I just finished re-reading Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. It wasn’t an intentional choice, just one of many books laying around the house where I’m currently staying, and I picked it up, having forgotten much of it. In fact, I think I had somehow mingled that book and 1984 in my head, and I kept reading the book expecting the romance to blossom. I have no idea why, but that should give you some idea of how long it’s been since I’ve read either book.
Reading it was a trip down memory lane, in many ways. My first crack at the book was when I read it one summer at home, along with various other things that were stocked on the family bookshelves: Watership Down, Brave New World, Flowers for Algernon, The Other… I couldn’t have been very old, and I didn’t understand half of what I was reading, but I loved the books just the same.
I read the book again for middle-school English class. Our assignment was to write a fictional story based on the book. One of the kids in my class wrote his story sideways (“If they give you lined paper, write the other way”) and the teacher gave him an A without even reading what he’d written. Which, for some reason, pissed me off. I can’t remember why. I do remember that my story got nailed — my teacher hated it, tore it apart, gave me a low grade. I wish I had the story now, just to see how bad it was.
I’ve read the book four or fives times since then, but, as I said, not in years. I was glad to refind it, like an old friend. And the cool thing is that it just happens to be banned books week this week. And there’s also this neat store near where I’m staying that also has these very cool shirts.
What is it about books that gets people so up in arms? Witchcraft (Harry Potter). Scary stuff (Goosebumps series). Swearing and Bible burning (Fahrenheit 451). Anthropomorphic animals (Alice in Wonderland). Offenses to Christianity (The Da Vinci Code). Obscenity (Fanny Hill & Howl). Makes California Look Bad (Grapes of Wrath).
Obviously the list goes on and on. Favorite banned books? I’m sure you have at least one or two. I’d love to hear them. Me, I’m going to work my way through 1984 next.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.