I feel like I'm about to write an English paper or something--you know that feeling of wanting to procrastinate on something but also wanting to finish it at the same time?  I MAKE NO SENSE.

I also haven't written a review in a long time.  That's because I'm a lazy butt.

So, why did I add Fahrenheit 451 to my reading list?  Because it was recommended to me by my brother (as well as my dad), and when my brother recommends me a book it's kind of a big deal.  He doesn't read very much.  But he read it in his grade 12 English class this past semester and kept reading ahead because he liked it so much.

I can certainly say that it's one of my favourite of what I call "English class-y" books and what my creative writing teacher calls "literature", because I suppose I just found it a lot more engaging and interesting--not to mention liking the characters better--than in, say, 1984 or Lot 49 or--don't make me think about it again--The Shipping News.

At the same time, it's hard to say a lot about it because it's such a short book, and not that much happens in it (I mean things happen, important things, page-turning things, but it's not jam-packed).  One thing that I didn't like--though it was realistic--was how characters would be introduced and you would get curious about them and then you'd never meet them again.  I mean obviously we couldn't meet Clarisse again, but she was probably my favourite character.  I was also kind of hoping that her uncle would come into the story some time.

That being said, I very much enjoyed certain aspects of the book, particularly the way the writing changes when Montag is particularly stressed out, confused, or scared.  I also like the idea of old people roaming the countryside as human dust jackets of the books they've memorized, to preserve them in the hope of a brighter future in which they can be printed and read again.

Random but ever-present thought: are you supposed to say "Fahrenheit Four-Fifty-One" or "Fahrenheit Four-Five-One"? I kept wondering that.

I'm getting out of practice with these reviews, this isn't good!  But I do have some quotes to point out, so here they are:

"But do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film-teacher.  That's not social to me at all.  It's a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it's wine when it's not." --pg. 27

(that's Clarisse talking about school)

" 'We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed.  As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over."  --pg. 67

(that's actually Montag reading a quote from a book, but I don't know which book it is, if it is one that actually exists!)

"Is it true, the world works hard and we play?  Is that why we're hated so much?  I've heard the rumours about hate, too, once in a long while, over the years.  Do you know why?  don't, that's sure!  Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave.  They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!  I don't hear those idiot bastards in your parlour talking about it." --pg. 70

(the thing about the cave just made me think of the Myth of the Cave, and I get really excited when things remind me of my grade 12 philosophy class)

"Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget.  There is nothing magical in them, at all.  The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us." --pg. 79

"If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn." --pg. 100

(those two were spoken by Faber)

They weren't at all certain that the things they carried in their heads might make every future dawn glow with a purer light, they were sure of nothing save that the books were on file behind their quiet eyes, the books were waiting, with their pages uncut, for the customers who might come by in later years, some with clean and some with dirty fingers. --pg. 148

That's the last quote.  Did you know that this book has only three chapters?  Yeah.  But it has a lot of breaks in between, so I suppose that makes up for it.

I'm not going to tell you to or not to read it, that's up to you!  Most of you have probably read it for English class already anyway.  My grade 12 English teacher chose Lot 49 instead.

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Tags: book-review, books, dystopian-fiction, english-class-y-books, fahrenheit-451, fiction, ray-bradbury


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Comment by Adela Bezemer-Cleverley on February 8, 2013 at 7:06pm

my book review was on the main page? whaaa... also Clover I liked some things about The Shipping News but my whole gr. 12 english lit class has a bias against it because we had the most horrible teacher who would delight in reading out the gore and less-appropriate scenes out loud to us and then making us analyse them it was just not fun. also we had to read it instead of lotr which would have been the other option had we done what the other schools around were doing. anyway. I am not going to rant about that. and thank you others for the recommendations! 

Comment by Julia on February 8, 2013 at 7:09am

YOU MAKE A LOT OF SENSE- I loved the book! What I found particulary wounderful of it was the description of books, how much love and wonder Bradbury put into it. It's inspiring, really. I strongly recommend you to read A Brave New World, another brilliant distopian book :) 

Comment by Savannah White on February 4, 2013 at 7:39pm

read it freshman year and loved it

the censorship was infuriating

Comment by Michelle on February 3, 2013 at 2:29am
Love seeing a book review on the main page and I loved this book. I also loved The Shipping News though...
Comment by Sarah H on February 1, 2013 at 10:33am

I flipping love this book.

Bradbury himself said "Four-five-one."  I don't like the sound as much, myself, so I will continue to say it "four-fifty-one."  Interestingly, I looked up an interview with him on youtube to confirm this, and he said he wrote the book in nine days.  Cripes.

A quick googling reveals the friendship quote is from "The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D." by James Boswell. 

Bradbury is a master of the pithy quotation, in my humble opinion.  His wikiquote page is a treasure trove.

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