On the passing of Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451.
If you are one to hit the “writing” tag, by now you have certainly heard of the passing of Ray Bradbury yesterday at the age of 91. For pure entertainment purposes, I prefer Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and some of his other short fiction. Dystopian futures are not exactly a pick-me-up, but reading Fahrenheit 451 is a necessary endeavor for anyone that cherishes the written word. If you haven’t read it yet, stop here and go immediately to your local independent bookstore and purchase a copy. A used paperback version will likely be under $5.
Those of you familiar with the story, know why I ask what title you would hope to be.
My first thought was Hemingway and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Brilliant, but I’m not sure I want to become such violence, such stupidity thrust upon fellow human beings. I thought of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Again, too much violence, even if it’s fantasy violence. The trilogy is even bloodier. Fantastic stories all, but not ones I would wish to carry in my very fiber.
I thought of Le Clezio’s Desert. Spiritual but filled with war. Smiley’s The Greenlanders, no war but violent at times. I started to go through all the books I love and soon realized there was probably going to be some violence, no matter which one I chose. I’m not sure if that is a statement about me or literature.
And so I came full circle, back to my favorite writer, Hemingway. A book with mighty struggles but little violence. And every retelling would be like a trip to the Caribbean. My choice: The Old Man and the Sea. I can feel the warm, blue sea splashing around my toes already.
What would your choice be?