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Fahrenheit 451

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Fahrenheit 451 PDF, ePub eBook A hauntingly prophetic novel about a world in which books are burned and scholars are outcast.

30 review for Fahrenheit 451

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Farenheit 451 has been analyzed and reinterpreted by every successive generation to change its meaning. This is chiefly because the book is full of assumptions and vague symbolism which can be taken many ways, and rarely does anyone come away from the book with the conclusion the author intended, which would suggest that it is a failed attempt. There are grounds to contend that even the title is inaccurate, since contemporary sources suggest paper combusts at 450 degrees Celsius, which in Farenhe Farenheit 451 has been analyzed and reinterpreted by every successive generation to change its meaning. This is chiefly because the book is full of assumptions and vague symbolism which can be taken many ways, and rarely does anyone come away from the book with the conclusion the author intended, which would suggest that it is a failed attempt. There are grounds to contend that even the title is inaccurate, since contemporary sources suggest paper combusts at 450 degrees Celsius, which in Farenheit would be more than 800 degrees. The truth is, paper combustion is gradual and dependent on many factors; even if some paper might combust at 451F, his title is at best an oversimplification, but Bradbury was more interested in a punchy message than in constructing a thoughtful and well-supported argument. It's not a book about book censorship, but a book about how TV will rot your brain. Bradbury himself has stated this again and again, as evidenced in this article which quotes Bradbury and in videos from Bradbury's own website--indeed, in an interview, he stated he was inspired to write it because he was horrified that a woman might listen to a radio while walking her dog. Not only does he patronizingly assume that she's listening to a soap opera, instead of news, or appreciating classical music, but it's a strangely anti-technology pose for a sci fi writer to take--does it really matter whether we get our art and knowledge from compressed tree pulp, or from radio transmissions? This book falls somewhat short of its satirical mark based on this cranky lawn-loving neighbor's message. Then again, it was written in the course of a few days in one long, uninterrupted slurry (mercifully edited by his publishers, but now available utterly restored). It contains archetypes, misconceptions, and an author surrogate, but can still be seen as a slighting view of authority and power, and of the way people are always willing to deceive themselves. Unfortunately, Bradbury did not seem to recognize that reading has always been the province of a minority and that television would do little to kill it. More books are written, published, and read today than at any other point in history. Most of them are just redundant filler, but so is 90% of any mass creative output, books, art, movies, or TV, as Sturgeon said. And there's nothing new about that, either: cheap, trashy novels have been a joke since the Victorian. Television is a different medium than books, and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Bradbury's critique of TV--that it will get larger, more pervasive, and become an escape for small minds--is just as true of books. As for television damaging social interaction, who is less culturally aware: the slack-jawed boy watching television or the slack-jawed boy reading one uninspired relic of genre fiction after another? I read a lot of books as a kid and watched a lot of TV, and each medium provided something different. Neither one displaced the other, since reading and watching aren't the same experience. There is an egalitarian obsession that people are all capable of being informed and intelligent. We now send everyone to college, despite the fact that for many people, college is not a viable or useful route. The same elitism that values degrees values being 'well-read', and since this is the elitism of the current power structure, it is idealized by the less fortunate subcultures. Bradbury became informed not because he read, but by what he read. He could have read a schlocky pop novel every day for life and still been as dull as the vidscreen zombies he condemns. He has mistaken the medium for the message, and his is a doubly mixed message, coming from a man who had his own TV show.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    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 F 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 witness more of the wonders of the written word.

  3. 5 out of 5

    She-Who-Reads

    Somehow, I have gotten through life as an English major, book geek, and a science-fiction nerd without ever having read this book. I vaguely remember picking it up in high-school and not getting very far with it. It was an interesting premise, but far too depressing for my tastes at the time. 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 chal Somehow, I have gotten through life as an English major, book geek, and a science-fiction nerd without ever having read this book. I vaguely remember picking it up in high-school and not getting very far with it. It was an interesting premise, but far too depressing for my tastes at the time. 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 much more fulfilling.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    “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 nothing.” The 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 “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 nothing.” The 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 anymore; 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

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    You can check out thousands of better reviews here and across the internet, but here is all you really need to know... This 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 o You can check out thousands of better reviews here and across the internet, but here is all you really need to know... This 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 guess... Stop 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 now... Demand 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 forevermore. Don't wait to get it from the library. Don't even think about ordering it on Amazon, 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? God... I 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    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 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 that more people 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's more privileged 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 a more modern 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 book): "In 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. Furthermore, 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    "We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain & black loam." (111) What outstanding prose--prophetic, which is by far the most rare and inspiring of attributes a work of literature can ever possess. & Ray "I Don't Talk Things, Sir. I Talk The Meaning Of Things" Bradbury is here at his absolute best. I cannot decide whether this or "Martian Chronicles" is my favorite... they are definitely my favorite of his, the best possible possibly "We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain & black loam." (111) What outstanding prose--prophetic, which is by far the most rare and inspiring of attributes a work of literature can ever possess. & Ray "I Don't Talk Things, Sir. I Talk The Meaning Of Things" Bradbury is here at his absolute best. I cannot decide whether this or "Martian Chronicles" is my favorite... they are definitely my favorite of his, the best possible possibly in ANY sci-fi adventure. 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 wholly 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!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    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 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. Furthermore, 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that transcends it's dystopian theme and delivers its cautionary message in a timeless fashion, what made this story compelling in 1953 remains provocative. It is a strident call to arms, a warning siren of darkness always on the perimeter. Critics have tried to make more of this, and certainly it is an archetypal work, but I think its simplicity is its great strength - it is fundamentally about book burning, literally and metaphorically. A powerful allegory t Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that transcends it's dystopian theme and delivers its cautionary message in a timeless fashion, what made this story compelling in 1953 remains provocative. It is a strident call to arms, a warning siren of darkness always on the perimeter. Critics have tried to make more of this, and certainly it is an archetypal work, but I think its simplicity is its great strength - it is fundamentally about book burning, literally and metaphorically. A powerful allegory that also works well as a prima facie argument against censorship and a good science fiction novel all by itself. Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context - and I can see that (and in an age of Vine and Twitter this message is all too relevant), but for me the image of the ironic fireman burning books is the endearing story. This is a book that everyone should read at least once.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    "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 "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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    Library as cathedral, as all libraries should be - John Rylands Library, Manchester. Image source Read me, love me, touch me, treasure me This is a book about the power of books that is itself steeped with references, both explicit and indirect, to the great works that permeate our culture so thoroughly that we do not always notice them - until they’re gone. Bradbury shows us the horror of a hedonistic but unhappy world where books and ideas are banned in the futile pursuit of the illusion of hap Library as cathedral, as all libraries should be - John Rylands Library, Manchester. Image source Read me, love me, touch me, treasure me This is a book about the power of books that is itself steeped with references, both explicit and indirect, to the great works that permeate our culture so thoroughly that we do not always notice them - until they’re gone. Bradbury shows us the horror of a hedonistic but unhappy world where books and ideas are banned in the futile pursuit of the illusion of happiness. As with A Clockwork Orange (see my review HERE), there is a constant tension between the deliciously poetic language and the horrors of the setting. The intended message of this 62-year-old novel is different: a prescient warning about the addictive power of continuous, passive imbibing from the virtual worlds and interactive screens that are our constant companions. I guess Bradbury was so infused in bookish culture himself that he didn’t realise how loudly the literary message shouts from every page, almost drowning out everything else: read me, love me, touch me, treasure me. Reading is a physical, sensual, transformative relationship, not merely a mental process. See this excellent article (thanks, Apatt!) for Bradbury's views on the persistent misinterpretation of his book: LA Weekly article. Nevertheless, the balance of themes is shifting: smartphones and the Internet of Things mean we’re catching up with Bradbury’s vision. Certainly, I was more aware of his technological warning than on previous readings - but it’s still the insatiable thirst for what is in and from books (ideas, discussion, and knowledge) that stokes my passion for this novel: “The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.” As Henry Cowles wrote in Aeon recently, “Screens are not just a part of life today: they are our lives.” The weak characterisation, cruelly caricatured Mildred, and the rationale and details of the totalitarian state’s oppression, censorship (sadly apt after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January 2015), and warmongering are secondary - just the canvas on which Bradbury delicately paints his nightmare, by moonlight, to the pitter-patter of raindrops and the whisper of falling leaves. tl;dnr - stick with the four paragraphs, above. Plot and Narrative Structure The plot is well-known: It is set in the near future, where all books are banned because they are elitist and hence cause unhappiness and division. Instead, the population is fed continuous inane soap operas to lull their minds into soporific approximation of non-unhappiness. TV really does rot their brains, or at least sap their ability to think for themselves. Firemen no longer put out fires, but instead burn houses where books are found. Montag is a fireman, so part of the regime. But he is tempted by the unknown promise of what he destroys, takes greater and greater risks, and ends up a fugitive, living rough with other rebels, each of whom has memorised a book so that when things change, they can be rewritten. (Ironically, these people also destroy books - just the physical ones, after they have memorised them.) There are three parts: 1. “It Was a Pleasure to Burn” shows the restrictions of Montag’s world, and his growing, but unfocused, dissatisfaction with it, contrasted with beautiful imagery of the natural world, especially moonlight and trees - and fire. 2. “The Sieve and the Sand” is about confrontation: with self and others - with truth. 3. Finally, in “Burning Bright”, revelation leads to liberation, danger, and the possibility of freedom. But at what cost? QUOTES I had forgotten (or maybe never noticed!) how wonderful the language is. This review is even more focused on quotes than usual, so I never forget. Contradictions • "The trees overhead made a great sound of letting down their dry rain.” • “They walked in the warm-cool blowing night on the silvered pavement.” • “He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other.” • “He was moving from an unreality that was frightening into a reality that was unreal because it was new.” • “The Mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live.” Mechanical Hound This thing, this high-tech version of the most atavistic, omnipotent monsters that plague our dreams from infancy, is where Bradbury’s hybrid of beauty and horror reaches its peak: • “The moonlight… touched here and there on the brass and the copper and the steel of the faintly trembling beast. Light flickered on bits of ruby glass and on sensitive capillary hairs in the nylon-brushed nostrils of the creature that quivered gently, gently, gently, its eight legs spidered under it on rubber-padded paws.” • “Out of the helicopter glided something that was not machine, not animal, not dead, not alive, glowing with a pale green luminosity.” • “He could feel the Hound, like autumn, come cold and dry and swift, like a wind that didn't stir grass… The Hound did not touch the world. It carried its silence with it.” (Moon) Light, Rain, Nature • “Laughter blew across the moon-colored lawn.” • “The moonlight distilled in each eye to form a silver cataract.” • “They read the long afternoon through while the cold November rain fell from the sky in the quiet house. They sat in the hall because the parlour was so empty and gray-looking without its walls lite with orange and yellow confetti.” • “You could feel the war getting ready in the sky that night. The way the clouds moved aside and came back, and the way the stars looked, a million of them swimming between the clouds… and the feeling that the sky might fall upon the city and turn it to chalk dust, and the moon go up in red fire.” • “The river was mild and leisurely, going away from the people who ate shadows for breakfast and steam for lunch and vapours for supper.” • “The more he breathed the land in, the more he was filled up with all the details of the land. He was not empty.” Burned Books as Once-Living Things • “The flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch.” • “They fell like slaughtered birds and the woman stood below, like a small girl, among the bodies.” • “The books lay like great mounds of fishes left to dry.” • “Their covers torn off and spilled out like swan-feathers.” • “The books leapt and danced like roasted birds, their wings ablaze with red and yellow feathers.” • “Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly.” • “The floor littered with swarms of black moths that had died in a single storm.” Fire If BuzzFeed is to believed (a medium-sized "if", imo), its original title was not "Fahrenheit 451", but "The Fireman". He and his publishers thought it a boring title, so they called a local fire station and asked what temperature paper burned at. The firemen put Bradbury on hold while they burned a book, then reported back the temperature, and the rest is history. • The opening sentence: “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. with this brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.” • “The books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.” • “Those who do not build must burn.” (Do they ignite the fire, or are they consumed by it?) • “It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did.” • “A bloom of fire, a single wondrous blossom that curled in petals of yellow and blue and orange.” • A bonfire, “was not burning; it was warming... He hadn’t known fire could look this way. He had never thought… it could give as well as take.” The descriptions of fire are also the best feature of Bradbury's short story A Sound of Thunder which I reviewed HERE. Dangers of Books Many of the reasons given could just as easily apply to TV shows; Faber says as much to Montag, “It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books” and that those same things could be in the TV shows, but aren’t. Instead, the TV shows are specially designed to numb minds to all except vague pleasure. • “Books aren’t people… my family [soap stars] is people”. • “None of these books agree with each other… The people in those books never lived.” • “It didn’t come from the government down… Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick… Today… you can stay happy all the time” because only comics, confessions and trade journals are permitted. • “The firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord.” • “We must all be alike. Not everyone was born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal… Then all are happy”, protected from the “rightful dread of being inferior”. • “Our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred”, so everything that might upset anyone is destroyed. • Filled with facts, people “feel they’re thinking… they’ll be happy because facts of that sort don’t change.” • “All the silly things the words mean, all the false promises, and all the second hand notions and time-worn philosophies.” Dangers of VR There is bitter irony in a “living room” where the only “living” is that of fictitious people, passively observed on the huge screens on the walls. • Entering the bedroom “was like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon had set.” • “Her eyes fixed to the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound… coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty.” • “People don’t talk about anything… They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming-pools and say how swell.” • Brainwashing: “It’s always someone else’s husband dies.” and “Nothing will ever happen to me.” General Quotes • Clarice’s face had “a kind of gentle hunger that touched over everything with tireless curiosity”. • “He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over, and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out. Darkness.” • A stomach pump: “looking for all the old water and old time gathered there… Did it drink of the darkness?... The impersonal operation… could gaze into the soul of the person whom he was pumping out.” • “The world had melted down and sprung up in a new and colorless formation.” • “He slapped her face with amazing objectivity.” (It is not being condoned.) • “She made the empty rooms roar with accusation and shake down a fine dust of guilt that was sucked into their nostrils and they plunged about.” That’s why owners shouldn’t be present. • “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine.” A line from a poem by Alexander Smith that Montag glimpses, “but it blazed in his mind for the next minutes as if stamped there with fiery steel.” • “His hand had been infected [by picking up a book], and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up… His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything.” • “I don’t talk things… I talk the meanings of things.” • “If you read fast and read all, maybe some of the sand will stay in the sieve.” • “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.” • “They were like a monstrous crystal chandelier tinkling in a thousand chimes, he saw their Cheshire Cat smiles burning through the walls.” • "There was a crash like falling parts of a dream fashioned out of warped glass, mirrors, and crystal prisms." • “We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” From Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson. • A buzzing helicopter “like butterflies puzzled by autumn”. • A ten-lane highway: “A boatless river frozen there in the raw light of the high white arc-lamps; you could drown trying to cross it.” • “His nose was suddenly good enough to sense the path he had made in the air of the room.” Homework I choose to inhale and absorb the atmosphere of the book, without stopping every few sentences to investigate each possible reference and quote, but those who enjoy literary detective work will find plenty of material here. The other mystery is Captain Beatty: he is remarkably well-versed in the classics of literature, philosophy and history. “I was using the very books you clung to, to rebut you… What traitors books can be.” But is that explanation enough? What Book Would You Be for Posterity? The obvious question is, if you were going to become a book and memorise it for posterity, what would you choose? Would it be cheating to pick "Fahrenheit 451"? Should it be for personal comfort or something that will be useful in rebuilding society? The hardest questions is, would you give up everything for literature? “All we can do is keep the knowledge… We’re no more than dust jackets for books, of no significance otherwise… You’re not important. You’re not anything. Some day the load we’re carrying with us may help someone.” When people ask what we do, “We’re remembering”. In Summary I love the fact that this book is a paean to the power of the written word: that people will live and die for it, and will wither without the transformative power of fictional worlds and the insights of others. The lure and love of literature is irrepressible. Books "stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us." Postscript Related to this - and to 1984 - Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote in a group discussion: "There's a distinct echo in both books of the Garden of Eden story, with Eve tempting Adam to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And in each case, it's a denial of the dogma that this is the original sin." Film Adaptations 1966 Film - Watch Truffaut's 1966 version is visually stunning and broadly faithful to the book. See details on imdb here. Riffing on This and Truffaut See Megan Dunn’s brilliant first book, Tinderbox, which I reviewed HERE. She intended to rewrite 451 from the point of view of the female characters, but ended up equally fascinated by Truffaut's adaptation - the very process of adapting the book. The result is a fascinating, personal, and funny exploration of her attempts to adapt someone else’s work. It also includes many fascinating and sometimes surprising details about the film, such as Truffaut hand-picking the books that were burned in the opening scene. 2018 Film - Avoid Adapting a book for screen can excuse or require changes. But the 2018 one was a travesty that exacerbates the common misunderstanding of Bradbury's intended message AND adds a ludicrous new plot in its place. There is nothing at all about the addictive and mind-numbing allure of superficial soap operas (Montag doesn't even have a wife), but there is a weird sciency thing about books being encoded in the DNA of a bird, so they'll live for ever! It wasn't even well acted or written (I presume it didn't improve in the second half). See details on imdb here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The Wall Controls You - The Silent Take-Over Of Screen-Time! What does "Fahrenheit 451" mean to me? Most of all, it is a declaration of love for books in an era of fast entertainment and instant gratification as a means of political control of the masses. I used to think Brave New World and 1984 - or a combination of those two - had a more accurate take on human mind-slavery in the age of technology than "Fahrenheit 451". But increasingly, I see the world as Bradbury saw it, with people sitting i The Wall Controls You - The Silent Take-Over Of Screen-Time! What does "Fahrenheit 451" mean to me? Most of all, it is a declaration of love for books in an era of fast entertainment and instant gratification as a means of political control of the masses. I used to think Brave New World and 1984 - or a combination of those two - had a more accurate take on human mind-slavery in the age of technology than "Fahrenheit 451". But increasingly, I see the world as Bradbury saw it, with people sitting in front of screens, absorbed by meaningless entertainment without purpose or fulfillment, losing their ability to talk to each other. And with the dialogue, reflection disappears from our homes and schools. Students do "research" without ever touching a book and spit out slogans they find online, but they can't put them into context. They write their essays on screens and unlearn how to spell. They dream of a career which makes them visible on screens as well: they want to be athletes, singers, movie stars. Out of the 200 teenagers I asked, only 2 had read a book during their ten weeks of summer holidays, and most of them couldn't even say what they had been doing instead. Time passes without being noticed in front of a screen - a WALL, as it is called in the novel. If you do not practice the skill of reading and of appreciating literature, it is lost. The book burning that takes place in "Fahrenheit 451" is not even necessary in the real world of today. Those rare students that like reading can't share their interest with anyone anymore, and it doesn't spread: "With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be." What Bradbury meant as satire is my work reality. So what have I done myself, hopeless book lover that I am? I have taken to the woods, figuratively speaking, like the characters in "Fahrenheit 451". Barring television screens and computer games - the walls - from my home, I have made sure reading stays alive. My walls are filled with books, not screens. I waste no opportunity to talk about books with my children, and I make them learn poems by heart. To develop a lasting love for literature, it has to be nurtured. You are not born a reader, just like you are not born a football player or a dancer. Accessibility, motivation and training are necessary prerequisites for any interests to form. It takes time and care. Fahrenheit 451 - the temperature at which books burn. I think Bradbury got that wrong. It is what happened to books in the past, when politicians actively tried to destroy specific books. There is no need for them to do that anymore. In our world, books drown - in the flood of quick information and easy entertainment. The year of the flood... after the fire came the water, and it caused more damage!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    This was my first Ray Bradbury book. Do you know - that with 1, 117, 082 ratings, and 28, 668 reviews-I didn't have a clue what to expect from this book? I may have been the only person living under a rock - down deep beneath the earth -who knew nothing about this story! My Goodness ....... "I CANT IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT BOOKS!!!!!" I have in my hands a copy of the 60th Anniversary Edition. Neil Gaiman wrote the Introduction.... and really excellent I might add! Just beautiful introduction abou This was my first Ray Bradbury book. Do you know - that with 1, 117, 082 ratings, and 28, 668 reviews-I didn't have a clue what to expect from this book? I may have been the only person living under a rock - down deep beneath the earth -who knew nothing about this story! My Goodness ....... "I CANT IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT BOOKS!!!!!" I have in my hands a copy of the 60th Anniversary Edition. Neil Gaiman wrote the Introduction.... and really excellent I might add! Just beautiful introduction about Fahrenheit 451 being speculative fiction....."if this goes on......." story. Ray Bradbury was writing about his present, which is our past. He was warning us about things; some of those things are obvious, and some of them, half a century later, are harder to see. .....First: Many readers say 'that readers', should read this book: I agree! .....Fireman no longer put out fires-- but instead burn houses that have books inside. .....The prose is beautiful- powerful - a tribute to the value of books. .....Ray Bradbury created a world where watching TV is what is consider socializing. .....TV is a baby sitter for busy parents. Sounds like present day to me! This is still a concern!!! .....One night -one fireman - Guy Montag - meets a young almost 17 year old girl, Clarisse McClellan, who asks Montag, "Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" He laughed. "That's against the law!" But soon, Montag begins to question the forbidden and begins to steal books. ..... As the story unfolds, Montag bumps up against challenges - scary situations - sad and dangerous situations--- This is an INSANE WORLD --- played out to extremes --- but frightening that it resembles much of our world today. -- and that is even 'more' frightening! Towards the end of the copy of this 60th Anniversary edition is "The Story of Fahrenheit 451". I found it fascinating. The story about renting typewriters at UCLA library - paying a dime for every half hour to write this story -- had me laughing. ( sorry for laughing at Bradbury's suffering when the typewriter would jam.....but I think his story will be helpful to me on those days when I have computer breakdowns-- in the COMFORT of my own home!!!! Fabulous- - great excerpts on every page - A STAND FOR INTOLERANCE!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kinga

    It’s easy to see why ‘Farenheit 451’ is a cult classic, beloved by the majority of bookworms. Oh, it validates us, doesn’t it? Here is a future world where books are banned, and look at this; it has gone to the dogs. The saddest of all post-apocalyptic worlds, the bleakest dystopia, what a nightmare – NO BOOKS! The good are those who read, the bad are those who watch the TV. Yes, this is what we like to read to make us feel all warm inside. And because of that we are seemingly willing to forgive It’s easy to see why ‘Farenheit 451’ is a cult classic, beloved by the majority of bookworms. Oh, it validates us, doesn’t it? Here is a future world where books are banned, and look at this; it has gone to the dogs. The saddest of all post-apocalyptic worlds, the bleakest dystopia, what a nightmare – NO BOOKS! The good are those who read, the bad are those who watch the TV. Yes, this is what we like to read to make us feel all warm inside. And because of that we are seemingly willing to forgive Bradbury for a lot of things: really poor world-building skills, lacklustre characterisation, inconsistencies. Oh, and sexism. The women in the books are generally brainwashed bimbos, except of course for the wonder-child Clarisse from the beginning of the book, who is a representation of a very annoying archetype as well. And you would think that, since the book is mostly an endless roll call of all the authors and books that need to be salvaged from the fire, at least ONE female author would get a mention. Nope. Zero. They can all burn for all that Bradbury cares. After all, the secret gang dedicated to preserving the world literary heritage is made up entirely of men. Now, this to me does look like a very sad world indeed. Go and read Farenheit 451. It’s not a novel in its fully developed sense, more of an allegory, a hyperbole and Bradbury occasionally produces sentences of startling beauty. The problem with this book is the same problem there is with a world without books – it’s somewhat flat, somewhat numb.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Federico DN

    A book, a flamethrower, and a very troubled mind. In a dystopian future, firemen don't put out fires... they start it. Books, and freethinkers, are burned with a flamethrower without a seconds thought. Guy Montag, one of these incendiary firemen, after a series of events starts awakening from his long and blind indoctrination. To his horror, he finds an identity and a mind of his own. But in a completely monitored and subjugated society, thinking can cost your life. One single mistake and Guy may A book, a flamethrower, and a very troubled mind. In a dystopian future, firemen don't put out fires... they start it. Books, and freethinkers, are burned with a flamethrower without a seconds thought. Guy Montag, one of these incendiary firemen, after a series of events starts awakening from his long and blind indoctrination. To his horror, he finds an identity and a mind of his own. But in a completely monitored and subjugated society, thinking can cost your life. One single mistake and Guy may find himself on the other side of the flamethrower... A very short novel, with a lot of feel of Orwell's 1984. A novel that emphasizes the value of written legacy, books, and free will. An interesting read, with lots of moments and quotations to remember, but somewhat far from the dazzling 1984 experience. What I couldn't grasp was Bradbury's confusing way to describe things, not because of the vocabulary, but because of the phrasing. Several of them seemed incomprehensible, or incoherent. Maybe I just got one of those weird faulty electronic copies. Or maybe this was just a book that I may have been able to enjoy much more reading it in spanish. Maybe. **** Both movies fell kinda flat. Interesting, but not really enjoyable, and specially not 2018. 1966 - Definitely the most faithful to the book. Some important changes to the original plot, but welcomed ones. Unremarkable acting, at best. Decent effects, considering. Not necessarily a good film, but it does have some redeeming qualities. 2018 - It would be generous if said it has any redeeming qualities. Terribly unfaithful to the book. Besides the names, setting and *some* basic plot, everything else was changed. And not in a good way. Really nice effects though. Still remaining, Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. Someday. In spanish. Until next time, ----------------------------------------------- Un libro, un lanzallamas, y una mente muy perturbada. En un futuro distópico, los bomberos no apagan incendios... sino que los inician. Los libros, y los librepensadores, son quemados con lanzallamas sin mediar palabra. Guy Montag, uno de estos bomberos incendiarios, tras una serie de eventos empieza a despertar de su largo y ciego adoctrinamiento. Para su horror, encuentra una identidad y pensamiento propio. Pero en una sociedad completamente vigilada y subyugada, pensar puede costar la vida. Un simple error y Guy podría encontrarse del otro lado del lanzallamas... Una novela muy corta, con mucho feel de 1984 de Orwell. Una novela que resalta el valor de los libros, el legado de la palabra, y del pensamiento libre. Una lectura interesante, con varias citas y momentos para el recuerdo, pero algo lejos de la genial experiencia que fue leer 1984. Lo que no pude digerir es la forma enrevesada que tiene Bradbury para describir las cosas. Reiteradas frases me resultaron incoherentes o irrelevantes. Tal vez me topé con una de esas raras malas copias digitales. O quizás éste sea uno de esos libros que tal vez hubiera podido disfrutar mucho más leyéndolo en español. Tal vez. **** Ambas peliculas me cayeron sosas. Interesantes, pero no muy disfrutables, especialmente no 2018. 1966 - Definitivamente la más fiel al libro. Algunos cambios importantes a la trama original, pero bien recibidos. Actuación regular, como mucho. Efectos decentes, considerando. No necesariamente una buena película, pero tiene algunas buenas cualidades. 2018 - Sería generoso decir que tiene alguna buena cualidad. Terriblemente infiel al espíritu del libro. Aparte de los nombres, contexto y *algo* de la trama original, todo fue cambiado. Y no de una buena manera. Muy buenos efectos, eso sí. Queda pendiente algún día leer Crónicas Marcianas. En español. Hasta la próxima,

  16. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    Reading Fahrenheit was an eye opener. I thought that the golden and silver eras of science fiction had works that have aged with the grace of the Rolling Stones. But here is a book to prove me wrong. Fahrenheit might be the book by which I rate and measure and gauge and review science fiction books. I wish this is not a false dawn, nor an exception to the rule. The book's theme is crisp in its actuality. This was a prophetic book. I rejoiced in the perfect pace that was contained in so relatively Reading Fahrenheit was an eye opener. I thought that the golden and silver eras of science fiction had works that have aged with the grace of the Rolling Stones. But here is a book to prove me wrong. Fahrenheit might be the book by which I rate and measure and gauge and review science fiction books. I wish this is not a false dawn, nor an exception to the rule. The book's theme is crisp in its actuality. This was a prophetic book. I rejoiced in the perfect pace that was contained in so relatively few pages. My wavering belief in science fiction has been stabilized.

  17. 4 out of 5

    karen

    so i decided that this is the summer i read all the books i "should" have read by now- all the classics i have not gotten around to. this was, oddly, sparked by that asshole that said to alyssa "this is why small bookstores are better - no one in big bookstores knows anything about books". which is, of course, inaccurate and ridiculous - poor alyssa is a nineteen year old girl who has not read any philip roth, and wasnt able to recommend a title to the (fifty year old) man but has probably read so i decided that this is the summer i read all the books i "should" have read by now- all the classics i have not gotten around to. this was, oddly, sparked by that asshole that said to alyssa "this is why small bookstores are better - no one in big bookstores knows anything about books". which is, of course, inaccurate and ridiculous - poor alyssa is a nineteen year old girl who has not read any philip roth, and wasnt able to recommend a title to the (fifty year old) man but has probably read more books than most people you will pass on the street today. (unless you live on bookland ave) and i love small bookstores, but that is not the point. another thing that is not the point is that there are other people in the store besides the nineteen year old girl who is really not the target audience for philip roth, and between tom and greg alone, all the philip roth books have been read. so i just started thinking about all the books i havent read that are canonical (not philip roth - ive read four and its plenty) but, say, fahrenheit 451. so long review short, i read this yesterday. and its pretty much what i expected. even if you havent read it, you know what it is about, and i think it makes important points, but it just wont make my all-time-favorite list. but im glad i read it. his afterword is very good - i think i may have liked it more than the novel itself. so.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    An absolute anti-utopian classic of the 20th century. I did a speech about that book in class (in 1988 I guess) to convince the other pupils how important this books is. The temperature at which books burn. No slowdown, only highspeed on the streets, reality shows at home with you being part of it, a world dominated by a government given truth. What happens if someone dares to look behind the scenes? Dares to read a uncensored book? Who is this group trying to find the truth beyond the fact fals An absolute anti-utopian classic of the 20th century. I did a speech about that book in class (in 1988 I guess) to convince the other pupils how important this books is. The temperature at which books burn. No slowdown, only highspeed on the streets, reality shows at home with you being part of it, a world dominated by a government given truth. What happens if someone dares to look behind the scenes? Dares to read a uncensored book? Who is this group trying to find the truth beyond the fact falsifying system of the government? This is a must read. Ray Bradbury had a look into our modern times when he wrote this groundbraking classic. One of the best books of the 20th century!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 My second time swaying this dark cautionary tale from Ray Bradbury. While reading it I realized I did not remember much from the first time. Of all the post-apocalyptic tales I have read, this is probably the simplest yet most terrifying. Published only 4 years after 1984, it is obvious where post WWII fears were driving our mindset. It is also very evident how modern dystopian stories have taken direction from these mid-20th Century classics. And, in our current political climate, fears like this are coming aground again: war, government control, freedom lost, etc. If you love modern dystopia, but have not read this . . . you need to! If you are a fan of classics and have not read this . . . you must! It is not a happy tale - it is deeply disturbing with very little hope, but maybe the more people that are aware of its message the safer our future will be. There is some really terrifying fan art out there for this book:

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian Hodges

    Believe me, I'm not the kind of guy who gushes over classics simply by virtue of the fact that they are classics, but this one was worth all the legend that it carries with it. I'm glad I never had to read this book in highschool. First of all, we would have ruined this truly awesome story by overanalyzing every mundane literary aspect, detail and device. Second, the story is SO much more profound in the year 2008 at the age of 30 than it could have been at 17 in 1995. I always thought this was Believe me, I'm not the kind of guy who gushes over classics simply by virtue of the fact that they are classics, but this one was worth all the legend that it carries with it. I'm glad I never had to read this book in highschool. First of all, we would have ruined this truly awesome story by overanalyzing every mundane literary aspect, detail and device. Second, the story is SO much more profound in the year 2008 at the age of 30 than it could have been at 17 in 1995. I always thought this was a book about the evils of government and how the folks in charge will try to restrict thought. After all, as the title of the book indicates, this is that story about "burning books." But Bradbury goes way deeper than some mere indictment of fascism. Taking place in the future, people of society have withdrawn from each other, focusing all their attention on mindless entertainment in the form of giant TV rooms and earphones. Books in this society are banned and "firemen" are put to work burning down the houses of anyone caught in possession of them. But as one character points out, government doesn't do anything that the people aren't already calling for and this assault on books is really just the natural byproduct of a society full of self-absorbed people who are pulling away more and more from any kind of thought deeper than what their television asks of them. Reading this book in a year where reality TV, a thousand different video game consoles and half a billion mindless internet sites provide a good chunk of our mental stimulation, and where people routinely drown the world and everyone in it out via their iPod headphones, it's eerie just how prophetic this story is... considering it was released in the 1950's. But this book isn't merely some kind of morality play. The story itself follows the transition of Guy Montag, from a book-leery, burn-happy "fireman" into a man who is on the run for not only possessing books, but killing a fellow fireman to protect them. There's action. There's intrigue. Ther's violence. There's character development. There's a story that you can actually follow and stay interested in. There's one particularly vivid and chilling description of a woman's final moment of life before a nuclear bomb goes off over her head. And yes, woven seamlessly into the exciting narrative are plenty of ideas to ponder regarding our direction as a society and the danger of never pursuing knowledge deeper than who got booted off 'Big Brother'.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Greg Watson

    Some time ago, I remembered seeing a portion of the Fahrenheit 451 film. So, I knew something about the story before reading the novel. However, I discovered far more than I expected. My thought was that the firemen in the novel burn books with no idea or knowledge of their contents. However, in the case of Captain Beatty, this turned out to be false. He knows what is in books (many books) and can quote them at length. His mindset is a reminder that knowledge can be rewarding but also unsettling. Some time ago, I remembered seeing a portion of the Fahrenheit 451 film. So, I knew something about the story before reading the novel. However, I discovered far more than I expected. My thought was that the firemen in the novel burn books with no idea or knowledge of their contents. However, in the case of Captain Beatty, this turned out to be false. He knows what is in books (many books) and can quote them at length. His mindset is a reminder that knowledge can be rewarding but also unsettling. We can suppress our unsettling doubts or seek to resolve them. All in all, the novel is a great read. It incorporates some of the themes found in later dystopian fiction and films. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    In Ray Bradbury's creepy classic, Montag is your typical modern fireman , burning books for a living with his dedicated gang. None of that old -fashioned putting out fires, he and a hose full of kerosene and just a little old match, does the trick. Sets books a blazing, it's more fun too! Besides no one reads anymore and the warm inferno, towering high into the sky, makes a pretty picture, lighting the cold, dark night . Father was a fireman, so was his grandfather, the family business, you can In Ray Bradbury's creepy classic, Montag is your typical modern fireman , burning books for a living with his dedicated gang. None of that old -fashioned putting out fires, he and a hose full of kerosene and just a little old match, does the trick. Sets books a blazing, it's more fun too! Besides no one reads anymore and the warm inferno, towering high into the sky, makes a pretty picture, lighting the cold, dark night . Father was a fireman, so was his grandfather, the family business, you can call it, Montag didn't really have a choice, tradition must continue. Coming back from a good evening's work, the fire setter, pardon...the savior of the world (keeping bad ideas from spreading to the gullible public, they need protection). He discovers his unhappy wife took too many sleeping pills again . An accident she later claims , maybe even believes. After getting her stomach pumped, Mildred is as good as new, poor Guy, on the long road of life's journey, every step seems in the wrong direction. Mildred is addicted to wall to wall television, (so are her friends) the fantasy world negates somewhat the pain and emptiness . Happy shows of course, no others will penetrate the dreams of the ladies, reality is not fun . Yet doubts come when a nearly 17 -year- old curious girl, a nextdoor neighbor, starts asking Guy Montag, many uncomfortable questions, Clarisse McClellan admits she's crazy. In the firehouse, Montag spends most of his time playing cards with the fellows, strangely in the future, no women are employed in that noble profession. But plenty of cigarette smoking, they are real firemen . Captain Beatty starts getting suspicious of Montag, the mechanical pet dog, also, it likes killing rats, the four legged kind I mean, and hates our great hero. War is in the air , jet bombers are flying around the skies in circles, atomic bombs threaten to rain down and annihilate the so- called civilization . Not to worry; get back to the TV walls, people and forget. Clarisse mysterious disappears, one ordinary day, she's here, then .... gone...Finally the forbidden fruit's temptation, becomes quite unbearable , and Montag arriving in a house full of illegal , but strangely attractive books, takes a sample. Big horrendous mistake, worse, the owner, an old woman, refuses to leave her place and goes literally up in flames with her beloved "friends". Everyone says it was a shame , but her own fault; no tears should be shed. Afterwards an incident occurs and Guy has to flee for his own life, the relentless mechanical dog is on the hunt. The petrified Montag jumps into the cold river and peacefully, gently floats down the beautiful stream. Getting out soon after , he sees a fire above, with a group of "Hobos" near the water . Is that a flash in the sky ? This warning of a maybe world, in the years to come , is still relevant today , though so much time has passed. SCIENCE FICTION makes for an interesting atmosphere, anything is possible and Bradbury's poetic words dazzle the mind.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    It was a pleasure to burn. Damn you, Ray Bradbury! Damn you!!! You wrote something that manged to scare me. Old cynical me who got desensitized by watching news with almost daily school shootings, bombs blowing in the Middle East non-stop, and ISIS doing its best to make sure everybody hates them with a passion. What is so scary about Fahrenheit 451? Lots of thing described in this dystopia hits too close to home. Everybody heard this expression people say trying to appear cool "1984 was a warnin It was a pleasure to burn. Damn you, Ray Bradbury! Damn you!!! You wrote something that manged to scare me. Old cynical me who got desensitized by watching news with almost daily school shootings, bombs blowing in the Middle East non-stop, and ISIS doing its best to make sure everybody hates them with a passion. What is so scary about Fahrenheit 451? Lots of thing described in this dystopia hits too close to home. Everybody heard this expression people say trying to appear cool "1984 was a warning, not a manual". Fear not, we are not there yet. Other people are afraid we are approaching dystopian world of The Handmaid's Tale. We are not there yet either. Fahrenheit 451? We happily live in there. A plot description follows. In the future ignorance is good and any sign of knowledge or even thinking is bad. All the books are burned by firemen (their job description sure changed). One such fireman Guy Montag met a girl who made him to do unthinkable: she made him use his head. As a result his seemingly boring and pointless but stable life was utterly destroyed. Thanks to numerous parallels of the book with modern life I have to ask myself in Bradbury was a real prophet. I mean the guy who could see the future. The monologue of Captain Beatty about the history of firefighters was a real eye-opener. Before quoting a book I would like to mention that in the time it was written the word "minorities" was used not only for race or sexual preferences - like these days - but for any group of people. "Now let's take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don't step on the toes of the dog-lovers, the cat-lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to be kept clean." Yet another group of people being offended by something insignificant? Look around and you will see it happening daily. Remember we cheered at the demise of newspapers proclaiming internet to be much faster way of getting news? Captain Beatty covered this in his speech too. Newspapers are now virtually dead with an unintended causality: quality journalism. Nobody even pretends to produce unbiased news today. Reading about Guy Montag's pitiful attempts at having a meaningful conversation with his wife constantly reminded me of trying to talk to a smartphone addict (in other word, a normal person of the present). Let me illustrate the point: In conclusion in case you have not realized this, say hi to the happy world of Fahrenheit 451: it caught up with us. And we cheerfully accepted it, just like our counterparts from the book. I rated the book with 5 stars, but this time it does not reflect my enjoyment of reading, but its impact.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    Such an enlightening read. Ray Bradbury, a true bookworm. There’s so much depth to this story, of his analysis of society, that I’m finding it difficult to put my thoughts into words. This is the type of book that one can read and every paragraph would bring about beautiful discussions. It’s passionate. It’s written with so much love and wisdom, and emotion. It speaks about a crime that has happened and he was fearing for the American society at the time and its reduction in interest in literatu Such an enlightening read. Ray Bradbury, a true bookworm. There’s so much depth to this story, of his analysis of society, that I’m finding it difficult to put my thoughts into words. This is the type of book that one can read and every paragraph would bring about beautiful discussions. It’s passionate. It’s written with so much love and wisdom, and emotion. It speaks about a crime that has happened and he was fearing for the American society at the time and its reduction in interest in literature. In my privileged state of mind, I’m unable to fathom having no access to books, because of the ease I have now. But censorship was a law and the way it’s tackled in this book is quite incredible. Really enjoyed this book a lot!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    That’s right, I finally showed up at the party! I somehow have gone through life as a book geek and a science-fiction nerd without reading this book. It was always on my to-do-list but over the years, I just didn't get around to reading it. Thank you Justin for kicking my ass in gear to read this masterpiece! So you ask, what happened when I finally read Fahrenheit 451? I read it in one day!!!! I absorbed the pages while ignoring the world around me. I laughed and gasped at amazing quotes in the b That’s right, I finally showed up at the party! I somehow have gone through life as a book geek and a science-fiction nerd without reading this book. It was always on my to-do-list but over the years, I just didn't get around to reading it. Thank you Justin for kicking my ass in gear to read this masterpiece! So you ask, what happened when I finally read Fahrenheit 451? I read it in one day!!!! I absorbed the pages while ignoring the world around me. I laughed and gasped at amazing quotes in the book. I shook my head with the similarities of a book wrote in 1953 and the current world and events today. Burning books is such an effective tool to leave society less intelligent and reinforce their ignorance. We're overstimulated with TV, media, walking around mindlessly with headphones in our ears, not questioning politics or world events, etc. I could go on, you get it. Ray Bradbury wrote about this in 1953 and it's so accurate today. I think he might have been psychic. ha! “Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.” And another quote Bradbury described perfectly in this book. “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." Bradbury wrote a classic that will stay with me forever and I wish I could give this more stars. I am so glad to read this book at my age because it resonates more at age 39 instead of age 17 and being forced to read this in English Lit. Bravo Bradbury, bravo!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    Extraordinary novel which still resonates!! I remembered enjoying Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 several years ago. This time, it felt even more powerful. There are some great dystopian novels out there--1984, Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, Oryx & Crake. Many others come to mind. What's different about Fahrenheit 451 is the sense that it is okay to hope for better days. Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, for instance, ends well after Offred's story has ended and Gilead is an academic subje Extraordinary novel which still resonates!! I remembered enjoying Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 several years ago. This time, it felt even more powerful. There are some great dystopian novels out there--1984, Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, Oryx & Crake. Many others come to mind. What's different about Fahrenheit 451 is the sense that it is okay to hope for better days. Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, for instance, ends well after Offred's story has ended and Gilead is an academic subject rather than an oppressive government. Despite the acts of resistance in the narrative, optimism is in short supply. While there is concern that knowledge is under attack (both in Fahrenheit 451 and in current debates), Bradbury lets us hope that knowledge will win out, that the future will win out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aqsa (On Hiatus)

    Okay, so I wasn't sure about this one at all but it pulled me in from the first line to be honest and I'm glad to have read it and understood what messages it gave. It's not about just burning books and living a life where you are so damn busy to even think. It's so much more really. It was an eye opener and it was something I knew-something we all know-but we don't really say it or even believe it. We all live in this amazing world where we have so much to be grateful for, but we never are. We ar Okay, so I wasn't sure about this one at all but it pulled me in from the first line to be honest and I'm glad to have read it and understood what messages it gave. It's not about just burning books and living a life where you are so damn busy to even think. It's so much more really. It was an eye opener and it was something I knew-something we all know-but we don't really say it or even believe it. We all live in this amazing world where we have so much to be grateful for, but we never are. We are so advanced in everything and yet we don't have time to appreciate a simple thing, a little beauty, some part of nature, or even ourselves. We are so damn absorbed in our activities that we don't even know why we're doing them. We don't have time for anyone and yet we have time for all the stupid stuff. We complain about everything and are thankful for nothing. We think only we know everything there is to know and yet we have no real knowledge of much. We think we're spending our time in the best possible way when we do know deep inside that we aren't. We do get time but we'd rather spend it doing something we are habitual to do than thinking whether we should be doing it at all. We have all the emotions and feels for the fictional world out there but we are stones when it comes to those who are close to us. Why is that? Why do we easily listen and respond to those who are virtually present than those who are right next to us? It's sad really, even pathetic. Are You Happy? Don't lie though-not even to yourself! There is so much that could be said about this one, but I won't. I recommend you read it-and figure something out by yourself. I wanna add something my friend Patty said about this: "I think it’s hard for a book like this to have the impact it would have had in 1953. The world had just gone through WWII when Nazis did burn lots of books. Since then, readers have had access to increasingly sophisticated science fiction, including my favourite old Twilight Zone. All the sci-fi movies, TV, and novels have made it harder to surprise or shock us. His future of enormous TVs was predicted before much of the world had any TVs at all. Australia didn’t start TV broadcasting until 1956, I think!"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    In a not too distant future, owning books is against the law. Firemen burn property instead of protect it and everyone is dialed in to their televisions, subsisting on a steady stream of sensational media stories and vapid entertainment to numb their quickly congealing brains. The nation is always at war, but you would never guess it from the populace's empty conversations and emptier dreams. Guy Montag longs for something different, but what exactly, he can't even say, until he meets a girl who In a not too distant future, owning books is against the law. Firemen burn property instead of protect it and everyone is dialed in to their televisions, subsisting on a steady stream of sensational media stories and vapid entertainment to numb their quickly congealing brains. The nation is always at war, but you would never guess it from the populace's empty conversations and emptier dreams. Guy Montag longs for something different, but what exactly, he can't even say, until he meets a girl who wanders outside for fun and sees faces in the moon. He becomes convinced that what society has labeled as wrong and anti-social is more real than anything he's experienced in a long time. However, these are dangerous thoughts. And, being a fireman, Guy knows, more than anyone, the price that is demanded of people who dare to think, read, and entertain original thoughts. Fahrenheit 451 was shocking to me. Ray Bradbury predicted internet/social media addiction long before such things existed. He also called society's horrifically shortened attention spans. Where once, we would have read through a novel or a long article, now we spend less than thirty seconds absorbing information before scrolling onwards to the next thing, then the next, and the next. (Goodreads friends excepted from the majority, of course.) I listened to the audiobook version where Tim Robbins performed the narration. It was brilliant. He is a natural fit for this material and I highly recommend it. The only annoying thing about listening to the audiobook is Bradbury's use of repetition to build the tension and pound his ideas home. You'll particularly notice it when the war planes fly overhead or when Guy gets into a big fight with his wife and she won't turn off the television. It's headache inducing but Bradbury certainly knows how to make a point. This is one of those classics that I never got the chance to read in school, but I wish I had. I would have enjoyed this much more than Hard Times, which I managed to yawn my way through. Recommended for those who are disturbed by the shallowness of modern life and long for real connections with the people and world around them. The lessons that Bradbury teaches are still very applicable today and, as I said, shocking in their implications.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MischaS_

    “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 nothing.” Ray Bradbury did it. He presented a world where the population is completely controlled. And it was such a simple decision. Burn! The most frightening thing is that I could see glimpses of our society in Fahrenheit 451. And I thought about it. Are we slowly inching towards Bradbury's world? I was left breathless by this little novel. “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 nothing.” Ray Bradbury did it. He presented a world where the population is completely controlled. And it was such a simple decision. Burn! The most frightening thing is that I could see glimpses of our society in Fahrenheit 451. And I thought about it. Are we slowly inching towards Bradbury's world? I was left breathless by this little novel. Reaching always for another page. Feeling strange pain in my heart for those characters completely swallowed by the simple entertainment. This novel is full of quotes I want to share and never to forget and for everyone to hear them. “But you can't make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can't last.” “We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” “Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play. And it's up to you to know with which ear you'll listen.” “And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands? He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.”

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    I heard that this was a great book, and I really wanted to like it. The title and the quips on the back cover caught my interest. Guy Montag is a fireman, but the job is flipped. Instead of putting out fires, he is creating them, and he likes it a lot. The first sentence, "It was a pleasure to burn", and the following description after, had me convinced that I would enjoy the book. Not only that, New York Times professes that the book is "frightening in its implications". With all that buildup a I heard that this was a great book, and I really wanted to like it. The title and the quips on the back cover caught my interest. Guy Montag is a fireman, but the job is flipped. Instead of putting out fires, he is creating them, and he likes it a lot. The first sentence, "It was a pleasure to burn", and the following description after, had me convinced that I would enjoy the book. Not only that, New York Times professes that the book is "frightening in its implications". With all that buildup and such a dramatic summary on the back, I was hoping that the book would make me think. Perhaps it would be a dark book, morbid, even offensive. It didn't deliver any of that, but that's not the problem; I don't judge a book based on whether or not it follows my preconceptions. It could have been a perfectly good book without any of that. Maybe the writing style just didn't suit me. I was hoping that the book would be vivid, and one would expect that a book with so many descriptions and metaphors would be vivid. Nope, not for me. Everything is blurry. The people feel one dimensional, with the exception of Montag himself. The intended message feels flat. So, book censorship is bad, tv is bad. What am I supposed to think about it? My real problem is that I don't feel anything when I was reading Fahrenheit 451, except maybe frustration. Things like a woman burning with her books should make me feel something like horror or sadness. The book doesn't have any effect on me because the metaphors and flowery descriptions are so distracting. Half the time I feel that they don't contribute anything, and my mind automatically skips over them along with some potentially important material. Then I'll try to read it again, but nothing is retained except for bits of flowery fluff. The writing in the entire book is disjointed and strange, and that should have been fine, because such a style has potential for creating a disturbing, off feeling; that would fit a dystopian book. Instead, I feel uncomfortably distanced. Is there something I am missing about the book? Is there some profound message mired in all the purple prose? Go ahead and try to enlighten me. Who knows, maybe I'll be convinced by someone's argument.

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