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review 2018-08-28 22:29
Noncombustible Data: “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury


“‘Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.'”


In “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury



Teenagers don't need any special kind of reading program, since they are hugely curious about everything, at least i was interested in the extra-curricular forbidden literature (there was plenty at that time) and the hidden subjects, not out of a morbid fantasy -- but perhaps too, a literary imagination.


If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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text 2018-06-22 22:56
Book Recs Solicited: Freedom and Future Library
On Liberty and The Subjection of Women (Penguin Classics) - John Stuart Mill
All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 - Salman Rushdie
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives - Aleksandar Hemon,Marina Lewycka,Ariel Dorfman,Viet Thanh Nguyen,Fatima Bhutto,David Bezmozgis,Porochista Khakpour,Vu Tran,Joseph Kertes,Kao Kalia Yang,Dina Nayeri,Maaza Mengiste,Reyna Grande,Novuyo Rosa Tshuma,Lev Golinkin,Joseph Azam,Thi Bui,Meron Hader
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff
A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States - Thomas Jefferson,James Madison,Founding Fathers

You'd have to be living under a rock buried somewhere halfway down to the center of the earth in order not to be aware that in recent years our beautiful world has been shaken up by a number of crises the likes of which I, at least, have not experienced in my entire lifetime -- I can't remember any other time when I have so consistently felt the urge to put on blinders and wrap myself in a giant comfort blanket approximately 10 seconds after opening a newspaper (or its online edition), or 10 seconds into listening to the news.  Obviously playing ostrich has never done anybody any good, but God knows, it's getting hard not to succumb to the temptation. 

 

So what does a book lover do in order to keep her sanity, equip herself to separate fact from fiction (in news reporting, politics, and plenty of other places) and deal with rat catchers and fire mongers?  She turns to books, of course.

 

I've decided to build a "Freedom and Future" personal library, which will contain books which (1) have either deeply impacted my personal thinking or that I expect will come to do so in the future, or which (2) provide valuable food for thought in today's social and political debate, both nationally and internationally; be it based on a profound analysis of the issues at stake (as a matter of principle or long term), or because even though they may not be of lasting significance, they contain a thought-provoking contribution to the current debate (even if they were not written with that express purpose in mind -- e.g., books about historic persons or events or books by long-dead authors).  I'm not expecting to binge-read the books added to this library, but I'm looking to add them to the mix with a bit more focus than I've been doing of late.

 

In the past couple of days, I've trawled my own bookshelves for books to add to the library, but this is one area where, even more than anywhere else, I'm looking for suggestions -- I can already see that I'm at risk of falling back on my old standbys, and that's the last thing I want to do here.

 

So, tell me: What books have recently made you sit up -- or which are the books that you've come to turn to and trust for guidance and inspiration?

 

These can be fiction or nonfiction, and books from any or all types of genres (I only draw the line at splatter punk).  As the first part of my new library's title indicates, liberty and freedom rights are a focus, but I'm really looking for food for thought on all the issues that I think are going to determine the path human society will be taking (hence the "future" part); including, in no particular order:

 

* Liberty and freedom(s) (of opinion and press, movement, association, worship, the arts, etc.),

* Equal access to justice and judicial independence and impartiality,

* Equality and empowerment (gender / sexuality, race, etc.), and the plurality of society;

* Poverty / the increasing gap in the distribution of wealth,

* Education (general, political, etc.);

* Funding and freedom of research and science,

* Protection of the environment,

* Democratic institutions and processes and how to safeguard them,

* Xenophobia, war(mongering) and the preservation / restoration of peace,

* Persecution, migration, and internal displacement,

* Free trade and globalization,

* Technological advances,

* Ethics -- in all of the above areas.

 

I'm adding a few books to this post to give you a rough idea of what sort of things I've so far added to this library -- please take them as very approximate guidance only, though.  It can be something totally different ... really anything that's jogged your brain or made you reevaluate your perspective on any of the above issues.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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review 2018-06-03 10:43
Short but perfectly formed. Highly recommended.
Literature® - Guillermo Stitch

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and thank Rosie and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novella, which I freely chose to review.

It is difficult to describe the reading experience of Literature. I have read reviews comparing it to noir novels (absolutely, especially the voice of the characters and some of the situations), to Fahrenheit 451 (inevitable due to the plot, where fiction has been banned and nobody can possess or read books) and 1984 (although we don’t get a lot of detail of the way the world is being run, the sense of claustrophobia and continuous surveillance, and the way terrorism is defined are definitely there), and even Blade Runner (perhaps, although Literature is far less detailed and much more humorous). I did think about all of those while I read it, is true, although it is a pretty different experience to all of them.

Billy Stringer is a mixture of the reluctant hero and the looser/anti-hero type. The novella shares only one day of his life, but, what a day! Let’s say it starts badly (things hadn’t been going right for Billy for a while at the point when we meet him) and it goes downhill from there. The story is told in the third-person but solely from Billy’s point of view, and we are thrown right in. There is no world-building or background information. We just share in Billy’s experiences from the start, and although he evidently knows the era better than we do, he is far from an expert when it comes to the actual topic he is supposed to cover for his newspaper that day. He is a sports journalist covering an important item of news about a technological/transportation innovation.  We share in his confusion and easily identify with him. Apart from the action, he is involved in, which increases exponentially as the day moves on, there are also flashbacks of his past. There is his failed love story, his friendship with his girlfriend’s brother, and his love for books.

The story is set in a future that sounds technologically quite different to our present, but not so ideologically different (and that is what makes it poignant and scary, as well as funny). People smoke, but you can get different versions of something equivalent to cigarettes, but they are all registered (it seems everything is registered). And you can drink alcohol as well (and Billy does, as it pertains to a hero in a noir novel). Transportation has become fundamental and it has developed its own fascinating-sounding technology (the descriptions of both, the vehicles and the process are riveting). It has to be fed by stories, by fiction, although literature itself has been banned. We get to know how this works and, let me tell you that it’s quite beautiful.

The book is short and I don’t want to spoil the story for readers, but I can tell you the writing is excellent and it is exquisitely edited. Despite its brevity, I could not help but share a couple of snippets.

“You like her?” he said. He was looking at the knife like a person might look at an especially favored kitten. “Been with me a long time,” he said. “She’s an old lady now. But she’s still sharp.” He looked up at Billy. “I keep her that way.”

In a day very generously populated with problems, Jane’s kid brother was Billy’s newest.

I loved the ending of the book. It is perhaps not standard noir, but nothing is standard in this book.

I recommend it to anybody interested in discovering a new and talented writer, with a love for language and for stories that are challenging, playful, and fascinating. A treat.

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review 2018-05-30 16:36
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
I honestly almost gave up on reading this novel as it started off really bizarre to my liking. I kept rereading the same passages over and over again and it just wasn’t making any sense. The language felt weird and what was transpiring, I couldn’t grasp. I felt that this novel jumped right in on the action from the first page and I wasn’t up to speed.
 
Overall, I’m glad that I stayed with the novel and that I finished it, as I thought the novel was interesting and thought-provoking. It wasn’t a novel that I could rush through. I found myself closing this novel many times, so that I could take a breather. I’m not a huge science fiction reader but I do have a good imagination and an open mind and I think you do need to have those two things to really enjoy this novel.
 
As Fireman Montag’s curiosity in books increased, so did mine. I was interested in knowing what books he collected, what he learned and what his future held. My questions did not end there, as I wanted to know about the society that Montag lived in and how their practice of book burning came into being. I thought the author did an excellent job answering many of my questions.
 
As I look back upon the novel, this story took centerstage. There weren’t any side stories nor were there a great deal of characters to construct this story. The fascinating, stimulating main story tells it all. Ridding their world of books, this town tries to put all individuals on the same playing field as the author describes their colorful and intense world with a powerful paint brush.
 
I had to smile many times while reading this novel, as it seemed like there was a contrast between what I was reading and what was transpiring. As Bradbury wrote, he portrayed a detailed account of the character’s world yet these same characters were burning books, perhaps the same types of books that helped these characters learn how to describe the world around them, exactly like Bradbury was doing. See, I feel that many individuals learn how to read and how to apply language by reading and here, the characters were burning novels that probably taught them how to speak and apply language. So, what the future held for these individuals was unknown.
 
I’m glad that the book club choose this novel as it was a book that I would not have read otherwise. It was a good read, and now I understand why it is so popular.

 

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text 2018-04-02 20:44
Reading progress update: I've read 55 out of 165 pages.
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Montag is fully into his transformation now and is grieving the deaths of Clarisse and the book woman who was burned. it turns out that Beatty is more of an in depth character than previously thought.  Montag used to be so self assure and assertive but now he is questioning the workings of his society and his role as a fireman. This is symbolized when he "...slid slowly down the pole like a man in a dream." when previously he "...walked across the upper floor of the fire station and fell down the hole. At the last moment, when disaster seemed positive, he pulled his hands and broke his fall by by grasping the golden pole. He slid to a squeaking halt, the heels one inch from the concrete floor downstairs." He was so much more confident in the first part of the book but now he is starting to see things differently. I am excited to finish the book.

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