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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 (original 1953; edition 1987)

by Ray Bradbury

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29,61153030 (4.03)1 / 902
Title:Fahrenheit 451
Authors:Ray Bradbury
Info:Ballantine Books (1987), Mass Market Paperback, 179 pages
Collections:Your library

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

20th century (223) American (222) American literature (284) book burning (337) books (377) books about books (115) Bradbury (137) censorship (692) classic (857) classics (538) dystopia (1,480) dystopian (262) fantasy (125) fiction (2,760) future (203) literature (380) novel (422) own (144) paperback (113) politics (87) Ray Bradbury (147) read (547) science fiction (3,663) sf (351) sff (154) social commentary (112) speculative fiction (105) to-read (296) totalitarianism (132) unread (75)
1950s (1)
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English (488)  Italian (10)  Spanish (9)  Finnish (5)  German (4)  French (4)  Catalan (2)  Vietnamese (1)  Dutch (1)  Japanese (1)  Greek (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (528)
Showing 1-5 of 488 (next | show all)
Although I d read plenty of Bradbury, I d never come across a copy of Fahrenheit 451 until my junior year of high school. I was told in a journalism class that it had once been banned. I was told the same thing about The Naked Ape, Soul on Ice, Huckleberry Finn. I read Fahrenheit solely to find out why it had been banned. And because it was Bradbury.[return][return]By my junior year of high school, I had a quite well developed superiority complex. For years I d felt very different from my friends. Probably starting in about 4th grade. The more I read, the more I knew that my friends didn t. I had very few friends that read as much as I did and that thought as much as I did. I was too ugly to have a girlfriend, so I didn t circulate with the social crowd. There were a few smart kids in that group but almost none in the group that I was left in. The distance grew over the years until I got to high school. By then, I was alone in the world. Or I thought I was.[return][return]In my junior year, I met another outcast who hadn t yet learned how to hide it. He was in my graphic arts class getting called names by some female socialite that he was irritating. But I could tell that he was different and that he was deliberately toying with her. I asked him later, quite frankly, Are you one of us? He knew exactly what I meant and said yes. Philip was my first real friend.[return][return]That was the age at which I read Bradbury s critique of American society. I took it as gospel. It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I stopped watching TV. I read even more some non-fiction even. I plotted with Philip on the phone for hours at a time like a girlfriend. I had a couple of girlfriends by then but that was hardly an intellectual stimulation except for maybe the effect it had on my budding ego.[return][return]We began plotting about starting an underground newspaper at school. We would use pen names and open it up for any student to contribute instead of just journalism class members. It was fun. I was Guy Montag. I wrote articles about what little politics I understood, juvenile sociology and made up gags like fake horoscopes. ( )
  mobill76 | Apr 22, 2014 |
It's a classic for a reason. Well done. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
This better than 50 year old dystopian tale of censorship & book burning has the distinction of being on most of the world's banned book lists, as well as on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. It's a classic, but nonetheless still very relevant in our own time. Guy is a Fireman, & in this world, they don't put OUT fires, they start them. They are book burners, when a society has been taken over completely by earbuds called Seashells, & interactive TV's called "parlor families" that seem to actually take the place of real flesh & blood ones. Their answer to drug overdoses is to put a snakelike tube down the stomach & flush it out, as well as recycle all of the blood in someone's body. They literally will drain the toxic blood & replace it with "clean" blood from someone else.

There are those who remember what vast knowledge books have, & the crime is to be caught READING them, not to simply own them. If you have not yet read this "should have read" classic, it's what I would classify as a quick read, because the story is so mesmerizing & disturbing that it goes very fast. ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Books are dangerous. They’re full of ideas that make people think about the world, feel passion, and perhaps act out. That’s not good for society; it causes conflict, uprising, and interference with the status quo. People who read and think scare people who don’t, so most citizens have happily given up the right to decide what to think about and now let the government fill their brains with constant loud mindless entertainment. This managed input has equalized society; nobody feels inferior to anyone else and there’s no conflict anymore. Dull minds, constant entertainment, and conformity make society run smoothly.

Guy Montag works as a fireman. He burns books at night while his wife sits in her parlor and listens to inane media shows at high volume. But Clarice, the teenager next door, is different. Her family sits around and talks. They discuss things and they laugh with each other. Guy wonders what they talk about as he watches his wife talk to the strangers on TV and pop sleeping pills…

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 presents a possible frightening future in which intellectual pursuits and nonconformity are deemed dangerous and subversive. It’s been more than half a century since Fahrenheit 451 was published and we’ve seen censorship laws actually become looser over the years and the advent of the internet has brought on the current “information age.” But that doesn’t make Fahrenheit 451 irrelevant because it’s about much more than literary censorship. It’s about freedom of speech and individual rights. It’s about thinking for ourselves and what might happen if we let the government tell us what we can see, hear, or own.

Fahrenheit 451 resonates with me on so many levels. First of all, it’s just superbly written. I love Bradbury’s intense style which translates especially well on Blackstone Audio’s version read by Christopher Hurt. Here he describes the show that Mrs Montag watches all day:

A great thunderstorm of sound gushed from the walls. Music bombarded him at such an immense volume that his bones were almost shaken from their tendons; he felt his jaw vibrate, his eyes wobble in his head. He was a victim of concussion. When it was all over he felt like a man who had been thrown from a cliff, whirled in a centrifuge and spat out over a waterfall that fell and fell into emptiness and emptiness and never — quite — touched — bottom — never — never — quite — no not quite — touched — bottom ... and you fell so fast you didn't touch the sides either... never... quite... touched... anything.

The thunder faded. The music died.

"There," said Mildred. And it was indeed remarkable. Something had happened. Even though the people in the walls of the room had barely moved, and nothing had really been settled, you had the impression that someone had turned on a washing-machine or sucked you up in a gigantic vacuum. You drowned in music and pure cacophony. He came out of the room sweating and on the point of collapse. Behind him, Mildred sat in her chair and the voices went on again…

Second, I share Bradbury’s ardent passion for knowledge and learning. The thought of lost information, burned books, mindless entertainment, meaningless small-talk, conformity, and intellectual malaise makes my stomach twist. I don’t believe that we’re in danger of the anti-intellectualism that Bradbury posits, but still his ideas get me riled up.

Third, I’ll admit that I’m a rebel at heart. While I recognize that obeying laws and paying taxes are a necessary part of living in a well-functioning society, I feel mostly distrustful and suspicious when the government increases taxes, takes over more functions in society, tells us what to believe, and tries to revoke constitutional freedoms. In this context, Bradbury’s possible future doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.

I’m pleased that my school district assigns Fahrenheit 451 in its middle-school curriculum, though I find it a bit ironic that some publishers have edited the language to make it more “suitable” for teenagers. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
During much of my adult life, I've questioned whether I actually ever read this book as a teenager. I remember reading The Illustrated Man, and I felt certain that we were also assigned this book to read. But I couldn't ever remember the details of the plot. So recently I spotted it at the library while scouring the shelves for new reading materials, and decided to pick it up. I read it in a day while home sick from work, and I will tell you that it did not help my mood. I would say that it is very definitely a bad thing that the dystopian society Bradbury describes in this novel closely resembles actual society today. I suppose this could also be said for any number of dystopian novels written in the early to mid twentieth century. The story, while gripping and well written, depressed me to no end. And I'm still not sure if I ever read it before or not. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 488 (next | show all)
Classique parmi les classiques, Fahrenheit 451 est à la SF ce que le Dracula de Stocker est au fantastique. Cette œuvre est une contre-utopie à la mesure du Meilleur des mondes de Huxley ou à 1984 de Orwell. C’est dire…
This intriguing idea might well serve as a foundation on which to build a worst of all possible worlds. And to a certain extent it does not seem implausible. Unfortunately, Bradbury goes little further than his basic hypothesis. The rest of the equation is jerry-built.
Ray Bradbury has more than ideas, and that is what sets him apart from most writers who try to be original. He is fantastic, and human. He never looks at anything with a jaded eye; he is a storyteller every minute of the time, and he is definitely his own kind of storyteller.
added by Shortride | editLos Angeles Times, Don Guzman (pay site) (Oct 25, 1953)

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aguilar, Julia OsunaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Škvorecký, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buddingh', CeesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chambon, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crespo, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emmerová, JarmilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güttinger, FritzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoye, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurt, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayalıoğlu, KorkutTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayalıoğlu, ZerrinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keyser, GawieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knipel, CidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monicelli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, Joseph A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordin, SivTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robillot, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stangl, KatrinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"If they give you ruled paper,
write the other way."
Juan Ramón Jiménez
the temperature at which
book-paper catches fire and burns
This one, with gratitude,
is for
Don Congdon
First words
It was a pleasure to burn.
It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.
But that's the wonderful things about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.
But remember that the Captain belongs to the most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority. Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.
I'm afraid of children my own age. they kill each other. Did it always use to be that way? My uncle says no. Six of my firends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks. I'm afraid of them and they don't like me because I'm afraid. My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn't kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says. Do you know, I'm responsible. I was spanked when I needed it, years ago. And I do all the shopping and housecleaning by hand.
The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not. No, no, it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. 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. Of course you couldn't know this, of course you still can't understand what I mean when I say all this.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This is the original novel by Ray Bradbury, not the 1966 film directed by François Truffaut or any other adaptation.
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Book description
"The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning... along with the houses in which they were hidden." Fahrenheit 451 is an enlightening story that is almost daunting. In a place where firemen build fires to burn books, this story is somewhat forboding because although it may seem extreme, it causes the reader to look at how much we take books and freedom for granted. Guy Montag goes outside the norm of a society where relationships are based on material things in order to try to discover how life would be if one were to actually think and live for themselves instead of being told what to do and how to behave. This book made me realize how much I should appreciate a good solid book and made me weary of what our world could come to in the future with the increase in technology and the disappearance in the amount of some books.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345342968, Mass Market Paperback)

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

Bradbury--the author of more than 500 short stories, novels, plays, and poems, including The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man--is the winner of many awards, including the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Readers ages 13 to 93 will be swept up in the harrowing suspense of Fahrenheit 451, and no doubt will join the hordes of Bradbury fans worldwide. --Neil Roseman

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:35 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners suddenly realizes their merit.

(summary from another edition)

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