From the Muse’s Bookshelf: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Around the beginning of this year, I’d vowed to go back to the basics. That is, returning to thing that helped me grow. Stress is a current factor in my life, and aside from reading manga, watching anime, crocheting, and listening to music, reading a nice meaty book does more than reduce my stress levels–it actually helps me to fully unwind before bed.

I got back into novels again by doing something simple–going into a bookstore and picking up classics. If I wanted to continue nurturing my mind, I had to get out there and read books that I was clearly interested in. Among the handful that I picked up, “Fahrenheit 451” was one of them.

For the uninformed, “Fahrenheit 451” is a dystopian novel where books are an illegal commodity, and as such, they are completely destroyed. Firefighters aren’t putting out fires as they normally do–they are the ones creating them. They are the ones burning books.

Enter our main character, Montag. He’s a firefighter who one day meets a teenaged girl named Clarisse. It’s not the typical guy-meets-girl cliche. Instead, Clarisse (and her free-spirited idealistic thinking) challenges Montag intellectually, which in turn makes him question how right or wrong everything in his world is.

Now, I’m not going to spoil everything. But, I will tell you what I loved.

It shows how beneficial books are to society, how books challenge us to think critically. The free-thinkers in the book are arrested and have their possessions burned to the ground; their voices are silenced. They are made examples of, they are turned into “end results” that citizens don’t want for themselves, simply because of that fear of being caught reading.

I admit, the book made me emotional. I never really cry over books but goodness it was so beautifully written. At the book’s end, there was a sense of hope for humanity, for those who have yet to experience the power of the written word. What struck me the most was that books don’t live on through pen and paper but through us.

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