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Fahrenheit 451 (Folio Science Fiction) (French Edition) (French) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2000
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"One of this country's most beloved writers . . . A great storyteller, sometimes even a mythmaker, a true American classic." --Michael Dirda, "The Washington Post"
"The sheer lift and power of a truly original imagination exhilarates . . . His is a very great and unusual talent." --Christopher Isherwood, "Tomorrow"
"Brilliant . . . Startling and ingenious . . . Mr. Bradbury's account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating." --Orville Prescott, "The New York Times"
"A masterpiece . . . A glorious American classic everyone should read: It's life-changing if you read it as a teen, and still stunning when you reread it as an adult." --Alice Hoffman, "The Boston Globe"
"Frightening in its implications . . . Mr. Bradbury's account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating." --"The New York Times"
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Top Customer Reviews
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."
My first encounter with Ray Bradbury's classic novel Fahrenheit 451 came during my junior year of high school. It was our assigned summer reading and couldn't have been less interested in it. To be clear, I spent my summer devouring tons of other books, but there's something about a "required" read that did little to motivate me. I skimmed through the novel a few days before classes resumed and survived our minimal discussions mostly unscathed.
Flash forward to today. I've made it a point to try to consume more classic literature to both appreciate the great works of our culture and to counterbalance my otherwise populist tastes. After finally reading Fahrenheit 451, I realize that this is a novel that speaks directly to me as a life long reader. The future that Bradbury imagined 63 years ago painted a dim future for the written word. In the book, firemen are tasked with burning books as a way to advance a societal utopia. One fireman, Guy Montag, begins to see through the smoke of this dark undertaking and decides to disobey his orders.
I don't think that the 17 year old me was ready to fully appreciate this work. The story takes a bit of time to materialize and I think I lacked both the patience and understanding to see it through. Now I understand that Bradbury is crafting a deliberate vision of the world as he feared it could become. At the same time, he is careful to allow the story and characters to lead the reader to conclusions about the effects of technology on arts and culture without falling into the trap of becoming overtly preachy. It is a tight rope to walk, and Bradbury does it elegantly. Unlike many other dystopian novels in the same vein, Fahrenheit 451 ultimately presents a quietly optimistic picture of the world built by those who still value the power of life.
"Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the book prays on events that the previous generation fears and inspires a fear...Read more
Guy Montag, the main character, works as a fireman in a dystopian society...Read more