Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1953 (my copy is the 50th anniversary edition pictured above)
Pages:  190 (with Afterword, Coda, and a Q&A)
ISBN:  0345342968
Genre:  Sci-Fi/Classic

Start Date:  Mar. 13, 2011
Finished Date:  Mar. 15, 2011 (3 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  On my TBR list

Read for:  What's in a Name 4 Challenge- Book With a Number (3/6)

Summary:  In a future America where books are illegal to read, a fireman responsible for burning any books found is influenced by a precocious young girl to resist what he has always known and escape the monotony of his life.


I never thought I would find a writer who can create more suspense than Stephen King.  And in so few words!  Ray Bradbury creates a terrifying, almost believable future in which people are discouraged from venturing outdoors, are entertained through wall-to-wall TVs in which they become part of the repetitious, soap opera-type shows, and are forbidden from reading books.  The anti-hero protagonist, Guy Montag, is getting pretty sick and tired of this life, despite stepping into the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him as a firefighter, who in a bizarre reversal, does not put out fires, but starts them on books some resistors have kept hidden.

Bradbury's style is vintage science fiction: choppy sentences that should be read quickly, action slowly building from the beginning to a frenetic pace by midway and coasting to the end, and mechanical technologies only vaguely recognizable at the original time of printing, but much more conceivable now.  People watch TV on wall-sized screens, listen to music and converse via tiny "seashell" earbuds, and are highly desensitized to human emotion, escaping through TV shows with paper-thin plots and vague characters.  You feel Guy's pain from beginning to end, wanting to give his doped-up wife, Mildred, a firm shake by the shoulders, and sic the Mechanical Hound, a grotesque watchdog who euthanizes "criminals" that fight against authority, on Beatty, the head fireman whose past is sympathetic, but his actions are unjustifiable.

The 50th anniversary edition comes with an interesting afterword written by Bradbury with fascinating anecdotes about the book (for example, did you know that the characters Montag and Beatty are named after brands of paper and pencil [respectively] and that Bradbury wrote the novel on a pay typewriter that charged a dime per half hour?).  Bradbury also reflects on the stage and film adaptations of the book (both pleasing to the author) and a subsequent scene that he contemplated adding to the book's later editions in which Beatty's motives are further represented.  This is followed by a fiercely written Coda that criticizes backstabbing editors who censored Bradbury's numerous works for the purposes of pleasing particular social groups, which makes one feel a tad uncomfortable at first (some may find comments borderline racist), but has a point nonetheless about artists: no one can fully please everyone and no one's work should be "edited" in an attempt to do so.  The book ends with a 50th anniversary Q&A between Bradbury (now 90) and Ballantine Books, the publishers of this edition, with a contemporary slant, including comments on how the book can be compared to today's digital age and its envitable comparison to other sci-fi classics, such as George Orwell's 1984.

If you are a book lover, you must read this book, which will no doubt terrify you, but make you even more grateful for the freedoms of expression, thought, and literacy that we all share.

Rank:  (A+)- Outstanding, A Must-Read!


  1. Great review! I love that he essentially rented a typewriter to write this book!

  2. Great review! It's on my TBR list but I've always been a little afraid to actually pick it up - the message is just so creepy.

  3. I really need to re-read this novel. My son read it for American Lit this year, and his copy is sitting on my shelf. It's a great book. When I was a teen myself, I read every Ray Bradbury book in our public library, but it's been years now since I've read one. And it sounds like it would be fascinating to read this NOW and see how our own society has changed over the years to maybe mirror this sci fi one in some ways.

    Great review!


  4. Don't know why that Mechanical hound affected me so much, enough not to love it. Perhaps, I should read it again and get past that!

  5. I definitely need to re-read this! It's such a great book, and reminds me of how wonderful dystopia can be (before it was flooded with the new YA stuff out these days).

  6. This was a scary book! I would love to get a hold of this edition and read the comments from the author. Great review.

  7. I loved this book, when I read it last year. In my country, more and more students are choosing "in demand" courses. There are only fifteen Literature majors in our entire university, and that scares me. It feels like the events depicted in the book are slowly becoming reality.

  8. Thanks for all your comments :)

    Sarah (the first Sarah ;)~ I thought that part was so cool to learn. Imagine how his thought process worked with the clock and money on his mind!

    Trish~ Indeed, it's a creepy concept but I urge you to give it a try. It has quite an amazing ending that leaves you with a bit of optimism.

    Sue~ Go for it! I hope your son enjoyed it or at least got something out of it. It's hard to say I "enjoyed" a book like this but since it made me think, I'd have to say that I did :)

    BookQuoter~ That Mechanical Hound...In the Q&A, Bradbury mentions that it was not part of the movie. I'm surprised, given the technology that could make it even more menacing!

    Sarah (the 2nd ;)~ I haven't read much YA dystopia...okay, if I'm honest, practically zero. I think maybe the genre is a bridge from adolescence to adulthood--not quite up to that level of terror but inching ever closer.

    Sharon~ I thought the edition had some interesting information & a "deleted scene" from the original book that adds a layer to Beatty's character. I hope you'll check it out.

    Darlyn~ Yes, I'm seeing that trend, too, as I graduated from a very science-driven university. I guess we can only hope that the literary-educated minds can fight to keep reading alive.

  9. I just requested this book from paperbackswap. It's a book I've been wanting to read for ages, and I've seen it mentioned on a few blogs recently. Great review!

  10. I love your review. This has been one of my favorites for years. There's nothing more terrifying to a book lover than a world where books are illegal.

  11. I remember reading this in high school and not really liking it. I read it about a year ago and really enjoyed it and appreciated it a lot more. Great review.