Friday, July 31, 2009

Shellie - Review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is my first post here at The Fill in the Gaps 100 Project.

Fahrenheit 451 audio

Mini Synopsis: This is a classic dystopian science fiction novel written by a “Grand Master” of the genre. It tells of a future world where books are illegal. They are burned by firemen whose sole purpose in life is to rid society of their supposed evils. Where the members of this society are indoctrinated with an audio/video infused system that produces a collective numbness. The main character Montag is one of these firemen, whom after some internal conflict comes to a transitional point in his life where he questions the loss of books and their importance to humanity.

My thoughts: I listened to this book on an audio version on my iPod which was read by the author. It was my first book downloaded this way and I had some problems listening to it in order. In addition, when I first read Fahrenheit 451 when I was in high school the only thing I remember is my own teenage boredom. So naturally my thoughts are still a bit “choppy” around the book.

However, I do know that revisiting it again in middle age, I can now relate to its significance as to why it was required reading for high school in the late 70’s. I believe it was to show us, as young adults, a significant precept in the US constitution - the right of our freedom of speech – specifically the press. So it was an indirect lesson in civics.

The story reminds me that it is important to remember, and I truly believe, that information - specifically in this example books, should not be censored. Instead, labeled as we do with the movie industry’s rating system so that the individual has a choice, but never banned. It is a slippery slope if even one of our basic rights be dismissed or controlled as exemplified in this society. If I had not been so possessed with teenage apathy in my first so called reading of this book then perhaps I would have gotten half of the author's point.

Here I finish with a quote which is significant on the issue of one of the gifts books bring us:

… books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They're Caesar's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, 'Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.' Most of us can't rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.

My rating for the book is 3 out of 5 stars. Translation - I liked it and recommend it for anyone interested in classic Science Fiction.

Audio Book Stats:

Fahrenheit 451 – by Ray Bradbury

Unabridged – read by author

Harper Collins – Harper Audio

6 hours –29 minutes

ISBN: 9780060855062

May 3, 2005

If you are interested in purchasing information for this audio book or the book at Amazon please link to my posting on Layers of Thought – Review: Fahrenheit 451.


moonrat said...

rar, i blasted through this one a couple months ago and found it not fun. i have always hated dystopian fictions, though, so i don't know why i was surprised.

Anonymous said...

Nice one to know about this...

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Kayanna Kirby said...

I thought it was ironic that this book is about the outlaw of books while video and audio takes it's place and you listen to it via an audiobook.

When listening to audiobooks there are ways to get the full book without having to press next each time a section is completed. there is a mp3 to mp4 converter if you are using an ipod or iphone

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

moonrat -
Sorry about the late response to your comment. I did not realize there were comments -
I was not to thrilled with this when I read it in High School. It felt like torture....It was good this time around but hey I'm 30 years older.
I do like dystopian though -

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Kayanna -
It is funny that you would note that.....and it is ironic. :)
You know I don't know if I would have been able to actually read this book.... listening to these classics is so much easier.
Thanks for the info regarding the converter... I will look into that.