I don’t often read fiction, but this book was recommended to me by…I can’t recall who. Not knowing anything about the book or the author, I read it. Only after reading it, did I discover that it had been written in 1953. Which surprised me, as the writing had transported me to a modern world. A cold and dark modern world. If you love reading, you love books, you respect and appreciate the creative and vulnerable process of writing – then you’ll appreciate this book.
This book is about destroying books. Burning them to be precise. In a modern world, of digital, visual, of single-minded mentalities – there is no place for thought provoking, provocative, spiritual, fact or fiction books. The story takes you on an emotional journey of self discovery by the protagonist, who has to make a choice. It is a gripping story.
I’ve included a short extract from the book which really stuck with me. As I read it, I felt concern and worry. In our world – not yet as modern as the setting of the book – I fear we are close to the edge of devaluing that which is (and should be), every person’s legacy. The ability and the desire to leave something behind…
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
The book is available on Audible and is read beautifully. The movie, by the same name, bears a vague (very vague!) representation of the book.