Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: "Fahrenheit 451"

Ray Bradbury

Recently, I discovered Amazon's list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. Unlike many top literary lists, Amazon's list contains many accessible and recent books, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Hunger Games. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I've read only 43 of them; though if I include seeing the movies, I've experienced 60 of the books. When I saw Fahrenheit 451 was in the top 20, I immediately purchased it and thoroughly enjoyed it-I can see why it's near the top of the list.

In the future when houses are flame-proofed, firemen (I can't call them fire fighters since they actually set them) spend their days burning banned books rather than extinguishing fires. Fireman Guy Montag is cruising through life until he meets seventeen year old Clarisse McClellan, who changes his view of his profession. How will Montag survive in a society when he comes to abhor his livelihood?

Though written 61 years ago, some of Bradbury's prognostications are eerily true-the depression associated with a fractured society; people searching for activities that entertain, rather than challenge and expand one's mind; and society's materialism. Fahrenheit 451 is thought-provoking, and I'm glad I took the time to read it.  Forty more books to go!

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