Banned Books Week: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

I have been sick all week. Just a bad head cold but bad enough to make me miserable. SO miserable, that when I was in bed and realized that I left my copy of The Bone Clocks downstairs, the mere thought of getting up to get it was too much. So, I looked at my nightstand and I pulled out my old, worn copy of Fahrenheit 451. It is Banned Books Week after all.

Now, I have read this book many times. I think, at least three times but never in my life have I shed tears over the writing. I have been all choked-up while reading it. Published in the early 50’s, this book was way ahead of its time. The world within these pages is just so similar to our world today. The large TV screens (4th wall), the ear shells (ear pods/iPods) and the constant stream of noise that is a part of our daily lives. It’s overwhelming and scary and every night this week I have been staring wide-eyed into its pages and just wondering, what’s next?

In case you haven’t read this classic, it’s about firemen and how their main purpose is to destroy books by burning. In their minds, they’re doing everyone a favor. Too much information is dangerous. I can’t even begin to fathom living in a world like this but take this week as an example, there are school boards out there who have decided to ban books this week! Yes! During Banned Books Week!! How insane is that?

Pretty insane.

Have you read the Bible? The stories in there will curl your toes! Just sayin’.

Anyway, I am enjoying my week with Fahrenheit 451. Maybe the cold meds have a lot to do with how emotional I’ve been while reading it but the passages… oh! Some of the passages are just so lovely and powerful. I want to print them all out and hang them around my house.

Are you reading a banned book this week?

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27 thoughts on “Banned Books Week: Fahrenheit 451”

  1. You are just so good and noble and endearing…seriously…you are sick and you are reading a book I would have to be paid to read…and you are getting something out of it…

    I am so bad…

  2. It’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone in society would consider banning books. If someone has moral objections to the content of a book, fine, don’t read it; but, to take away the freedom of someone else to read it who doesn’t hold the same beliefs as that person sets a dangerous precident and is a dangerous act in itself. Books are the last bastions of free speech and expression we have left I sometimes think. I am glad Banned Books Week exists for that reason–to raise awareness. If you can’t protect the freedoms of your opposition, then your own freedoms cannot be guaranteed.

    I remember the Harry Potter ban-fest when I was in school and those books changed my world and I loved them so much. I still do. The book that really sticks with me though is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. I don’t think these have been banned outright, but they’re often challenged. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison was another.

    Your comment on the bible is an interesting one because it’s usually fundamentalists that raise their pitchforks at books, yet the bible makes me cringe with some of its stories.

    I’m gonna go read all the banned books now.

    1. I don’t know about you, but as a teen if you told me not to do something, I instantly wanted to do it even if I had no interest in doing it before. Banning, makes it seem even more tempting, doesn’t it? I just don’t see how keeping a book out of schools or libraries does anything at all except delay the inevitable. I remember when my public library refused to check out thrillers to me because I was only 11 or 12 at the time. They gave me a form, I went outside and forged my parent’s signature. What did they think I was going to do? That had nothing to do with banning but they were preventing me from reading books appropriate for my reading level. It’s not up to them.

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      1. I agree. When you forbid kids to do something like read a certain book, it just makes it intriguing all the more. Let a kid read a book of it is age appropriate or whathaveyou and sit and talk with them about the themes and issues raised, as well as to answer their questions–that way we foster dialogue and not ignorance and silence.

        I’m glad my parents never limited my reading. They’d talk to me about things and I feel I’m a better grown up now because of it. But if I had been limited I might have done the same as you with the forms, haha. 😛 I want to read all the books.

  3. Sorry to hear you are under the weather. It’s that season to get sick again… :S Get well soon Ti. I have been longing to read this book for a long time, hearing that you shed tears on it (and it’s not related to your runny nose and your sickness), it must be good!

    My mom used to ban me from Teen romance reads. She told me don’t let it get into my head that it’s all rosy in love. I have to say she is right. 🙂

    1. Your mom was absolutely right! I read romance novels but I knew they were way over the top. I can’t stand them now!

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  4. I wasn’t deliberately reading a banned book this week, but we read part of Nickle and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America in one of my classes, and that is on the list of top ten challenged books, although I forget the year. I printed out the top ten lists for 2000-2013 for my students and it was on there!

  5. It’s a tricky issue for me.

    I don’t believe in supporting or encouraging crime or exploiting victims of crime. If an admitted, convicted murderer wrote a book mocking his victims I wouldn’t want my taxes paying for that to go in schools.

    It’s a slippery slope, I know.

  6. I felt the same way about this one the last time I read it as I did about The Handmaid’s Tale – how did these writers have such amazing precognitive powers?? Makes them even more scary than they were before some of these ideas were actually coming about.

    1. Exactly! Did they really see it all coming or did they just imagine it and then it happened to come true? It’s so disturbing. I work in IT and the next big push is wearable technology. Besides Fitbits and the like, I have no desire to be tracked and measured.

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  7. I hope you’re feeling better! I have a degree in English and I’m realizing that there are so many classics that I still haven’t read. This one is on my list. And banned books? I don’t think that every book is right for every reader and I think parents should be aware of what their kids are reading, because if they aren’t, they’re missing out on some great opportunities for discussions and great interactions with their children. And as a parent I think parents should be able to say that they don’t want their child reading a particular book. I never have, but I will if I think it’s inappropriate for a certain child. My high schooler is reading In Cold Blood by Capote for AP English this semester. Not a book I would encourage him to seek out, but it’s made for some interesting talks and discussions. When I look at a banned book list, I see books I enjoyed and books I didn’t and books I chose not to read. No one should have any say in what other people choose to read.

    1. All excellent points. As a parent, you have to decide what is best for your child. When I let my 10 year old read Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, I read it with her and it was great. She asked a lot of questions and it was right around the time when her school showed the “heatlh” film so it was also good timing for us to read it.

      The Capote book was an interesting read from a forensic standpoint. It wasn’t as difficult to read as I thought it would be.

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      1. The issue with banned books though is when other people who object to a book being read interfere with my or my child’s right to read it if we want. Most schools have alternate reading lists in case there are objections, but making a book unavailable to everyone because of the personal beliefs of others, especially for those who don’t share those beliefs, isn’t right.

        If a family doesn’t want their kid reading Capote, fine, give them another book, but in that class I’m fine with my kid reading it and will participate with him/her to reinforce whatever values I want them to glean from it, but the pitchfork waving and ban fests are dangerous to freedom of choice and expression.

  8. The comment about ” the pitchfork waving and ban fests are dangerous to freedom of choice and expression” is so true. I just don’t get the need people have to ban books. I never have. If you don’t want to read a book, don’t. It’s as simple as that. Like I said about the Capote book. My son said he wouldn’t have chosen to read it on his own either. But, because he’s reading it, we’ve had discussions and dialogue together which is so much more important than whether or not a book is appropriate or not. He read the Outsiders in 7th grade, which is one of my favorite books. I loved introducing it to him. He read it and we had great talks and watched the film together. And yet, schools have banned it as well. Had I not wanted him to read either book, it never would have occurred to me to request that it be removed from school. It’s not my mindset.

    We had an issue in our city library with The Joy of G*y S*x (I don’t want search engines picking that up!) being out in the stacks because a 10 year old girl picked it up and showed it to her dad. People called for banning it. It was quite the debate in our papers. Ultimately compromise put it behind the counter where someone would need to ask for it. Did I think it belonged in the stacks where children could get it? No, but it certainly isn’t the only book in the library that isn’t appropriate for all ages. Do I think it should be banned? No.

    1. The one comment about not supporting a criminal or exploiting a victim is probably the one instance where I think I might question a school board’s motives. That is one scenario I have not considered in the past.

      My son read The Outsiders in 7th grade and it was the first time he connected with a book. Before that, he was not a fan of reading. He still isn’t much of a fan but the books that they have chosen so far in high school, Lord of the Flies, The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, are all right up his alley.

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