Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Burning the Books?

The other day, I was wandering the book section of one of the local secondhand places.  I found a tightly-bound, pretty (in the sense it was like new condition) paperback of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  I'm classics-illiterate, but I picked it up.  It was such a lovely copy, and I didn't have it, and I probably couldn't find it free online (not pre-1929, therefore not public domain).

I never found a spot for it, and it just sat on my desk.  It's there now.

I picked it up today, and read it before class.  I was almost finished, and if class hadn't started when it did, I would have finished it.  No matter.  As soon as I got home, I read the last 2 pages, the Afterword, and the Coda.

Oh my gosh, it's about burning books?  Words cannot describe the distress I felt about such an abomination.  I love books.  I don't care if I don't agree what's in them.

Authors put their heart and their soul into their writing.  When you burn a book, it's like you're burning their soul.  How dare you!  And Montag enjoyed it in the beginning!

The book's been around awhile, and I won't begin to describe it, or the literary implications or anything like that.  Odds are, you know all that already, and I'm the one late to the game.

Here is what I'll say on the matter, as a young wannabe bibliophile who's read this classic for the first time:

1 - It has a better ending than 1984, which I hated.

2 - It is one of the few classics I've read on my own.  I haven't read a lot of classics, and most of those were because of school.  And besides Candide and some Shakespeare, I don't always like them.  S'why I'm no longer an English major.

3 - I actually liked it.  Not in a "oh my gosh, you have to read this right now if you haven't" kind of way, but in a quiet, "I'm glad I read it, it was worth the heartache" kind of way.  A quiet affection for it.  And that's one more classic I can say I've read, and rarer, a classic I can say I liked and didn't just respect.  I will probably never re-read Pride and Prejudice, but I might re-read Fahrenheit 451 one day.

4 - That book has some flowery language.  Gracious me, wow.  It was kind of annoying, but once you get used to it, it's really rather lovely.

And I still gotta find a place for it, somewhere.  It needs a home somewhere in the shelves...

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