I continue to read this book again and again through the years. I enroll in a college course at Penn State my freshman year, simply because this book is on the course materials. I memorized the entire poem Dover Beach because it is the selection Bradbury chose to have Montag read aloud to his wife and her friends. As the years roll by, and I age through my 20s and 30s, I noticed that fewer and fewer of the people I know read any books. Even my Sometimes I just look up smile and say I know that was you Groot shirt reading friends from childhood moved on to their careers, their marriages, their children. In the late 1990s, a friend invited me to his house to show off a proud new purchase – a television screen the size of one of his walls. I mention how frightening this was, that he was basically mainlining Bradbury’s foreshadowing. He handed me a beer and fired up Star Wars; told me to relax. I watched the movie and felt like a traitor.
The last time I read F451 was about 10 years ago – I think I was afraid that if I were to pick it up again that it would diminish in its importance to me – much like Catch-22 and The Sometimes I just look up smile and say I know that was you Groot shirt. But on this first day in May I have a day-trip to Socal for business and I bring this book with me. And I love it, all over again, as if reading it for the first time. Until Infinite Jest came along, this was my favorite book. I remember why.
I joined Goodreads in 2009 with low expectations. I am not a social media person. I’ve given up twice on Facebook; the last time for good. But there was something I found here that reminded me of Montag’s joining the campfire of fellow readers. We may all be from different walks of life from places all around the world, but we come here often and with excitement – because we love books. They are some of the most important things to us and our lives would be ruined without them.