Farenheit 451 – Reading one of the Classics for the first time

So, another one of the books that I was able to devour during my recent travels includes Farenheit 451.  Yes, it is a classic, but one I had not read yet.  I borrowed this one from a friend who read it for a class and I thought – I should have already read this by now.  Does anyone else have a list of classics that they have not read yet but feel like they should have by now? Or is it just me?  Perhaps that will be a post for another day.  Moving along, I jumped right into this book without actually having any idea what it was about.  I didn’t even read the synopsis on the back. Which is weird for me.  I usually fully appreciate the whole cover, flip through the pages, smell them, you know – the whole nine yards before beginning to read a book.   For some books it might be recommended to go in blind, so to speak. Probably not so for this one, so I’ll share with you what Goodreads has to say about the book:

fahrenheit-451

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.
The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.
Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock

So, entering this book without knowing what it was actually about was a little confusing at first.  It was just such a bizarre concept to me that there would ever actually be a world where no one read books.  Not even magazines.  I’ve heard of banned books, but ban all the books?  How dare they? How can people learn anything? How can they even read road signs on the road? Once I got past the initial shock and got off of my soap-box, defending my books I understood the point.  And it’s a good one, and rings true to society as we know it.  You know, the one where all of the kids develop carpal tunnel in their thumbs by the age 20.  We’re all a little bit guilty, myself included; I’m not pointing any fingers.  It is nice to hold a button on my phone and simply speak: “Google, what is Cassiopeia?” or “Google, take me home” and be directed home and toward the right answers.  I do it all the time.  Regardless, it is true – we are moving really quickly and technology is developing and growing faster than ever.  Yes, please go right ahead and appreciate the modern technology (I, for one will not stop) but do not lose where it all came from.  And, that’s exactly what this book does: it pays homage to the roots of it all and shows appreciation for the authors, readers, and storytellers from generation to generation.

So, it was interesting to read a perspective of the future written from the past (originally written in 1953).  Guy Montag is a fireman whose job is to set fires, not put them out.  He is so unhappy in his marriage you would almost think that he and his wife were ‘assigned’ to marry each other.  They don’t even remember how they met, so the reader starts to wonder… The neighbor, Clarisse is my favorite.  She reminds me of the part in the movie Pleasantville when people start to see in color.  Clarisse was the one who started to add color to Guy’s world and before he realized it, he could not see in black and white anymore.  The rest of the book follows what happens when someone who sees in color fights against the world who sees in black and white.   I’m very glad that I took the time to (finally) read this book and if you have not read it yet, either you should add it to your list and it’s not even 200 pages so there’s no excuse not to, really.

Have you read it?  What do you think?

4.5 out of 5 stars.

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