Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Chatter - Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

After some chatter about this one on another list, I decided to pick it up and add it to my 2010 list. (This one was a relatively short read, easy finished in a day or two.)

I've realized as I have begun to read some of the picks on my mental "I've always wanted to read that" list, that the actual book title often offers a surprisingly different notion of what one might imagine the book to be about. This is such a book.

Fahrenheit 451 - the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.

Isn't that clever? Bradbury has a unique way of writing and at times I found myself lost in details, however, this is a well-crafted science fiction work and I think the overall point of the book was easily discerned not only in the content, but also in the foreword as Bradbury writes. . .

"It has to do with books being burned without matches or fire. Because you don't have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers? If the world wide-screen-basketballs and - footballs itself to drown in MTV, no Beattys are needed to ignite the kerosene or hunt the reader. If the primary grades suffer meltdown and vanish through the cracks of ventilators of the schoolroom, who, after a while, will know or care?"

And in the text. . .

"The sun burned everyday. It burned Time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people away, without any help from him."

The relevancy of the book to our culture today is uncanny. With so much technology and drive for material things, people are SO busy that they don't have time for what's really important. Not only the loss of attention to books, and the possibility that "a book in hand" might someday be a thing of the past, but the sheer busyness of life that keeps us from getting to know one another, from taking time to share and pass on stories to our children, and from really engaging in life - life that creates family bonds and friendships that exists beyond the realm of passive entertainment and material attainment.

If nothing else may it encourage us to redeem the time that burns away beneath us as we rush through day after day.

I could go on. . .but you'd probably drawn your own connections better by reading the book!


Shonya said...

Oh yes!! I *love* this book--it is so thought-provoking! Your review makes me want to read it AGAIN! :)

I came over from the Starting Points group--I'm getting ready to use it this year with my 14yod and 13yos (getting ready, I say, though it's still shrink wrapped!). I look forward to getting to know you! :)

*~ Tina ~* said...

Hey Shonya~
Thanks for the kind words. I usually don't put too many details in my "book chatter" as not to ruin the story for anyone else, so I'm glad it was at least enough to make you want to pick it up again!

I'm excited we'll be sharing in Starting Points together. I've started on my own to get a bit ahead of my dd, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the learning!

Shonya said...

Good thought on not putting too many details--I tend to get carried away with my 'book review' section! chuckle

I am tempted not to begin Starting Points until halfway through the year and then take 1 1/2 years to get through it. . .I just have so many things I want to do this year and am feeling overwhelmed!! Maybe if you all go on ahead of me, you can share some great tips!

Sebastian said...

This is book I return to every so often. I think it is both more depressing and more hopeful every time I read it.

I read an essay last year that discussed the overt control of 1984 vs the more subtle distraction and seduction of Brave New World and suggested that we were more in danger of the latter than the former. I think that Fahrenheit 451 goes a step further and shows how easy it is to just walk away from truth and turn to easy entertainment instead.

Or, what is the difference between a man who cannot read and a man who does not read.

Nice blog.

*~ Tina ~* said...

Thanks Sebastian. I recently visited a link that someone shared which took a look at 1984 vs. Brave New World and thought it very interesting.

And the foreword from Amusing Ourselves to Death. . .

I'd have to agree that it's the distractions that will do us in :)

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