Microreview: Fahrenheit 451

The gist

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper catches fire. The book presents a fictional universe in which reading is both illegal and irrelevant. Reading is a sin because it triggers thinking and questioning of authority in a world in which instant gratification and mindless entertainment is the norm. The main character of the book is Guy Montag. He works as a fireman, a person no longer in charge of putting out fires, but of burning books and the people who own them. Montag experiences an awakening when he meets his new teenage neighbor. This girl that makes an impression on him with her way of enjoying the simple things in life. From this point on he starts thinking on his own and seeing the value of books. He decides to do everything in his power to save the knowledge contained in them. Everything goes south from here, but I’m not going to spoil any further.

Context

Bradbury wrote this book in nine days, on a typewriter that he rented for a fee of ten cents per half hour at UCLA’s Powell Library. The reason for this is because he wanted the book to be as raw and unedited as possible. Bradbury did not consider himself very political. He did not see himself as belonging to any social or political groups. He wanted Fahrenheit 451 to be as little dogmatic as possible, to solely convey his deep love for books and the importance he attaches to them. I share his passion for lecture and to me it is amazing to see how prophetic the book is. There’s so little difference between the constantly chattering TV walls and their connected Seashells and today’s permanent connection to the Internet. Collective lethargy and neurosis is already emerging. The metaphor is aesthetically different, but its core message stays the same.

Verdict

I highly recommend this version of Fahrenheit 451, since it has an introduction by Neil Gaiman. The outro includes Bradbury’s words on how the book came to be, critical reception and movie impression followups.

Microreview: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The gist

The title of the book is a bit misleading. This book is not about not giving a f*ck at all, but rather about being selective about the f*cks you give. It reads a bit like a stand-up piece on the art of saying no, accepting the temporary nature of your existence and enforcing your core values with your behaviour.

It combines personal anecdotes with snippets of stoic teachings, zen buddhism and psychology. It’s a very gentle introduction to taking up responsibility for who you are and who you want to become. If it feels too light and “fun”, it is because it is. For a deeper lecture, refer to some of the books mentioned in here. “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker or “Mediations” by Marcus Aurelius are both recommended for a deep dive.

Verdict

I totally recommend it if you haven’t read anything remotely similar before or you want to be mildly entertained. But if you are familiar with the concepts mentioned, you can safely move along to more comprehensive readings on the subject.

The new Tomb Raider character evolution

Tomb Raider: The New Feminist Dream?

Why did Tomb Raider had to be reinvented? What was wrong with the generously breasted, fully lipped flawless female pistol wielder that used to territorial piss on ancient tombs with lame British jokes? If you look back in the press, it seems as if the Indiana Jones femme fatale concept has suddenly become exhausted, at least from the game publisher’s point of view. Does this mean that games are growing up, or is this the direct result of the fact that the demographics of players are changing, that women are slowly taking their rightful place at the keyboard and gamepad? Continue reading…

The Sims 3 Review

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called it “night.” By the sixth day, we are told that God also created man. And then, in the seventh day, he decided to rest, content of what He had created. Bearing Schopenhauer in mind, I prefer to believe we are still in the seventh day, contemplating a God that has hidden himself from his creation, leaving this world for a less complex one: in his free time, God… is playing The Sims. Continue reading…

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom Review

It is said that love goes through the stomach. Sunny chicken drumsticks, fine sauces, barmy sweets, they all sacrifice themselves for the feeling of love to purely prevail. For P. B. Winterbottom, who is a sort of ironic Daniel Day-Lewis clone (just imagine him playing the butcher in Gangs of New York), the ode to food is even more important, because his whole life goes through the above-mentioned stomach. Continue reading…

Dragon Age Origins

Dragon Age: Origins Review

The currency of war is life. We pay the cost and hope in the end it was worth it.

The currency of war is life. But, at the same time, it’s the war that determines the damned souls it devours to be aware of the real value of life, in those unique circumstances they experience. War, more than any other event, generates the most surprising of stories, as if all characters involved in the bloodshed would feel the Apocalypse in the air and would rush into frantically living their last moments. Dragon Age: Origins is a game about war. Although the narrative of the game flows in a very Tolkeinesque manner, the seriousness of the confrontations brings to front not the war between races, but, as I underlined above, a colorful bunch of characters, with distinct lives and origins. Continue reading…