This is an irresistible journey through old town Prague, with Hanta, a man whose job is the crushing, ciompacting and recycling of paper, novels, letters, etc. He steals moments on his job, reading books and acquiring an odd sort of education, becoming quite familiar with the leading philosophers. He takes many of the bales home, using an artistic expression by inserting whole volumes in the middle of the bales. His home, filled with these bales of papers is in danger of crumbling down on him. He also drinks great quantities of beer. Beer and his books are his life.
Prague and it Communist regime had very strident laws of censorship. Whole libraries were crushed, and I can only think how dangerous it must have been for the author to write this novel, which is a thinly veiled criticism of censorship, representing a person's individuality being crushed just as the books were being destroyed..
This novel contained many beautiful passages on reading. ""Because when I read, I don't really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liquor until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing brain and heart and coursing on through the veins to the root of each blood vessel." Just love this quote. Also this one on the condition of his house, The way I look at it, my life fits together beautifully; at work I have books-and bottles and inkwells and staplers-raining down on me thorough the opening in the cellar ceiling, and at home I have books above me constantly threatening to fall and kill or at least main me."
Also found this link to a small view of the short movie of this http://vimeo.com/11693975