I've been wanting to read this book for a long time but somehow just never got around to it. It was ... interesting.
There seem to be two camps to thisI've been wanting to read this book for a long time but somehow just never got around to it. It was ... interesting.
There seem to be two camps to this book. One who love it and think that it is a warning and that the world is already heading in that direction with TV and e-readers. The other is sort of insulted because it seems to imply that TV is horrible awful and that we can't get the same things from TV that we can from books.
To the first camp, I say yes, it is a warning, but I don't think it is as bad as all that quite yet. E-readers may not be REAL books, but they still allow us to read books and get the knowledge. Same with audio books. I think it will be a looooong time before all the knowledge in books is gone completely. To the second camp, I don't believe that's what the book is saying at all. THIS TV, in THIS BOOK, yes. The programs ARE mindless drivel. If you listen to the description of what "the family" is actually saying and doing, there is no content. And many of the programs described are just random things happening one after the other to distract you from the fact that what just happened never finished happening. (Most) TV hasn't fallen to that sorry state, yet. The TV I see still has plots, parts that make you think, things that make us talk about what happened in an episode for days to come. And they even make references to things that happen in famous books fairly often! I don't think he was insulting TV necessarily, just the "ooh shiny" mentality and the need for CONSTANT STIMULATION (parlor walls, seashell radios, they are never away from it). I know there are a few people like that today, but at least from people I see every day, they are few and far between.
My biggest problem with this book was that I wasn't convinced. There just wasn't enough in Clarise's conversations to make this sudden change in Montag. She threw a few things out there, but didn't really talk about books at all except to ask the one question about whether he ever read one. Sure, she was different, but I didn't find that whole bit convincing. Of course, we are supposed to realize that Montag has never been totally gung-ho about the whole deal -- his past conversation with the professor, the fact that he has a LOT of books stored up (obviously not just from the past week). And Clarisse just ... threw him over the edge. But I couldn't put together his love for his job and his book stealing. At the beginning, he REALLY seemed to love his job. It's just ... strange. Not convinced about him. And I felt like the author skipped over a lot of things, somehow.
It's an interesting concept, I'll give it that. But I just wasn't impressed, I guess....more
This is a book I've been wanting to read since I was small, mostly for the reason that every cover I've ever seen for it has a mouse on it, and I likeThis is a book I've been wanting to read since I was small, mostly for the reason that every cover I've ever seen for it has a mouse on it, and I like mice. Most people read it in high school, apparently, but I somehow missed out on that opportunity. I'm not sure I would have liked it in high school, so perhaps that is for the better.
There were a lot of things about this book that I really enjoyed. I think the author did a really good job of showing how Charlie changed how he thinks about himself and the people around him as he became more intelligent. It really shows some of the repercussions of using humans as test subjects, of how we act toward people of a lower ability level, etc. I thought the author did a good job of having Charlie grow emotionally at a different rate than he grew intellectually. I loved his epiphany that the doctors and professors that he had so much respect for and thought were brilliant, turned out just to be, well, men. Who'd'a thunk it?
But I felt the story itself was lacking. I felt like a lot of the timing was too coincidental. Of course, Charlie would figure out the meaning and reason for side effects at the last possible minute before they took effect. Any longer, and he wouldn't have been ABLE to figure it out. Any sooner and he might have figured out a way around them.
Not only that, but I didn't like the way the author used Charlie's writing skills as a substitute for showing his intelligence level. Not that I really have a better way, but I think he was too blatant. For instance, at the end of the book, one day he used apostrophes fine in a progress report, and the next progress report nothing changed except all the apostrophes were missing from contractions and possessives. Too programmatic. I feel like people don't learn "today I learned about commas and now I will use them perfectly from now on," even if they ARE gaining intelligence at an abnormal rate. Hell, I have at LEAST normal intelligence, and I still am not entirely sure about comma rules and am told I completely overuse them. In a real person, I would have expected everything to get better (or worse) sort of all together, not a specific skill coming (or going) all at once.
Anyway, very interesting, thought provoking book. I recommend it, especially if you are in a research field....more