101 Books to Read Before You Die discussion

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Kristyn (Kristyn007) I redid the folders so we can have different discussions under each book. we can post different questions under each book folder. We can go by chapters or individual questions or how you want to do it. While reading my favorite question is always what love interest is the main character going to fall for which doesn't seem to apply while reading these books.

Catherine Crook Haha, You waiting for the girl too? LOL, when my Highlander series gets here - I fear Winston might not have a fighting chance. :-)

Amanda I'm excited to be included but I have to ask what are the above mentioned "individual questions"?

Kristyn (Kristyn007) We are kind of new at this whole book club thing as you can tell. We are kind of just winging it. All of the individual questions that I found on line pertaining this book were to be answered after the book is read. Just reading the questions were giving away parts of the book so I stopped looking. I guess by individual I meant just questions pertaining to the book as a whole instead of questions pertaining to a specific chapter.

Amanda Ok, I have never done the book club thing either, so I had no clue!

Kristyn (Kristyn007) I am almost halfway through! Am I the only one that sees that this book focuses on world development and absolutely no character development? Why when I picture Winston in my head I picture him as a dirty old pervert? I find myself disliking everybody. The only people i see myself fascinated with are the proles. I would like this book better if he ran away and lived among the proles and pretended to be one. I'm guessing they have different characteristics than everyone else (are they a different race or something along those lines?) if not it seems like anybody could just go live with them and escape.

message 7: by Amanda (last edited Sep 08, 2012 04:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda I'm about page 184 right now and a good portion of the section section so far serves as a vehicle to put forth "the book" which quite clearly exposes the logic behind the world that Winston finds himself living in.

It is important to remember that this is a book that is written for a purpose other than to entertain. This was published in 1949 after the events of WWII, which were still very fresh in people's minds. Remember it is written by an Englishman so while America came out of WWII much in a "glad that nonsense is over with" kind of outlook, Europe was extremely different. There was a fear that if ALL societies did not guard against propaganda and ultimate force the events that happened in Germany and Russia were where the world as a whole was headed. The book serves as an example of a future that people thought was entirely possible.

I don't picture Winston as a dirty, old pervert simply because while yes he is boinking a much younger girl it is not about the sex in the slightest for him, it is the act of rebellion that he commits merely by wanting to be human. I find Winston not necessarily likable but someone that you want to encourage because in opposition to Julia who just wants to benefit herself, he feels that there are ultimate wrongs being committed and that there should be someway to combat the society that he has found himself in. Whereas Julia wants her life to be more comfortable for her, Winston wants to impact change, even though he feels that there is no feasible way to accomplish such a thing.

The proles (proletariat in your Marxist Communism) are not a different race, although I would bet that due to the extensive culling of any people that do not meet expectations that there have become some genetic favoring in "Party" members. (As Wilson comments that stunted beetle like people seem to prosper best)They quite simply are held to such an extreme different standard that they are considered different. I see the proles much like the utmost extreme of the poorest outcasts of society, the hillfolk of all hillfolk so to speak.

The reason that it would be impossible for him to run away is that society is so monitored that he would not be able to be absent from his life long enough to disappear, they would track him down and kill him.

Kristyn (Kristyn007) I think it's ironic that the proles are the poorest of poor they seem happier and are more free. They can do things that Winston and others in his station cannot. They can be with who they want out of love, they can do something as simple as sing a song without being called eccentric and eventually vaporized just the simple act of going to the country to see in laws seems so much better than the world in which winston lives. I do dislike the characters a lot. I don't like the fact that he was appalled at the video of the woman protecting her son at the beginning but willing later to throw acid on a kids face for the cause. Yes he wants change but at what cost? He talks about murder like its no big deal so how much different is he from the people he despises? Also another question that bugs me is if all of these people are starving why are most of them fat? They wake up every morning and have to do exercises and the food is scarce. You would think that would show in their physical appearance.

message 9: by Amanda (last edited Sep 08, 2012 05:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amanda I think that the contrast of the freedom of the people that are considered to be subhuman is better than those that are taught that they are better off is an important part of the cautionary tale of the book.

Well if the kid we are talking about are those creepy little spies down the hall, I might be willing to go for it too. (j.k) The society as a whole is conditioned to believe that murder is no big deal, remember in the beginning the kids are raising hell because they didn't get to go to the execution. It brings up the question of is killing for a cause ever right? And the general society shows how taking that concept to extremes plays out.

Honestly I think that the people being fat is like a sub-message that we should have payed attention to about the chemicals and fake food. Yes food is scarce but they are fed this pinkish stew and saccharine tabs and fake altered stuff at regular intervals, the same concept can be applied to MS being the fattest state with one of the lowest incomes, when you can't afford nutritional food the body can't process it properly.

Catherine Crook Kristyn, I am getting the rest of these in paper books, I can't read in this format. Maybe I will try again, but I got this book from the library and find myself enjoying it more. I am going to gather my thoughts on where I am so far, and that will be my next post. Amanada, you should be a book reviewer or something!

Kristyn (Kristyn007) Shouldn't she? Or either an English teacher!

Catherine Crook This book took me on a trip questioning our government. When Winston discussed that Big Brother was not heard of before 1960, but the stories being told and the history being taught tells of Big Brother being around in the 30’s. This made me think of how our history is portrayed. How will 9/11 and Operation Iraqi Freedom be taught in the coming generations? Are there huge gaps of our history left out?
Kristyn, I feel the same way about the story not being about the characters so much. This is where I found trouble getting into the story. I am a fan of my characters!!!
These ideas of the Thought Police, and mini-spies just make me grateful for the freedom we do have. This world without journaling or blogging – how would I know how to make a pot pie? As a parent, the idea of raining mini-spies to ensure that you are following these insane laws is just uneasy. Could you imagine the 7 of our kids spying on us? I am sure one of us would be jailed for Thoughtcrime, like their father. The destroying any knowledge of the past to get the present to appear the way they want is scary, but so relevant. It is like how currently they unemployment rate appears to be improving, but you don’t actually know because after the max benefits, you fall off the radar. My mind is just in awe of the laws in this book – sex as a duty.
I also envy the proles somewhat - The freedom they have, but not the supposed lack of intelligence to use it. Julia gives me hope with her notes of Love. The relationship forming between them makes me smile, and eager to continue the book.

I know that my ramblings, are just that – ramblings, but I felt I should contribute. I am glad we decided to read our way through this list!

Catherine Crook PS- I love all the quotes in this book.

What is your favorite so far?

Amanda Firstly, thanks Catherine. Maybe this degree will pay off Kristyn.

When you guys first were talking about reading this, I was remembering that this was one of the few books that I actually chucked across the room when I finished it because I was pissed at the ending when we read it in high school. I will say that finishing it this time did not in any way have the same effect. I don't know if it was because even though it felt like it was new to read it again underneath I knew what was coming, or if my teenage rebellion against authority made me want so much more for Winston.

Catherine I will say that I think that your ramblings are exactly what Orwell's purpose in writing the book were. As to quotes “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” and “What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?” and “I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.” Are among my top favorites.

Kristyn (Kristyn007) I haven't been highlighting any quotes but I do like when they say History is written by the winners. Cause that is exactly what they do in this book. Its crazy the extremes they go through to erase history and make it to their advantage. They are totally eradicating anything that has to do with the past before Big Brother. They claim inventing the airplane when he can clearly remembers it from before. I remember also when he was stating that Big brother states that proles are animals and later in the book I remember thinking no, the proles arent the animals the party members are. The difference between animals and humans are emotions and feelings and a sense of right and wrong, when in fact the proles portray that and the party members do not. Right as I was thinking that Winston thought it too. Another thing that got me thinking is that the party members eradicate anyone who is too smart, someone who thinks too much. I am at a part where it is discussing how the inner party is constantly trying to build better weapons and war heads and all of these advanced things. Yes, they say there are scientists working on all that stuff now but what happens after those scientists die out? Who is going to be left to work on these advances if they are making the whole population stupid?

Catherine Crook Alright, I got to Part 3... I am done for the day. I got kind of angry... And seeing as Amanda said she threw the boko across the room the first time she read it... I didn't want to ruin the rest of my day... haha, but here goes my thoughts...

The honeymoon-like getaway above Mr. Charrington's made me smile - real coffee and makeup. What more could you need? In a present day novel, you would chuckle at those "luxuries," but you get so wrapped up in the demolished city, that you can almost taste the real coffee, and feel the emotion between the two. I love the love and rebellion between the two. One of my favorite things about this part is when he is upset with her, and says he wishes she wasn't just a rebel from the waist down. That made me literally laugh out loud!!!

O'Brien might be my favorite character, and in this novel that leads me to believe that he will ultimetely fail me. I am finding myself not really liking anyone. Winston's returning memories from his childhood, and his desire to join the Brotherhood give me hope.

I cannot believe that Mr. Charrington is a member of the Thought Police!!! Every good is actually bad. I cannot wrap my thoughts around this. And that might be a good thing concerning the Thought Police. I also find it funny that Julia fell asleep while reading the book. She is like my husband. When I am overly interested and wrapped up in a book - talking to him about it... It is like he falls asleep. Winston's capture took me by surprise. That is because of the hope that I felt while reading the book. The hope that O'Brien and the Brotherhood offered. I find myself angry at the turn this book is taking.

Kristyn (Kristyn007) I was shocked at Mr Charrington as well! I likes him! I saw in him a kindred spirit. Julia gets on my nerves because I don't think she does love him. He doesn't love her either, its like Amanda said, its the act of rebellion not each other that keeps them together. I also think in today's world we would call her an air head. I'm not very much ahead of you Catherine, you caught up quick! I want you to keep reading cause there is something you said that I want to discuss but it will give something away!

As for a quote I just read this one.
Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

Catherine Crook I felt that the book was defeating me, and it made me feel like I complained about those kids who couldn't/wouldn't read the book. I am not one of those kids - and YES ... I felt like I am reading my first smart book too... LOL, reading now!!!

Kristyn (Kristyn007) I remember us making fun of those kids who wanted to know if there was movies for them. I did have an idea to see if they had movies and watch them after we finish the book to compare.
I don't ever recall having to read anything for school ever! Except for Shakespeare. In college, the only books I had to read were one that we got to pick and for History was Uncle Tom's cabin and Coming of Age in Mississippi. I know I have probably told you this a dozen times while working at Borders, I hated Uncle Tom's Cabin with a passion. It is the only book I have ever had to use cliffs notes on. Couldn't understand the language. I am not looking forward to coming across a book like that on our list. I hope we can at least get through them without cliffs notes.

Catherine Crook Ok. *breathe*

I cannot wrap my head around the emotion and love felt between these two characters, and then they just betrayed each other. Oh man. I am used to this overwhelming love and undying affection that my characters have for each other. I just see Barrons dying for Mac, Edward dying for Bella. This torture = betrayal makes me upset.

Also, O'Brien - failed me! I felt it. Too good to be true. And then it just ended. They were both released after all that torture and the rats. And they just caved. 2+2=5 now? Maybe rereading this at some point will give me a different perspective, but I feel disappointed.

Amanda, I want to THROW the book...

Kristyn (Kristyn007) ok so now that you are done, was I the only one who during the whole torture scene was thinking about all the things Obrien was asking Winston during that meeting at his house what he was willing to go through for the Brotherhood? I kept wanting and hoping Obrien would say, "Ok Winston, I think you proved your point, all those things I asked if you were willing to do, I believe you now. Welcome to the Brotherhood" Yes I felt the same about the love. I am used to that undying love and when they just turned away from each other it was sad. I also kinda think it strange that they watched him for so long before acting. Years even. Why? what was the point. Seems to me that if they would have gotten to him at the beginning it wouldn't have been so hard to "cure" him. Seems like all a waste.

Amanda Here's my question: was he ever really released? Did he ever meet up with her? or was it all a created happening during torture?

On the second to last page before the Newspeak addendum "He was not running or cheering any longer. He was back in the Ministry of Love, with everything forgiven, his soul white as snow. ... He was walking down the white-tiled corridor, with the feeling of walking in sunlight .... The long hoped for bullet was entering his brain."

Kristyn that would have been a great turn!! I agree that it seems so pointless, even though O'Brien spends a great deal of the torture expounding on the reasons as to why.

Kristyn (Kristyn007) I didn't even think of that! Cause there was times he hallucinated seeing her. Laughing at him even.

Catherine Crook See, so much was left unclear. Now you have me reconsidering the fact that he was released. Oh man, my mind is going 90 mph.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 1178 comments Mod
Sorry, I'm jumping in totally late on this but I just joined the group and this is one of the books we were "forced" to read in high school that impressed me so much that I recommend it years later and even did a re-read (actually about the same time you guys were reading it!) just to see how differently I would feel about it now. I'm surprised how many here seemed to hate it so much, but maybe it's more frustration with the government system itself rather than a dislike for the book? I just felt that it was powerful and a scary reminder to us not to surrender our freedoms to easily. It's a great book that will be with us for a long time.

Jennifer  | 285 comments Alana wrote: "Sorry, I'm jumping in totally late on this but I just joined the group and this is one of the books we were "forced" to read in high school that impressed me so much that I recommend it years later..."

Alana, I read this book in high school too and it remains one of my all time favourites. I found the message very powerful and timeless.

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