Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)
Choice quote: “’But I know something else you don’t. There’s dew on the grass in the morning.’ He suddenly couldn’t remember if he had known this or not, and it made him quite irritable.”
Everyone knows about the firemen. In this futuristic novel, if you’re found with a book, the firemen show up and burn them . . . along with your house. Books are banned, but it isn’t a “top down” thing. It was a grassroots movement. People had stopped reading books already, especially the classics. The government just gave them what they wanted: more TV and fun. Books made people melancholy. Those who read them were often confused . . and were thereby made melancholy. Those who didn’t read them felt like they were leading shallow lives . . . and were thereby made melancholy. The answer was simple: ban them altogether in favor of awesome home entertainment. Among other things banned or effectively banned: front porches and strolling. Anything that could open a person to levels of intimacy or self-knowledge beyond the shallowest were cast out of this Bradburian world. How do front porches open a person up? Because people could come by and talk with you, one-on-one, without the TV intermediary. And strolling? Well, everyone knows that, to be a true philosopher, you need to learn to walk very slowly. Aristotle and that peripatetic thing. Of course, I walk too fast to be Aristotle, but I do sit on the front porch. So I’m not all lost.