Ray Bradbury is one of my favorite authors, so I approached watching HBO’s new adaption of FAHRENHEIT 451 with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. The novel follows Guy Montag, a “firefighter” in a dystopian society where books have been outlawed and the job of the firefighters is to round up hidden books and burn them. Montag’s world and the beliefs that have always guided him are shaken to their core when he meets his new free-thinking neighbor Clarisse and impulsively decides to save a book from the flames and hide it in his own home.
I was lucky enough to attend the first screening of the film, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, followed by a Q&A with writer and director Ramin Bahrani. He said that he selected the books to be featured and burned on-screen carefully, wanting to highlight books that have meant something to him and that he thinks are important. The books selected are a rich and diverse mixture of literature old and new, from classics like FRANKENSTEIN and LOLITA to beloved favorites like HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE. Here are some of the other books featured in this powerful and thought provoking film adaptation.