Books burn at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. I know this because Ray Bradbury wrote a book about it, and, because I checked it up on the internet, just to be sure. Book paper burns at about this temperature but I’m not convinced that a whole book will burn as easily as a sheet of paper. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as, at 451 degrees Fahrenheit I’m not going to be hanging about to check the thermometer.
You are probably wondering why I’m telling you this, as you probably already know. Well, it’s because I have just been reading about the banning of books. Banning books and burning books isn’t really the same, I suppose, but they seem to go together. Some books have been banned for containing criminal information, which is fair enough – it’s not all obscenity and politics. I had a look at Wiki and a list of books banned by various governments over the years. It’s quite a laugh, particularly as one of the most banned authors seems to be H G Wells. I haven’t read many of his books, but have never felt them to be particularly subversive. Or interesting, to be honest. As a youth in the 1960s I quickly realised there were better sci-fi books available and as an adult recently found Mr Britling Sees It Through to be an excellent cure for insomnia. Well. half of it, I didn’t bother with the rest. I am, to my surprise, starting to sympathise with the book banners.
Anyway, back to the subject. Margaret Atwood’s publishers have just auctioned an unburnable copy of The Handmaid’s Tale made from things that are difficult to burn. I was surprised to see that there is so much banning going on in the USA. It’s a strange world where you can own an assault rifle but people worry about you reading a copy of Brave New World.