To mark what would have been author Ray Bradbury’s 100th birthday on August 22nd, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Public Library and libraries from across the nation have banded together for a virtual “read-a-thon” dedicated to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Actors William Shatner and Rachel Bloom, authors Susan Orlean, Marlon James and Neil Gaiman and dozens more will each introduce or read a portion of the landmark 1953 novel. “Those segments, and a few from celebrity guests, will be edited into one continuous reading of the entire book, creating four hours of thought-provoking entertainment. Some readers will record from their homes, others from their hometown,” organizers of the Read-a-Thon said in a statement. The event will premiere on August 22nd at 4:30pm EST at the Ray Bradbury Read-a-Thon site. the four-hour stream will rebroadcast there until September 5th.
Fahrenheit 451, a novel warning against censorship of thought and knowledge in the form of book burning, was chosen in part because of Bradbury’s own dedication to libraries. “I’m completely library-educated. Libraries are absolutely at the center of my life,” Bradbury once said. “Since I couldn’t afford to go to college, I attended the library three or four days a week from the age of 18 on, and graduated from the library when I was 28.”
The Read-a-Thon will feature segments of Fahrenheit 451 read from the former Carnegie Library building in Waukegan, Illinois, Bradbury’s own local library. A Pulitzer Prize winner, National Medal of Arts recipient and legend of sci-fi and horror writing, Bradbury died in 2012 at the age of 91.
“Fahrenheit 451, a cautionary dystopian tale about the cost of apathy and the power of curiosity, is one of the most checked-out books at libraries throughout the United States,” organizers added. “Viewers of the Read-A-Thon will discover — or rediscover — this redemptive story that is as powerful today as it was when it was first written.”