Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reading Through the Classics: Fahrenheit 451

TITLE: Fahrenheit 451
AUTHOR: Ray Bradbury
CATEGORY: Modern Classic/Adult
GENRE: Dystopian
PAGES: 159 (for this version anyway)
THOUGHTS: Yes, believe it or not, I never had to read this one for school. I suspect there are two reasons. The first is that I went to school in the bible belt. This book is generally not popular among that crowd (don't know why though, it doesn't go into religion that much at all). The second is that all of my teachers were very into the teaching only dead white dudes who wrote the serious kinds of literature. In other words, no fantasy/sci-fi of any kind. If you're looking for one of the things that probably helped make me a genre book lover, this right here is probably one of them.
Reading a book like this is a strange experience. It's one of those that are very influential and as I was reading I kept thinking to myself " THIS is where that sort of idea came from!" I suspect many read this book and misinterpreted many of the messages in it. I can also clearly see where it has influenced dystopian writers as well.
Personally...I have mixed feelings about it. As a classic, it is absolutely important, and I think everyone should read it. As a book though....I liked the things it talked about more then the actual book, if that makes sense. There's a reason this book gets assigned in school: it's a great conversation starter. There are so many ideas floating around that get you thinking. It was just a little too anti-technology for my taste (and I strongly suspect that this is where baby boomers got their technology-ruins-us-all attitude from). Also, after reading the coda and afterward that was included in this book...I don't particularly like Bradbury much as a person. But that happens with a lot of writers for me, so oh well.
This is a fascinating read though. If you're into dystopians, it's a great way to look and see where the genre got a lot of its influence from.

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