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I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
It was a pleasure to read.

I was somewhat blown away by this novel. Perhaps it is simply my personal taste. I seem to enjoy novels about the future and in particular ones with a dystopian element. (see my reviews of Brave New World and 1984 for example)

I have read a handful of articles about how in analysing this novel most people miss the target. They claim it is a novel about book censorship whereas Bradbury claims it is more a novel focusing on talking about whether other forms of media would destroy our stories. However this is not a didactic text with only one main message (and there are a handful of those which I believe exist). This like all books is one which can be interpreted in various ways without missing the fact that at its heart this is a novel written for entertainment.

Bradbury in his after-word mentions that no one would print a book that featured book censorship at the time he intended to publish it. And book censorship is certainly one clear theme although not necessarily intended to be the main theme. It just so happened that Fahrenheit 451 was published at a time when such a topic was controversial. I doubt however that we can necessarily read a historical or political motivation as such into the novel more that it so happened to be released at that time.

Curiously also in the after-word Bradbury mentioned that his inspiration came through five other stories he had written. Each of them also focusing on books and encounters with the law. He also mentioned that he was inspired by the burnt library books at Alexandria and the Salem witch trials. Curiously the Salem witch trials were the focus of another personal favourite - the play The Crucible - which was written at a similar time and used the witch trials to challenge McCarthyism.

Personally what I saw in the novels were various themes and issues being discussed. I saw a tale about scapegoats and about totalitarian control through the media. I felt that Bradbury's story reveals a lesson about humanity. That we seek to throw blame about human evils upon tools like guns and books but in the end they are just tools. I don't perceive any book as possessing inherent evil although I do believe that there may be ideas contained within them which could perhaps be perceived as such or are at their heart morally flawed. In Fahrenheit 451 the society attempted to destroy the tools to remove such perceived ideas and yet ultimately they replaced the ideas in books with flawed thoughts of their own. For instance they justified killing a man walking on the street or burning a woman alive.

I highly recommend this novel. Bradbury's prose is beautiful and poignantly lyrical. It's sparse and he uses very few elaborate phrases but he has a way of cobbling phrases and metaphors together to beautiful effect. There are times when the writing appears to be in the manner of stream of consciousness but Bradbury writes it well. In fact while his story is a harrowing and on the whole haunting (and somewhat bleak) portrayal he writes it with care, devotion and artistry.

The tale of how firemen become book burners and how one fireman decides to read the forbidden material will not be easily forgotten by me. And I feel that this is a novel which has well stood the test of time and deserves to be called a classic and read and studied by future generations.