I’m not sure what’s gotten into me lately, but I’ve gone on an American classics binge. When I was a teenager, the only way you could get me to read a classic was to hold a gun to my head, or, in the less extreme, if it was the only unread book in my collection.
I’ll admit it… The House of the Seven Gables bored me to tears and Jane Eyre absolutely put me to sleep. *shrug* I guess I’m just not that sophisticated.
Of course, I’d heard a shit-ton about Fahrenheit 451 and decided to finally pick it up from the library. While I was there, I stumbled upon From the Dust Returned and decided to give that a go too. F451 was very fast-paced and I can totally see how it achieved it’s huge fan base. Bradbury’s concept was so before his time that is absolutely astounding. In a world filled with stories about mind-control, totalitarian governments, and post-apocalyptic earth–F451 may not seem that impressive. But if you step back for a moment and realize how groundbreaking it truly was… It’s pretty amazing. I’d say that Bradbury did for sci-fi what Tolkien did for high fantasy. He may have not been the first author to delve into a world like that, but he certainly brought the idea to the forefront of our collective consciousness. (For the two of you out there who don’t know the premise–in this futuristic setting, television absolutely rules and reading books is WAY ILLEGAL. Firefighters exist to burn books, not to put out fires).
FTDR was a bit more of a let down for me. It revolved around a strange family reminiscent of the creepy Addams’ *snap snap*. There’s a bat-like uncle, a thousand-times great grandmother, and an adopted son Timothy that is the only mortal member of the family. The concept was interesting, but I guess I had trouble with the way the various short stories jumped around. It was hard for me to fully sink into the story, and every time I started to there’d be a scene change and I’d be jerked out of it again.
Needless to say, I wasn’t that impressed.
F451 gets 4 burnt book pages of 5 and FTDR gets 2 bats in the belfry of 5.