Wednesday, 12 December 2012

#bookreview: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine a world where books were illegal, and if you were reported to own books, you would be arrested and your house would be burnt down. For one who lives in a world of words, it's a scary thought. It's frightening that all our words could just so easily disappear into the void like that.

Fahrenheit 451 was a gripping read; I'd only intended to read a few chapters before bed, but ended up finishing the whole book. I got sucked into the internal tension of Guy Montag's world, as all his careful construct as a fireman, who burnt books, started being pulled down around him.

I'm just sorry I took so long to get round to reading this.

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Just a few more thoughts on this. In the passage where Montag meets the men at the railway tracks, and he is lamenting his loss of the words of Ecclesiastes and Revelations that he thought he could remember, Granger tells him that they have found ways to remember, and introduces his friends thus:
"I want you to meet Jonathan Swift, the author of that evil political book, Guilliver's Travels! And this other fellow is Charles Darwin, and this one is Schopenhauer, and this one is Einstein, and this one here at my elbow is Mr. Albert Schweitzer, a very kind philosopher indeed. Here we all are, Montag. Aristophanes and Mahatma Ghandi and Gautama Buddha and Confucius and Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Lincoln, if you please. We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."
It just struck me, reading that, that there are places in the world now, where people are that. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in places where the Bible is scarce, or outlawed. And here we are in places where everything is so accessible, and we don't treasure it that much.

Must it come down to a day when we don't have it anymore before we start to lament our apathy?


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