I’m glad to say that I finally read one of the books that’s been on my Want-To-Read list for a long time, 1984, by George Orwell.
So what did I think about it? Well, I enjoyed the overall plot with its drama and danger. I found the way it was written interesting. Almost like you’re stuck in the main character’s head the whole time.
The stuff I did not like about it was near the middle when Winston gets “the book” and reads part of it. That was convoluted, monotonous, and repetitive. I pushed through that part and was glad to get back to action and drama.
What about the whole Orwellian, Big Brother, totalitarian crazy scary stuff? Well, I wasn’t too surprised or put-off by it because I had already heard much about it over the years. Yet it was nice to finally be reading it for myself. But I think I need someone smarter than me to help me get into a discussion of it.
There’s a related book on my to-read list: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. From what I’ve heard, that one is more accurate in “prophesying” how our culture is today. People are placated through pleasure and entertainment rather than controlled through fear.
On that note, I found Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death far more interesting and prophetic than 1984.
On a general note, what is it about dystopias that seems so attractive? I think it’s the fact that most of real life is a dystopia, even in so-called paradise. And it’s just that fiction novels about dystopia draw out the related extremes and act as either coping mechanisms or as ways to teach lessons.
One dystopia I’d like to re-read is The Hunger Games. But I’ve got too many other un-read books waiting for me to dive into.