Fahrenheit 451

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to get books from the public library, rather than buy them, which has been my custom for years. My husband and I love books, but I realize that books generate paper and waste. I’m trying to become a minimalist.

I’ve been getting books from the Bellevue branch of the Metro Nashville Public Library since January. This library, which is destined to be replaced soon, is the most lifeless place I’ve ever visited. The libraries of my childhood and my college years were inviting places, where I used to linger for hours. I’m the same in book stores, where books are alive. Before it moved to the pretentious Mall at Green Hills, I could almost live at Davis Kidd bookstore.

With the Bellevue branch of the Public Library, I’ve learned to reserve a book on line, go in when it’s ready and check out without attempting to speak to any one or spend time searching the stacks. None of the librarians or workers are very friendly. One insulted me when I signed up for my library card by stating, “You’re older than I am.” Usually the librarians’ noses are pointed downward and don’t acknowledge human life.

I’m used to the old days of a librarian stating, “Oh, you’re checking out Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Have you read blah-blah-blah or blah-blah-blah? You’d like those books, too.”

Anyway, I’d never read Fahrenheit 451. I’d heard of it; didn’t realize that Bradbury wrote it; didn’t know what it was about: a society where books have been banned. It’s like having HDTVs on every wall showing reality television shows 24/7. I’m half-way through the book. I don’t know why I never read it before now, but it has become one of my most important books.

It’s my worst nightmare – a society without books. I love the internet, HDTV and YouTube, but before I turn in every night, I prop my feet up on the ottoman and escape to a book. It’s alive, not like the Bellevue branch of the Public Library.

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