[This is Day 20 of #Booktober! Stay tuned for more recommendations!]
What It Is: A dystopian novel written in 1953 about the silencing of dangerous ideas and what happens when you “start reading books instead of burning them” (to borrow a phrase from Henry Jones Sr.).
Why You Should Read It (Again): “It was a pleasure to burn.” This book has been one of my favorites over the years, but like 1984, I find as I grow older it has become more and more relevant. In the story, Guy Montag, the “fireman” who is tasked with burning outlawed books and related materials, is told by his superior in the firemen’s corps that the reason the book burnings started was because special interest groups found certain ideas and writers offensive. The censorship-by-flame eliminated much of literature, leaving only mindless printed entertainment that itself struggled to compete against the intoxicant of big-screen home theaters. In our day as”cancelling” is becoming commonplace in the world of social media because an author’s ideas or opinions are considered unacceptable, and individuals take to Instagram and Tiktok to post videos of themselves burning the works of such societal sinners…let’s just say you can start to see the pattern forming.