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The 100 Best Novels > Week 70- Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 19, 2015 07:09AM) (new)

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

Week 70 brings us George Orwell's dystopian vision and a book that is probably familiar to many readers. Even those who haven't read the novel will have heard of some of it's ideas- 'Big Brother', 'newspeak', 'prole' and 'thoughtcrime'.

From the article

"Time is out of joint, and everyday life has no comfort any more: from Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) to Animal Farm (1945), George Orwell had been incubating a profound inner dissonance with his society. Even as a child, he had been fascinated by the futuristic imagination of HG Wells (and later, Aldous Huxley). Finally, at the end of his short life, he fulfilled his dream. Nineteen Eighty-Four, arguably the most famous English novel of the 20th century, is a zeitgeist book. Orwell’s dystopian vision was deeply rooted both in its author’s political morality, and in its time, the postwar years of western Europe. Its themes (the threat of the totalitarian state, censorship and the manipulation of language) continue to reverberate, with prophetic menace, like distant gunfire, into the present"

You can read more here


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

This is one of my favourite books. I definitely agree it deserves it's place on this list and I rate it higher than Animal Farm by the same author.

The article is really interesting. Orwell wrote the book whilst suffering from TB and in very bad health. It seems he was never completely satisfied with it although it has gone on to become a classic


Leslie | 15985 comments I have definitely read this one! And I agree with Heather that I would put it higher than Animal Farm (both are brilliant though!).


Pink I love this too, I rated Animal Farm higher, but that's because to me it's a perfect book. 1984 is brilliant and probably the better of the two, but I didn't like that long political economy section in the middle.


Shirley | 4177 comments Yay, one I have read! Not since the year 1984 though - probably time I re-read it!


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11550 comments Mod
One I have read, haha. I really liked this one. Really made me think.


Greg | 7370 comments Mod
I'm with Pink in rating Animal Farm a little higher, but I liked this one too.


message 8: by LauraT (last edited Jan 20, 2015 12:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
I bet that even if someone of us has not read it - I for one did it only three or four years ago!!! - all of us has heard about it!!!

And I liked as well Animal Farm a little better, but I admit it was an "easieer read"!!!


Alannah Clarke (alannahclarke) | 11550 comments Mod
I think I rated both books the same to be honest.


Cathie (cathiebp2) | 608 comments Began the read today...


Alice Poon (alice_poon) I'm with Heather and Leslie on this one - I rated it higher than Animal Farm, although I thought both were great. Orwell speaks to me, and given what I've learned re the Chinese Communist Party, I have to salute him for his ideology perspicacity.


message 12: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink All this talk of Orwell, plus it being the anniversary of his death yesterday...almost an excuse for buying some Orwell essays, but I'll resist the urge for now! Instead I might start Burmese Days, which I have sitting on my shelf.


message 13: by Leslie (last edited Jan 22, 2015 07:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leslie | 15985 comments Pink wrote: "All this talk of Orwell, plus it being the anniversary of his death yesterday...almost an excuse for buying some Orwell essays, but I'll resist the urge for now! Instead I might start Burmese Days,..."

I liked Burmese Days. Isn't it his first novel? Did you know that after publishing that, he couldn't find work in the U,K. (due to being blackballed) and had to live abroad for several years?


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I have only read the two most well known books, Animal Farm and 1984. I would be interested to read more. Maybe Burmese Days at some point


message 15: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 7370 comments Mod
I liked that one too Leslie (Burmese Days)


message 16: by Pink (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pink I didn't know that he was blackballed and couldn't find work Leslie, though I knew it was felt that he'd 'let the side down' by what he'd written. My edition's introduction mentioned some of the problems he encountered with getting the book published and names that needed to be removed to prevent libel action. I started the book last night but fell asleep after a few pages, so will pick it up again today.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I read this book late last year, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It's one of my friend Jonah's favourite books, and he was dying to talk to somebody about it, so he gifted me a copy and asked me to read it. It's a scary idea, and explores a lot of controversial subjects, especially now.


Paulfozz | 1001 comments It's a book I'm very glad that I've read and it's certainly an important one, but I must admit that I didn't particularly enjoy it. As with Animal Farm I found Orwell's writing far too heavy-handed in terms of the themes he follows; he plasters on the political morals with a very large trowel and as I read it felt like he was grabbing me by the shirt and shouting his message at me rather than leading me to an understanding. The latter part of the book felt somewhat disjointed too, which made it difficult to connect with what Smith was being put through.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Paulfozz wrote: "It's a book I'm very glad that I've read and it's certainly an important one, but I must admit that I didn't particularly enjoy it. As with Animal Farm I found Orwell's writing far too heavy-handed..."

Yes Paul, I think I do agree: a book you HAVE to read, difficoult to enjoy


Susan (goodreadscomsusanaustralia) | 1190 comments I've just bookmarked this thread. 1984 is one of my favourite books, and I'm looking forward to re-reading it for my "All About Books" 2015 Bingo Challenge. I have the feeling that 1984 becomes more relevant to us each year.


Monica Davis When I read this book in high school, the year 1984 was well off in the future. Now kids probably read this as part of History class :-D


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Monica wrote: "When I read this book in high school, the year 1984 was well off in the future. Now kids probably read this as part of History class :-D"

I do remember wanting to see hoe 1984 would actually be! Now it's gone!!!!


Leslie | 15985 comments Monica wrote: "When I read this book in high school, the year 1984 was well off in the future. Now kids probably read this as part of History class :-D"

I too read it before the year 1984 came around. I guess that this book shows the danger to authors of setting a specific future timeline to their book *grin*


Albert | 0 comments I recently reread 1984. I read it the first time so long ago that I didn't have any specific memories other than that I really enjoyed it. Have to say I enjoyed it just as much the second time. For me, that is a book that wears its age well.


Leslie | 15985 comments I should probably reread this sometime. I reread his Animal Farm a few years ago which I enjoyed. But I wondered whether young people who never experienced the Cold War or the USSR would enjoy it as much.


message 26: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex | 13 comments I've read 1984 several times on both sides of that buoyant (in some circles) year. Perhaps more than any other novel, 1984 has informed my political viewpoint and my distain for political correctness. Orwell shows how easily language can be distorted and used to control people. How the most basic human emotions can be obliterated. The thought police? Do you think you can freely speculate or recount a dream on this vast repository ones and zeroes? A brilliant book that will be valid for a long time.


Alice Poon (alice_poon) I read this about 8 or 9 years ago and was aghast at how accurately Orwell describes the workings of an authoritarian state. Around that time I was also reading books about the Chinese Communist regime and felt that Orwell's book was like a prophesy fulfilled. The more I read about China's current affairs, the more disheartened I become about the regime's relentless clamp-down on freedoms of its citizens. There are just too many complex questions that are left unanswered.


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