This book was the first we read at the East Orlando Twenty-Something Book Club. Turned out to be a pretty good book to kick off with, too: it's a classic, Ray Bradbury is well-known, and being about books, book lovers are bound to appreciate the novel.
At the book club meeting we discussed the book for a good hour and a half. Here are my thoughts:
I'd read a time-travel short-story by Bradbury (A Sound of Thunder) a few years ago for an English class at Purdue, so I knew I was a Bradbury fan. I don't know how to describe his writing style other than it's kind of choppy like those of actual thoughts, at times anyway, and it's poetic, and it has beautiful imagery and his work is just fantastic.
I found the idea of burning books as a punishment for the crime of owning/reading them to be very intriguing. Firemen were meant for burning books when they were discovered, not for putting fires out. Guy, the story's protagonist, is living ignorantly, along with the rest of society, until a young girl - an odd young girl, in comparison to the rest of the population - gets the ball rolling and makes Guy question what he is doing as a fireman. I really liked Clarisse's character because she was so different, dreamy and elegant. It was sad when her role in the story ended.
I enjoyed that the former historians, librarians and professors upheld their own libraries (in their minds). Memorization fascinated me in the story. And it made me realize how accurate Bradbury's story has become in our day and age. We live in a super-sonic speed of life; information flashing all around us; hurry up; let's go! What happened to those old chats with friends, family and neighbors on a nice summer evening out on the porch? That reminds me. I had a professor once tell me that air conditioning was what started all of these changes in society. I believe there's a lot of truth in that: convenience = degradation in many ways. Same with the TV as Ray points out in the novel. A great reason as to why I didn't own my own TV for years and years (I'm just a sucker for watching movies, but know that they are seen on my own time and it's not like TV where it controls my agenda).
Anyway, the book is really great. Definitely worthy of being on several Top 100 Books of All Time lists. Certainly makes you question the world we live in, and it's good to question things and take stands and be true to yourself.
I'm excited for later this month because I'm hosting a movie night for the Book Club to watch this book's film! I've no doubt that it'll be a fun time!