Home / The Big Read 2014: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

The Big Read 2014: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

December 11, 2013

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”


Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451 is this year’s The Big Read Novel

When did science fiction first cross over from genre writing to the mainstream of American literature? Almost certainly it happened on October 19, 1953, when a young Californian named Ray Bradbury published a novel with the odd title of Fahrenheit 451. In a gripping story at once disturbing and poetic, Bradbury takes the materials of pulp fiction and transforms them into a visionary parable of a society gone awry, in which firemen burn books and the state suppresses learning. Meanwhile, the citizenry sits by in a drug-induced and media-saturated indifference. More relevant than ever a half-century later, Fahrenheit 451 has achieved the rare distinction of being both a literary classic and a perennial bestseller.

As a part of their celebration of this American masterpiece, the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries are pleased to offer a series of programs and lectures to offer inspiration and perspective on the book and its author, the legendary Ray Bradbury.

READER’S GUIDES, TEACHER’S GUIDES and more  information about the book is available at The Big Read’s website.


KICK-OFF EVENT: The Aquila Theatre Production of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
Tuesday February 11, 7:30pm
RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
Tickets $27-$43 – Order online here or call 706-256-3612 for more information

Aquila Theatre brings Ray Bradbury’s visionary parable of a society gone awry chillingly to life in an adaptation by the legendary author himself. Free-thought and intellectualism are discouraged in this futuristic world, where firemen burn books and hunt down anyone who risks reading them.

Book Burning Without Fire or Kerosene: A Re-Reading of Fahrenheit 451
Thursday February 20, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

DR. ROBERT M. WOODS, Director of the Great Books Honors College at Faulkner University and member of the Board of Advisors of the Center of Ray Bradbury Studies, gives a fascinating new look at the legacy of one of America’s definitive classic novels. Calling on more than 20 years’ worth of research in the field, Dr. Woods presentations are lively and thought-provoking and will offer new insights into why Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most “American” novels ever written.

Ray Bradbury: An Appreciation
Tuesday March 11, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

Ray Bradbury’s authorized biographer SAM WELLER pays tribute to the American icon in this not-to-be-missed presentation. The author of three books about Bradbury including The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury, Weller brings a scholar’s discipline and a journalist’s skill to explaining the impact of Bradbury on our world. Mr. Weller’s work will be for sale at the event.

Visit Mr. Weller’s Web Page at Columbia College of Chicago.

Follow Mr. Weller on Twitter.

Dystopia! Film Festival

Join us for a happy-go-lucky trip into the future, where three iconoclastic filmmakers present their visions of a world where everything – and everyone – are expected to work happily together for the common good. So what if everyone doesn’t have a say in what happiness is?

METROPOLIS (1926, Not Rated)

Thursday February 13th, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. Known to film buffs for its iconic visual style, director Fritz Lang’s immortal silent classic has beautifully restored with footage recently discovered in South America.

BRAZIL (1985, Rated R)

Thursday February 27th, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) directs this serio-comic classic about a nerdy clerk in a futuristic world who finds himself dragged into the middle of a revolution against the austere governing state. Stunning visual style and absurdist comedy mix to vividly portray a world gone seriously amok.

CHILDREN OF MEN (2006, Rated R)

Tuesday March 4th, 7:00pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium

Alfonso Cuaron, director of this year’s Oscar-nominated Gravity, places us in the chaotic world of 2027 in which the world’s youngest citizen has died at 18 and mankind is facing its own extinction. Starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, the movie follows the story of a lone pregnant woman and desperate journey to deliver her to safety amongst the nationalistic sects currently at war.


Especially for our teens (but open to anyone), we are screening Francois Truffaut’s 1966 adaption of our The Big Read book Fahrenheit 451. The movie starts Oskar Werner and Julie Christie
Marion County Public Library – February 15, 12noon
Cusseta-Chattahoochee Public Library – February 25, 4:00pm
North Columbus Public Library – March 8, 2:00pm

“The Library of My Future” – The Friends of Libraries Essay Contest


Forms are also available at any branch of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries

This year’s Big Read selection Fahrenheit 451 imagines a world without access to knowledge. Is that our future, or is there perhaps a more hopeful vision for us?

We’d like to know what you think… and you might win a prize for telling us!

The Muscogee County Friends of Libraries are encouraging aspiring writers of all ages to enter their annual Essay competition. This year’s theme, “The Library of My Future” is inspired by our Big Read selection Fahrenheit 451.

Click here for more details.


The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Local support for the Big Read is provided by the Muscogee County Friends of Libraries and the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.



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