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The Curious Curator's Book Blog

Contemporary art curator. Student. Book addict. Art lover. Geek. Dreamer. Curious about everything. Check out my website http://thecuriouscurator.com/

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Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I have mixed feelings about this book.

 

The premise is very interesting. Ray Bradbury imagines a world where books are banned, and it's not very difficult to imagine this world actually coming to life. After all, books weren't banned from one moment to another - people gradually lost interest in them, in favor of other, more immediate forms of entertainment, that didn't challenge them emotionally or intellectually, and, therefore, apparently made their life much easier. Television, colors, fast cars, sports, all that was important was the fun. And, like Beatty, the firemen captain in the book, says, books are full of controversy, they don't agree with each other, they don't provide answers, they're not real, they take too long, they're too complicated and controversial. Gradually, people started rejecting them, and eventually they became outlawed because of the perceived unrest they caused.

 

It's really interesting to read about the difference books made in the life of the main character (although we realize, by the end of the book, that books are only a symbol, and the problem runs much deeper than the simple burning of books). And it's not hard to make a few analogies between the society that's described in the book and our own society (something about snippet-sized bits of fast, thoughtless entertainment rings a bell). That alone is chilling and makes one think, "What if?". Like all good books, this one raises questions, providing food for thought for us to make our own answers.

 

The only problem I had with this book was the way it was written (style, if you will). At times it was very good, but a lot of times it was filled to the point of exhaustion with metaphors. On a single paragraph I would count five, six metaphors, one for how the street looked like, another for how it smelled, another for the character's state of mind, and so on. It got a bit tiring. Then again, maybe that's a question of personal preference... But it was, in my opinion, a bit distracting from the actual story.

 

All in all, I'm very glad I read this book. The questions it raised will stay with me for a long time. I recommend it to book lovers, and anyone who is interested in the way society and media relate to each other.