I was looking through the top 100 Banned and Challenged books of 2000-2009 and found, at number 69, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Since the title of the book is based on the temperature at which book paper burns, it is both eerily funny and scary to know that someone, somewhere has tried to ban this book. It was required reading in advanced English in my high school and had a profound impact on me and my relationship with books and with information in general.
I kind of thought of myself at the time as Clarisse, the teenager who showed Montag the wonders of sitting on the porch and walking from place to place-basic freedoms and individuality.
I can also see myself as the old woman at the beginning of the book who chooses to set herself on fire and die with her books rather than be taken off to a mental hospital for 're-education'.
What is important to remember though is that tyrants always want to stifle education, reading, and free thought. Whether it's burning books, banning them, bringing lawsuits against bloggers, or instituting controls on information dissemination, it's all meant to control the populace. I look around at the number of people who are totally oblivious to their surroundings because they are wearing their earbuds with their music players and I flash to Fahrenheit 451's Seashells. It's not so much a stretch now as it seemed 20+ years ago.
Go and look through the list and see if anything that affected you is on it. Then go re-read it. You may (re)discover something you thought was lost or might find a new/old truth.
6 months ago