Monday, March 26, 2007

Fahrenheit 451

This is a fascinating book about reading and books - it tells the story of Guy Montag, a fireman, whose job is starting fires. His job is to find and destroy books, as they are considered as subversive and revolutionary (the title refers to the temperature that paper catches fire). All printed material is banned and individualism is actively discouraged. People get their news and entertainment from a large screen on the wall where messages are conveyed to "the family".

In the book, it seems that books encourage independent thought, which is bad (allegedly). Montag's exposure to literature and literary people however has an effect on him and he starts to question what he has always been taught to believe.

It has some interesting ideas and comes up with some good points about reading which are still valid today.

Guy Montag : "We burn them to ashes and then burn the ashes. That's our official motto."

It is similar to 1984, Clockwork Orange, and Brave New World in some ways. It looks at a future which is not too dissimilar to the present we currently have.

Well worth reading if you like books, but be aware that the movie version is not so hot (if you'll pardon the pun). It was made in 1966 and now seems quite dated. It was directed by Fran├žois Truffaut and is his only English language film (Truffaut does not speak any English).

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