Monday, April 28, 2008

Fahrenheit 451

This book is mentioned and referenced so often that it's been on my general TBR-soon list for a very long time. When I saw it in the library last week, I thought it would be a nice short one to add to my reading. I recently discovered a library with a really good selection of English-language books and I go there regularly, which really messes up my lists for challenges but is too much fun to give up!

Anyway, clearly there is a good reason for why Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is referenced so often. It is known as one of the best early science fiction works and I can now see why it is so high in the ranks. The story is good, the characters are believable and, best of all, it really makes you think. What is it about? It's about a future of censorship, a future where people can't think for themselves anymore, where they're fed information through media everywhere they turn, where books are illegal. It's about a future where the world isn't this way because some evil guy got to power, but because people stopped caring at some point, stopped thinking too.

It struck me that this book was written in the late 1940s and yet we're still on the same course, nothing has improved. The opposite, in fact. That's a really scary thought.

The edition I read included an afterword by Ray Bradbury and he talked about how the book came to be. One interesting tidbit that I can't resist telling you about is that at a time when no one wanted to take a chance and publish something about censorship, after a while a progressive-thinking man wanting to set up his own magazine bought the story - he was Hugh Heffner. I love how various events link up like this. Maybe I just love useless information.

Fahrenheit 451 is definitely an A book - I think everyone should read it. And let's see which challenges I can fit it into - the Numbers Challenge, the A-Z Reading Challenge, the 888 Challenge, the Decades '08 Challenge and the Novella Challenge. Not bad for a book that wasn't planned!

*Edited to add that of course this book is also a banned book, so I'm using it for the Banned Book Challenge too, to replace Wild Swans as I don't think I'll get to it in the next couple of months!

Also reviewed by:
Melody at Melody's Reading Corner
Chris at Book-a-rama


Lezlie said...

I am a fan of this book as well! Glad you were able to fit it into so many challenges! :-)


joanna said...

I really need to read more books that you liked, I think we have similar taste!

Iliana said...

Ok, I just realized you are in Belgium! I visited Bruges & Brussels a couple of years ago. Oh my, heavenly chocolate :)
Anyway, yep, this is a book I've been meaning to read for forever! One of these days I will get to it.

joanna said...

Hi Iliana,

Ah yes, the chocolate is pretty good alright - I hardly ever buy it though, only for gifts, I guess it became normal, I've been here for so long!

It won't take you long to read it, it's a quick one. It me longer than it could have because it was disturbing me and I had to pick up something lighter once in a while!