Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (11 April — 14 April)

This is one of those books that I tried to read years ago but never got around to finishing, and picking it up again definitely reminded me why that happened. There are just too many words in this book! I mean, not really, because it’s only 170-ish pages long, but really really, because Bradbury writes sentences in which silent trains run soundlessly along their tracks. So that’s what silent means.

That’s not to say that the book isn’t good… it just takes a disproportionate amount of time to the length of the book to figure out what the heck Bradbury’s saying.

So anyway. If you don’t know, Fahrenheit 451 is about a world in which firemen are employed to start fires that burn up book collections, because books are bad and rooms made of four wall-sized TVs are good. One fireman, Montag, meets a girl who doesn’t pay attention to the propaganda, and her influence helps push him on a path to try to overthrow the system.

I wish I had read this book during an English class, because it needs a lot of discussion. Bradbury makes some interesting points about how people perceive books and how outmoded they are in this day and age (the book is set sometime around now, from what I can tell) which are almost true, 50 years after he wrote them. We may not have flying cars, but we do certainly have apathy toward books.

Rating: 6/10
(My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge)

We’ll Always Have Paris, by Ray Bradbury (15 March)

Maybe I’m just not cut out for short stories. I don’t know. But of the 22 stories in this collection, I only really liked five of them. It seemed like the others I either just did not get or did get, really, no really, no please stop explaining it I GET IT. So yeah.

But the ones I did like were good! Those touched on themes of relationships: friends with benefits, friends without any benefits, how friends change over the years or even the days. All of them I thought got right to the heart of the matter and ended with just the right touch… I wish the others had done so well.

There’s not much to say in specific as these stories are, on average, 10 pages long. If you don’t read all of the stories, do read “Apple-Core Baltimore,” as that is my hands-down favorite.

Rating: 5/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2009, Support Your Local Library Challenge)