Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Listening to the Walls

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.

It’s hard to describe Fahrenheit 451. It was a great book. A powerful book. One that is haunting almost. One whose characters and whose world stays with you long after you close the book. Montag, our hero, is a firefighter. His job is to burn houses and books. Books are illegal. Reading is deemed too dangerous. Those who hold onto the past must be destroyed along with these ‘ancient’ relics of books that are said to be ever-contradictory. Montag, it seems, has always gone along with the flow. Always accepted the status quo. Always accepted that this was his job. That this was what firemen did. But then, after a chance encounter with a seventeen-year-old neighbor, a girl named Clarisse, he begins to question everything in his life. Was it true that firemen used to put out fires? That they used to try to save instead of destroy? That they used to save lives instead of destroying them? Are books really that dangerous? Are ideas really that threatening?
Once he begins to question his life, his world, things will never be the same. Even after Clarisse's mysterious disappearance--and apparent death--he can’t stop thinking about her. About her odd lifestyle. About how she and her family would sit around and talk on the front porch. How they thought that talking and thinking were more important that listening to the walls. Or wasting your life away by plugging into whatever entertainment was being thrown at you at the time. About how she liked to go for walks. How she liked to think. Liked to ask questions.
Underneath the surface of Montag, there is apparently a rebel. He has been secretly collecting books and hiding them in the walls of his house. The clues are all there--his boss’ suspicions are right in front of him--yet he seems oblivious to the danger. His books have become so precious to him that he almost would rather choose them than life. Almost. He’s not crazy. He knows that eventually they will have to be burned. He knows that each day brings greater risk, greater danger. But he wants to read. Wants to absorb as much as he possibly can. It is not easy for him to do. There have been generations of people trained NOT to read books. Trained not to think. Trained not to learn or question. But his greatest possession is a copy of the Bible--both testaments.
Full of danger, suspense, adventure, Fahrenheit 451 is an exciting, scary read. A depiction of a society where the people have been brainwashed to focus on themselves. Brainwashed to think only of fun, fun, fun. Brainwashed to forget poverty, hunger, and war. Brainwashed to forget the darker sorrows of life and told to think only of good things, happy things, fun things. Reading is too dangerous in such a ‘perfect’ world. Reading leads to thinking. And thinking leads to....a realm of possibilities really.

’It’s been a long time. I’m not a religious man. But it’s been a long time.’ Faber turned the pages, stopping here and there to read. ‘It’s as good as I remember. Lord, how they’ve changed it in our parlors these days. Christ is one of the family now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.’

From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, p. 109-110

The whole culture’s shot through. The skeleton needs melting and reshaping. Good God, it isn’t as simple as just picking up a book you laid down half a century ago. Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord. You firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze, but it’s a small sideshow indeed, and hardly necessary to keep things in line. So few want to be rebels anymore.

From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, p. 115


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP