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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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review 2018-02-09 06:25
If we had all of these lessons years ago, how can we still be so stupid?
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

The catch-up book club has got me hopping on books I should have read years ago or did read years ago and never really thought about. This seems to be one of two books my high school self just flat-out LIED about reading. I'm horrified. I have no idea why I didn't read this one, though I now completely understand why I didn't read Wuthering Heights.


"-- for how many people did you know who refracted your own light to you? People were more often – he searched for a simile, found one in his work – torches, blazing away until they whiffed out."  –  Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

There's no point in reviewing this for the most book savvy crowd on earth, so I'll point out that my edition looks different (even though I used the ISBN to look up) and is the 60th anniversary edition. 


It's twice the pages of my other copy because every note ever made regarding Fahrenheit 451 is added to the afterward. There are some great bits to be found here, including a truly whiny screed from Bradbury. He had a right to be upset because at the moment he wrote it, the book was being re-published (again) **to add in all the parts that had progressively been censored out through the years** and which he'd been getting letters from high school students about. The students appreciated the irony of his own publishing house censoring a book about censorship. He appreciated it less, I think it's safe to say.


The best part of this edition is Neil Gaiman's introduction. It helped me understand the treatment and roles of the women in this book, which I was far less sympathetic to before I read and reread Gaiman's words.


Sci-fi first turned me off as a kid in the 1970s. I think this was because most of it contained idiotic women and heroic, if also idiotic, men who always "won." The women over at GR are very angry at Bradbury, but I am not completely sold on the idea that he was just a complete misogynist. I reacted at first to the treatment of women by asking "what am I missing? clearly this had to be purposeful. This is nearly slapstick." I was told, "no, he's just a chauvinist pig." I don't buy that, but it took me a while to find the nuances and temper my own reactions.


I may have gotten overly generous at one point when I wondered how to give it more than 5 stars. Overall this is yet another book that feels before its time in some ways, enormously prescient in others and makes me worry for the US in particular at this moment, but the world more broadly too. If we had all of these lessons years ago, how can we still be so stupid?


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text 2017-10-21 14:00
#30DaysofReadathon - Day 30 through 20
Public Secrets - Nora Roberts
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Vision Vol. 2: Little Better Than a Beast - Tom King,Michael Walsh
An Encounter at Hyde Park - Ava Stone,Deb Marlowe,Claudia Dain,Karen Hawkins
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia - Wade Von Grawbadger,Dave Stewart,Greg Rucka,J.G. Jones
A Slight Miscalculation: A Half Moon House Short Story (Half Moon House Series Book 3) - Deb Marlowe
The Christmas Child (Love Inspired - Linda Goodnight
Blue Dahlia - Nora Roberts

I bombed out on doing this part of the Dewey Read-a-thon. I just don't do well with daily challenge prompts. So I figured I group them in tens and make three posts.


Day 30 Favorite Book - Public Secrets by Nora Roberts


Day 29 Short Book - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Day 28 Red - Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King et al


Day 27 Snacks - Pretzels for salty snack, as they are not greasy like potato chips but have the same crunch factor. Starbucks' London Fog (venti, cause go big or go home) for sweet.


Day 26 Short Stories - An Encounter at Hyde Park by Various Authors


Day 25 Comics craze - Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka et al


Day 24 Drinks - My newest favorite drink is Kraken Black Spice Rum and Coca-Cola. All time drink is still a cuppa tea.


Day 23 Space - A Slight Miscalculation by Deb Marlowe


Day 22 Cozy - The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight


Day 21 Blue - Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts



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