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Fahrenheit 451

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Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

179 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published October 19, 1953

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About the author

Ray Bradbury

1,827 books21.5k followers
Ray Douglas Bradbury, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and poet, was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. He graduated from a Los Angeles high school in 1938. Although his formal education ended there, he became a "student of life," selling newspapers on L.A. street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter. He became a full-time writer in 1943, and contributed numerous short stories to periodicals before publishing a collection of them, Dark Carnival, in 1947.

His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury's masterpiece, a scathing indictment of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state. Other works include The October Country, Dandelion Wine, A Medicine for Melancholy, Something Wicked This Way Comes, I Sing the Body Electric!, Quicker Than the Eye, and Driving Blind. In all, Bradbury has published more than thirty books, close to 600 short stories, and numerous poems, essays, and plays. His short stories have appeared in more than 1,000 school curriculum "recommended reading" anthologies.

Ray Bradbury's work has been included in four Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City.

Ray Bradbury has never confined his vision to the purely literary. He has been nominated for an Academy Award (for his animated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright), and has won an Emmy Award (for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree). He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's Ray Bradbury Theater. He was the creative consultant on the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. In 1982 he created the interior metaphors for the Spaceship Earth display at Epcot Center, Disney World, and later contributed to the conception of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney, France.

Married since 1947, Mr. Bradbury and his wife Maggie lived in Los Angeles with their numerous cats. Together, they raised four daughters and had eight grandchildren. Sadly, Maggie passed away in November of 2003.

On the occasion of his 80th birthday in August 2000, Bradbury said, "The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was twelve. In any event, here I am, eighty years old, feeling no different, full of a great sense of joy, and glad for the long life that has been allowed me. I have good plans for the next ten or twenty years, and I hope you'll come along."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 65,373 reviews
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,580 followers
April 17, 2015
Farenheit 451 has been analyzed and reinterpreted by every successive generation to change its meaning. This is chiefly because the book is full of assumptions and vague symbolism which can be taken many ways, and rarely does anyone come away from the book with the conclusion the author intended, which would suggest that it is a failed attempt.

There are grounds to contend that even the title is inaccurate, since contemporary sources suggest paper combusts at 450 degrees Celsius, which in Farenheit would be more than 800 degrees. The truth is, paper combustion is gradual and dependent on many factors; even if some paper might combust at 451F, his title is at best an oversimplification, but Bradbury was more interested in a punchy message than in constructing a thoughtful and well-supported argument.

It's not a book about book censorship, but a book about how TV will rot your brain. Bradbury himself has stated this again and again, as evidenced in this article which quotes Bradbury and in videos from Bradbury's own website--indeed, in an interview, he stated he was inspired to write it because he was horrified that a woman might listen to a radio while walking her dog. Not only does he patronizingly assume that she's listening to a soap opera, instead of news, or appreciating classical music, but it's a strangely anti-technology pose for a sci fi writer to take--does it really matter whether we get our art and knowledge from compressed tree pulp, or from radio transmissions?

This book falls somewhat short of its satirical mark based on this cranky lawn-loving neighbor's message. Then again, it was written in the course of a few days in one long, uninterrupted slurry (mercifully edited by his publishers, but now available utterly restored). It contains archetypes, misconceptions, and an author surrogate, but can still be seen as a slighting view of authority and power, and of the way people are always willing to deceive themselves.

Unfortunately, Bradbury did not seem to recognize that reading has always been the province of a minority and that television would do little to kill it. More books are written, published, and read today than at any other point in history. Most of them are just redundant filler, but so is 90% of any mass creative output, books, art, movies, or TV, as Sturgeon said. And there's nothing new about that, either: cheap, trashy novels have been a joke since the Victorian.

Television is a different medium than books, and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Bradbury's critique of TV--that it will get larger, more pervasive, and become an escape for small minds--is just as true of books. As for television damaging social interaction, who is less culturally aware: the slack-jawed boy watching television or the slack-jawed boy reading one uninspired relic of genre fiction after another? I read a lot of books as a kid and watched a lot of TV, and each medium provided something different. Neither one displaced the other, since reading and watching aren't the same experience.

There is an egalitarian obsession that people are all capable of being informed and intelligent. We now send everyone to college, despite the fact that for many people, college is not a viable or useful route. The same elitism that values degrees values being 'well-read', and since this is the elitism of the current power structure, it is idealized by the less fortunate subcultures. Bradbury became informed not because he read, but by what he read. He could have read a schlocky pop novel every day for life and still been as dull as the vidscreen zombies he condemns.

He has mistaken the medium for the message, and his is a doubly mixed message, coming from a man who had his own TV show.
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 1 book968 followers
January 27, 2022
I am in 6th grade. My Language Arts teacher assigns us a book report; tells us we can choose the book but that our grade will be based on the maturity of the novel the report is based upon.

My mother and I are in K-mart. I've mentioned to her about this book report to be done, and so before we leave with a basket filled with clothes I know I will be embarrassed to wear, we stop by the rack of books. She selects a few pulp paperback titles, throws them into the cart.

A few days later she hands me Fahrenheit 451. "I've read those books I purchased," she says. "I think this is the best of the bunch. You should like it."

I am skeptical. When does a 12 year-old boy like anything that his mother does? I admit to myself that the cover looks really awesome - a black suited, menacing man shooting flames over something that looks like books. I give it a go.

Tearing through the pages, the chapters, the three sections, I finish it over a weekend and am in awe. A fireman that starts fires? Books are outlawed? I look at the small library that I've had since childhood; a shelf of about 30 books. They now look to my 12 year old eyes as books of a child. Fahrenheit 451 is the book that launched me from childhood, my first book dealing with the adult world.

I ask my mother to box up my old books and put them in the attic. I am proud to start a new library with this novel as my first edition. I carefully, lovingly, sign my name on the inside cover. Let the firemen come, I think, I am proud to be a book-reader.

F451

I continue to read this book again and again through the years. I enroll in a college course at Penn State my freshman year, simply because this book is on the course materials. I memorized the entire poem Dover Beach because it is the selection Bradbury chose to have Montag read aloud to his wife and her friends. As the years roll by, and I age through my 20s and 30s, I noticed that fewer and fewer of the people I know read any books. Even my avid reading friends from childhood moved on to their careers, their marriages, their children. In the late 1990s a friend invited me to his house to show off a proud new purchase - a television screen the size of one of his walls. I mention how frightening this was, that he was basically mainlining Bradbury's foreshadowing. He handed me a beer and fired up Star Wars; told me to relax. I watched the movie and felt like a traitor.

The last time I read F451 was about 10 years ago - I think I was afraid that if I were to pick it up again that it would diminish in its importance to me - much like Catch-22 and The Sun Also Rises. But on this first day in May I have a day-trip to Socal for business and I bring this book with me. And I love it, all over again, as if reading it for the first time. Until Infinite Jest came along, this was my favorite book. I remember why.

I joined Goodreads in 2009 with low expectations. I am not a social media person. I've given up twice on Facebook; the last time for good. But there was something I found here that reminded me of Montag's joining the campfire of fellow readers. We may all be from different walks of life from places all around the world, but we come here often and with excitement - because we love books. They are some of the most important things to us and our lives would be ruined without them.

So to you, my fellow Goodreaders, tonight I raise a glass to each of you, and I want to say thank you thank you thank you for making my life better, for exposing me to authors I would have never known, and for reminding me that although I'll never get to all of the books I want to read in this life, I can stand on the shoulders of you giants and witness more wonders of the written word.
Profile Image for She-Who-Reads.
73 reviews171 followers
December 4, 2013
Somehow, I have gotten through life as an English major, book geek, and a science-fiction nerd without ever having read this book. I vaguely remember picking it up in high-school and not getting very far with it. It was an interesting premise, but far too depressing for my tastes at the time.

Fast-forward 15 years later. I just bought a copy the other day to register at BookCrossing for their Banned Books Month release challenge. The ALA celebrates Banned Books Week in September, so one BXer challenged us to wild release books that had at one point or another been banned in this country during the entire month. Fahrenheit 451 fits the bill -- an irony that is not lost on anyone, I trust. (Everyone knows Fahrenheit 451 is about the evils of censorship and banning books, right? The title refers to the temperature at which paper burns.)

I didn't intend to start reading it. I really didn't. Somehow it seduced me into it. I glanced at the first page and before I knew it, it was 1:00 in the morning and I was halfway through with the thing. It's really good! No wonder it's a modern classic. Montag's inner emotional and moral journey from a character who burns books gleefully and with a smile on his face to someone who is willing to risk his career, his marriage, his house, and eventually his life for the sake of books is extremely compelling. That this man, product of a culture that devalues reading and values easy, thoughtless entertainments designed to deaden the mind and prevent serious thought, could come to find literature so essential that he would kill for it...! Something about that really spoke to me.

It raises the question: why? What is it about books, about poetry, about literature that is so essential to us? There is no doubt in my mind that it is essential, if not for all individuals (although I find it hard to imagine life without books, I know there are some people who don't read for pleasure, bizarre as that seems to me), then for society. Why should that be? Books don't contain any hard-and-fast answers to all of life's questions. They might contain great philosophical Truths, but only subjectively so -- there will always be someone who will argue and disagree with whatever someone else says. In fact, as Captain Beatty, the evil fire chief, points out, no two books agree with each other. What one says, another contradicts. So what, then, is their allure? What is it that made Mildred's silly friend start to weep when Montag read the poem "Dover Beach" aloud to her? Where does the power of literature come from?

I think the reason that books are so important to our lives and to the health of our society -- of any society -- is not because they give us answers, but because they make us ask the questions. Books -- good books, the books that stay with you for years after you read them, the books that change your view of the world or your way of thinking -- aren't easy. They aren't facile. They aren't about surface; they're about depth. They are, quite literally, thought-provoking. They require complexity of thought. They require effort on the part of the reader. You get out of a book what you put into the reading of it, and therefore books satisfy in a way that other types of entertainment do not.

And they aren't mass-produced. They are individual, unique, gloriously singular. They are each an island, much-needed refuges from an increasingly homogeneous culture.

I'm glad I read Fahrenheit 451, even if the ending was rather bleak. It challenged me and made me think, stimulated me intellectually. We could all do with a bit of intellectual stimulation now and then; it makes life much more fulfilling.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,325 followers
June 16, 2022
"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."
That is a very unpleasant metaphor, and Fahrenheit 451 is an unpleasant book. It feels like it was written by a teenager, and if I were his teacher I'd give it a B- and not let my daughter date the weird little kid who wrote it.

Its protagonist, Montag, lacks any character; he changes as Bradbury's shitty story requires him to, from the dumbest kid in the world (his cousin once offered to pay him a dime to fill a sieve with sand and he sat there for ages crying and dumping sand into it - I understand that's a metaphor, but it's a metaphor for a dipshit) to a mastermind (telling Faber how to throw the Hound off his scent). You ever see film of someone skipping a pebble in reverse? Me neither, but I bet it's like this: plop plop skip skip wtf?

Each other character exists solely to advance the plot. There's the hot underage Manic Pixie Dream Girl - "her face fragile milk crystal" - who teaches him how to smell dandelions (and whose beauty is harped on endlessly) and then disappears off-stage; Faber, who's all of a sudden like best friends and then disappears off-stage; the bonfire circle of retired professors who happen to be right there when he stumbles out of a river looking for them.

There's his wife - "thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon." He seems to loathe her, and all real women.
"Millie? Does the White Clown love you?"
No answer.
"Millie, does - " He licked his lips. "Does your 'family' [TV entertainment] love you, love you very much, love you with all their heart and soul, Millie?"
He felt her blinking slowly at the back of his neck. "Why'd you ask a silly question like that?"
There's a real conservative streak to this book. It looks backwards, as conservatives do. Bradbury blames his world's disgust with books on "minorities," what we nowadays call "special interest groups":
"Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it."
These are the only specific examples given during Captain Beatty's central speech about why literature has been banned.

There are some nice moments here. A disturbed and immature but intelligent kid flailing around will hit a few marks. The central idea? No, no props for that; book-burning was invented centuries ago. But the moment when the TV instructs all citizens to open their doors and look for Montag, that's nice. And the suicidal Captain Beatty is the book's only living character, although his speech is littered with what I swear are just random quotes. I even like the idea of a circle of book-readers, each responsible for remembering a certain book - but it's dealt with so lamely here. "We've invented ways for you to remember everything you've ever read, so it's no problem." Well, in that case I got like half the Canon, y'all can go home. Losers. Wouldn't it be cooler if these people had to work for it?

Point is, those little flashes of competence are so overwhelmed by terrible philosophy and so ill-sketched themselves that I have no idea how this book has escaped the bonfire of apathy, the worst and most blameless fire of all. It's just a lame, lame book.

I wouldn't burn this or any book. But I'll do worse: I'll forget all about it.
142 reviews22 followers
December 28, 2007
Few appreciate irony as much as I do, so understand that I understand this review. The message of this book is decent: knowledge should not be censored. However, the rest of the book is utter shit. I found myself actually screaming at several points as Bradbury spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot. It is too damn flowery to be understandable by anyone! In other words, an English teacher's dream. In addition, the story was about the message not the story in and of itself. Those of you who know me understand that this is that I detest most about classics, tied with how everyone reveres them without reading them.

The Coda and Afterword just add to the confuse making me confused on whether Bradbury is a very hateful man or just a hypocrite. The main plot of the novel itself is that the majority rule canceled out intellectualism while in the Coda (maybe Afterword, I don't remember which was which) Bradbury blasts minorities (all, including racial, religious, etc.) for creating an overly sensitive society. Oddly enough, his heroes are the minority. Ha. Furthermore, the Coda is a hefty "Fuck you" to anyone that wants to critique his work in any way not positive. Therefore, I feel obliged to respond in turn: "Fuck you, Ray Bradbury. Your writing style is shit and I won't force it on my worst enemy." Harsh, I know, but true. If you do need to read this book, I suggest a Cliff Notes version as long as you can appreciate that irony.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews291k followers
October 14, 2012
As I write this review, the year is 2012. We do not live in a perfect world; in fact, in many ways we don't even live in a good world. But one thing I believe with all my heart is that we live in a world which, on the whole, is better than it was fifty years ago. Now, I know I'm writing with limited perspective and that progression and development hasn't been the same all over the globe and even the definition of those words can change depending on what part of the world you live in. But here's what I do know: the average world life expectancy is higher, the infant mortality rate is lower, access to education is greater and the amount of countries that hold regular, fair elections has increased.

On average, people today are smarter than they were fifty years ago. And I know this is where older generations throw up their hands in indignation and start yelling about how exams were much harder in "their day" and they really had to work for it. I am not disputing this, I have no idea if it's true or not. But what is true is that more people today than ever before are going on to further education after high school, the barriers that once stopped the working class from being as smart as society's more privileged members are slowly starting to break down bit by bit. Literacy rates have been on the rise the whole world over:



It's true. We have entered the age of computers and electronics, social networking and personal media players... and the world has not ended, the robots haven't taken over and people haven't become so stupid that they feel the need to rage a war against books. And this is the main reason why I think Bradbury's dystopian tale is out of date and ineffective. The author was writing at a time when technology was really starting to get funky, the digital age was still decades away but people were doing all kinds of crazy things like listening to music with little cones plugged into their ears. Bizarre.

Readers often choose to view Bradbury's story as one about censorship instead of technology because that allows a more modern reader to connect with the world portrayed. But taken as it was intended, I just don't share the author's sentiments. Not all technology is good, but I'm of the opinion that the good outweighs the bad: medical advancements, entertainment, access to information via the internet... I'm the very opposite of a technophobe because, in my opinion, forward is the way to go. And I'm sure it's because of the age I was born into, but I cannot relate to the apprehension that Bradbury feels when he tells of this true story (note: this is not in the book):

"In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction."

I know many still think today that we are becoming a completely unsociable species because of mobile/cell phones, social networking sites, etc. but I have made friends from all over the world thanks to technology. I have talked to people that fifty years ago I would never have known, I have learned about different cultures and ways of life because I have access to most areas of the world through the web. So, no, I'm not scared of this so-called technological threat that is somehow going to turn our brains to mush and create a society where we cannot concentrate long enough to read a book. And here is where I (finally) get on to details of this novel.

What I am supposed to believe in here is that - because of technology - humanity has become so stupid that they couldn't concentrate on books. So books were simplified at first for easier understanding, then banned, then burnt. Why? I am okay with the realistic aspect of "people have short attention spans because of technology so they don't want to read books", but why burn books? I don't see why this would need to happen and why it would become a criminal offense to have books in your home. This is where I understand why so many people prefer to apply this novel's message to censorship, because it works so much better that way. The argument for the technological side of it is weak - even for the time in question.



The best thing about this whole book is the discussion about the phoenix and the comparisons made between the legendary bird and humanity: in the same way that the bird dies in flames only to be reborn again from the ashes, humanity constantly repeats mistakes made throughout history and never seems to learn from them. Secondly, to give credit where it's due, the writing is suitably creepy for a dystopian society and I understand why people who do actually share Bradbury's concerns would be caught up in the novel's atmosphere. But, overall, this wasn't a great dystopian work for me, I didn't agree with the point it was trying to sell me and I don't think it made a very successful case for it. Furthermore, I had some problems with the pacing. The book is split into three parts and the first two are much slower and uneventful than the last one - which seems to explode with a fast sequence of events in a short amount of time and pages. Disappointing.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,109 reviews44.2k followers
April 28, 2020
“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”

The burning of books is such an effective tool for controlling the population, so the message of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is scarily real. If society’s wisdom could be taken away, then so could their freedom. If knowledge was burnt, then the people would be left in a complete state of utter innocent ignorance. There would be no room for free thought, that way they could be told anything about history and themselves. If all books were burnt, then they are just sheep to be led into a future dictated by the government. To make it worse the men who do it enjoy it.

Books have become illegal; thus, owning them is a form of disobedience against the state and a violation of the law. The books are burnt by a special group of firefighters, yes firefighters, which hunt readers mercilessly. When they find them, they burn their beloved collection and leave them to die. One woman burns with her books by her own choosing rather than submit to ignorance. The firefighters don’t know exactly why they do it, they rarely question it, they just do it unflinchingly because that is what they are told to do. And they cannot understand why somebody would fight to the death to defend the written word.

Guy Montag is one such firefighter. He lives a mundane life with an equally mundane partner. He’s miserable. He carries out the book burnings, like the others, without a second thought until one day an innocent young girl changes his life forever. She is his next-door neighbour and she is a closet book reader; she asks him a series of questions that makes him realise how stupid and worthless his existence is. He takes solace in a collection of books he has stolen whilst on the job, a symbol that he and the world could one day be free. The knowledge he gains changes his perception of the world forever.

Books have fallen out of favour as other mediums have taken priority over them. People have become hostile to books because they feel inferior when faced with an educated reader; thus, if they are removed forever everyone will be the same and minorities will be removed. Individuality would die. Consequently, when Guy begins reading, he does not know what to do anymore; he has been conditioned to act in a certain way, and when liberty presents itself, he is reluctant and confused by his new knowledge. He is a reluctant hero but a hero, nonetheless. He has stolen one of the last surviving copies of the Bible but doesn’t know what it is. However, a professor of the bygone age does and what comes after is one of the most powerful and symbolic endings I’ve ever read in science-fiction.

This really is required reading for anyone who is serious about science fiction and dystopian fiction because it really is one of the best in both genres.

___________________________________

You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
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Profile Image for Justin.
272 reviews2,247 followers
June 24, 2019
You can check out thousands of better reviews here and across the internet, but here is all you really need to know...

This is one of the best books ever written. This is one of my favorite books of all time. ALL TIME. This is the third time I've read it. I audiobooked it this time.

Every line of Fahrenheit 451 is beautifully written. Poetic. Metaphoric. Transcendent. Awesome. The beginning, middle, and ending... all amazing.

If you consider yourself a fan of science fiction or dystopian novels or classic literature or banned books or books high-schoolers read or thought-provoking books, and you have not read this book... wow... just stop whatever you are doing right now, which is reading this review, I guess...

Stop reading this review. Put down your laptop, your phone, your iPad, your mouse and keyboard, your floppy disk drive, your PlayStation 4, your Smart TV remote, whatever. Just stop. Grab your car keys, hop on a bus, walk... run to your nearest bookstore. Dash frantically through the aisles, locate the fiction section, maybe science fiction. Maybe just ask someone who works there. Find a copy of this book. It's written by Ray Bradbury, but my God, if you don't know that by now...

Demand a copy of this book from the bookstore, happily open up your purse or wallet and pay whatever price they make you pay for a copy of this book. Don't ask any questions. Don't have them put it in a bag for you. Don't get a copy of your receipt. Just hand over the money and get the hell out of there. Dump all of your spare change you've collected onto the counter. Tap into your 401k if you need to.

Rush home and instantly sit down in your easy chair or whatever it is you like to sit, lay, or stand on while reading. The bathtub perhaps. A recliner. A porch swing. It really doesn't matter. Pour a glass of wine or grab a beer. Pour a glass of wine AND grab a beer. Take two shots of whiskey then pour a glass of wine and grab THREE beers.

Then, in one sitting just plow the hell right through this book. Just breathe it all in like the cool, salty ocean air. Let it sink down deep into the depths of who you are as a person living as a human being in the world right here on Earth. Let it just smack you right in the mouth with how awesome it is. Let it punch you right in the jaw with how mind-blowing it is. Let it leave you lying on the floor with your mouth wide open trying to figure out what in God's name just happened to you. Let it elevate itself high above pretty much every other book you've ever read, maybe all the way to the top of that damned prestigious mountain, and let it hoist its flag into the soil of your mind and proclaim to every other book ever written that it is king of literature. Other books can bow down and bring burnt offerings to it. It shall reign forevermore.

Don't wait to get it from the library. Don't even think about ordering it on Amazon, and I don't even give a damn if you have Prime and woohoo look at me I can get it shipped in two days. One day shipping if I pay a few bucks! No. Run. Get a physical copy of the book. Don't settle for reading text on your Kindle or whatever it is you digitize books into. Get up now. I don't care if it's late and the bookstore is closed. Go wait outside like it's Black Freaking Friday. I don't care if you're the only one out there all night. Are you a reader or not? Do you care about books? How have you not read this yet? What's the matter with you? Why are you still reading this? Why haven't you left yet? God...

I love Fahrenheit 451. And I love you enough to demand that you read it. Reread it. Yes! This is wonderful! This is going to be one of the best days of your life. Maybe the best day of your life! Are you ready? Can you handle it?

Have fun.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,851 reviews16.4k followers
June 7, 2021
Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that transcends it's dystopian theme and delivers its cautionary message in a timeless fashion, what made this story compelling in 1953 remains provocative.

It is a strident call to arms, a warning siren of darkness always on the perimeter.

Critics have tried to make more of this, and certainly it is an archetypal work, but I think its simplicity is its great strength - it is fundamentally about book burning, literally and metaphorically. A powerful allegory that also works well as a prima facie argument against censorship and a good science fiction novel all by itself.

Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context - and I can see that (and in an age of Vine and Twitter this message is all too relevant), but for me the image of the ironic fireman burning books is the endearing story.

This is a book that everyone should read at least once.

**** 2021 reread -

This could be an annual reread, I was again captivated by Bradbury's language and vision.

Akin to Orwell's 1984 in its cautionary dystopia, this is more fantastic and serves best as allegory for complacency, conformism and the deterioration of critical thought. A reader of both classics may also draw a comparison between 1984's O'Brien and 451's Beatty. Both antagonists, like Milton's Satan, recognize the evil of their design but move forward regardless and with a recklessness born of misanthropy.

One symbol that was ubiquitous in the novel was that of hands. Montag blames his hands for beginning his treason by taking books and later it is his hands that commits the murders, and still later, by contrast, Guy thinks of hands as building and creating rather than burning and destroying.

description
Profile Image for Kinga.
476 reviews2,158 followers
January 12, 2013
It’s easy to see why ‘Farenheit 451’ is a cult classic, beloved by the majority of bookworms. Oh, it validates us, doesn’t it? Here is a future world where books are banned, and look at this; it has gone to the dogs. The saddest of all post-apocalyptic worlds, the bleakest dystopia, what a nightmare – NO BOOKS!

The good are those who read, the bad are those who watch the TV. Yes, this is what we like to read to make us feel all warm inside. And because of that we are seemingly willing to forgive Bradbury for a lot of things: really poor world-building skills, lacklustre characterisation, inconsistencies.

Oh, and sexism. The women in the books are generally brainwashed bimbos, except of course for the wonder-child Clarisse from the beginning of the book, who is a representation of a very annoying archetype as well.

And you would think that, since the book is mostly an endless roll call of all the authors and books that need to be salvaged from the fire, at least ONE female author would get a mention. Nope. Zero. They can all burn for all that Bradbury cares. After all, the secret gang dedicated to preserving the world literary heritage is made up entirely of men. Now, this to me does look like a very sad world indeed.

Go and read Farenheit 451. It’s not a novel in its fully developed sense, more of an allegory, a hyperbole and Bradbury occasionally produces sentences of startling beauty. The problem with this book is the same problem there is with a world without books – it’s somewhat flat, somewhat numb.

Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
763 reviews3,494 followers
December 26, 2022
Thermal utilization is an all time burner

It´s more about the language than the plot
Bradbury has such a unique writing style, everything comes so smoothly and elaborately, full of metaphors and lively language. This, his most famous one, is a softer alternative to Orwell and Huxley, a more philosophical approach to the topic of censorship. Certainly one of the great works of the 20th century, if not of all time, reducing the story to some essential elements that

Can be seen in Brave new world and 1984 too
A love story, an awakening antagonist, mass dumbing down by passive media consumption, substance abuse, propaganda, and a little grain of hope for a better tomorrow. It´s closer to Brave new world than to 1984 because the mind penetration aspect of brainwashing is bigger than pure death squad brutality. It´s also simply Bradburys style to avoid big action scenes and focus on character development, deeper meaning, and the language itself to create a picture of, well, freaking reality in very many places.

That´s by far not his top performance
I understand why his other, as good and even better, works aren´t as appreciated as this short one. Bradbury is at his best when he is writing short story collections under a main theme, be it The Martian chronicles
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
or The Illustrated Man
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
One could go and start searching for all the interconnections between the stories and how perfectly they fit together, but the problem of having to begin again and again and getting out of reading flow is one of the main reasons why short stories aren´t selling so great. Maybe it was popular those days, I don´t know, but in the case of The Martian Chronicles, one of the first space opera novels could have been possible, the same with The Illustrated Man. It´s sadly one of the worst cases of unused serial production potential.

He was such a great writer and I don´t get why he didn´t rewrite all the material he had with those short stories into one or more longer novels. It somehow feels to me as if he had a tendency to avoid longer novels, but just imagine how it would have been if he had written them or even a series instead of all of those unique short stories. Boy, he would have owned them all. I mean, Stephen King names him and Lovecraft as main inspirations and the more often I read something from one of these titans, the more I have to agree on how my beloved master of horror came to his writing style.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
Profile Image for Fabian.
940 reviews1,546 followers
September 24, 2020
"We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain & black loam." (111)

What outstanding prose--prophetic, which is by far the most rare and inspiring of attributes a work of literature can ever possess. & Ray "I Don't Talk Things, Sir. I Talk The Meaning Of Things" Bradbury is here at his absolute best. I cannot decide whether this or "Martian Chronicles" is my favorite... they are definitely my favorite of his, the best possible possibly in ANY sci-fi adventure.

This is "The Giver" for adults. Here, another example of overpraised books that shockingly do live up to the hype. It's a resplendent petition for life, beauty, & literature; an AMEN for The Book's very core of existence... THE BOOK that actually worships other BOOKS (like The Bible does with God). Personal events and not the battlefields of Tolkien-sized scope (I mean small occurrences such as breakdowns, unpleasant jobs, below-par relationships...) tightens the razor-sharp string of terror; a severe lack of details is a tenacious and masterful way to portray this post-apocalyptic nightmare in the most disconcerting way. (If you're a lover of books, this seems like some Dantean form of poetic retribution!)

"451" is an example of when planets aligned just right and gave the writer a light for him to share. This, a writer's "capacity for collecting metaphors" is absolutely enthralling. I am wholly amazed!

A PLUS: read the edition with the 3 introductions by the inspiring Bradbury (there are 451 printings or so of this novel after all) & save a couple bucks in a creative writing class. His writing tips are genuinely far-out!
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 8 books15.9k followers
March 21, 2021
"الأفكار ليها أجنحة ماحدش يقدر يمنعها توصل للناس"
ـــــــــــــــ

إذا كنت قد شاهدت الكتب تحترق في فيلم العبقري يوسف شاهين



ووقعت في غرام الفيلم والمشهد
فربما هذا الكتاب يكون لك

*-*
عندما تصبح قراءة الكتب جريمة

في هذه الرواية يطرح راي برادبوري أسوأ سيناريو لعشاق الكتب
ماذا لو كنا نعيش في عالم تخلص نهائياً من الكتب وجرم من يحملها أو ينقلها أو يحتفظ بها؟

مونتاج هو بطل الرواية يعمل كرجل حريق
ومهمته ليست إطفاء الحرائق كما قد تظن بل إشعالها
!
وقبعات رجال الحريق تحمل الرقم 451 ومنها إستمدت الرواية عنوانها

يصحو مونتاج من النوم ، ينظر إلى زوجته ، ترقد جواره كجسد في قبر
لا يشعر بشيء
ربما بعض الأسى ، اللامبالاة ، وكثير من الملل والاختناق
يخرج لسانه لوحش اللإضطراب النفسي الذي ينهشهما
تبتلع الزوجة قرصاً ،، تشاهد التلفاز
ستقوم كالعادة بمحاولة إنتحار جديدة
يمضي مونتاج إلى عمله
كان من الممتع أن تحرق
It was a pleasure to burn!



مونتاج يعمل في المؤسسة الحكومية الكبرى لبلد شمولي(أي تحت نظام سياسي يحتكر فيه حزب واحد كامل السلطة ولا يسمح بظهور معارضة)ـ
وهذا الحزب يكرس كل إمكاناته في محاربة الكلمة المكتوبة
يفتش عنها بشهوة في الليل
ولا مانع أبداً يا مونتاج من حرق المكان الذي يحوي الكتاب إن إستلزم الأمر أو خرجت الأمور عن السيطرة


*-*
احشِ الناس بالحقائق سريعة الاحتراق حتى يشعروا بأنهم أذكياء

لاتنس
هذه رواية خيال علمي
هناك كلاب إلكترونية ،، وآلات ناطقة
وكبسات الزر هنا لا نتنهي
وعالم التلفاز يحتل كل الوقت ما تبقى من العقول
فأي حكم شمولي كالذي قد تراه في رواية أخرى كرائعة جورج اورويل 1984
وفي عالمنا الحقيقي تعيش بعض مشاهده كل يوم
هذا النوع من الحكم يهدف إلى السيطرة على العقول
غسيل الأدمغة
وحشوها بمعلبات جاهزة تشعر من يتلقاها بأنه ذكي ومثقف
بينما هو في الحقيقة مجرد ترس في آلة كبرى تعمل لمصلحتها أولاً واخراً
المخابيل يفضلون الموت مع كتبهم .. هذا نمط سلوكي معتاد



أظنني من هؤلاء المخابيل
وهي كلمة وردت على لسان أحد زملاء مونتاج عن عجوز أبت أن تترك كتبها وفضلت الاحتراق معها

ومونتاج يتعلم
يقابل من يحدث شقاً في عقله
يحاول منه طرح الأسئلة

ما الداعي لاغتيال الكتب بهذه الطريقة
؟
يحاول أن يجد جواباً ويبدأ في سرقة وقراءة الكتب بنفسه
يقابل الثوار
وهم أناس يعيشون على أطراف هذا العالم المجنون



*-*

عندما تصبح أنت كتاباً

تصور أن تكون مهمتك في الحياة هي الحفاظ على تراث العالم
ثقافته
تخيل نفسك كتاباً يمشي ويتنفس
هؤلاء هم الثوار

واحد منهم هو ماكبث
يحفظها حتي يصير هو المسرحية نفسها
الثاني فاوست
تغلغلت بداخله كل كلمة منها وكل نقطة وكل حرف
الثالثة جمهورية أفلاطون
لا ينادونها بغير ذلك

وهكذا تتجسد الكلمة حية من لحم ودم
تتوارثها الكائنات الحية
وتحفظ للعالم حقه فيها





*-*

راي برادبوري واحد من أعظم كتاب الخيال في العالم
و هو هنا يستخدم كل ما هو ممكن أدبياً لصقل روايته
فلن تجد كلمة واحدة في غير موضعها
أو صفة بلا تلميح ساخر
أو إسم لا يعني شيئاً ما يرتبط بالرواية

من الممتع أن تقرأ له
تعيش في قصصه
تستمتع باسلوبه وصوره
تطارده مثلي بين عشرات القصص التي أقرأها له ولا أشبع
!

*-*

قدمت دار الشروق نسخة عربية للرواية
ولكنني أظن أن ترجمة أح��د خالد توفيق (ضمن سلسلة روايات عالمية للجيب) ستكون أفضل

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
July 29, 2021
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury, published in 1953. Fahrenheit 451 is set in an unspecified city at an unspecified time in the future after the year 1960.

Guy Montag is a "fireman" employed to burn houses containing outlawed books. He is married but has no children.

One fall night while returning from work, he meets his new neighbor, a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan, whose free-thinking ideals and liberating spirit cause him to question his life and his own perceived happiness.

Montag returns home to find that his wife Mildred has overdosed on sleeping pills, and he calls for medical attention. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سوم ماه فوریه سال 1984میلادی

عنوان: فارنهایت 451؛ نویسنده: ری برادبری؛ مترجم: علاءالدین بهشتی؛ تهران، آشتیانی، 1363، در 200ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

این کتاب را جنابان آقایان «علی شیعه علی» و «معین محب علیان»؛ و «علی عامری مهابادی»؛ و سرکار خانم «سارا زرگر» نیز ترجمه کرده اند

انگار یکی بوده که میدانسته، روزگاری باید هر کس، یکی از کتابهای خوشگوار را، از بر کند، و تا هستیم و هست، نگذارد و نگذاریم، واژه های داستان و شعر و نثر بمیرند، باشند و خوش ببویند، و هماره از واژه های دلدار بگویند، دارم میاندیشم اگر چنین روزی آمد، و این دل سرگشته هنوز زنده بود، کدام کتاب را برخواهد گزید، شاید: غزلیات و دیوان حضرت حافظ را.؛

داستان در جهانی رخ می‌دهد، که خواندن یا داشتن کتاب، جنایتی بزرگ به شمار می‌آید، این مشخصات جامعه ‌ای است که تحت ستم یک نظام سیاسی است که شهروندانش با قرصهای شادی بخش، و داروهای مسکن و خواب‌آور و مخدر، که نسیان‌آور هستند، دلخوشند، صفحه‌ های بزرگ ویدئویی بر دیوارهای منازل، هرگونه دغدغه ‌ای را برطرف می‌کنند؛ آزاداندیشی در آن جهان، قدغن است، زیرا تعادل جامعه را بر هم میزند، و اشخاص را ضد اجتماع بار می‌آورد، کتاب و هرچه خواندنی است، عامل اصلی انحراف شناخته می‌شوند؛ مسئولیت بازیابی و سوزاندن کتاب‌های باقی‌مانده در آن نظام، بر دوش ماموران آتش‌نشانی بگذاشته شده است؛

از آن‌جایی‌که خانه‌های شهر تخیلی ضدآتش هستند، کتاب‌های یافته شده را، در همان محل پنهان شدن کتاب، به آتش می‌کشند؛ برای کشف محل اختفای کتاب، از یک سگ مکانیکی سود می‌برند، و پس از ی��فتن کتاب، صاحب آن را که دشمن امنیت ملی نامیده می‌شود، به قتل می‌رسانند؛ اونیفرم و کلاه مأموران آتش‌نشانی، به نشان «سمندر»، یا «آتش‌پرست» مزین است؛ این خزنده از دوران باستان، نماد زندگی در آتش بوده‌ است؛ «مونتاگ» آتش‌نشانی است، که از کار خود لذت می‌برد؛ کار او سوزاندن کتاب‌های ممنوعه است؛ و از قضای روزگار همه ی کتاب‌ها ممنوعه هستند؛

اما او یکبار با «کله‌ریس مک‌کله‌لن» دیدار می‌کند، که به او می‌فهماند که زندگی‌اش آنطور که فکر می‌کرده شاد نیست، و این برای «مونتاگ» سرآغاز شیدایی است؛ همان شب «مونتاگ» همسرش را در حالی می‌یابد، که همگی قرص خوابها را نوش جان کرده، و رو به مرگ است، او دیگر به همه چیز زندگی خود، شک می‌کند؛ به زودی برای نخستین بار کسی را می‌بیند، که حاضر نشده همراه پلیسی که او را یافته برود، این زن مسن ترجیح می‌دهد با کتاب‌های خود بسوزد؛ این رویداد «مونتاگ» را وامی‌دارد، که کتابی بردارد و بخواند، و …؛

نقل از متن: (رنگین پوستا از کتاب کاکاسیاه کوچولو خوششون نمیآد؛ بسوزونش؛ سفیدا احساس خوبی نسبت به کلبه عمو تم ندارن؛ بسوزونش؛ هیچ کی تا حالا در مورد توتون و سرطان ریه کتاب ننوشته؟ اشک سیگاریا رو در نیاورده؟ کتابشو بسوزون؛)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 27/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,106 reviews3,878 followers
May 26, 2022

Library as cathedral, as all libraries should be - John Rylands Library, Manchester. Image source

Read me, love me, touch me, treasure me

This is a book about the power of books that is itself steeped with references, both explicit and indirect, to the great works that permeate our culture so thoroughly that we do not always notice them - until they’re gone. Bradbury shows us the horror of a hedonistic but unhappy world where books and ideas are banned in the futile pursuit of the illusion of happiness. As with A Clockwork Orange (see my review HERE), there is a constant tension between the deliciously poetic language and the horrors of the setting.

The intended message of this 62-year-old novel is different: a prescient warning about the addictive power of continuous, passive imbibing from the virtual worlds and interactive screens that are our constant companions. I guess Bradbury was so infused in bookish culture himself that he didn’t realise how loudly the literary message shouts from every page, almost drowning out everything else: read me, love me, touch me, treasure me. Reading is a physical, sensual, transformative relationship, not merely a mental process. See this excellent article (thanks, Apatt!) for Bradbury's views on the persistent misinterpretation of his book: LA Weekly article. It's interesting to compare this with his Usher II, where books are burned for the opposite reason: to make people face reality by quashing imagination. See my review HERE.

Nevertheless, the balance of themes is shifting: smartphones and the Internet of Things mean we’re catching up with Bradbury’s vision. Certainly, I was more aware of his technological warning than on previous readings - but it’s still the insatiable thirst for what is in and from books (ideas, discussion, and knowledge) that stokes my passion for this novel:
The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.
As Henry Cowles wrote in Aeon recently, “Screens are not just a part of life today: they are our lives.”

The weak characterisation, cruelly caricatured Mildred, and the rationale and details of the totalitarian state’s oppression, censorship (sadly apt after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January 2015), and warmongering are secondary - just the canvas on which Bradbury delicately paints his nightmare, by moonlight, to the pitter-patter of raindrops and the whisper of falling leaves.

tl;dnr - stick with the four paragraphs, above.


Plot and Narrative Structure

The plot is well-known: It is set in the near future, where all books are banned because they are elitist and hence cause unhappiness and division. Instead, the population is fed continuous inane soap operas to lull their minds into soporific approximation of non-unhappiness. TV really does rot their brains, or at least sap their ability to think for themselves. Firemen no longer put out fires, but instead burn houses where books are found.

Montag is a fireman, so part of the regime. But he is tempted by the unknown promise of what he destroys, takes greater and greater risks, and ends up a fugitive, living rough with other rebels, each of whom has memorised a book so that when things change, they can be rewritten. (Ironically, these people also destroy books - just the physical ones, after they have memorised them.)

There are three parts:

1. “It Was a Pleasure to Burn” shows the restrictions of Montag’s world, and his growing, but unfocused, dissatisfaction with it, contrasted with beautiful imagery of the natural world, especially moonlight and trees - and fire.
2. “The Sieve and the Sand” is about confrontation: with self and others - with truth.
3. Finally, in “Burning Bright”, revelation leads to liberation, danger, and the possibility of freedom. But at what cost?

QUOTES

I had forgotten (or maybe never noticed!) how wonderful the language is. This review is even more focused on quotes than usual, so I never forget.

Contradictions

• "The trees overhead made a great sound of letting down their dry rain.”
• “They walked in the warm-cool blowing night on the silvered pavement.”
• “He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other.”
• “He was moving from an unreality that was frightening into a reality that was unreal because it was new.”
• “The Mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live.”

Mechanical Hound

This thing, this high-tech version of the most atavistic, omnipotent monsters that plague our dreams from infancy, is where Bradbury’s hybrid of beauty and horror reaches its peak:

• “The moonlight… touched here and there on the brass and the copper and the steel of the faintly trembling beast. Light flickered on bits of ruby glass and on sensitive capillary hairs in the nylon-brushed nostrils of the creature that quivered gently, gently, gently, its eight legs spidered under it on rubber-padded paws.”
• “Out of the helicopter glided something that was not machine, not animal, not dead, not alive, glowing with a pale green luminosity.”
• “He could feel the Hound, like autumn, come cold and dry and swift, like a wind that didn't stir grass… The Hound did not touch the world. It carried its silence with it.”

(Moon) Light, Rain, Nature

• “Laughter blew across the moon-colored lawn.”
• “The moonlight distilled in each eye to form a silver cataract.”
• “They read the long afternoon through while the cold November rain fell from the sky in the quiet house. They sat in the hall because the parlour was so empty and gray-looking without its walls lite with orange and yellow confetti.”
• “You could feel the war getting ready in the sky that night. The way the clouds moved aside and came back, and the way the stars looked, a million of them swimming between the clouds… and the feeling that the sky might fall upon the city and turn it to chalk dust, and the moon go up in red fire.”
• “The river was mild and leisurely, going away from the people who ate shadows for breakfast and steam for lunch and vapours for supper.”
• “The more he breathed the land in, the more he was filled up with all the details of the land. He was not empty.”

Burned Books as Once-Living Things

• “The flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch.”
• “They fell like slaughtered birds and the woman stood below, like a small girl, among the bodies.”
• “The books lay like great mounds of fishes left to dry.”
• “Their covers torn off and spilled out like swan-feathers.”
• “The books leapt and danced like roasted birds, their wings ablaze with red and yellow feathers.”
• “Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly.”
• “The floor littered with swarms of black moths that had died in a single storm.”

Fire

If BuzzFeed is to believed (a medium-sized "if", imo), its original title was not "Fahrenheit 451", but "The Fireman". He and his publishers thought it a boring title, so they called a local fire station and asked what temperature paper burned at. The firemen put Bradbury on hold while they burned a book, then reported back the temperature, and the rest is history.

• The opening sentence: “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. with this brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.”
• “The books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.”
• “Those who do not build must burn.” (Do they ignite the fire, or are they consumed by it?)
• “It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did.”
• “A bloom of fire, a single wondrous blossom that curled in petals of yellow and blue and orange.”
• A bonfire, “was not burning; it was warming... He hadn’t known fire could look this way. He had never thought… it could give as well as take.”

The descriptions of fire are also the best feature of Bradbury's short story A Sound of Thunder which I reviewed HERE.

Dangers of Books

Many of the reasons given could just as easily apply to TV shows; Faber says as much to Montag, “It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books” and that those same things could be in the TV shows, but aren’t. Instead, the TV shows are specially designed to numb minds to all except vague pleasure.

• “Books aren’t people… my family [soap stars] is people”.
• “None of these books agree with each other… The people in those books never lived.”
• “It didn’t come from the government down… Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick… Today… you can stay happy all the time” because only comics, confessions and trade journals are permitted.
• “The firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord.”
• “We must all be alike. Not everyone was born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal… Then all are happy”, protected from the “rightful dread of being inferior”.
• “Our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred”, so everything that might upset anyone is destroyed.
• Filled with facts, people “feel they’re thinking… they’ll be happy because facts of that sort don’t change.”
• “All the silly things the words mean, all the false promises, and all the second hand notions and time-worn philosophies.”

Dangers of VR

There is bitter irony in a “living room” where the only “living” is that of fictitious people, passively observed on the huge screens on the walls.

• Entering the bedroom “was like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon had set.”
• “Her eyes fixed to the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound… coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty.”
• “People don’t talk about anything… They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming-pools and say how swell.”
• Brainwashing: “It’s always someone else’s husband dies.” and “Nothing will ever happen to me.”

General Quotes

• Clarice’s face had “a kind of gentle hunger that touched over everything with tireless curiosity”.
• “He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over, and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out. Darkness.”
• A stomach pump: “looking for all the old water and old time gathered there… Did it drink of the darkness?... The impersonal operation… could gaze into the soul of the person whom he was pumping out.”
• “The world had melted down and sprung up in a new and colorless formation.”
• “He slapped her face with amazing objectivity.” (It is not being condoned.)
• “She made the empty rooms roar with accusation and shake down a fine dust of guilt that was sucked into their nostrils and they plunged about.” That’s why owners shouldn’t be present.
• “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine.” A line from a poem by Alexander Smith that Montag glimpses, “but it blazed in his mind for the next minutes as if stamped there with fiery steel.”
• “His hand had been infected [by picking up a book], and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up… His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything.”
• “I don’t talk things… I talk the meanings of things.”
• “If you read fast and read all, maybe some of the sand will stay in the sieve.”
• “The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
• “They were like a monstrous crystal chandelier tinkling in a thousand chimes, he saw their Cheshire Cat smiles burning through the walls.”
• "There was a crash like falling parts of a dream fashioned out of warped glass, mirrors, and crystal prisms."
• “We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” From Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson.
• A buzzing helicopter “like butterflies puzzled by autumn”.
• A ten-lane highway: “A boatless river frozen there in the raw light of the high white arc-lamps; you could drown trying to cross it.”
• “His nose was suddenly good enough to sense the path he had made in the air of the room.”

Homework

I choose to inhale and absorb the atmosphere of the book, without stopping every few sentences to investigate each possible reference and quote, but those who enjoy literary detective work will find plenty of material here.

The other mystery is Captain Beatty: he is remarkably well-versed in the classics of literature, philosophy and history. “I was using the very books you clung to, to rebut you… What traitors books can be.” But is that explanation enough?

What Book Would You Be for Posterity?

The obvious question is, if you were going to become a book and memorise it for posterity, what would you choose? Would it be cheating to pick "Fahrenheit 451"? Should it be for personal comfort or something that will be useful in rebuilding society?

The hardest questions is, would you give up everything for literature?

“All we can do is keep the knowledge… We’re no more than dust jackets for books, of no significance otherwise… You’re not important. You’re not anything. Some day the load we’re carrying with us may help someone.” When people ask what we do, “We’re remembering”.

In Summary

I love the fact that this book is a paean to the power of the written word: that people will live and die for it, and will wither without the transformative power of fictional worlds and the insights of others. The lure and love of literature is irrepressible. Books "stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us."

Postscript

Related to this - and to 1984 - Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote in a group discussion:
"There's a distinct echo in both books of the Garden of Eden story, with Eve tempting Adam to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And in each case, it's a denial of the dogma that this is the original sin."

Film Adaptations

1966 Film - Watch

Truffaut's 1966 version is visually stunning and broadly faithful to the book. See details on imdb here.

Riffing on This and Truffaut
See Megan Dunn’s brilliant first book, Tinderbox, which I reviewed HERE. She intended to rewrite 451 from the point of view of the female characters, but ended up equally fascinated by Truffaut's adaptation - the very process of adapting the book. The result is a fascinating, personal, and funny exploration of her attempts to adapt someone else’s work. It also includes many fascinating and sometimes surprising details about the film, such as Truffaut hand-picking the books that were burned in the opening scene.

2018 Film - Avoid

Adapting a book for screen can excuse or require changes. But the 2018 one was a travesty that exacerbates the common misunderstanding of Bradbury's intended message AND adds a ludicrous new plot in its place. There is nothing at all about the addictive and mind-numbing allure of superficial soap operas (Montag doesn't even have a wife), but there is a weird sciency thing about books being encoded in the DNA of a bird, so they'll live for ever! It wasn't even well acted or written (I presume it didn't improve in the second half). See details on imdb here.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,864 reviews69.2k followers
October 28, 2022
Oh, come on!
Who doesn't like to set shit on fire?!

description

But seriously.
Don't burn books.
<-- that's wasteful!

description

Or witches. <--that's murder
Or buildings. <--that's arson
Or blue jeans. <--that's...what? no. seriously. back when I was a teenager, I remember this wacky church youth group burning all their jeans because Jesus wanted the girls to wear dresses.

You can however burn calories.

description

Alight, as much as I love Richard Simmons, I'm veering away from the point.
There are some books that anyone who loves to read feels like they need to get around to. And Fahrenheit 451 is one of those bucket list books that I've been meaning to tick off for years now.
And now I'm done. Ta-da!
So what does that mean? Did this book change my life?!
Short answer is no.
This is a really weird little story with an even weirder ending. <--not BAD, just weird.
Ok. Maybe it is a teensy bit bad in spots. But I think this has the same problem (for me) that most of these older dystopian novels have, in that it depicts humans as just absolutely stupid and prone to easily giving up real relationships. I think that's just dumb.
People crave people.
Now, I'm not saying that there aren't some people who get sucked into too much fake digital shit in whatever form it may take for them - porn, gaming, social media sites, and whatever else.
BUT. There have always been folks that just retreat from the real world.
Think about those weird hermits who live in some creepy cabin in the woods because they just can't deal with life and think other humans aren't a necessity.

description

I'm not referring to introverts or folks who are shy, because even if it's hard for them to be in crowds or to act like a social butterfly, they usually have a small group of trusted loved ones.
Point is, this book made it seem as though once people stopped reading and (basically) started watching tv they just ignored everything and everyone.

description

That just doesn't track.
And I say this as someone who absolutely loves books, but stories are stories.
Whether you hold a hardback, scroll through an ebook, love the visuals of comics, enjoy listening to audiobooks, or even (gasp!) watch a movie.

description

All of those? They're a medium that allows you to escape.
Allows you to reach out and live another life, see things through someone else's eyes, and maybe expand your mind.
Don't be a snob. There's room for it all.
And when you actually take a look at how most people watch television shows or movies, we tend to do it in a social way. I watch certain things so that I can talk to my friends about it later, or I pop some popcorn and con one of my kids to sit on the couch with me and watch something stupid together.

description

I'm not saying you'll be totally fine if you immerse yourself in some sort of virtual world and forget to bathe.
And I'm certainly not saying that we'll be ok if we start lighting books on fire.
What I am saying is that I thought a lot of this particular story was a product of the fears of the time.
TV will rot your brain!
And there may be the slight potential that you could be letting evil spirits into your home if you sit too close to it.

description

However, there are some things to take away from it that I think are important and potentially relevant still.
Censorship of any kind, written or otherwise, is dangerous.

description

You may hate what someone says, you may hate what they stand for, you may think their ideas are vile, but it's so very important to remind yourself that if you try to squash their ability to express those ideas with speech, you're own right to express your ideology and opinions will be the next to go. You also may want to remember that just because you've stopped someone from saying something, doesn't mean they don't still think it. And that shit will fester like a boil.
It will eventually come to a head in a very ugly way because that's how human nature works and no amount of shushing and pretending will stop it.
I would rather be awkwardly uncomfortable because someone I disagree with has a platform than watch the eruption that will happen when the entire world ignites from one side of an argument that was silenced for too long.
Dude, everyone knows that's when the machines will take over!

description

Ok, about that ending.
I felt the spirit of Fonzie beside them as Guy & that odd little group of hobos jumped that shark on those train tracks. Am I alone or did anyone else think that whole thing was mighty random?

description

You've got sleepers hidden all over who've memorized books? What? You've 'figured out' how to unlock the magic photographic memory gene?
Ok. Sure.
Why not?

description

I also felt like that the killer robot dog was kind of a waste of an incredible idea. It started off like it was going to be super scary and play a huge part in the story and then...yeah, a little bit at the end. But it was kind of anticlimactic. <--to me
I guess I just expected more?

description

At the end of the day, I'm really glad I finally got around to this. It's definitely required reading, but on the upside, it's pretty short.
AND it's not as depressing as 1984, so there's that.


Publisher: ListenUp Audiobooks
Edition: Unabridged
Tim Robbins - Narrator
April 26, 2021
The control of information has always been a preoccupation of governments which are peopled by the power-hungry as all politicians are. Without paper books there will be no definitive version for anyone or everyone to consult and we will get the official line and that will be it. Until the government changes. Then there will be another official line. And if that government stays in power for say twenty or thirty years hardly anyone will remember the truth or even a different version to pass down. A world without unchangeable, written history is a world with only stories.

An earlier review I wrote of a different edition. that has been hidden in Community Reviews it seems because of what I wrote about Amazon and Goodreads. If the cap fits....
Profile Image for Lisa.
974 reviews3,328 followers
October 3, 2017
The Wall Controls You - The Silent Take-Over Of Screen-Time!

What does "Fahrenheit 451" mean to me? Most of all, it is a declaration of love for books in an era of fast entertainment and instant gratification as a means of political control of the masses.

I used to think Brave New World and 1984 - or a combination of those two - had a more accurate take on human mind-slavery in the age of technology than "Fahrenheit 451". But increasingly, I see the world as Bradbury saw it, with people sitting in front of screens, absorbed by meaningless entertainment without purpose or fulfillment, losing their ability to talk to each other. And with the dialogue, reflection disappears from our homes and schools.

Students do "research" without ever touching a book and spit out slogans they find online, but they can't put them into context. They write their essays on screens and unlearn how to spell. They dream of a career which makes them visible on screens as well: they want to be athletes, singers, movie stars. Out of the 200 teenagers I asked, only 2 had read a book during their ten weeks of summer holidays, and most of them couldn't even say what they had been doing instead. Time passes without being noticed in front of a screen - a WALL, as it is called in the novel.

If you do not practice the skill of reading and of appreciating literature, it is lost. The book burning that takes place in "Fahrenheit 451" is not even necessary in the real world of today. Those rare students that like reading can't share their interest with anyone anymore, and it doesn't spread:

"With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be."

What Bradbury meant as satire is my work reality.

So what have I done myself, hopeless book lover that I am? I have taken to the woods, figuratively speaking, like the characters in "Fahrenheit 451". Barring television screens and computer games - the walls - from my home, I have made sure reading stays alive. My walls are filled with books, not screens. I waste no opportunity to talk about books with my children, and I make them learn poems by heart. To develop a lasting love for literature, it has to be nurtured. You are not born a reader, just like you are not born a football player or a dancer. Accessibility, motivation and training are necessary prerequisites for any interests to form. It takes time and care.

Fahrenheit 451 - the temperature at which books burn. I think Bradbury got that wrong. It is what happened to books in the past, when politicians actively tried to destroy specific books. There is no need for them to do that anymore. In our world, books drown - in the flood of quick information and easy entertainment.

The year of the flood... after the fire came the water, and it caused more damage!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,918 reviews35.3k followers
March 4, 2017
This was my first Ray Bradbury book. Do you know - that with 1, 117, 082 ratings, and
28, 668 reviews-I didn't have a clue what to expect from this book? I may have been the only person living under a rock - down deep beneath the earth -who knew nothing about this story! My Goodness .......
"I CANT IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT BOOKS!!!!!"

I have in my hands a copy of the 60th Anniversary Edition. Neil Gaiman wrote the Introduction.... and really excellent I might add! Just beautiful introduction about Fahrenheit 451 being speculative fiction....."if this goes on......." story. Ray Bradbury was writing about his present, which is our past. He was warning us about things; some of those things are obvious, and some of them, half a century later, are harder to see.

.....First: Many readers say 'that readers', should read this book: I agree!
.....Fireman no longer put out fires-- but instead burn houses that have books inside.
.....The prose is beautiful- powerful - a tribute to the value of books.
.....Ray Bradbury created a world where watching TV is what is consider socializing.
.....TV is a baby sitter for busy parents. Sounds like present day to me! This is still a concern!!!

.....One night -one fireman - Guy Montag - meets a young almost 17 year old girl, Clarisse McClellan, who asks Montag, "Do you ever read any of the books you burn?"
He laughed. "That's against the law!" But soon, Montag begins to question the
forbidden and begins to steal books. ..... As the story unfolds, Montag bumps up against challenges - scary situations - sad and dangerous situations---

This is an INSANE WORLD --- played out to extremes --- but frightening that it resembles much of our world today. -- and that is even 'more' frightening!

Towards the end of the copy of this 60th Anniversary edition is "The Story of Fahrenheit 451". I found it fascinating. The story about renting typewriters at UCLA library - paying a dime for every half hour to write this story -- had me laughing. ( sorry for laughing at Bradbury's suffering when the typewriter would jam.....but I think his story will be helpful to me on those days when I have computer breakdowns-- in the COMFORT of my own home!!!!

Fabulous- - great excerpts on every page - A STAND FOR INTOLERANCE!!!



May 28, 2020
~Φαρενάιτ 451~

"η θερμοκρασία στην οποία το χαρτί των βιβλίων πιάνει φωτιά και καίγεται..."

Ο άνθρωπος των βιβλιοθηκών,αυτοχαρακτηρίζεται ο συγγραφέας αυτός με την απίστευτη διορατικότητα. Αυτός ο δυστοπικός επαναστάτης έγραψε ένα τόσο
φανταστικό-αλληγορικό αριστούργημα που καταλήγει να είναι επιλήψιμα ρεαλιστικό και τρομακτικά διαχρονικό.

Μια αφήγηση συναρπαστική,γεμάτη ανατροπές και ανατριχιαστικές εκφάνσεις της ανθρώπινης πορείας και εξέλιξης, και ένα τέλος θλιβερά ελπιδοφόρο και ποιητικά αντισυμβατικό.

Σύγχρονη,εξελιγμένη μορφή ζωής και ανθρωπίνων σχέσεων.
Κύριο συστατικό της ευτυχίας των μεταλλαγμένων ανθρώπων; Η αυταπάτη. Η κενοδοξία. Η άγνοια που σε προχωρημένο βαθμό θεωρείται «αρετή».
Η νοσηρότητα σε πνεύμα και σώμα. Τα ηλίθια κολλημένα μυαλά που παύουν να σκέφτονται για να μην χαλάσουν την ειδυλλιακή εικονική ευδαιμονία τους.

Πρωταγωνιστής ο πυρονόμος Γκάι Μόνταγκ,ο οποίος λειτουργεί μηχανικά και σπασμωδικά χωρίς μνήμη και αισθήματα.
Μέσα στο σπίτι του υπάρχουν υπερσύγχρονες εγκαταστάσεις αποχαύνωσης και αυτοματοποίησης και μια σύζυγος που παραληρεί ανάμεσα στην εικονική πραγματικότητα που της προσφέρουν οι γιγαντοοθόνες βίντεοσκουπιδιών και τα υπνωτικά χάπια.

Έξω απο το σπίτι είναι επιφορτισμένος με το σπουδαίο καθήκον της εργασίας του: ΚΑΙΕΙ ΒΙΒΛΙΑ.
Με αυτόν τον τρόπο διατηρείται η τάξη και η αρμονία.

Τα βιβλία γενικά και κάθε είδους,φιλοσοφικά,επιστημονικά,ποιητικά,
λογοτεχνικά,
θρησκευτικά
σε κάνουν να σκέφτεσαι.
Άρα σε κάνουν να υπάρχεις. Να προβληματίζεσαι. Να ονειρεύεσαι. Να λυπάσαι. Να εξελίσσεσαι. Να αυτοδημιουργείσαι. Να συγκρίνεις. Να βλέπεις.
Εκπέμπουν το απόλυτο φως.
Τόσο απόλυτο και λευκό που πονάς απο την ακτινοβολία.

Επομένως οι ανεξέλεγκτες κυβερνήσεις για να προστατέψουν τους πολίτες τους απο όλα τα βάσανα και τους πόνους αρχίζουν καταρχάς να λογοκρίνουν.
Κατά δεύτερον,προσφέρουν αφειδώς θεάματα,μουσική,διαφημίσεις,περιοδικά και εκπομπές στα ΜΜΕ που χαλαρώνουν τον κόσμο και φυσικά περιορίζουν τη δημιουργικότητα,τη φαντασία και την ελευθερία.
Δεν υπάρχουν ατομικά δικαιώματα-δεν υπάρχουν προβλήματα.
Τόσο απλά.
Καταπίεση- άγνοια- αυταπάτη-φωτιά.

Καίνε τα βιβλία γιατί είναι επικίνδυνα για τη δημόσια υγεία.
Όσοι λίγοι αρνούνται να αποχωριστούν τα βιβλια τους καίγονται μαζί τους και το κακό σταματάει εκεί.

Ο Γκάι έπειτα απο μια τυχαία γνωριμία με ενα νεαρό κορίτσι που αγαπάει το διαβασμα και γι’αυτό θεωρείται ψυχοπαθής και κάποιον ηλικιωμένο καθηγητή που διατηρεί τη βιβλιοθήκη του στο μυαλό του, αλλάζει ριζικά τρόπο σκέψης και ζωής.

Σε αυτό το εκπληκτικό ανάγνωσμα αναδεικνύεται το ολόλευκο φως των βιβλίων μέσα απο την κατάμαυρη στάχτη τους.
Λίγοι αντέχουν το εκτυφλωτικό φως.
Πολλοί θαυμάζουν τη φλόγα της καύσης στους 451 βαθμούς της κλίμακας Φαρενάιτ,αφού η πνευματική τους αβελτηρία ικανοποιείται με άρτον και θέαμα.

Οι ελάχιστοι διασώστες βιβλίων και πολιτισμών είναι παρίες και αποδιωγμένοι απο τους νοσηρά ηλίθιους κατασκευασμένους και σύγχρονα κλωνοποιημένους πολίτες.

Το σοκαριστικό μήνυμα του βιβλίου είναι πως η απονομιμοποίηση των βιβλίων δεν ξεκίνησε μετά απο κάποια κυβερνητική διακύρηξη ή πολιτική επιβολή.
Το φαινόμενο ξεκίνησε μετά απο το συνδυασμό τεχνικής εξέλιξης των μέσων, χειραγώγησης των μαζών και φανατισμό των εκάστοτε μειονοτήτων.
Οι κυβερνήσεις βοήθησαν βεβαίως με άπλετη ευχαρίστηση αλλά δεν απαγόρεψαν τα βιβλία.

Οι ίδιοι οι άνθρωποι,με υποβοηθούμενη βούληση έπαψαν να διαβάζουν για απόλαυση και για γνώση και καλλιέργεια και πνευματικά ταξίδια.

Μόνοι τους προτίμησαν την επιβαλλόμενη και προβαλλόμενη ψυχαγωγία με μηδέν δείκτη πνευματικότητας.
Μόνοι τους υποτίμησαν και εξάλειψαν τα βιβλία.

[Για να μη γίνει ποτέ πια κανείς «το θύμα» ενός πολυδιαβασμένου ανθρώπου...].


Πολλά έχουν δει τα μάτια μου, μα αυτό μου φέρνει τρόμο....

Καλή ΑΝΑΓΝΩΣΗ!!!
Profile Image for Federico DN.
307 reviews546 followers
February 3, 2023
A book, a flamethrower, and a very troubled mind.

In a dystopian future, firemen don't put out fires... they start it. Books, and freethinkers, are burned with a flamethrower without a seconds thought. Guy Montag, one of these incendiary firemen, after a series of events starts awakening from his long and blind indoctrination. To his horror, he finds an identity and a mind of his own. But in a completely monitored and subjugated society, thinking can cost your life. One single mistake and Guy may find himself on the other side of the flamethrower...

A very short novel, with a lot of feel of Orwell's 1984. A novel that emphasizes the value of written legacy, books, and free will. An interesting read, with lots of moments and quotations to remember, but somewhat far from the dazzling 1984 experience.

What I couldn't grasp was Bradbury's confusing way to describe things, not because of the vocabulary, but because of the phrasing. Several of them seemed incomprehensible, or incoherent. Maybe I just got one of those weird faulty electronic copies. Or maybe this was just a book that I may have been able to enjoy much more reading it in spanish. Maybe. Might try Martian Chronicles someday, in spanish.

**** Both movies fell kinda flat. Interesting, but not really enjoyable, and specially not 2018.
1966 - Definitely the most faithful to the book. Some important changes to the original plot, but welcomed ones. Unremarkable acting, at best. Decent effects, considering. Not necessarily a good film, but it does have some redeeming qualities.
2018 - It would be generous if said it has any redeeming qualities. Terribly unfaithful to the book. Besides the names, setting and *some* basic plot, everything else was changed. And not in a good way. Really nice effects though.

-----------------------------------------------
PERSONAL NOTE :
[1953] [159p] [Dystopian] [Conditional Recommendable]
-----------------------------------------------

Un libro, un lanzallamas, y una mente muy perturbada.

En un futuro distópico, los bomberos no apagan incendios... sino que los inician. Los libros, y los librepensadores, son quemados con lanzallamas sin mediar palabra. Guy Montag, uno de estos bomberos incendiarios, tras una serie de eventos empieza a despertar de su largo y ciego adoctrinamiento. Para su horror, encuentra una identidad y pensamiento propio. Pero en una sociedad completamente vigilada y subyugada, pensar puede costar la vida. Un simple error y Guy podría encontrarse del otro lado del lanzallamas...

Una novela muy corta, con mucho feel de 1984 de Orwell. Una novela que resalta el valor de los libros, el legado de la palabra, y del pensamiento libre. Una lectura interesante, con varias citas y momentos para el recuerdo, pero algo lejos de la genial experiencia que fue leer 1984.

Lo que no pude digerir es la forma enrevesada que tiene Bradbury para describir las cosas. Reiteradas frases me resultaron incoherentes o irrelevantes. Tal vez me topé con una de esas raras malas copias digitales. O quizás éste sea uno de esos libros que tal vez hubiera podido disfrutar mucho más leyéndolo en español. Tal vez. Intentaré con Crónicas Marcianas algún día, en español.

**** Ambas peliculas me cayeron sosas. Interesantes, pero no muy disfrutables, especialmente no 2018.
1966 - Definitivamente la más fiel al libro. Algunos cambios importantes a la trama original, pero bien recibidos. Actuación regular, como mucho. Efectos decentes, considerando. No necesariamente una buena película, pero tiene algunas buenas cualidades.
2018 - Sería generoso decir que tiene alguna buena cualidad. Terriblemente infiel al espíritu del libro. Aparte de los nombres, contexto y *algo* de la trama original, todo fue cambiado. Y no de una buena manera. Muy buenos efectos, eso sí.

-----------------------------------------------
NOTA PERSONAL :
[1953] [159p] [Distopía] [Recomendable Condicional]
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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,737 followers
September 19, 2019
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


My second time reading this dark cautionary tale from Ray Bradbury. While reading it I realized I did not remember much from the first time. Of all the post-apocalyptic tales I have read, this is probably the simplest yet most terrifying.



Published only 4 years after the book 1984, it is obvious where post WWII fears were driving our mindset. It is also very evident how modern dystopian stories have taken direction from these mid-20th Century classics. And, in our current political climate, fears like this are coming aground again: war, government control, freedom lost, etc.

If you love modern dystopia, but have not read this . . . you need to!

If you are a fan of classics and have not read this . . . you must!

It is not a happy tale - it is deeply disturbing with very little hope, but maybe the more people that are aware of its message the safer our future will be.

There is some really terrifying fan art out there for this book:

Profile Image for Peter.
2,493 reviews450 followers
May 2, 2019
An absolute anti-utopian classic of the 20th century. I did a speech about that book in class (in 1988 I guess) to convince the other pupils how important this books is. The temperature at which books burn. No slowdown, only highspeed on the streets, reality shows at home with you being part of it, a world dominated by a government given truth. What happens if someone dares to look behind the scenes? Dares to read a uncensored book? Who is this group trying to find the truth beyond the fact falsifying system of the government? This is a must read. Ray Bradbury had a look into our modern times when he wrote this groundbraking classic. One of the best books of the 20th century!
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
389 reviews3,161 followers
December 1, 2022
“Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?”
- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Who is one of my favorite authors? Neil Gaiman.

When I opened Fahrenheit 451, who should write the introduction but none other than Neil Gaiman. So how can I not like this book?

Just to give some historical context, Fahrenheit 451 is a fantasy book written in 1953. This was before cell phones, color television, and of course the internet. The story is premised on what if firemen started fires instead of putting them out. What if firemen burned books?

Fahrenheit 451 is about censorship, but it is much more than that. Bradbury was writing about the future which is now our present. It is almost eerie to see how closely he predicted the future. The book even mentions 2022!

There are also a lot of great quotes in Fahrenheit 451, and this book is especially chilling in the modern era of book banning.

“And if you look”—she nodded at the sky—“there’s a man in the moon.” He hadn’t looked for a long time.

When was the last time that you looked at the moon?

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Profile Image for Henry Avila.
451 reviews3,230 followers
August 31, 2022
In Ray Bradbury's creepy classic, Montag is your typical modern fireman , burning books for a living with his dedicated gang. None of that old -fashioned putting out fires, he and a hose full of kerosene and just a little old match, does the trick. Sets books a blazing, it's more fun too! Besides no one reads anymore and the warm inferno, towering high into the sky, makes a pretty picture, lighting the cold, dark night . Father was a fireman, so was his grandfather, the family business, you can call it, Montag didn't really have a choice, tradition must continue. Coming back from a good evening's work, the fire setter, pardon...the savior of the world (keeping bad ideas from spreading to the gullible public, they need protection). He discovers his unhappy wife took too many sleeping pills again . An accident she later claims , maybe even believes. After getting her stomach pumped, Mildred is as good as new, poor Guy, on the long road of life's journey, every step seems in the wrong direction. Mildred is addicted to wall to wall television, (so are her friends) the fantasy world negates somewhat the pain and emptiness . Happy shows of course, no others will penetrate the dreams of the ladies, reality is not fun . Yet doubts come when a nearly 17 -year- old curious girl, a next door neighbor, starts asking Guy Montag, many uncomfortable questions, Clarisse McClellan admits she's crazy. In the firehouse, Montag spends most of his time playing cards with the fellows, strangely in the future, no women are employed in that noble profession. But plenty of cigarette smoking, they are real firemen . Captain Beatty starts getting suspicious of Montag, the mechanical pet dog, also, it likes killing rats, the four legged kind I mean, and hates our great hero. War is in the air , jet bombers are flying around the skies in circles, atomic bombs threaten to rain down and annihilate the so- called civilization . Not to worry; get back to the TV walls, people and forget. Clarisse mysterious disappears, one ordinary day, she's here, then .... gone...Finally the forbidden fruit's temptation, becomes quite unbearable , and Montag arriving in a house full of illegal , but strangely attractive books, takes a sample. Big horrendous mistake, worse, the owner, an old woman, refuses to leave her place and goes literally up in flames with her beloved "friends". Everyone says it was a shame , but her own fault; no tears should be shed. Afterwards an incident occurs and Guy has to flee for his own life, the relentless mechanical dog is on the hunt. The petrified Montag jumps into the cold river and peacefully, gently floats down the beautiful stream. Getting out soon after , he sees a fire above, with a group of "Hobos" near the water . Is that a flash in the sky ? This warning of a maybe world, in the years to come , is still relevant today , though so much time has passed. SCIENCE FICTION makes for an interesting atmosphere, anything is possible and Bradbury's poetic words dazzle the mind.
Profile Image for Fernando.
676 reviews1,065 followers
March 22, 2018
"No hace falta quemar libros para que una cultura desaparezca. Mucho peor es no leerlos" - Ray Bradbury

Cuesta mucho encontrar en el vasto mundo de la literatura un libro que defienda precisamente al libro como patrimonio cultural de la Humanidad. Más allá de la distopía que encierra, la maestría de Bradbury nos posiciona ante los peligros que a veces significa para el poder el hecho de que la gente "piense" y quiera valerse por sí misma. Uno de mis libro preferidos de toda la vida...

Esta era mi pequeña reseña allá por el 2015, cuando este libro inolvidable de un también inolvidable Ray Bradbury dominaba mi sentidos y se transformaba en uno de mis preferidos de toda la vida. Y aún sigue siéndolo. Aún sigue teniendo esa misma vigencia inalterable en mí.
Es que mi grado de admiración hacia el viejo Ray sigue en ascenso y no se detendrá nunca. Es un escritor del que aprendo. Esa es la palabra. Es un maestro, un abuelo, un profesor y un profeta. Todo lo que irradió en su literatura fue sabiduría y genialidad. Sus novelas y cuentos están poblados de enseñanzas y advertencias. Mensajes y premoniciones. Fue un erudito, un escritor que supo ver mucho antes todas las calamidades que golpearon a la Humanidad sumiéndola en un sopor de las que muchas veces le costó salir.
Anticipó avances tecnológicos también. A partir de libros como "Crónicas marcianas", "El hombre ilustrado" o "Las doradas manzanas del sol" supo advertirnos que el futuro podía transformarse en algo peligroso e incómodo.
Al final de esta novela se percibe ese aire enrarecido de una latente catástrofe que hace eclosión arrasando una ciudad. ¿Acaso hoy no sentimos esa opresiva preocupación con las pruebas nucleares de un dictador desequilibrado en la supuestamente remota Corea del Norte?
Esto y lo sabía Ray Bradbury. Él nos dijo que cometimos el error luego de la segunda bomba mundial y que probablemente podamos volver a cometerlo. Porque somos humanos, falibles, inestables. Hemos atravesado épocas de paz y guerra, pero siempre se han vivido largos años de desigualdad. De poder desmedido sobre gente oprimida y esa disparidad puede terminar mal.
En "Fahrenheit 451" , se nos pinta una sociedad controlada y vigilada. El libro es una de las tres mejores distopías que puedan leerse junto con "1984" y "Un mundo feliz". En la contratapa de la novela Kingsley Amis dice que "De entre todos los infiernos del conformismo, Fahrenheit 451 ofrece el retrato más convincente." Disiento a medias con el señor Amis.
Creo que ese conformismo está más exacerbado en "Un mundo feliz", en donde la distópica Humanidad de la novela de Huxley está sedada por el soma y la gente no sufre preocupaciones. Es una sociedad controlada por fármacos, y se distancia mucho de la de Oceanía, de "1984", en donde vive Winston, allí las cosas son más difíciles e incluso mucho más peligrosas aún que las de "Fahrenheit 451".
En "Fahrenheit 451", su personaje principal, Guy Montag es parte de un cuerpo de bomberos que no apaga incendios sino se dedica a quemar libros de aquellos descarriados que el sistema no llega a controlar hasta que son denunciados, porque como digo al principio, el poder que controla todo es peligroso que el ser humano piense, se valga por sí mismo, se apoye en lo que escritores, filósofos y pensadores y queda evidenciado en el pensamiento del capitán Beatty, jefe de Montag y del cuartel de bomberos cuando insidiosamente sostiene: "Un libro es un arma cargada en la casa de al lado. Quémalo. Quita el proyectil del arma. Domina la mente del hombre. ¿Quién sabe cuál podría ser el objetivo del hombre que leyese mucho? Yo, no lo resistiría un minuto."
La frase de Beatty nos refiere hasta ese punto se ha llegado. Sin la violencia explicita ni el totalitarismo desmedido de "1984", la sociedad en esta novela es vigilada, controlada, perseguida y castigada, si es necesario.
Las tres distopías tienen algo bien claro en común y son los tres personajes principales de cada una de ellas: Guy Montag en este libro, Winston en "1984" y Bernard Marx en "Un mundo feliz".
¿Por qué? Bueno, precisamente por querer salirse del sistema, por rebelarse, por querer demostrar que su realidad es injusta y que no se puede vivir así. Se salen de su curso, comienzan a realizar pequeños actos subversivos, se suman a las minorías que resisten estos crueles totalitarismo y como es de prever, son descubiertos.
Montag, al igual que los héroes de los otros libros, descubre a la vez lo que debería estar bien pero sigue mal. Su vida está en suspenso. Cuando Clare McLellan, esa chica que conoce y que lo saca de su abotargamiento le hace la simple pregunta "¿Eres feliz?", simplemente no sabe qué responder.
Ha estado viviendo por años con una esposa que es en sí prácticamente una desconocida. Mildred es una mujer hueca, vacía, ausente, atontada por sus enormes pantallas. Su vida es anodina, supuestamente agradable pero fría, sintética. No tiene ningún tipo de acercamiento con Montag y las cosas siguen adelante por su propia inercia. Son dos desconocidos que alguna vez se casaron y viven juntos. Solamente eso.
Durante una de sus salidas con los bomberos, Montag tendrá una experiencia en extremo shockeante y a partir de ella no será el mismo. Prontamente "despertará" para acercarse a lo más peligroso e inconveniente que pueda cruzarse en su vida: los libros.
No seguiré adentrándome en la historia porque siempre hay lectores que no leyeron "Fahrenheit 451", pero sí sostendré lo expuesto al principio de esta reseña:
El libro, es uno de los mayores tesoros que la Humanidad ha tenido y tendrá por siempre. No importa que algún día sean devorado por las llamas, porque eso ya pasó muchas veces, la última vez a manos del nazismo.
El libro nunca morirá, porque es eterno. La defensa de Bradbury en "Fahrenheit 451" es inspiradora, sanadora y edificante. El libro es un objeto precioso, una gema, es ese amigo que nunca decepciona como decía Carlyle.
Un libro nos hace sentir orgullosos como personas lectoras, nos dignifica, nos enseña. Para un lector pasar cuidadosamente los dedos por sus páginas es una darle caricia, un mimo. "Los libros van siendo el único lugar de la casa donde aún se puede estar tranquilo", decía don Julio Cortázar y no se equivocaba. Aquel que no es lector tal vez no entienda el por qué de tanta pasión, tanto amor, tanta admiración que los lectores tenemos por los libros.
Bradbury nos dice que en el fondo no importa que desaparezcan mientras nosotros, los lectores los tengamos en la mente y en el corazón y creo que ese es el mensaje que quiere dejarnos al final de esta novela a partir de esos "hombres libros" con los que Montag se encuentra en el bosque luego de su persecución.
¿Pinta algo inverosímil Bradbury en este libro? No. ¿Acaso no han sido muchas personas perseguidas o asesinadas a partir de sus pensamientos, de lo que escribieron o de lo que intentaron cambiar a partir de las líneas de un libro? Claro que no.
Siempre, este libro será uno de mis preferidos porque casualmente es un libro cuyo tema principal trata acerca de la importancia que siempre ha tenido en nosotros.
Todos los días agradezco a Dios el haberme dado esta pasión por los libros y también le digo gracias a Ray Bradbury por haberme enseñado a ser un mejor lector.
Profile Image for karen.
3,976 reviews170k followers
September 23, 2021
so i have decided that this is the summer i read all the books i "should" have read by now—all the classics i have not gotten around to. this was, oddly, sparked by an asshole customer who said to alyssa "this is why small bookstores are better—no one in big bookstores knows anything about books." which is, of course, inaccurate and ridiculous—poor alyssa is a nineteen-year-old girl who has not read any philip roth, and wasn't able to recommend a title to the (fifty-year-old) man, but she's probably read more books than most people you will pass on the street today. (unless you live on bookland ave) and i, too, love small bookstores, but that is not the point. another thing that is not the point is that there are other people in the store besides the nineteen-year-old girl (who is really not the target audience for philip roth), and between tom and greg alone, every philip rothbook has been read by our staff. anyway, so i just started thinking about all the books i haven't read that are canonical (not philip roth—i've read four and that's plenty) but, say, fahrenheit 451. so—long review short, i read this yesterday. and it's pretty much what i expected. even if you haven't read it, you know what it is about. i think it makes some important points, but it won't be making my all-time-favorite list. still, i'm glad i read it. his afterword is very good—i think i may have liked it more than the novel itself. so.

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October 17, 2022
This book is about censorship. GR have censored this review and hidden it from Community Reviews because they do not like what I have to say about Amazon and GR. Oh the irony!

Is Fahrenheit 451 the temperature at which Kindles melt?

This book is about censorship by book burning. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns. This review is about reading Fahrenheit 451 or any other book considered controversial by any group at all and the future of censorship in the marketplace.

Amazon, GrAmazon, is redefinining our experience of literature! Amazon has evaded having to pay tax and comply with labour laws in many countries, in many US states. Now it is getting around the various laws that protect free speech in order to define what people may or may not read purely for the sake of making Even More Money. America is a capitalist country, Amazon is only 'living the dream' and taking it to the extreme of that cliche, power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. The power of the monopoly.

For Goodreads, comments and shelves are to be self-censored under pain of summary deletion of anything that offends GR, because it is off-topic or criticises the author. Which is of course at the root of it. Since my reviews are generally snippets of my life, they are mostly off-topic, however they do not offend GR and so they still stand. So from this I gather that to offend GrAmazon in any way puts your work at risk of deletion. 'Offence' is always going to be "off-topic". What stunningly clever lawyer thought that one up, it covers everything!

The world of books already for many people defined by Amazon will also in the future be limited by them into the boundaries Amazon sets. At the moment they are deleting books with overtly sexual titles and others with sexual content they don't approve of and also deleting books with political themes. And should Amazon decide to make what they think is appropriate retroactive, well no-one actually owns a Kindle book, it is only rented, and I am sure in the terms of the rental there is a little tiny bit which says they can alter the words "if necessary" or perhaps replace the entire book by another (sanitized) edition.

Most people now, when they think of Eeyore, think of Disney's loveable soft-toy donkey and have no idea of the original irascible, cynical, loner of a character that A.A. Milne wrote. Sickly-sweet Disney is all about profits. It is so much better to have a happy ending, all-American accents and nothing to offend the parents so everything is rewritten to fit those parameters and so these stories pass into folk history with their literary origins forgotten. Imagine if the Little Mermaid had ended as in the original - the Mermaid has the choice between murdering the prince's new wife or committing suicide! So it was rewritten and it is the rewritten version that has become the standard.

How soon before books featuring paedophilia, rape and violence in a positive light are banned or reworked? Nabokov's Lolita won't be first on the firing line, Neither would the Q'uran with Muhammed marrying a 9 year old, and the Bible so full of threats, violence and murder. These books are too well-known to mess with, but self-published authors - they are on the frontline.

This a review that is not at all on-topic but about the repression of books even today, Animal Farm, just as that book is.

And then with Amazon's domination of the SPA market, the eBook market and the world's biggest bookclub, Goodreads, you can forget any laws enshrining freedom of expression in books, because if it doesn't pass Amazon's ideas of what is right and fit to promote profits, it won't be published by them. Publish it any other way, and who will hear of it? Did the books still burn if the people there who saw them on fire had no means to tell anyone else? Did Goodreads censorship really happen if only 1,000 people knew and 19,999,000 don't?

So censorship is not just deleting material, it is making sure that no one knows there is any form of censorship in operation - firstly by threatening people so they self-censor and secondly by limiting drastically the number of people who know about it. Oh the irony if this review is deleted.

What we need is another book company to break Amazon's monopoly, but it won't happen, Amazon will just buy it out. I have no solution to this problem. I forsee a sort of electronic version of Russian samizdat for those 'in the know', for the other 19,999,000 well they say you can't miss what you've never had.

There you go. Capitalism without controls.

The original review on BookLikes.
March 2, 2023
From 1953 to 2023 – oh, how times haven’t changed.

Seriously, did Ray Bradbury peer into a crystal ball while writing his dystopian classic, Fahrenheit 451? It sure seems like he did.

Because the world Bradbury foresaw back in 1953 is so eerily reminiscent of our world today. The book burning, the technology overload, the brainwashing and oppression of independent thought – it’s all very familiar.

There is much to unpack. I could spend days dissecting the themes, symbolism, and how the novel is a mirror image of today’s society, 70 years after it was written. But I won’t do it here, as no one really wants to read a lengthy dissertation on Goodreads. I’ll instead leave my thoughts swirling in my head and voice them to my husband. He will listen, nod, and smile.

I am so grateful to my dear friend, Terrie Robinson, for nudging me in the direction of the audiobook of Fahrenheit 451. Performed by the talented actor, Tim Robbins, his incredible narration creates a memorable listening experience.

Now off I go to unplug the TV and power down my devices. It's time to read a book.
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