The temperature at which books burn

Don’t say it, I know what you’re thinking.

“Seriously…she’s doing another dystopian novel?”

Yup. But I’ll tell you why. I didn’t plan to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 right now because I’m in the middle of two books – Did Jesus Exist? by Bart D. Ehrman and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. However, Fahrenheit 451 was never required reading when I was in middle school/high school, and I somehow never got around to reading it on my own. I spend a lot (a lot) of time on /r/books and people keep mentioning it or referencing it, so it was in the back of my mind to read at some point.

I had the opportunity because of my job. I work for an SAT prep company in Shanghai and there are tons of classic books at my office for the teachers to use in their classes. I forgot my Nook yesterday and so on my way to lunch I picked up Fahrenheit 451 and finished it before the end of the day.

Fantastic. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I’m really pleased with it. Out of most, if not all of the dystopian novels I’ve read, this one is the most well-written in terms of writing style and also the most believable. It makes perfect sense why the society portrayed in the novel quit reading books or taking anything seriously. We saw it happening in our own America just last week when the media cared far more about Miley Cyrus being a hoebag than about the potential for war with Syria. My favorite quote from the book says it perfectly:

“Let you alone! That’s all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”

If for some reason you haven’t read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s a quick read, easy to understand while still being well-written, and it causes you to pause and take a good look at your own society.


4 thoughts on “The temperature at which books burn

  1. I first read this a few years ago, but your review has reminded me that it’s time for a re-read and a write-up about it. One of the strengths of a good novel, whatever its genre, is that it still has relevance for one’s own time.

    • It’s such a quick read, too, that there’s no reason not to re-read it! I’m really surprised that I’d never read it before. I’m not sure I even heard about it until I was in college.

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