In honor of the fall semester beginning in Buffalo and around the country, Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, might be revisited. Written in 1953, his book takes place sometime in the future—speculated by some to be as late as the 1990’s—when books are routinely burned and those who spent solitary time reading are declared incompetent or disappeared. But a remnant of people left after civilization is destroyed remember bits and pieces of books that might help them get it together again. Fahrenheit 451 is supposedly the temperature at which paper in books burns.
Fahrenheit 451 was made into a movie in 1966. During the first decade of the 2000’s, attempts were made to remake the movie, but they were never completed. The 1987 publication of the book is still in print.
A few quotes from this author and thinker:
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?”
“Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
“A good night sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine.”
“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”
“A book is a loaded gun in the house next door…Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?”
“Books were only one type or receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.
Buffalo Books writes about events, books, writers, and publishers with a Buffalo link.
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