Bradbury's ‘Fahrenheit 451' is hot topic at reading events
Schedule of events on Saturday:
2 p.m.-4 p.m.: Book discussion, Colusa fire hall,
4 p.m.-6 p.m.: Art and other exhibits, 735 Main St.
7 p.m.: Movie at Colusa Theatre
Elizabeth Yerxa had never read "Fahrenheit 451" until the Virginia Read committee selected the Ray Bradbury novel as this year's book.
She said she is amazed at the insight Bradbury had about society.
"So much of it is prophetic," Yerxa said. "Virtually everything is (happening)."
The selection of a science fiction novel for the fourth annual Virginia Yerxa Community Read was a change of course after featuring "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "Moby Dick" and "The Grapes of Wrath" in the first three years.
But Yerxa said the committee wanted to show there are other kinds of classical literature, both in the genre and the fact the book is relatively modern.
Bradbury penned the book in 1953.
The novel presents a future American society in which books are outlawed and firemen burn any house that contains them.
While open to interpretation, many believe the timing of the novel is in direct response to the McCarthy era and the censorship of ideas and other rights that were part of that time.
Bradbury scholar Rob Latham from the University of California, Riverside, will discuss the book from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, appropriately, at the city fire house.
Firefighters will use the occasion to demonstrate proper use of extinguishers and other safety tips for the home.
The fire hall was also the site where many in the community gathered to hear Bradbury speak about his work and life in a filmed interview.
Whatever the reason "Fahrenheit 451" was written, Yerxa said Bradbury certainly challenges readers to think: What would our society be like without books?
"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them," Bradbury, who died in June 2012, stated in an interview. Like usual, the Virginia Read event also brings art, music and even other literature to the occasion. Much of that will be on display from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at 735 Main St.
A movie based on the book will be shown at the Colusa Theatre at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Virginia Yerxa Community Read was founded in the fall of 2009 by family and friends of Virginia Yerxa, a vital member of the Colusa community for more than 60 years who had an unyielding passion for education and reading.
Elizabeth Yerxa, who is married to Virginia Yerxa's son, Charles, said she and other organizers have been delighted by the community's reaction and participation.
In addition to attending the day's activities, people can still go online and offer their own opinion of what book they would save if their house was burning.
To add your thoughts, visit www. virginiaread.net.