Friday Favorites: Fahrenheit 451

Friday, November 19, 2010


“It was a pleasure to burn.”

That is undoubtedly one of the best opening lines in history. It’s simple, beautiful and so complex once you realize what they are burning. For me, Fahrenheit 451 was one of those rare books that shook me to my core. I had read Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, but this dystopia was so much more terrifying to me. It shows a world in which books were illegal paraphernalia and owning them was cause for death.

Our hero, Guy Montag, is a firefighter, but in this future reality firefighters are the ones who start the blaze, not put it out. They are employed to find and burn books and Montag never questions his profession. Then one night he meets a girl who changes everything for him. She’s not empty and cold like his wife. She sparks some bit of life in Montag and he begins to question the world around him.

The most disturbing aspect of the plot is that the people chose to stop reading books, no one forced them. They became obsessed with television and books take too much time and effort. It’s a bit too close to our current reality for comfort.

***SPOILERS***

My favorite part of Fahrenheit 451 is the brilliance of how Bradbury decided to preserve books that must be burned. The characters themselves become the books. Individuals all over the world memorized and entire novel or book in the Bible and through them the book was kept alive.

**SPOILER OVER***

If you’ve never read this classic I would encourage every book lover to pick it up. It’s less than 200 pages, but it packs such a powerful punch that it remains one of my favorite books of all-time.

I recently read the graphic novelization of this book and it was wonderful. The illustrations are done in vivid shades of orange and red throughout much of the book, bringing the fire to life on each page. The graphic novel pays close attention to the details and portrayed the story beautifully. I would recommend reading the actual novel first, so you can create the world in your own imagination first, but the graphic novel is a wonderful treat for those who are familiar with the book.

12 comments:

Kristi said...

I too really enjoyed reading Fahrenheit 451 when I read it several years ago. I didn't realize that there is a graphic novel version. I'll have to see if I can find myself a copy.

Vaishnavi said...

This book sounds amazing! I am going to hunt it up at the local bookstore. Thanks a lot!

Teacher/Learner said...

Sounds fantastic! I've put this near the top of the TBR list--I should grab it soon! Old follower hopping by to say happy Thanksgiving :)

Jeanne said...

A while back there was a book blogger who was asking which book you'd be in a Fahrenheit 451 world; I thought that was a fun question. What if you had to pick just one?!

Avid Reader said...

Jeanne - Bradbury actually wrote an introduction for the graphic novel and he asked the same question. I thought about it for the longest time and finally decided I would choose The Book Thief. I love so many books (Jane Eyre, Hitchhiker's Guide, Persuasion, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.) but I decided I would want to be a less popular/well-known book, because I think the other classics would definitely get picked by someone. This way more books would be perserved. Obviously I tend to over think hypothetical questions.

Sarah said...

This is quite timely, as this book sits at the top of my pile right now.

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

I read it for the first time last year. It was scary!

Amanda said...

It took me years to pick this one up because the movie version was so disturbing, but I'm glad I finally read it last year! It's still not my favorite dystopia - something about his voice just doesn't work well with me or something - but still well worth the read!

Avid Reader said...

Captain - Seriously, few things scarier than a world with no books.

Amanda - I've actually never seen the movie version. I was worried that it would be too different from the book.

Nymeth said...

I loved this book, and I need to try the GN adaptation sometime! And I also love the thing you mentioned in your spoilers section (I would try to safe either Middlesex or Tender Morsels.)

Avid Reader said...

Nymeth - I loved Middlesex, great choice! Now I'm going to have to read Tender Morsels too.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I really, really, REALLY must read this one. Where have I been?