Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal

Book Burners in a Declining Civilization


Book Burners in a Declining Civilization

Fahrenheit 451 is a cult status, futuristic setting, science fiction movie with a literary storyline; books are prohibited and accordingly burned when discovered by marauding firemen. Book readers are summarily prosecuted for the egregious acts of reading and or possessing books. Revolutionary griots preserved the tradition of books by reciting the memorized contents. Entertaining? Yes. Implausible? No. Fragile publishing economics notwithstanding; printed books, formerly an entertainment or gift staple are declining in popularity. IPods and audio books have yet to successfully capture the audience that the hardback or paperback medium still controls. Cell phones, handheld games, and MP3s further diminish reading activities. I have yet to see a consumer reading a book on a so called smart phone; the 90% female readership observed still prefer the traditional media. There is a bonding in coffee shops, lobbies, waiting areas, and commuter transportation as kindred souls acknowledge each other. A great conversation initiator begins when eye contact is established; social grace dictates that one should not interrupt without an opportune moment a reader seemingly immersed in a book. The conversation expands if “your reading habits” have been altered because you are an author with works in process.

 

A je ne sais quoi, soothing, reflective ambiance is conjured up while browsing in a bookstore, visiting a library, or viewing your personal collection of books. Akin to perusing a wine cellar, a fragrance counter, or a cigar humidor, this experience rivals cultural venues for respite and relaxation. Then there is the touch of a book; the control exhibited as you traverse through the pages, slowly, quickly, re-reading and savoring particularly pleasurable entries, anticipating the next pages as your interest is peaked. You don’t just read a book; you experience a book and its subject matter. If the ‘fictional book burners’ came to confiscate your treasures, you would resort to the gun owners’ mantra ---- “from my cold dead hands”. Books are forever; respect the erudition and enjoy the adventures.

 

Civilization evolved from mere tribal existence with recorded history. Language, mathematics, science, politics and social philosophy emerged from the ability to read and write. Illiteracy is the harbinger of disorder as ignorance breeds contemptuous and blind followers. Learn how to research a topic; facts are easier to find than gossip and “new” jokes. For every item verified or examined by research at least ten additional nuggets are uncovered ---- you can find the treasure only when you can read the map.

 

Torches made from palladian pages light the pathway returning to the Stone Ages.


 

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