There is a new project called Love To Read, whose main remit is to get people of all ages from all walks of life back into the habit of reading. There are many reasons why people have stopped reading, from busy lives to just plainly falling out of love with reeading. Have a look on the Love to Read website to find ways of getting back into a habit that once rediscovered can bring so much joy.
Ray Bradbury’s iconic novel, Fahrenheit 451 first came in to being when he was living in a cramped house with his wife and new born baby daughter, he desperately needed a ‘room of his own’ to write. it was around this time that he was walking through the University of California, he heard the sound of typing in the basement of the library. it was there he discovered a room filled with twelve typewriters that people could rent for ten cents for half an hour.
(Did you know that all fourteen of Brighton and Hove’s libraries offer use of computers for registered library uses, the first hour is free (2 hours free for people on certain benefits) and £1 per hour there after.
Bradbury’s book touchers on the dystopia themes that have been explored in many other mediums of this type, from George Orwell’s, 1984, Aldous Huxley, Brave New World and Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games. (all of which are availible from Brighton and hove Libraries.)
The title of Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451, relates to the temperature at which paper burns and it is book burning that is at the centre of this tale. Set in the future, where houses are fireproof, firemen are employed to seek out and burn any books that are found. Bradbury looks back on past history of both governments and religious authorities who have exerted their power and created fear over others through burning books.
The authorities in Fahrenheit 451 believe that books are harmful as they would make people question their existence and purpose in the world that is controlled through a banal feed of television programmes in which residence are sent scripts so they can interact with the shows.
The main protagonist, Montag, a dedicated firman and destroyer of books, meets a young woman called Clarisse McClellan who unlike the other residents in her neighbourhood notices the natural things in life and finds beauty in them, from a dandelion in the grass to the rain on her face. Montag finds these qualities most strange as he has lived a life of not feeling or thinking for himself for so long.
It is through his further encounters with Clarisse that he begins to question why he destroys books. His motives are shaken further when he, along with his team of firemen raid a house (neighbours are encouraged to inform the authorities if they suspect their neighbours are hoarding books). This is a direct echo of the Bradbury’s concerns he had of Republican U.S. Senator, Joseph McCarthy and his drive to encourage anyone to expose people deemed to be Communists.
On his latest mission, Montag is horrified to find that the person accused of hoarding books has not been arrested and taken to the local asylum. As the books rain down on her and are soaked in kerosene, the woman takes out a box of matches. in the mids of everyones panic, Montag steals one of her books and hides it in his jacket then runs as the woman commits suicide, setting fire to her belovered books as well as herself.
From here on in Montag’s eyes are forced open as he fights everything he had held as true and seeks out others who find passion beyond the mundane in books.
I would highly recommend this book for people who like sci-fi/dystopia novels and for those who have never given this genre a go before. The realism of the settings allow the reader to enter the world of Fahrenheit 451 with ease but will leave them wanting to explore many of the other brilliant novels by Bradbury.
For more infomation about the Love to Read project and how to get invloved please follow this link