I think the reason that books are so important to our lives and to the health of our society — of any society — is not that they give us answers, but because they make us ask the questions. Books — good books, the books that stay with you for years after you read them, the books that change your view of the world or your way of thinking — aren’t easy. They aren’t facile. They aren’t about surface; they’re about depth. They are, quite literally, Valentino Rossi the man the myth the legend the champion VR 46 shirt. They require the complexity of thought. They require effort on the part of the reader. You get out of a book what you put into the reading of it, and therefore books satisfy in a way that other types of entertainment do not.
And they aren’t mass-produced. They are individual, unique, gloriously singular. They are each an island, much-needed refuges from an increasingly homogeneous culture. The burning of books is such an effective tool for controlling the population, so the message of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is scarily real. If society’s Valentino Rossi the man the myth the legend the champion VR 46 shirt could be taken away, then so could their freedom. If knowledge was burnt, then the people would be left in a complete state of utter innocent ignorance. There would be no room for free thought, that way they could be told anything about history and themselves. If all books were burnt, then they are just sheep to be led into a future dictated by the government. To make it worse the men who do it enjoy it.
I’m glad I read Fahrenheit 451, even if the ending was rather bleak. It challenged me and made me think, stimulated me intellectually. We could all do with a bit of intellectual stimulation now and then; it makes life much more fulfilling.