Read Around the World: USA
February 2020 took us to the USA a country for which I had no trouble finding a book or several…
Fun facts about the USA from this Website:
- The National bird of the United States is The Bald Eagle.
- Rose is the national flower.
- The capital of the nation is Washington, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.).
- The national mottos are E Pluribus Unum which translates to Out of Many, one and In God We trust.
- Stars and Stripes forever is the National March.
- The Declaration of Independence was actually written by Thomas Jefferson on July 2nd. The congress was the then ruling party and took its time for 2 days to accept the declaration.
- Jefferson drafted the declaration on his laptop. In those days, a laptop was a writing desk that fit on one’s lap. Love seeing how language develops
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th, 1826, a few hours apart.
- The United States is divided into 50 states. The states are all in different shapes and sizes.
- With just 1,545 square miles, Rhodes Island is the smallest state of the United States.
- Alaska happens to be the largest state with 663,268 square miles. It also has the longest US coastline stretching for 6,640 miles.
- Prospect Creek, Alaska, recorded the lowest temperature ever in the United States on the 23rd of January in 1971. It was recorded as -80 degree Fahrenheit.
- Death Valley in California recorded the highest temperature on July 10th, 1913. Way too hot for this vampire.
- The most interesting fact about United States is that there is no official language in the country. Although English is the most common language used in United States, but there is no official language of the country. You learn something new everyday!
For my visit to the USA I set myself the challenge of reading a “Great American Novel” I had never read before. After reading various lists I decided that Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury would be my gateway to the USA. I am actually quite shocked I have never read this before as dystopia is one of my favourite genres.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
My Thoughts: This was a 4 star read for me I loved the brief glimpses we are given into the Fireman’s world; a world where your TV family is more important than your real family; a world where you house talks to you and TV surrounds you; a world where happiness is a requirement; a world where books are responsible for unhappiness and must be burnt; a world where everything is boiled down into the smallest segment possible to allow easy digestion by the populace and a world where there are still rebels and readers.
“There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
“And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper.” Way to go with the sexism there Ray!
I love the justifications used for burning books:
“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book.”
“Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents”
“Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences. A problem gets too burdensome, then into the furnace with it.”
Other readers visited the USA through these books:
Currey on Litsy chose The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and rated it as a pick. She also read Fahrenheit 451 and like me gave it a pick.
RachelO on Litsy chose There There by Tommy Orange this was another pick.
Sprainedbrain on Litsy chose Jubilee by Margaret Walker and it is her favourite book of 2020 so far.
Did you join us for this leg of our tour round the world? If you did what did you read?
Will you be joining us in March when we visit Ireland? What are you planning on reading?