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I’ve been travelling through space and time a lot this week.  I’ve been to the desert planet of Arrakis, 8000 years into the future.  I’ve been to late 19th century England and Narnia (again) to watch the world’s beginning and the entrance of evil before it was even 5 hours old.  And now, I’ve just returned from a frightening not-to-distant future United States.  Oddly enough, they have more in common than just time.

In all three books, Dune, The Magician’s Nephew, and Fahrenheit 451, there is oppressive rulers and the reaching into the minds of people to control their very thoughts.  With Dune, the Bene Gesserit wish to control who gets knowledge and sight, who marries whom, and even what sex a child will be.  The Harkonnens and Sardukars viciously hunt and kill the Fremen in a pogrom, because the Fremen are independent and refuse to kiss the perverse butts of the disgusting Harkonnen “rulers.”

With The Magician’s Nephew, the Witch destroyed her own world in a bid to control it and take the throne from her sister, using the deplorable word to kill all life except the one who speaks it.  Then she tries to take over England, but without her magic, she’s just a violent nutter on a thieving rampage.  Once in Narnia, however, she’ll hide and bide her time… then make the move to enslave and opress the land for her own pleasure.

Fahrenheit 451, though, is the one I’ve most recently finished, so the thoughts about it are still tumbling around.

The fun thing with Fahrenheit 451 is that it’s been on Mt. TBR since before there was a Mt. TBR, way back when it was just an “I’m gonna read that soon” pile, when there were maybe 20 books on that pile.  I have NO idea how many books are on Mt. TBR now. Library Thing says I have catalogued almost 1000 books, but some of those are books I’ve read, or books I’ve mooched away and NOT read.  I have tagged 493 books either unread or TBR, but I’ve gotten lazy and haven’t been tagging any of the books I add, so I’d say Mt. TBR is well over 300 books (simply “unread” don’t count as TBR books).

So, some of my thoughts on Fahrenheit 451… 

One of the things that Guy Montag has to do is to decide which book he’ll sacrifice.  Captain Beatty knows he took a book and tells him if he turns it in within 24 hours, it’ll be forgiven.  Montag’s not sure if Beatty knows he has one book, a hundred books or which title, so he figures if he brings him one book, any book, he’ll pass without suspicion.  But how can he choose?  He decides not to turn over the last known surviving copy of The Bible, which was a funny moment with his wife, who asked him:  Which is more important, me or that book?  Der, easy answer… 

*SORTA SPOILER ALERT*  After running from the police, Montag finds a group of men hobo’ing who have memorized a chapter of a book, or even entire books, and burned the hard copies, and now wait for a time when society will return to it’s senses and want literature again.  They half-jokingly introduce themselves as the particular book title, i.e. “Hi!  I am Plato’s Republic, and Simmons is Marcus Aurelius.”  Knowing how the statement “I am” is an affirmation, and also that the more you say it, the more it takes hold and becomes a truth about you,  I wonder who they’ll be in 20 years.  Their personalities, and such.

In Fahrenheit 451, Mildred, Montag’s wife, is very attached to her “family,” the people on the television.  These “relatives” yell at each other, call each other names, act the fool, and are otherwise “entertaining”.  They have a device that allows the owner to hear their own name in messages and shows, and the picture is even adjusted to make the actor’s lips appear to say the name.  So that for her, the announcer says, “Mrs. Montag, wouldn’t you love to try Denham’s Dentifrice?”  And their living room, or parlor room, has wall-sized screens (remember, this was written in the late 40’s – early 50s), and when you had all 4 of your wall-screens installed, it would be just like being in the show… surrounded by your “family”.  Creepy!  and sad…

Clarisse McClellen is the oddball neighbor that sets Montag’s feet on the road of awakening.  She tells him of how kids her age frighten her.  They enjoy killing each other and themselves and destroying things.  They go to the “amusement park” and break windows in “Vandalism Town” or drag race legally, as long as they have enough insurance they can destroy whatever they want. 

One of Mrs. Montag’s friends tells how she thinks it was nice having kids, and she does her best to accommodate them the 3 days out of a month she has them (the rest of the time they’re away at school… grade schoolers, btw).  She just plopped them down in the parlor with the “relatives” as soon as they got home from the hospital.   But, she doesn’t know why they hate her.  Hmm…

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And now for something completely random and different  (because the vid clip I wanted to post is embedding disabled).

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So, If you had to sacrifice one of your books to save the rest, which one would go into the fire?

I’d be tossing the Babysitter’s Club ones… maybe the stray Captain Underpants one I think’s somewhere around here. The Reader’s Digest condensed books could be chucked, too… if they’re still here.

If you were one of the books (which was the vid clip, btw… Montag meeting the Books), what book would you be and why?

It’s a book I’d re-read mentally and recite every day… it’d become a part of me and eventually I’d become that book to an extent…. I think I’d pick the book of Proverbs (Montag was the Book of Ecclesiastes) because it’s wisdom. Everything you need to know about dealing with people, living life, psychology… everything…. is in Proverbs.

Your turn! What book would you sacrifice? Which would you be? Why?

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LibraryThing’s Top Unread Books

I ran across an interesting post by LunarEclipse and thought, with all the LT lists that’s been done, this one would be fun to do, too.

These are the top 103 (was 106, bu I guess I lost 3 somewhere) books most often marked “unread” (or the equivalent) by LibraryThing’s users. The rules are: BOLD the books you have read, italicize the books you started but did not finish (DNF), *STAR* the books you’ve read more than once, underline books that are on your TBR pile, and cross out books that you hated.

Here is my list:

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  2. Anna Karenina (a long time ago in high school… should reread)
  3. Crime and Punishment
  4. The Silmarillion
  5. Life of Pi : a novel
  6. The Name of the Rose
  7. Don Quixote * (in English and the original Spanish)
  8. Moby Dick
  9. Ulysses
  10. Madame Bovary (read it in high school and I want to reread it.)
  11. The Odyssey
  12. Pride and Prejudice *(read it in high school, and just reread it a couple weeks ago, review is here)
  13. Jane Eyre (read in high school and want to reread)
  14. A Tale of Two Cities
  15. The Brothers Karamazov
  16. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
  17. War and Peace (read in high school, but need to reread)
  18. Vanity Fair
  19. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  20. The Iliad
  21. Emma (next up on my Jane-a-thon)
  22. The Blind Assassin
  23. The Kite Runner (one of my top 5 this year)
  24. Mrs. Dalloway
  25. Great Expectations (loved it! Read in high school, and want to reread)
  26. American Gods
  27. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  28. Atlas Shrugged (got to the sex scene, got side tracked by school, haven’t gotten back to it)
  29. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
  30. Memoirs of a Geisha
  31. Middlesex (one of my top 5 this year)
  32. Quicksilver
  33. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
  34. The Canterbury Tales
  35. The Historian : a novel
  36. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  37. Love in the Time of Cholera
  38. Brave New World
  39. The Fountainhead
  40. Foucault’s Pendulum
  41. Middlemarch
  42. Frankenstein
  43. The Count of Monte Cristo
  44. Dracula
  45. A Clockwork Orange
  46. Anansi Boys
  47. The Once and Future King
  48. The Grapes of Wrath
  49. The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
  50. 1984
  51. Angels & Demons
  52. The Inferno
  53. The Satanic Verses
  54. Sense and Sensibility *(read in high school, reread a couple weeks ago, review here)
  55. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  56. Mansfield Park (read it last week, review is here)
  57. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  58. To the Lighthouse
  59. Tess of the D’Urbervilles *(read in HS, reread at the beginning of this year)
  60. Oliver Twist
  61. Gulliver’s Travels
  62. Les Misérables
  63. The Corrections
  64. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  65. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  66. Dune
  67. The Prince (I’ve been reading this one for about 6 or 7 months now.)
  68. The Sound and the Fury (read in HS, could probably do with a reread, but I didn’t really care for it the first time so it’s hard to force myself to do it again)
  69. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
  70. The God of Small Things
  71. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
  72. Cryptonomicon
  73. Neverwhere
  74. A Confederacy of Dunces
  75. A Short History of Nearly Everything
  76. Dubliners
  77. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  78. Beloved
  79. Slaughterhouse-five
  80. The Scarlet Letter
  81. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  82. The Mists of Avalon
  83. Oryx and Crake : a novel
  84. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
  85. Cloud Atlas
  86. The Confusion
  87. Lolita
  88. Persuasion
  89. Northanger Abbey
  90. The Catcher in the Rye **(I’ve actually read this one three times, hated it at 14/ loved it at 15/ hated it as a mom)
  91. On the Road
  92. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  93. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
  94. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
  95. The Aeneid
  96. Watership Down
  97. Gravity’s Rainbow
  98. The Hobbit
  99. In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
  100. White Teeth
  101. Treasure Island
  102. David Copperfield
  103. The Three Musketeers

don’t forget to enter to win FRE BOOK MONEY! a $20 Borders gift card at MY FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!! Deadline for entry is July 31st, details in post.