To be honest, my memory of 1984 is a little vague, having read it in high school or middle school. But even if I don’t have a detailed recollection of...moreTo be honest, my memory of 1984 is a little vague, having read it in high school or middle school. But even if I don’t have a detailed recollection of some of its finer points, I do recall the effect 1984 had on me. This book infuriated me. I remember reading the last third of the book in chunks between bouts of throwing my paperback at the wall and stomping around because I was so frustrated and wrenched over the end.
Some movies or books I can say that I am glad that I’ve experienced, because the experience was important or moving, but I can also say that I have no desire to ever experience them again. For me, 1984 is definitely in that category.
This isn’t an enjoyable book to read for most people. I’m not sure I can say that I liked it, or even that I would ‘recommend’ it to anyone I know, in the usual sense. But I do think 1984 is one of the more important books of modernity, and probably something everyone should read – for more reasons than just to understand the origins of the many cultural references that come from the book.
However 1984 is less of a novel than a dramatized political statement or thought experiment, and some parts of the book are rather slow. There are whole sections that are pieces of a made-up political manifesto. Also, it is not an easy read for everyone – this book taught me what solipsism is. You should have a good vocabulary and critical thinking skills before diving into this book or you’ll either find it too boring, or be more persuaded by the propaganda of the villainous government than by the plight of the main characters attempting to resist. Though it’s read in high schools all the time, it may not be the best book for the casual reader, especially one just looking to be entertained. Orwell’s prose is rather dry, but still cogent and interesting. It is, however, less sentimental and more grounded in political theory and philosophy than more contemporary popular dystopian works, such as V for Vendetta (the movie, anyway.)
The characters aren’t well developed but I remember I began to care about them quite deeply by the end, because in an everyman way, I didn’t want to see them (and through them, myself) go through all those horrible things for naught. Despite Winston and Julia being merely vehicles for the somewhat heavy-handed message, it’s nearly impossible not to find yourself cheering them on and holding out hope they won’t have their spirits crushed by the repressive, totalitarian government.
The world of 1984, though it may seem a little outdated as far as visions of the future go, and unrealistic to some, is thorough and complete unto itself. (It has its own language!) It’s also deeply disturbing. For these reasons, 1984 remains a modern dystopian classic even nearly 3 decades after the year 1984 has come and gone. (less)
I remember this is one of the first books I ever read that made me cry. This is a universal tale of hardship, survival, adventure... It has its own my...moreI remember this is one of the first books I ever read that made me cry. This is a universal tale of hardship, survival, adventure... It has its own mythology! And it's about rabbits! I'm not sure what I can say about this book; it's one of my favorites of all time. If you like talking animals you should read Watership Down. (less)
This has a lot more... pathos, than the movie does. The main adult character, played by Hugh Grant in the movie (I forget his name in the book) is exp...moreThis has a lot more... pathos, than the movie does. The main adult character, played by Hugh Grant in the movie (I forget his name in the book) is explored in more depth and given a more convincing arc, I think. This is a book I couldn't put down once I started reading it, and I finished it in one night, all the way through the slightly teary end.(less)
I'm mostly interested in the adaptation here, and in Stever Niles's art. Also I think this might be a shorter and more accesible version of what I ori...moreI'm mostly interested in the adaptation here, and in Stever Niles's art. Also I think this might be a shorter and more accesible version of what I originally found to be a less than engrossing novel.(less)
A Christmas Carol - even though it's Dickens - is short! And you'll be surprised, if you've never read it, how closely all the cartoon adaptations are...moreA Christmas Carol - even though it's Dickens - is short! And you'll be surprised, if you've never read it, how closely all the cartoon adaptations are to the original story, which has become a pretty ubiquitious part of Christmas lore. The atmosphere is typically Dickensian and if you're into that Victorian goth-lite sort of feel, this would be a great Christmas book for you. It's a classic that has stuck around for a reason, the story has merit in its message even if you aren't particularly religious or are just not Christian. Though the story is set around Christmas, it's really about learning to open up to others, to care more about people than money, to help those in need or less fortunate then you, and to live your life in the now. I suppose it was meant to promote Christian ideals like Faith, Hope, and Charity and all that... but really, who couldn't use a lesson in learning to be less selfish and becoming nicer to people? The Christian/Christmas connection is just incedental to a modern reader, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I read this for the first time near Christmas and it had a certain picturesque charm to it that it may have lacked had I read it in July. It's not a bad book to read at the end of or beginning of a new year, though, even if 'winter' where you are is still 70 and sunny. (less)
Even though it's sort of a sappy romance, and the book reads as though it were a transcript of the 80's movie rather than the inspiration for it, I re...moreEven though it's sort of a sappy romance, and the book reads as though it were a transcript of the 80's movie rather than the inspiration for it, I really like this story. It has two things I am a sucker for - tragic star-crossed love and an intellectual romance of the mind. Where can I find someone with whom I can exchange intimate letters my whole life, even if we never meet? This book is humorous as well, especially for avid readers who can no doubt identify with some of the bibliomanaical obsessions it documents. Overall it's a quick, light, fun read; with a dash of seriousness and a lot of literary reference mixed in to thicken it up a bit. Though sometimes it can be a bit precious, it's also fairly bittersweet and more memorable than you would expect.(less)
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I think it has a lot to say about love and relationships; I've probably gained a lot of my world view on...moreThis is one of my favorite books of all time. I think it has a lot to say about love and relationships; I've probably gained a lot of my world view on those matters from this book. (For good or ill, I suppose.) I generally enjoy philosophical fiction, which is the major strong point of this novel. The language is beautiful and the characters interesting, though perhaps not likeable - you'll notice a distinctly more European attitude to sex, relationships, and politics. The backdrop of the Czech political struggles during the late 60's is interesting, from an outsider's point of view.
If you expect more movement in plot and a larger range of character development, or hate reading a lot of introspective musing on philosophy and life, this book is not for you. If you are a fan of foreign cinema you might like this book. (less)