I am rediscovering the author Ray Bradbury, who died not long ago – see my post about him here. I recently read The Martian Chronicles (too weird for me, but lots of food for thought about the way to tell a story), Something Wicked This Way Comes (amazing, lyrical and poetic writing), and Fahrenheit 451 (really good, and lots of social comment).
It’s not just the quality of his stories that captured my imagination, but the beautiful mastery of words and the thought-provoking commentary. Fahrenheit 451 is about a future where books are banned, and television now displays on three or four whole walls of your living room, feeding you mindless banalities and fake excitement. Tomorrow, on Thinking Thursday, I’m going to post a longer extract from the book which could be about life today, but today, here is what the book has to say about the importance of books. Watch out for the comment about writers at the end.
From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:
Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more “literary” you are. That’s my definition anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.
What do you think is the role of books? Which books would you recommend to show life in the way Bradbury describes?