50 books to read before you die discussion

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message 1: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Ok so i know some of u have already read it and i was trying my best to read it or at least most of it by this weekend, but im not even a third of the ways through, but i figured id give u guys a place to start discussing it if u'd like, and if any one wants to lead the discussion and has any suggestions on how to start feel free to do so.... enjoy! 1984, by George Orwell Essay

message 2: by Lorifog (new)

Lorifog Thanks Mayra. My daughter, Nicole , is reading it too so I'll have to grab it from her.....I haven't started just yet.

message 3: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments I finished it awhile ago. Maybe we should just discuss it section by section since there are three of them?

message 4: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Yeah that's a good idea, I need on more chapter to finish part one. So feel free to start :)

message 5: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments Well, I guess I'll give this a go. Let's start with what Part I made you feel for the characters and for the world they live in.

Obviously this is a discussion, so yes, there will more than likely be spoilers...just a heads up if you haven't read the book yet :D

For me, the world itself was the most amazing part of this book. It feels like something that could happen to today's society. All it would really take is a little more paranoia and a few innovative thinkers to create the telescreen technology. I found it a little creepy though that there were all those posters of Big Brother all over the place as well. It made the world feel crowded and oppressive, which I suppose was the point. No privacy meant no resistance to what the government told you to do.

As for the Characters, well in Part I I think we get a really good look at Winston, who is a strong minded man, though he has a great fear of the government that he works for and the world he lives in. Who can really blame him for his fear though? I very much enjoyed that he was willing to stray a little from the ridgid society by having a diary and I felt his fear pulsing through the book as he wrote his first words in it, soon to be followed with "Down with Big Brother!"

message 6: by Trisha (new)

Trisha I read the book and it definitely freaked me out! I could totally see our government trying to do something like that. We are constantly being filmed, monitored, and recorded when we step out of our houses, and in some countries you really will "disappear" for saying something negative about the government! It's pretty creepy how close Orwell came to describing the future!

message 7: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments ok so i finished part 1, and hopefully part to is not far benind, but let me start by asking what do u guys think about the quote?

"War is Peace
Freedom is Slavey
Ignorance is Strength"

message 8: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Shanna wrote: "Well, I guess I'll give this a go. Let's start with what Part I made you feel for the characters and for the world they live in.

Obviously this is a discussion, so yes, there will more than like..."

it is kinda scary to think that that could someday happen, its bad enough that with all the technology now they can track u everywhere, imagine having to live with a telescrean every were u go...i mean they even have a thought police, just by ur expression they can acusse u of thinking something ur not suppose to, all they need now is a mind reader or something.... (unless they mention it later in the book cus i havent finished it yet)

i think Winston, like alot of people are just curious about the unknown, seeing as he works in a department that alters documents to the goverments advantage its only reasonble to wonder how things were before things were the way they are, so he seaks the older people that might be able to answer his questions, even though its wrong, but then again we've all been through it, the more something is forbiden the more we go after it

message 9: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments oh i also founnd it interesting and how they have children, even that is controled... what do u guys think about that?

message 10: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Mayra wrote: "oh i also founnd it interesting and how they have children, even that is controled... what do u guys think about that?"

how they only married to have children, but ur not suppose to b physically attracted to the person u marry.... i just think that weired lol....

message 11: by Jim (last edited Jul 17, 2011 07:56PM) (new)

Jim I think it is important to remember that Orwell was writing in a time when one totalitarian regime had just been defeated (Nazi Germany) and another (USSR) was active on the world scene. The elements of both societies, carried to an extreme, are present in the story. Of course, from my perspective, we can see the extreme right trying to reinvent history and impose their own version of morality on the rest of us.

message 12: by Tara (new)

Tara Kuhl Funny, I was thinking it was the far left, with their socialist ideas, implementing everything from telescreens, hidden mics and thought police to control your every thought and deed, to dictating what people wear, eat, where they live, e.g. wearing uniforms and eating bland food, to plastering posters up of their "messiah" and slanting the media to convince people of their message.

I'm not sure if this is in the book (I'm halfway through) but I also get the impression of an absence of color - everything very drab and gray, the housing is dilapidated, sounds like the buildings and streets are as well.

One thing I really don't get is the difference between the "Party" and the "proles". Are you in the Party, if you work for them (the government) and if so, why would you? It sounds like the proles have a life that more resembles the pre-Revolution era. They enjoy their children and relationships and even seem happy. Even being on the "inside", Winston doesn't understand how the Party people can just fall in line like that. Almost seems like he wishes he were a prole, ignorance is bliss!

message 13: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments U bring up a good point that confused me too, he doesnt really clarify the differencr between the 2, but yeah its easier to ignore if u dont know whats going on :)

message 14: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments The only real difference he presented about the proles was that they are the ones who could not be educated to fit the government's wishes. They are the bottom 10% of the population and aren't worth the effort to educate because as long as they are allowed the freedoms they do have then they are peaceful and would never think to rebel.

message 15: by Jim (last edited Jul 21, 2011 12:32PM) (new)

Jim I believe that the novel postulates the proles represent 85% of the population. Again, Orwellie looks to the dictatorships present in his lifetime. He understands that dictatorships serve an "elite". They are the ones that benefit the most. They are the ones that live in the fine homes, they are the ones that do not want for food. The Party has an "inner party" and an "outer party". The outer party is larger than the inner party but only serve to promote the goals and desires of the inner party. Their position in society is better than the proles To whom they can feel superior but really isn,t comparable to the life of a member of the inner party. He postulates a classic pyramid.

message 16: by Jed (last edited Aug 01, 2011 07:06AM) (new)

Jed L I am just jumping into this conversation. I had a difficult time with 1984. I don't think it applies as much today as it did when Orwell was writing it. Today, governments have a much smaller role than they did before--even if they appear to be larger and growing--instead the main controller of our society is capitalism, big business and the parts of the government that encourage and develop it. I am not saying this is bad, but in the same way Orwell felt government could go the wrong way, so can big business and capitalism. For this reason I would recommend Brave New World by Huxley over Orwell if you are looking for something to get excited over.

message 17: by Tara (new)


Thanks Jim, I'm over 2/3 through the book now and it makes a lot more sense now once Winston started reading "the book". I last read 1984 in h.s. and completely forgot about this part of the novel.

message 18: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments I'm about 2/3 of the way too, if u guys wanna go on to part 2 of the book go ahead. Tara I just got to that part too, I seem to have gotten more into part 2 I read through it faster

message 19: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments I felt a little bit like part two was distracting to the story. I understand why it was necessary to have the love story bit, but it wasn't as interesting to me as part one and especially part three.

message 20: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Yeah but they had to start breaking the rules somewere lol

message 21: by Tara (new)

Tara Kuhl It's hart to discuss part 2 w/o giving too much away. When people get to 3 let's chat again. I have some questions about part 3!

message 22: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments ok im trying :) i hope to finish it by this weekend

message 23: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Fogarty | 4 comments Mayra wrote: "ok so i finished part 1, and hopefully part to is not far benind, but let me start by asking what do u guys think about the quote?

"War is Peace
Freedom i..."

This quote was something that caught my eye pretty quickly. To me it means that nothing is what you think it is. If the government wants you to think that war is peace and freedom is slavery you do because that is what the government expects of you. And I won't spoil anything for those of you who haven't finished but the quote takes on an even greater context at the end of the novel.

message 24: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Fogarty | 4 comments Orwell was very good at describing a society that might come to be in the future. It was disturbing to say the least when he described the monitors and microphones keeping an eye and an ear on everything one says and does. The thought police idea scared the hell out of me. I also thought the idea of marriage only for the sake of adding to the Party was really weird. Part 3 is by far the most interesting so I will be back once we get parts two and three up and running for discussion.

message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim The copy I read had an afterword by Eric Fromm but I don't know if that will be in all versions. He discusses in some detail the concepts advanced by Orwell in 1984.

message 26: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments Nicole wrote: "Mayra wrote: "ok so i finished part 1, and hopefully part to is not far benind, but let me start by asking what do u guys think about the quote?

"War is Peace

i read ur post and then i went back to reading and now i finished part to and i got to the part about the DOUBLETHINK. and realised ur right thats why the quote seems to be wrong. your suppose to be albe to think to things at once even if they go against eachother and believe them to be true, especially if thats what the Party wants u to believe.

and now im getting to the good stuff :) im on ch 3 of the 3rd part... hope to finish soon.

message 27: by Tara (new)

Tara Kuhl ** spoiler alert **

Although hopefully by now everyone has read thru parts 2 and 3 and is ready to discuss.

With Winston's reading of "the book" in part 2, everything comes into clearer focus - like Mayra said "doublethink" - why the Ministries are named that way (Ministry of Truth really is all about controlling information with Lies, etc.) and the party slogans. The details about the wars were pretty in depth but it sounded to me that basically, as long as Oceania was "at war", both the proles and the party had an explanation for their ways of life, sort of a happy medium and complacency, which gives them a sense of peace. I say "at war" because I got the impression there was really no war at all, just another farce by the Inner Party in an effort to control everyone else as well as give the proles and outer party somewhere to expend their energy (since it doesn't sound like anyone is allowed to have much fun!)

I last read this book in high school and remember chills running down my spine when W & J got caught in their little apartment. But somehow I blocked out (suppressed?) any memory whatsoever of them being jailed and tortured afterwards (part 3). I completely forgot about this part of the book! Maybe because I didn't want to think again about how awful it would be to experience that kind of torture or be pitted again someone you love. I do have a question. I thought I remembered reading that once you were arrested for thoughtcrime, you went to jail and were forced to confess and then killed: "thoughtcrime is death". But it looks like the 3-step reintegration process was used for not only Winston but also Julia. So is that a myth or did they see something in W & J that made them want to work hard enough to reprogram them? Or is it just another play on words, as in they "died" to themselves and/or their new life is basically "death" - another doublethink slogan if you will?

Was anyone disappointed that Winston gave over to Big Brother?

message 28: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 31, 2011 11:39PM) (new)

I read the book like 5 years ago, I didn't feel like re-reading it with group so maybe I shouldn't comment, as book isn't really fresh in my mind, but I just meant to comment, that I thought part 3 of book was probably creepiest thing I've read! I couldn't take it off my mind for several days, it really affected me.

message 29: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments Tara wrote: "** spoiler alert **

Although hopefully by now everyone has read thru parts 2 and 3 and is ready to discuss.

With Winston's reading of "the book" in part 2, everything comes into clearer focus -..."

I was so disappointed with that part. I really wanted him to keep fighting for his own personal freedoms, but then I wonder if maybe we all wouldn't have done the same thing if we were in his position. I still wish he'd continued to hate big brother, but I understand why he gave in to him in the end.

message 30: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments ok so i finished the book last week but hadnt been able to come and chat with u guys.... i hope everyones done and enjoyed it. :)

i was kinda getting lost with the reading of the book although other things started making sense, and then when they got caught i was so surprised, and then when they realised how they got caught and who turned them in i mean they had been going there for a while so they tought they were safe, they should have kept changing there meeting places.

it was scary to think of everything they do to them to get them to admit to there crimes and then just to push you farther and make u believe what they want. so much so that in the end he did the one thing he didnt think he'd do, wish it on julia, its so scary you do anything to make it stop.
then the end kinda confused me, bc i couldnt understand if he was imagining it or if he really was free afterwards, bc obrien had said they rehalibilitate u and then they kill u, just so that ur supporting big brother and the party when u die.
in a way so that ur not dyeing for the cause....

message 31: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments I think he was still alive at the end because he had't full accepted big brother until the very last few pages. I think that O'Brian knew that if they killed him as soon as they let him go, he'd still be dying for the cause, so they let him live until he finally gave in.

Also, wasn't room 101 the worst? I mean the rats were just nasty...There's no way that I would have wanted them devouring my face a little at a time. It just makes me wonder how aweful the other people's experiences in room 101 were and how many actually survived it.

message 32: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments At first I was like ur probably already in room 101, and it's just another mind game.... But no 101 was the only another step in the recovery

message 33: by Shanna (new)

Shanna (arosebyanyothername) | 10 comments Yes, a horrible step in recovery. I can't really blame Winston for saying he wished his punishment on Julia at that point. Who wouldn't? It was also sad when they meet up again and it's like they're old co-workers who never really cared for each other that much. A shame.

message 34: by C.J. (new)

C.J. (Deans_Contracting) | 3 comments Also, the idea of a room 101 is a torture in itself. Just they way they let the other prisoners cry and plead not to go back to room 101 in front of the other prisoners makes it horrible. So really, no matter what was actually in 101, you already didn't want to be there.

I think it was the mirror that really had the biggest impact on Winston. Without having seen what he looked like, he wasn't convinced he was beaten, but as soon as he saw his grey body in the wrap around mirror, he was finished.

message 35: by Isabel (new)

Isabel (isabelc) | 5 comments I've read about 12 of these books. I too have a metalic bookmark of the same name, but since I'm in the UK it's different - I've been working my way through my list instead. I've never heard of some of these!

message 36: by Mayra (new)

Mayra (kaligurl_7) | 371 comments you think you can send me a copy of your list, id love to take a look at it. :)

message 37: by Isabel (new)

Isabel (isabelc) | 5 comments 50 books to read before you die - another list from another bookmark! So probably a more British - book - orientated list.

1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
2. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. 1984 by George Orwell
5. Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
9. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
10. To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
11. Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
12. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
13. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
14. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
15. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
16. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
17. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
18. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank )
19. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes
20. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
21. Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery
22. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
23. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
24. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
25. Persuasion by Jane Austen
26. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
27. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
28. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
29. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
30. Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishigur
31. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
32. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
33. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
34. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
35. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
36. Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
37. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
38. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
39. Mein Kampf by Hitler (I think this must be one just to educate you)
40. The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts
41. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
42. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
43. Atonement by Ian McEwan
44. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
45. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
46. Middlemarch by George Eliot
47. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
48. Dracula by Bram Stoker
49. One Day by David Nicholls
50. The Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis Carroll

message 38: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Maxwell | 14 comments 1984 is one of my favorite books. Although 1984 has passed and didn't resemble the world in the book, I don't think Orwell was too far off.

message 39: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Jed wrote: "I am just jumping into this conversation. I had a difficult time with 1984. I don't think it applies as much today as it did when Orwell was writing it. Today, governments have a much smaller role ..."

I'm not sure how you could have this perspective Jed. Government in America is bigger and more controlling now than ever. It has expanded greatly in recent years as a controller of more of the economy. It also has grown much more intrusive in our daily lives, from cameras everywhere to threats on our freedom of speech, to attacks on the amendments to our Constitution. Our basic rights are now threatened more than ever and the government has become a very big part of our lives. Try resisting the census takers and you will see what I mean.

message 40: by Erika (new)

Erika | 11 comments I had a hard time getting through this one. What i did was to listen to the audio version, and it is absolutely fantastic!! really made the whole experience of the book seem more vivid!

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