Friday Favorites: Fahrenheit 451
Friday, November 19, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
“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.
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.
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.