A day or two ago, I finished Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 – yes, I know I’m a little late to the party in reading what could possibly be one of the most important and influential books of the past century. But I’ve done it, at long last!
I regret not reading it much, much sooner, that’s for sure.
Not only is the book brilliant as a novel, a piece of writing. It is a prophetic and telling narrative of the future… or possibly the present. I suppose a lot of you will know and have read Farenheit 451 – but basically literature has been banned, and all remaining books are burned by ‘firemen.’ Of course it is somewhat more in-depth than this, though it is the general idea.
Now… I look at the world, at the people, and I feel a twinge of sadness. I have a few friends, (yes, friends… a shock, right!) and they do not read. I know, heresy! Having been a reader since I could actually read, I cannot imagine living in a world without books, without the words on those pages, without the worlds within the pages. What would I do when I want to enter another place, when I want to immerse myself within a plot and its characters?
I don’t have a clue… Literature is so intertwined within my life, I wouldn’t know how to separate it.
What scares me the most is a world without books, without the people who dedicate their lives to writing them. What would that place look like? More importantly, how would it survive? I don’t think it ever could…
This book made me think a lot – well, I guess that’s what all books are supposed to do. Though, of course, not all of them achieve this. And even fewer do in any meaningful way. Yet, what 451 brought to the table for me was almost revolutionary. It made me appreciate literature in a more profound manner, more than just a sense of enjoyment. For it is something we must hold close to our hearts and never let go. We must never let it fizzle and die. It is something that must be loved be all, children especially. Because literature has and will do so many things for the world. Even if we do not realise and see them.