Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
After some chatter about this one on another list, I decided to pick it up and add it to my 2010 list. (This one was a relatively short read, easy finished in a day or two.)
I've realized as I have begun to read some of the picks on my mental "I've always wanted to read that" list, that the actual book title often offers a surprisingly different notion of what one might imagine the book to be about. This is such a book.
Fahrenheit 451 - the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.
Isn't that clever? Bradbury has a unique way of writing and at times I found myself lost in details, however, this is a well-crafted science fiction work and I think the overall point of the book was easily discerned not only in the content, but also in the foreword as Bradbury writes. . .
"It has to do with books being burned without matches or fire. Because you don't have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers? If the world wide-screen-basketballs and - footballs itself to drown in MTV, no Beattys are needed to ignite the kerosene or hunt the reader. If the primary grades suffer meltdown and vanish through the cracks of ventilators of the schoolroom, who, after a while, will know or care?"
And in the text. . .
"The sun burned everyday. It burned Time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people away, without any help from him."
The relevancy of the book to our culture today is uncanny. With so much technology and drive for material things, people are SO busy that they don't have time for what's really important. Not only the loss of attention to books, and the possibility that "a book in hand" might someday be a thing of the past, but the sheer busyness of life that keeps us from getting to know one another, from taking time to share and pass on stories to our children, and from really engaging in life - life that creates family bonds and friendships that exists beyond the realm of passive entertainment and material attainment.
If nothing else may it encourage us to redeem the time that burns away beneath us as we rush through day after day.
I could go on. . .but you'd probably drawn your own connections better by reading the book!