Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I had read Fahrenheit 451 before and I planned to read it slowly this time, taking a week or more to read it. I did not do that. Having sat down to read only a little I found myself not only half way through the book but not wanting to stop reading. I had forgotten just how great this book was and the next chance I got i finished the book.
As one of the most famous and popular books in science fiction, as well as one that I had read in the past, this book should not have surprised me, but it did. When I read this a decade a go I missed a huge sections of the undercurrents of this book. I had completly forgotten about the war that was brewing and was convinced that the end of the book was far longer than it actually is.
The biggest thing that I missed that first time through was that I believed people when they told me this book was about censorship. This is not entirly untrue, of course, he is after all a book burner by trade, but what struck me this time was how much more valuable the message I got was. This is not a book that says that censorship by the government is bad, this is a book that says that the unexamined life is not worth living. It says that choosing not to think, or to drowned out your thoughts with TV, sports, fast cars, drugs or anything else is a step toward true censorship and in our modern world how can you help but do that. We live in a noisy society and a busy one and taking the time to stop typically means watching a TV program or a movie not reading a book or even just doing nothing.
The quote that most fully explains my experiance with Fahrenheit 451 is a quote by Mark Twain which says "A man that does not read great books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." So if you have not read Fahrenheint 451 or have not read it for a long time pick it up. There are a few points in the story that can make you a bit uncomfortable as the world has moved on from Ray Bradbury's 1953 in the way it treats women and minorities, but this is still a brillant book and the good ideas are something you should expose yourself to.