Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury I love the fact that this book is a paean to the power of the written word: that people will live and die for it, and will wither without the transformative power of fictional worlds and the insights of others. Books "stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us".

It is set in the near future, where all books are banned because they are elitist and hence cause unhappiness and division. Instead, the population is fed continuous inane soap operas to lull their minds into soporific approximation of non-unhappiness. TV really does rot their brains, or at least sap their ability to thing for themselves.

Firemen no longer put out fires, but instead burn houses where books are found. There are also loving descriptions of the beauty of fire, so pyromaniacs may particularly enjoy those passages!


The plot is not particularly original: Montag is a fireman, so part of the regime. But he is tempted by the unknown promise of what he destroys, takes greater and greater risks, and ends up a fugitive, living rough with other rebels, each of whom has memorised a book so that when things change, they can be rewritten. Ironically, these people also destroy books, at least, the physical ones, after they have memorised them.

So the big question is, if you were going to become a book and memorise it for posterity, what would you choose - and would it be cheating to pick "Fahrenheit 451"?

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China MiƩville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake