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Fahrenheit 451 Mass Market Paperback – August 12, 1987
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From the Publisher
FARENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
There are some books that no matter how long ago you've read them, details
from the story stick in your mind. Farenheit 451 was like that for me. I
was 15 when I first checked it out from the high school library. I hadn't
really gotten very far into the book when a cute guy noticed I was carrying
it around school.
"Good book," he commented.
"Yeah, I'm still reading it," I answered. Wow, I thought, approval from an
older guy. That gave me the incentive to finish what turned out to be one
of the most important sf novels ever written.
It's been more than 20 years since I've spoken to but I'll always feel
grateful to him whenever I hear about bookburnings. His tiny bit of
encouragement introduced me to one of the genre's finest writers.
--Amy Stout, Consulting Editor
From the Inside Flap
Nowadays firemen start fires. Fireman Guy Montag loves to rush to a fire and watch books burn up. Then he met a seventeen-year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future where people could think. And Guy Montag knew what he had to do....
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The most surprising thing about Fahrenheit 451 is that it's premise could, in the hands of a lesser writer, easily turn a condescending little lesson about the importance of reading books. But like any work of art that would be missed if it was burned, Fahrenheit 451 doesn't want to give you answers. The book wants you to ask questions.
The main point for me is not that books are burned. That is only the most dramatic side of something bigger: that society allows them to be burned, and that no one is interested in reading in the first place. The only sources of distraction for the denizens of Fahrenheit 451 are sports or soap operas in televisions the size of entire walls. The speed of television does not allow you to stop and think, just swallow that entertainment loaf. From this insipid entertainment are born people who literally talk to the walls and a society unable to question.
Montag's wife, Mildred is one example. She can't talk about anything other than the soaps or what threatens her financial security. She is a cattle-person, described as having an invisible cataract behind her pupils, afraid of anything different, incapable of thinking or feeling without directions from the TV or authorities. Montag discovers how they can't connect to one another because in the end they don't know their own history. And without that knowledge you can't even know who you are, or what you want.
Today is 2015, and the society described in Fahrenheit 451 seems even more palpable than when the book was written in 1953. The internet shortens our attention span towards shorter and simpler texts and videos. More than ever we more intelligent - we have access to an ocean of information literally at our finger tips - but we are not wise. We don't know what to do with our information.
And we have no memory. The social media timelines dictate the discussion of the day, what funny video is trending, what news we should be disgusted with, what meme will be the big joke for a day or two before it is once again forgotten. Fahrenheit 451 even reminds us of the "mass society judgments" that lead to self-censorship.
I believe reading is fundamentally important for wisdom, more than any other art form. Reading is solitary work. It demands silence, and to let your ideas absorb the author's, contest them, accept or adapt. Fahrenheit 451 says that you can't make others think, but I believe it comes with a good recipe for wisdom: "Number one, like I said, is quality of information. Number two: time to digest. And number three: the right to conduct your actions based on what we learn from the two previous items."
the book prays on events that the previous generation fears and inspires a fear in this generation. The book itself, though slightly predictable, has a powerful message that keeps sucking in the reader even though there wount be a satisfying ending as is popular in dystopian literature.
Seriously, read this. This book is great, and so is the paper it's printed on. Great copy of a great story.
What are you waiting for?!?!?! Go read this book!
On the other hand, some terms like "Play the man, Master Ridley, we shall this day light such a candle, by..." and "knock hubcaps" should have been explained by Word wise. Although the book has enough pages for introduction and core, its denouement is very short, indeed due the amount of descriptions and details, this book should have had more pages.
Oddly enough the book is structured into three major chapters and each one feels distinctly different. I had high hopes in the first chapter as the young female character was reminiscent of a Stephen King-like ethereal character but that didn't last.
The ending was out of no where and at times read like a dream, then suddenly a fireman remembers an ideal verse...
Read it - and be changed.
"And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
* = tripe
** = okay read
*** = good read
**** = excellent read
***** = life changing read