Although it is not currently common practice in Canada to ban books, I thought that I’d choose a commonly challenged book for my Friday meme combo this week in honour of it being Banned Books Week. The book I chose is one of the ones I actually enjoyed in high school (and still do) – George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Among other things it was challenged as being pro-communist, but I would still recommend it as a classic worth reading. The following description comes from the back cover of the edition that I own:
Newspeak, Doublethink, Big Brother, the Thought Police – George Orwell’s world-famous satire coined new and potent words of warning for us all.
In 1984 the world is divided into three parts, Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia, all perpetually at war. In Oceania, the Party has created a totalitarian state that annihilates all opposition. In the forefront of the Party stands Big Brother, a figure of almost mythical power.
The story of Winston Smith’s rebellion against the Party, of his hatred of Big Brother, and of the thoughtcrime which must result in his destruction was first published in 1949. Now in the eighties – our present and Orwell’s brilliantly imagined future – his vision of brutalized and manipulated humanity is still gripping and still supremely relevant.
Now for this week’s excerpts:
Book Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post. If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’
The beginning of Nineteen Eighty-Four:
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
This doesn’t seem like a very exciting beginning. There is the oddness of clocks striking thirteen, but not much else. Having said this, however, it’s a beginning that I like, probably because I am in anticipation of what is to follow.
The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
It’s that simple.
From page 56 of Nineteen Eighty-Four:
For some reason Winston suddenly found himself thinking of Mrs. Parsons, with her wispy hair and the dust in the creases of her face. Within two years those children would be denouncing her to the Thought Police. Mrs. Parsons would be vaporized. Syme would be vaporized. Winston would be vaporized.
This doesn’t seem like a very good place to exist and there seems to be a pattern developing. I haven’t read this for a few years, so maybe I should put it on my winter TBR list. I think it would be good to be reacquainted with it again.