1984 by George Orwell
I read George Orwell’s masterpiece–because that’s exactly what it is–for pleasure and for the very first time in 2009. I’ve always been all social justice-minded and a Social Science nerd hardcore so it was at the zenith of my “getting it” that I realized it was time to read it and I’m glad I did. I became an Orwell fan for life before I even finished the book.
Most of us who’ve read 1984 can tell you that this NSA scandal situation isn’t really all that big of a surprise. Orwell said it…
Most timely quote from the book: “The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.”
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
While Brave New World may not have an omnipresent “Big Brother” constantly observing and judging its citizens as the oppressor in the novel, society has become hell-bent on destroying individuality. The novel, written in 1931, is oddly frightening in the sense that if you truly understand the book, you will feel as though you’re living in the transition period between our world and the dystopian world depicted in the book. Aging is vile, everyone belongs to everyone and sex with an exhausting number of partners with no commitments is the norm. Marriage, family, and commitment to others of any kind is wrong. Let’s not get into the controversial part about children learning “sex play” from very young ages. What I found interesting was the Lord in the religious sense is now the Ford, highlighting society’s change to worshiping material possessions.
Most timely quote from the book: “Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches.”
Animal Farm by George Orwell
You may think Animal Farm is light reading because it deals with talking animals who fight for and win the farm they were forced to toil for, but you would be wrong. It’s very heavy reading and had my blood-running cold because Orwell has a gift for writing about events that hadn’t even happened yet with such certainty you’d think he had a time machine.
Most timely quote from the book: “No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Firemen no longer fight fires burning down buildings or do first aid calls. They start fires, burning books wherever they are discovered. Get out of line, and a mechanical hound with a syringe filled with poison is ready to dispatch you into the next life.
Most timely quote from the book: “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
Absolute Power by C.S. Denton
The only nonfiction book in our countdown, Absolute Power is nevertheless still very much important enough to be added to the list. Chronicling the lives of some of Europe’s most despotic, ineffective, depraved and brutal rulers, this book is sure to help you breathe a sigh of relief that things aren’t that bad… Yet.
Notable section: Caligula… I mean, that guy was inhuman.
So until this whole NSA thing blows over and we forget to give a shit again, check these books out while you rage against the machine.