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Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

by Ray Bradbury

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
49,33593222 (4.02)1 / 1375
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires, and he enjoys his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames. He never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid and a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do.… (more)
  1. 1013
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (readafew, Booksloth, rosylibrarian, moietmoi, haraldo, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    readafew: Both books are about keeping the people in control and ignorant.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A man's romance-inspired defiance of menacing, repressive governments in bleak futures are the themes of these compelling novels. Control of language and monitors that both broadcast to and spy on people are key motifs. Both are dramatic, haunting, and thought-provoking.… (more)
  2. 752
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (phoenix7g, meggyweg, Babou_wk, haraldo)
    Babou_wk: Contre-utopie, société future où l'unique but de la vie est le bonheur. Toute pratique requérant de la réflexion est bannie.
  3. 251
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Smiler69)
  4. 284
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (thekoolaidmom)
  5. 252
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (jpers36, moietmoi)
  6. 253
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (ateolf)
  7. 182
    Match to Flame: The Fictional Paths to Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (grizzly.anderson)
    grizzly.anderson: A great study of how Bradbury came to write Fahrenheit 451 as a progress through his own short stories, letters and drafts. A similar collection of stories but without some of the other material is also available as "A Pleasure To Burn"
  8. 164
    A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (goodiegoodie, kristenn)
  9. 82
    The October Country by Ray Bradbury (Booksloth)
  10. 72
    A Gift upon the Shore by M. K. Wren (lquilter)
    lquilter: "A Gift Upon the Shore" is a post-apocalyptic world; some people seek to preserve books and knowledge, but they are seen as a danger to others. Beautifully written.
  11. 50
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Morteana)
  12. 62
    The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan (bertilak)
  13. 95
    Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle (allenmichie)
  14. 30
    The Fireman by Joe Hill (sturlington)
  15. 63
    A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-day Iraq by Fernando Báez (bertilak)
  16. 75
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (andja)
  17. 53
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (jlynno84)
  18. 20
    Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal (edwinbcn)
  19. 10
    Shadowlife by Martin Grzimek (spiphany)
  20. 65
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (generalkala)
    generalkala: Also concerns book burning and their rescue.

(see all 29 recommendations)

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» See also 1375 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 863 (next | show all)
Read it through my shift at work and finished it, not quite sure what I read. Skimmed over a lot of the purple prose and the repeats of phrasing. Well enough book to read, suppose it blew the minds of those that read it when it was first published in 1950. Wouldn't read it again. ( )
  writingvampires | Jan 30, 2023 |
This book is brilliant and terrifying, and it's a shame that most people never read it. If you have not read it then you definitely should ( )
  littlebookhoard13 | Jan 25, 2023 |
Bradbury's style is a little difficult for me...he did like being vague and using five words when two would have done! I can't say I'm a fan of the book but I am glad I read it. ( )
  AuntieG0412 | Jan 23, 2023 |
Everyone needs to read this! ( )
  JRobinW | Jan 20, 2023 |
Guy Montag is a fireman, but he doesn't save burning buildings. He hoses with kerosene and carries a flamethrower to set homes ablaze. The society he lives in, futuristic from the perspective of the 1950's when this novel was written, has decided that it's better for people not to be bothered with the problems books can cause. Anyone possessing such dangerous things must be insane. Montag finds it a pleasure to burn. A permanent smile is etched across his face. Yet his hands seem sometimes to act of their own accord. What happens when a fireman steals a book he was meant to destroy?

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic dystopia, read by many in school, and it's easy to see why. The writing is excellent, one of the major characters is school age herself, and one of the major messages is about books themselves. Are books worth reading? This novel answers with a resounding yes, countering the words of every one of its characters who argues otherwise.

The appeal to a teacher is clear, but there's more to this book as well. In our modern society, conversations often focus on book banning and censorship, but the kind we see in the real world is distinct from what is depicted in this novel and, I would argue, has criticisms that could apply to the extremes on both sides of the US political divide. In this dystopia, books began to fall from grace for the simple reason that most people didn't want to read them anymore. They wanted faster entertainment with less thought. Shorter books, more pictures. Soon no books at all.

Montag's fire department didn't start until after people had already decided they didn't like reading, and their persecution of readers is a form of othering. There are some characters, in fact, who are othered in the same way simply for thinking about things and acting in ways no one else does. There is a character who meets an unfortunate fate simply for being out on a walk in a world where everyone else drives around at wild speeds. There isn't an authoritarian government here, making decisions from on high against the will of the people. The people brought this upon themselves.

There is, of course, discussion in the novel about controversial books, but the main takeaway, again, is that people didn't want to read them. Controversial books upset people, driving away whole sections of a potential audience. Society moved away from books considered offensive, no matter which group they had been offending. In the modern US, it tends to be the progressive books that are the subject of bans and that get all of the attention when people speak out against these practices. But I think Bradbury's dystopia also has something to say about the people so far on the left that they pressure others not to read books containing racism or sexism or anything else that would be cancel-worthy in our modern day. Because the people in Bradbury's dystopia have moved so far away from anything potentially offensive that their entertainment now contains no messages at all. And they've forgotten the lessons of history because they've thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

Bradbury's book itself contains a healthy dose of 1950's style sexism. Montag's wife stays at home, as do her friends. There are no women at the firehouse, nor anywhere else to be seen in the workforce. When great authors of the past are named, it seems they're always men, and speculations about the future also tend to be focused on what men will do. The young girl who lives next door, upon my recent reread, seemed to me a form of manic pixie dream girl, existing in the plot solely for the purpose of waking the main character up to the realities of the world around him. She gains an interest in him for no clear reason and doesn't seem to be acting in accord with her own goals in interests. In fact, she doesn't seem to have any goals or to be trying to improve her life in any way despite the fact that she tells Montag about some serious problems in it. Problems I certainly would have tried to do something about if I were her.

Certainly, I wouldn't say this book is a shining example of female representation, and it doesn't seem to have any racial diversity at all. Forget about any other kind of diversity! But for all of that, should we stop reading this book? Or should we read it critically, acknowledging the time period in which it was written, the views of its author, and the tropes and stereotypes it makes use of?

Should you read this book? Certainly you should if it's been assigned to you for class. Otherwise, I would recommend it for those who like dystopias or books written in the past that try to predict the future. I would also recommend it for those who like reading books about books or who are interested in the more philosophical questions about the role of books in our society. The plot is engaging and makes for a quick read, there are likeable characters to be found, and the overall atmosphere is not entirely hopeless. If that is the sort of book that appeals to you, I would recommend that you pick up this one and give it a read. ( )
  dste | Jan 18, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 863 (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.
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradbury, RayAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Aguilar, Julia OsunaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aldiss, Brian W.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Algren, NelsonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Amis, KingsleyContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Škvorecký, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Betjeman, JohnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, HaroldAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buddingh', CeesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chambon, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crespo, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diamond, DonnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eller, Jonathan R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emmerová, JarmilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güttinger, FritzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Highet, GilbertAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoye, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurt, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayalıoğlu, KorkutTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayalıoğlu, ZerrinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keyser, GawieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knight, ArthurAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knipel, CidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippi, GiuseppeTraduttoresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, AdrianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monicelli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, Joseph A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordin, SivTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parry, IdrisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennington, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prescott, OrvilleAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robillot, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stangl, KatrinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Truffaut, FrançoisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Veikat, MarjuToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
أحمد خالد توفيقTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
"If they give you ruled paper,
write the other way."
Juan Ramón Jiménez
FAHRENHEIT 451:
the temperature at which
book-paper catches fire and burns
Dedication
This one, with gratitude,
is for
Don Congdon
First words
It was a pleasure to burn.
Quotations
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.
There are at least 2 works by this name: the novel by Ray Bradbury and its film adaptation. Please do not combine this with either.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Canonical LCC
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires, and he enjoys his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames. He never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid and a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do.

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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.

AR level 5.2, 7 pts
Haiku summary
A fireman burns books
But then he dares to read one
And goes on the lam
(DarrylLundy)

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