You get out of a book what you put into the reading of it, and therefore books satisfy in a way that other types of entertainment do not.
And they aren t mass produced They are individual, unique, gloriously singular They are each an island, much needed refuges from an increasingly homogeneous culture.
I m glad I read Fahrenheit 451, even if the ending was rather bleak It challenged me and made me think, stimulated me intellectually We could all do with a bit of intellectual stimulation now and then it makes life muchfulfilling.