Fahrenheit 451

ISBN: 0006546064
ISBN 13: 9780006546061
By: Ray Bradbury

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Genres

Classic Classics Dystopia Dystopian Favorites Fiction Literature Sci Fi Science Fiction To Read

About this book

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

Reader's Thoughts

Lou

Visionary writing from the very skilled writer/artist Ray Bradbury. The plot and characters all done well. He writes about an era where firemen create fires to burn books, one fireman decides to see what all the fuss is about and one day keeps one book for himself. This sets himself on a deadly path of self-discovery that turns him into the hunted. His life turns upside down, eventually he meets a group of people who have memorized and preserved books to memory, this society wanted to keep books of the past in hope of a new generation and society to come and benefit from the knowledge. This story is in the same sort of vein as 1984 and i rate very highly and recommend. Bradbury portrays a dystopian future that could one day come about, start making those panic rooms! Bradbury's face is in there, from one of his books.. The movie images.. http://more2read.com/?review=fahrenheit-451-by-ray-bradbury

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 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.

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 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.

Abdullah

من يملك الصبر لقراءة الكتاب كاملاً بترجمة الساقي يستطيع أن يمضي بعيداً في حياته محققاً كل إنجاز مهما بدا مستحيلاً. مخزية الترجمة و لا تليق بدار مبتدئة حيث ستظل الرواية مزيج من الهراء غير المترابط. ربما لو اعتمدت ترجمة قوقل لكانت أفضل حالاً من هذه الترجمة.

Sean

What if books ceased to exist? What if the society you live in, goodreaders, brainwashed you into thinking books were bad? Every single printed word on bookshelves, in homes, in libraries, in schools was forbidden and to own a book meant that you would be imprisoned or (even worse) killed for such an action. What if you knew that such printed words were important? What if you believed maintaining their existence was a necessity regardless of the serious consequences of preserving their survival? Guy Montag, a fireman, whose primary job in a dysotopian reality is to set fire to these books instead of putting the fires out. But he knows there is something fundamentally flawed about this concept. He doesn’t want to burn books. He wants to preserve them so that mankind can continue to acquire knowledge instead of witnessing ideas and works of imagination cast into the flames of censorship. The world around him does not understand this conviction. To do so would be extremely dangerous. Guy Montague is willing to take that risk and go against the very society that made him question his role in the world.

Manny

The strange thing about Fahrenheit 451 is that the bits I found most moving, and that I remember most clearly, are all quotations from other books. The passage where Montag is trying to memorize "Consider the lilies of the field" over the sound of the toothpaste ad is one of my favourites. I also love the scene where he reads out Dover Beach to his wife and her friends, and they become weepy and distraught without understanding why.Given that it's all about how wonderful books are, that seems entirely right. He made the correct artistic choice in gracefully ceding the floor to his more distinguished colleagues at the critical moments, rather than trying to hog the limelight himself, and I greatly respect him for it. Applause, Mr. Bradbury!

Mohamed Al Marzooqi

كان الروائي الأمريكي راي برادبيري في آخر أيامه يقود حملاتٍ لإنقاذ بعض المكتبات العامة المهددة بالإغلاق نظرًا لعجز ميزانيتها. فيقوم بمساعدة هذه المكتبات عن طريق إلقاء محاضرات عن حياته وكتاباته على أن يذهب ريع تذاكر الدخول إلى خزنة المكتبات لدعمها!يقول برادبيري في هذا الصدد "المكتبات ربتني. أنا لا أؤمن بالكليات والجامعات. أنا أؤمن بالمكتبات لأن أغلب الطلاب لا يملكون المال. عندما تخرجت من المدرسة، كانت تلك أيام الأزمة الاقتصادية ولم يكن لدينا مال، فلم أستطع الدراسة في كلية. لذا، كنت أذهب إلى المكتبة لثلاثة أيام في الأسبوع لمدة 10 سنوات. قرأت كل شيء في المكتبة. كل شيء. كنت أستعير 10 كتب في الأسبوع، فيكون لدي حوالي 200 كتاب في السنة في الأدب والشعر والمسرحيات، وقرأت جميع القصص القصيرة الشهيرة، مئات منها. تخرجت من المكتبة في الثامنة والعشرين من عمري. تلك المكتبة هي التي علمتني، لا الكلية"هذا الهوس بالكتب ليس بمستغرب على هذا الكاتب الاستثنائي الذي بنى شهرته على رواية "فهرنهايت ٤٥١" التي بيع منها أكثر من ٥٠ مليون نسخة، حيث يخلق برادبيري في هذه الراوية عالمًا مجنونًا يعيش على إحراق الكتب وإعدام المكتبات!(هل هناك غيري من ذكرته هذه الرواية الموجهة لليافعين بالتنين الصغير الذي كان يحلم بأن يصبح رجل إطفاء!)يمكن القول إن "فهرنهايت ٤٥١" التي نشرت عام ١٩٥٣تقع ضمن "الروايات الاستشرافية"، فقد تتكهّنت بظهور العديد من الأشياء التي لم تكن موجودة آنذاك، كشاشات التلفاز المسطّحة، سماعات الأذن لأجهزة آيبود، وأجهزة الصراف الآلي!غير أن أعظم تكهنات هذه الرواية في رأيي كانت محاربة الكتب، لا عن طريق إحراقها ومنعها، فهذه ممارسات قروسطية لا تليق بهذا الزمن الذي تشهد فيه حركة النشر والتأليف إزدهارًا لم تتمتع به أي حقبة من حقب التاريخ، ولكنه للأسف إزدهار سلبي يكرس التفاهة ويحارب الجدية والأصالة!أذكر أننا عندما أعلنا عن إطلاق صالون الأدب الروسي قبل أشهر، واجهنا سيل من الانتقادات والتعليقات المحبطة من كثيرين (وبعضهم من زملائنا الكتاب للأسف) تسخر من محاولاتنا المتواضعة لإعادة ضبط بوصلة القراءة في الوسط الثقافي الذي ينوء بأثقال من التفاهة تعجز عن حملها أعتى مكتبات العالم!إن هذا الترويج للتفاهة مع السخرية من أي جهود -مهما صغرت- لتصحيح الأوضاع القائمة جريمتان لا تقلان سوءا وبشاعة عن جريمة إحراق الكتب!

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 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.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). 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 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 most 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.

mai ahmd

جاءت هذه الرواية بذلك المضمون الذي سيحبه أي عاشق للقراءة أي عاشق لرائحة الكتب وأغلفتها وأي عاشق لزيارة المكتبات والتجول بين أرففها فكل هؤلاء سيلتفتون بلا أي شك لموضوع يمس الكتاب فمابالك لو كان الحديث عن حرقها !تلك الكتب التي أشبعت العطش للمعرفة و أنارت التفكير وأشعلت الأسئلة ،أثرت العقول و أثارت العواطف .. لا يمكن أن لا يخطر في الذهن إنه قبل اختراع الطباعة كانت الكتب تنسخ نسخا وبالرغم من ذلك المجهود الهائل الذي كان من الممكن أن يؤثر على نظر هؤلاء النساخ ويعدم الرؤية لديهم إلا إنهم لم يتوقفوا يوما واستمروا في النسخ إلا إن تلك الكتب نفسها التي أفنى البعض حياته لأجلها اعتبرها البعض أيضا ذلك الكائن التخريبي الخطير والعدو المحتمل فخلال عصورا مختلفة خضعت العديد من الشعوب للعبودية الفكرية ومورست الديكتاتورية في محاولة لخنق الهواء وقد نالت الكتب حظها من الإهمال ، الإغراق والحرق ! أمام هذا الكنز الهائل الذي تقدمه الكتب التي تمتلك تلك الرائحة الجذابة التي لا يدركها سوى عاشق للقراءة والأغلفة الملونة البراقة ذات الملمس البريء الناعم والذي يخطف قلوب وعيون عشاقها ! كانت السلطة تضطهد بشراسة أي شخص يمتلك كتابا ، أو أولئك الذين كانوا يخبئونها سرا .. فالقراءة وياللعجب جريمة يعاقب عليها القانون .. ولا عجب أن يصاب مونتاغ بأزمة ضمير وهو الإطفائي في زمن يقوم فيه بالنقيض من عمل الأطفائي المعتاد مونتاغ كان يشعل النار ولا يطفئها ، يرتكب واحدة من أخطر الجرائم لتدمير التراث الأدبي والإنساني .. يحول المكتبات المنزلية وأصحابها إلى رماد ويساويها بالأرض .. كلاريس هي أرض أخرى هي المطر هي العشب هي النحل إنها تقول أمورا رائعة وتمتلك عيونا مختلفة بينما أصابهم العمى ، هي الحياة الحقيقية و الجانب المشرق في الليالي الباردة ، وهي السبب الرئيسي في تحرّك ضمير مونتاغ في عبارة صغيرة وخاطفة وبريئة : هل أنت سعيد ! كلاريس تسير في طريق لا يجب أن تمر به الكلاب الآلية ولا النار المستعرة ! والتي تنتظر القوم الضالين من عشاق الكتبميلدريد زوجة مونتاغ المرأة الصقيع حوارها مع مونتاغ يخلو من أي دفء أي حميمية إنه كأي حوار آلي ، ميلدريد تجلس طوال الوقت على الصوفا لعلها تقشرلبا أو تمضغ علكة في يدها زر الريموت كونترول تقلب التيلفزيون من قناة لأخرى تتناول حبوبا منومة إمعانا في النوم ! غير مبالية لا تتحرك تظل في مكانها تكرر نفس العملية ، لو كانت في زمن اخترع فيه التيلفون لأمضت وقتها في التحدث والغيبة والنميمة نموذج للإنسان الإستهلاكي فارغ الرأس والذي يعيش كيفما أتفق ولا يمكن أن يكون قد عرف في حياته لذة أو متعة القراءة .. ميلدريد لم تعرف كيف ممكن أن تبقى رائحة الكتاب في اليد لم تشمها يوما لم تتنقل من مكتبة لأخرى لتبحث عن كتاب و لم تطارد كتابا في حياتها لذلك كم كان سهلا عليها أن تتخذ قرارها وتخضع للنظام وتتخلى عن زوجها !الكُتب منارات تضيء العالم فيما الكابتن بيتي أراد إغراق العالم في العتمة كما كان يفعل هتلر عندما أوعز بحرق الكتب عام 1933 كما فعل المغول عندما أغرقوا الكتب في نهر دجلة كما فعل من فعل عندما أحرقوا مكتبة البابا سروج في لبنان إن حرق الكتب هو حريق في القلوب العاشقة وكل من أحرق الكتب لهو الشيطان بعينه ! بيتي يمثل أي شيء شرير ينوي الإضرار بتلك المنارات العالية قد يمثل نظاما سياسيا يسيطر على الجمهور قد يكون الرداءة في الفكر قد يكون الصرامة في الرقابة وإن كان راي برادبري قد نفى ذلك قد يكون ركود الأفكار أو شيء آخر قبيح أشبه بذلك التنين الهائل الذي يقذف النار ولا يملك أحدا السيطرة عليه ! في النهاية يبدو أن راي كان يتنبأ بأن التكنولوجيا ستسيطر على عقل الإنسان في مرحلة ما وعلى الرغم من شعور القارىء بأن راي يقدم الأمل فهناك حفظة ينتشرون على طول الطريق إلا إنه يتركه محتارا هل تكفي ذاكرة الإنسان ! تلك الذاكرة المعرضة للإهتراء وللمرض والموت .. الرواية على الرغم من إنها رسالة تحذيرية إلا إنها أغنية في حب القراءة وعشق الكتاب وهي موجهة لعمر معين فيها رسالة واضحة ومباشرة للأجيال التي لا تقرأ .. للأجيال التي وضعت الكتاب جانبا واستبدلته بأشياء أخرى أقل أهمية وأقل ثراءا ورسالة لكل من له دورا في رسم الثقافة التي تحدد قيم المجتمع وتؤثر فيه وللأنظمة الساسية أيا ماكانت والتي تحاول أو حاولت غسل العقول أو التلاعب بها .. إنها دعوة أيضا لفضاءات واسعة في القراءة و حرية في الكتابة ..!قرأتها بنسخة للجيب بترجمة د أحمد خالد توفيق*

Shannon (Giraffe Days)

Guy Montag is a fireman. At night - always at night - when the alarm comes in, he and his team rush out on the Salamander, the fire engine, to the condemned house where the police should have already removed the guilty home owner to an asylum so the firemen can go in without obstacle and burn the place down.Montag has always loved his job. He goes to sleep with a grin on his face, and tries not to look at the ventilator in the home he shares with his wife Mildred, where he's hidden something forbidden. When a new family moves in next door and he meets their young daughter Clarisse, he finds himself fascinated by the things she says and does. She talks about the little details in life, from a leaf to a dandelion held under the chin. She talks about her classmates killing each other, and tells him about a time when firemen used to put out fires, not start them.At home his wife is lost in her own world, a world of constant baffling television and sleeping pills. At work he feels like the Captain knows his guilt, his doubt. And when Montag steals another book from a fire and feels his whole world shaken up with new thoughts, he can no longer go back to being the same as everyone else: happy, because they don't think, don't need to think, and aren't confronted with anything remotely troubling. Including what's in books.There's a wallop packed into this short book, and for a book written in the early 50s, its message certainly hasn't diminished.The world of Fahrenheit 451 is one stripped of anything that can alarm people, that can make them feel excluded, misrepresented, confronted, confused. It is a world designed to ensure everyone's happiness, that began with a people's revolt against a thing that symbolised contradictory, contrary views, that enabled some people to feel superior and thus others inferior: books. The written word. Fiction and non-fiction alike, the people turned their backs on books. To help things along, the firemen began to burn them. Now the ideas in books are so long gone the people have no thoughts in their heads at all. They do not sit in silence and contemplate things; instead, a tiny radio sits in their ear and babbles constantly, or they sit in their living rooms where the walls are giant television screens, watching shows into which they themselves can become a part, that aren't about anything at all but which totally engross them. It is a world of fast pleasures - joy rides through the city at ridiculous speeds - and constant war with some unnamed country far away.As Montag's friend Professor Faber says in his explanation of where the world went wrong, "We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam." (p.83) What he means is that there is no substance anymore, that happiness must come from something, not the "nothing" that they have created. We recognise happiness because we have known sadness, stress, tragedy, and so on. Thinking critically, analysing, having our assumptions and opinions confronted - this is healthful, beneficial, not something to be scared of and denounce because it upsets people to have to think.Another thing lacking from this world is the idea of leaving something behind, of leaving an imprint of yourself on other people - that people would remember you for your gifts, your abilities, your personality, and so on. Montag can't even remember where or how he met his wife Mildred, and they certainly aren't happy. What else is lacking is knowledge, and self-awareness: no one has the ability to understand themselves, to say "I am unhappy" and discover why, or do anything about it. They are hollow people, and the historical path Bradbury traces is one of minority rule and shorter and shorter sound bites: books and television etc. reduced to single lines and 10 seconds of air time. This trait - with television at least - is apparent today. Aside from commercials, which can be dizzying, video clips for songs are equally headache-inducing, spending barely a single second on any one shot. While I don't think people will, on mass, ever turn their backs on books, our shorter and shorter attention spans is worrying.As for the prose, it's at times quite obfuscating. Descriptions become metaphors that might or might not be really happening, it's hard to say. The cloudiness of the language is poetic in tone but confusing in substance. I wouldn't say the strength of the book lies in its prose, the style of the writing, but in its ideas - for an "ideas" kind of book, it's surprisingly plot-driven. I find that this is the best way to bring ideas across, rather than through people just talking or confounding, "clever" descriptions. To see the ideas in action, that is more rewarding.There was a slip - I only noticed one but there may have been more - when Montag likens his wife's friends' smiles to the Cheshire Cat. There's no way he could have known what a Cheshire Cat smile was like, no way he'd have even heard of it. There is an emphasis on the fact that when Montag tries to read the books he's stolen, they make no sense to him because he lacks the basics, the foundations of knowledge. He has no culture or understanding with which to interpret what he reads. To him it's just gibberish.This is an older edition that I picked up secondhand; it contains a surprising number of very obvious typos - things like "th" instead of "the", and quotation marks in the wrong places. It has an Afterword by the author, and a "Coda" where Bradbury unashamedly rants a bit more about minorities complaining and why his books are, essentially, sexist. To the first, I was puzzled: I haven't really seen much of that. But then I recalled where I have heard these kinds of things, where librarians have locked away books (like the first Tin Tin comic) because they are too confronting or insulting to one group or another: Bradbury's home country, America. So if anything, he wrote this book in answer to what was happening, and continues to happen, in his own country. It's bound to have more of an impact there, for that reason, though it's relevant elsewhere as well. It's impossible to appease everyone, so when you try to the only thing you can do is simply remove what was upsetting a few, rather than talk openly about it and air the issues. You can't make everyone happy, but that is what the people in Bradbury's world set out to do, by making them all the same.In answer to why he doesn't put more women in his books, he avoids the question and instead lumps women - half the population - in with minorities. I get his point but it's a weak argument.The book reminded me of a more recent movie, Equilibrium, with Christian Bale - a sort of 1984 world where people are burned alive for owning anything from the past, and where children spy on their parents. Those stories always have a whiff of anti-communism fascism - something strikingly absent from a book like this, written as it was during the Cold War. It was quite refreshing really.On a final note, I did once try to watch the movie, from the 70s I think, several years ago but it was incredibly slow and boring, I had no idea what was going on and after a while I gave up. From what I remember of it, I'm not sure I'd like it any more now that I've read the book.

Guillermo Jiménez

Dejé de leer porque leer me alejó de las personas que amo. Me deshice de todos mis libros porque ellos me robaron mucho tiempo al lado de las personas más valiosas. Dejé de leer, porque a medida que veía escenarios, personas, comportamientos, atmósferas, relaciones, etcétera; impresas en las páginas de los libros, comencé a tomarlas como alternativas de vida, como comportamientos que debieran ser socialmente aceptados o asimilados a la vida cotidiana, es decir: perdí la noción de diferenciar entre lo 'real' y lo 'imaginario'. Antes de dejar de leer comenzaba ya a blandir el argumento de que la ficción es tanto más real y verdadera que la historia en sí. Que la ficción puede ser, más que un retrato fiel de la realidad, su profecía, su predicción. Aún lo pienso así.Entiendo la memoria y el recuerdo como una construcción mental. Así que, poco a poco recordé que yo era una persona que leía y agarre un libro. Agarré un libro dentro de una lista de libros de una persona que leyó a mi lado por algunos años y que decidió leer otro libro donde yo no figuro como personaje.Leí las primeras cinco o seis páginas a fuerza. Obligándome a interesarme por la trama para encontrar algo que me animara a seguir con la historia, y entonces, tal vez, volver a leer como sé hacerlo: buscando, indagando, cuestionando al texto página a página, para que me respondiera la pregunta de por qué debo seguir leyéndolo o para que me convenciera que quiero seguir leyendo.Papá ha sido un asiduo lector de sci-fi, y nunca, hasta que me animé a leerla entendí porque puede ser necesaria. Bradbury es una apuesta segura, creo, porque es un autor dentro del canon de este género y que además, es reconocido por el canon oficial como un buen escritor.Sabía, grosso modo, de que iba la novela, pero, nada me había preparado para comprender lo que entendí a través del personaje de Guy Montag. El libro es indispensable como respuesta a la comprensión de la historia del hombre sobre el mundo. Como este muere y renace, una y otra vez. Como no desiste en su andar, porque, andamos.La lectura nos hace comprender... algo que no comprenderíamos de otra manera. A través de ella realizamos procesos mentales o vivimos experiencias únicas, en ocasiones tan intensas o profundas como la vida misma, pero, desconfiamos, dudamos del poder de la palabra, es más: nos asusta. Le tememos tanto a los libros y su poder porque los ignoramos. Estamos ante los libros como nuestros antepasados lo estuvieron frente al fuego. Un libro en las manos puede quemarnos. Una mala lectura nos puede hacer pendejos y otra buenísima nos puede hacer más pendejos: osados, presuntuosos, taimados, ridículos. Es más, todo este asunto de Goodreads como concepto puede ser la perdición de la lectura: leemos para decir a los demás qué leemos y cómo lo leemos y, sobre todo: cuánto leemos.Pareciéramos destinados como el uróboros a estar persiguiéndonos por toda la vida. Cazándonos. Destruyéndonos. Y volviendo a darnos vida después del incendio. ¿Qué hacer mientras tanto? Escribir un poco para que otros leamos y escribamos sobre lo que leemos y otros lo lean y escriban. Y en los ratos de ocio, en los ratos donde la luz incandescente o halógena haya cansado nuestros miopes ojos, en esos momentos, entonces, dejar el libro de lado, tomar la mano de la persona que hay a nuestro lado, ¿quién? Quien sea. Tengan por seguro que esa persona le tenderá la suya a la siguiente y así, sucesivamente, quizás, la lectura tenga un sentido humano. Quizás.

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 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.

Tara

one of my top 5 favorites of all time.Favorite QuotesHave you ever watched the jet cars race on the boulevard?...I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly...If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! He'd say, that’s grass! A pink blur! That’s a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows.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 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.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....Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn cutter might as well just not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.We’ll go on the river...or we’ll go that way. Or we’ll walk the highways now. And we’ll have time to put things into ourselves. And someday, after it sets into us a long time, it’ll come out her hands and our mouths. And a lot of it will be wrong, but just enough of it will be right. We’ll just start walking around today and see the world and the way the world really looks. I want to see everything now. And while none of it will be me when it goes in, after awhile it’ll gather together inside and it’ll be me. Look at the world out there. My God, look at it out there, outside me, out there beyond my face, and the only way to really touch it is to put it where it’s finally me, where it’s in the blood, where it pumps around a thousand times ten thousand a day. I get a hold of it so it will never run off. I’ll hold on to the world tight someday. I’ve got one finger on it now. That’s a beginning.

MJ Nicholls

Bradbury was wrong. In our dystopian future, so many books of no value are published, and all the genuinely worthwhile ones are squeezed into insignificance, left to rot out of print, or are refused publication. See the BURIED Book Club for professional help. People are avaricious, brainless, crassholic, dreary, ectoblastic, fungible, gravideonasties, hopelessismore, imbecilickal, jugheadish, knobbled, leery, moronic, Neanderthal, octopusillanimous, protopathetic, querulouselike, rumplestiltskinless, simpletonian, twitchy, unloveababble, vertiginous, weak-mindead, yoghurt-obsessed, and zoologically backward. Bradbury’s short pulp novel is weakly written, full of functional and creakily literary prose, but delivers the message with minimum condescension. Truffaut trumped, but Bradbury dreamt. Great art gains in every medium.

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 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.

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