YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high...moreYOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good."
Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.
This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.
I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully.
From the start, the author manages to articulate so many of the things I have thought about but have never been able to find a way to put into words. Even in the first few chapters I found myself having to stop just to quietly consider the words of Mr Orwell.
For instance, he talks about how the act of writing itself is a type of time travel. It is communicating with the future. I write these words now, but others may not discover them for hours, weeks, or even years. For me, it is one time. For you the reader, it is an entirely different one.
Just the thought that reading and writing could one day be outlawed just shivers my timbers. I related to Winston so much in that way. I would have found a way to read or write.
The politics and psychology of this novel run deep. The society in the book has no written laws, but many acts are punishable by death. The slogan of the Party (War is Peace...) is entirely convoluted. Individuality is frowned upon and could lead to being labeled a traitor to the Party.
I also remember always wondering why the title was 1984. I was familiar with the concept of Big Brother and wondered why that wasn't the name of the book. In the story, they don't actually know what year it is because so much of the past has been erased by the Ministry of Truth. It could very easily have been 1981. I think that makes the title more powerful. Something as simple as the year or date is unknown to these people. They have to believe it is whatever day that they are told it is. They don't have the right to keep track. Knowledge is powerful. Knowledge is necessary. But according to Big Brother. Ignorance is strength.
1984 is written in past tense and has long paragraphs of exposition, recounting events, and explaining the society. These are usually things that distance me from a book and from the characters, but Orwell managed to keep me fully enthralled. He frequently talks in circles and ideas are often repeated but it is still intriguing, none the less. I must admit that I zoned out a bit while Winston was reading from The Book, but I was very fascinated by the culture.
Sometimes it seems as though the only way to really experience a characters emotions is through first person. This is not the case with this book, as it is written in third person; yet, I never failed to be encompassed in Winston's feelings. George manages to ensure that the reader never feels disconnected from the events that are unfolding around them, with the exception of the beginning when Winston is just starting to become awakened. I developed a strong attachment to Winston and thrived on living inside his mind. I became a member of the Thought Police, hearing everything, feeling everything and last but not least, (what the Thought Police are not allowed to do) questioning everything.
I wasn't expecting a love story in this book, but the relationship between Julia and Winston was truly profound. I enjoyed it even more than I would have expected and thought the moments between them were beautiful. I wasn't sure whether he was going to eventually betray Julia to the Party or not, but I certainly teared up often when it came to their relationship.
George has an uncanny ability to get to the base of the human psyche, at times suggesting that we need to be at war for many different reasons, whether it's at war with ourselves or with others. That is one thing I have never understood: why humans feel the need to destroy and control each other.
It seems that the main and recurring message in this book is about censorship and brainwashing. One, censorship, is limited and little exposure to ideas of the world; the other, brainwashing, is forced and too much exposure to a certain ideas. Both can be extremely dangerous.
Inside the ministry of Truth, he demonstrates the dangers of censorship by showing how the Party has completely rewritten the past by forging and abolishing documents and physical evidence. We also spend quite a bit of time with Winston in the Ministry of Love, where the brainwashing takes place. Those who commit thoughtcrime are tortured until they grow to love and obey Big Brother and serve only the interests of the Party.
A common theme occurred to me throughout the book, although it wasn't necessarily referenced consistently. The good of the many is more important than the good of the one. There are so many variables when it comes to this statement and for the most part it seems natural to say, "Of course, the many is more important than the one", but when inside Winston's head, all that I began to care about was his well-being and not if he was able to help disband or conquer the Party and Big Brother. I just wanted him to be at peace.
Whether or not the good of all is more important than that of the one, I can't answer. I think most people feel their own happiness is more important than the rest of the world's, and maybe that's part of the problem but it's also human nature. I only wish we could all accept one other regardless of belief and culture and not try to force ways of life onto other people. Maybe I'm naive for thinking that way, but so be it.
I almost don't know what to think about this book. I'm not even sure my brain still works, or if it ever worked right at all. This book has a way of making you think you know exactly what you believe about everything and then turning you completely upside down and making you question whether or not you believe anything at all about anything. It's the strangest thing. Hmmm. Doublethink? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Everything about this book is captivating. It's groundbreaking yet at the same time, purely classic. Ahead of its time, yet timeless. From Big Brother to the Thought Police, I was hooked and wanted to know more about it all.
Basically, I think everyone should read 1984 at some point. You really have to be in the mood to work at reading it, though. But it's all worth it in the end. It's absolutely incredible and I loved it. I don't re-read many books but this will definitely be one of them. It is a hard read, but more importantly, it is a MUST read.(less)
This book was great. Very campy. Alot of superhero/supervillian jokes, but even non-comic book fans could relate. Damien Locke is hilarious and I woul...moreThis book was great. Very campy. Alot of superhero/supervillian jokes, but even non-comic book fans could relate. Damien Locke is hilarious and I would love to be best friends with Renegade X. Not to mention, read another book about him. Here are just a few great quotes from the book:
I've been kidnapped by a madman in tights and a cape.
I explained that I'd been homeschooled but that didn't help. She must have been picturing cavemenlike supervillians in capes grunting and showing me how to rub two sticks together to make the pretty fire stuff.
The last one really made me laugh and also reminded me of a Buffy quote: Fire bad, tree pretty.
The author seems like a really cool chick. She mentions rewatching old Buffy episodes in the back of the book and I find her writing style refreshing. There's not constant romance like alot of female authors but just enough to keep you involved. And lots of laughs. I look forward to more books from her.(less)
You may not find yourself inside the world like in an "escapism...moreKindle edition is on sale for about $5 HERE!!
This is what I call an "experience" book.
You may not find yourself inside the world like in an "escapism" story, instead you feel as if your viewing it from the outside. It's intent is to help you reflect upon and experience your own life, not necessarily that of the characters. Another more well-known example of this type of book would be 1984.
You breath on your own instead of with the characters. You are able to see the story more objectively, without having unhealthy attachments to the characters. You don't think "If something happens to the this character, I will never forgive the author." You are still invested, but not so much so that it clouds your judgement.
An experience novel asks you to logically consider the story and it's implications. It asks you to experience. It asks you to think.
Genesis is truly incredible! You will probably either be completely put off by it or you will be blown away by it. I was one of the latter. Either way, it WILL make you think about why we exist and the implications of that existence.
Here is a partial synopsis from the publishers:
Set on a remote island in a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden world, this electrifying novel is destined to become a modern classic.
Anax thinks she knows her history. She’d better. She’s now facing three Examiners, and her grueling all-day Examination has just begun. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society.
But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And that the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be.
I usually go for longer books or series books, but this is a unlikely exception. It makes me wish that there were more of these well thought-out, groundbreaking novellas. If anyone has a recommendation of something similar, well plotted short books, I would love to hear about it.
I really think everyone should read it, especially considering it's a meager 150 pages and manages to raise philosophical arguments and tell a complete dystopian story in those few pages. You'll either love it or hate it, but either way, it will make your brain melt.
I wouldn't exactly call this book fast-paced, but that is why it's short length is perfect! The overall experience of a book is sometimes what makes or breaks it's rating. And a lot of times the ending can make all the difference.
I just want to make perfectly clear that the ending of this book is, without a doubt, the most impactful ending I have EVER read in any book. I am not exaggerating.
Ever since finishing it, I have been aching for a book to send my mind spinning as much as this one did. I so want to experience another read like this or go back in time and experience this one again.
Edit: It has been well over a year since I read this book and I still think about it constantly. It's so so memorable and it should only take a couple hours at most to read.
If you are discouraged by the state of so-called dystopian books lately, I beg you to read this book. I don't care if you buy it, borrow it from the library, or sit down in the store and read it (which is totally fine, right?) - just READ it. Add it to your "must read now" bookshelf. If you don't have a bookshelf called that, create it now. :-) You know you want too.
This book is only 150 pages long, but well worth those few pages. If you think that you'll like Genesis, it may be a great investment for you.
I cannot say enough about this book and give it my highest possible recommendation. Yes, I know that I'm really pimping this book hard, but I can't help it. It is incredibly profound and really captured my attention and hasn't let go. But now, it's up to you...
And please, please, please. If you are even a tad interested in this book, don't read anything else about it. Just go read it. It is so much better if you have no idea what to expect.(less)
Yeah. So maybe Matthew Fox from Lost isn't exactly the person you had in mind when you thought about...moreOh no. You've awakened the beast. It's Jackniss!!
Yeah. So maybe Matthew Fox from Lost isn't exactly the person you had in mind when you thought about who they might cast as Katniss in The Hunger Games, but I was inspired to create that after I saw this site called Jackimals. You might want to wait to visit it, though, because it can suck you in like an unexplained time warp flash.
I was also inspired to create the Jackniss after I read a discussion that deeply disturbed me.
Somewhere, possibly on Goodreads, I read that someone thought the Lost writers should get involved in writing the Hunger Games script. What!?!? Forget the genius Suzanne Collins, let's give it to the guys who left the greatest mystery in all of TV history completely unexplained. Don't get me wrong. I love Lost and appreciate it greatly, but they really explained nothing in terms of the plot. But don't even get me started on that - Circuits overloading. Bzzzt. *sparks*
Both Lost and Hunger Games are great character stories, but Hunger Games needs plot. It cannot do without. That's obviously not going to happen since Suzanne has already written the script, but just play along for a second.
Here's how I think it would go...
Katniss is being chased by one of the mutts who suddenly turns into the smoke monster, which gobbles her up in flashes of lightning and the sound of mechanical teeth grinding while playing a flashback of her life in the District. It quickly chokes her back up realizing she's a candidate to replace Jacob but she's in such shock from the experience that she lays down and dies, with a stunning close-up of her eye closing. Roll credits.
Now, if you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, I won't even try to justify why you should. You just should. This is just one of those books that someone says "This book is AMAZING." Then, you take their word for it and read it.
And seriously, WHY haven't you read it yet?
This is the kind of book that is so awesome in a completely thrilling and demented and emotional and shocking way that it makes you want to bang your head against the wall while throwing fairy dust in joy. Two things that I have done in the past, but never before at the same time. That's how powerful this book is.
After that, it makes you want to cry. Cry like a little baby. Like a little baby in it's crib. Then scream. Scream like a frikkin banshee with a frikkin laser beam on it's forehead.
Before I read this, I had a friend who told me that this book was 100 times better than Twilight. (I'd say that it's actually more like a gorgonzolazillion times better and don't ask me the exact amount that represents. Let's just call it "To infinity and beyond.") She also said that it was going to be an even bigger phenomenon than Twilight. I was like "Hah!" Let's face it, it can get ridiculous with the Fangirl mobbing and the crying. But I concur. I think this WILL be bigger than Twilight and obviously better. Maybe even Oscar worthy. I certainly hope so, anyway.
I know that I said I wouldn't try and talk you into reading this book but I honestly can't help it. I'm not sure that I'm doing a great job at it, though. Let's try a little visual aid.
Here is an artist's rendering of our heroine, Katniss Everdeen:
And here's the gorgeous young lady who has been cast. Jennifer Lawrence.
She may not seem like the spitting image of the girl from the book, but there is such a thing as hair dye and dirt. And and there is Photoshop, of course. So here is a pic that someone made and posted online of Jennifer as Katniss. It may change your mind.
And this side by side.
All right, besides the oversized cartoon eye, she is pretty damn close. Well, I'm convinced. How bout you?
As if that wasn't enough, you can see some examples of what Jennifer would look like in the many outfits of Katniss: HERE
Also, here's the artists version of Peeta, our hero.
I know that a lot of people would disagree but, to me, this guy is Peeta.
And just so everyone knows - The Hunger Games is currently on sale for just 5 dollars on Kindle.
I'm not sure how long the sale will last, though. I already own the book but I am seriously considering buying the Kindle edition just for the hell of it. This is absolutely one of my all time favorite books!!(less)