Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 
by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. The title refers to the temperature that Bradbury understood to be the autoignition point of paper.

The novel has been the subject of various interpretations, primarily focusing on the historical role of book burning in suppressing dissenting ideas. In a 1956 radio interview, Bradbury stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of his concerns at the time (during the McCarthy era) about censorship and the threat of book burning in the United States. In later years, he stated his motivation for writing the book in more general terms.

The novel has won various awards. In 1954, it won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and also the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal. It has since won the Prometheus "Hall of Fame" Award in 1984 and a 1954 "Retro" Hugo Award, one of only three Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004. Bradbury was also honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.

The novel has been adapted several times. François Truffaut wrote and directed a film adaptation of the novel in 1966, and a BBC Radio dramatization was produced in 1982. Bradbury published a stage play version in 1979 as well as companion piece titled A Pleasure To Burn in 2010. Additionally, he helped develop a 1984 interactive fiction computer game also titled Fahrenheit 451.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Broken Spears

The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico
edited by Miguel Leon-Portilla

For hundreds of years, the history of the conquest of Mexico and the defeat of the Aztecs has been told in the words of the Spanish victors. Miguel León-Portilla has long been at the forefront of expanding that history to include the voices of indigenous peoples. In this new and updated edition of his classic The Broken Spears, León-Portilla has included accounts from native Aztec descendants across the centuries. These texts bear witness to the extraordinary vitality of an oral tradition that preserves the viewpoints of the vanquished instead of the victors. León-Portilla's new Postscript reflects upon the critical importance of these unexpected historical accounts.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Treasure Chest of Sea Stories

A Treasure Chest of Sea Stories
edited by Max J. Herzberg

A collection of short stories about life on the sea by a variety of authors. Twenty exciting, red-blooded stores of the sea, of sailing ships and iron ships, of heroism and bravery, storm, shipwreck and desert islands, tall tales and sailors' yarns. Authors include Jack London, William Holder, Richard Stern, W. W. Jacobs, James Norman and Arthur Mason among others.

The Aztecs

The Aztecs: A History
by Nigel Davies

"THE AZTECS is quite simply the best general political history of that nation now available in english...Purchase of this book is a real must for persons with a serious interest in the aboriginal peoples on Mesoamerica, Mexican history, or the comparative study of early civilizations."--LATIN AMERICA IN BOOKS.