1984, George Orwell

“We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone.”

I’ve come late to this party–but fashionably so. I wear the fashions of the dozens of texts that I have read that could not exist without this novel (Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang–this list could extend on and on). One can almost have read 1984 without actually having read 1984, in the same way that Winston already knows everything that Emmanuel Goldstein’s The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism is telling him. But everyone should still read 1984, for I’ve never read a book before this that argues so forcefully for a need for reading and independent thought.

I’m not sure as to why I never read this book in primary school–or even secondary school. But, come to think of it, I’ve never read The Diary of Anne Frank, which is apparently another staple of the student literary diet. I remember planning a lesson with my eighth-grade Language Arts teacher on the fantasy genre that involved her reading aloud to the class chapters of Garth Nix’s Mister Monday, and I remember that she allowed my book report on The Da Vinci Code to extend over a period and a half. Perhaps I am to blame–or Mrs. Irvine for allowing my eccentricities–for never studying these books, and instead taking up time with my unconventional lessons.

The only downfall of Bookstravaganza is that I must now move on to another title. I want to stay with 1984 for at least a semester, researching obscure papers on Ingsoc and Newspeak (I admit with no shame that my favourite part of the book is Appendix: The Principles of Newspeak). Fortunately for me though, a co-worker asked me to join her book club for which I read a book, describe and explain it to her, and then she serves me wine and cheese. So once Bookstravaganza is over, I can look forward to preparing my notes on 1984 for that.



Books Read: 9


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