by George Orwell
This was the May Blogger Book Club pick, in the Classics genre. I was excited about this pick, because though I’d read 1984 back in high school, it’s been quite awhile and was due for a re-read. I remembered liking it, and thinking that it was apt political commentary even decades after being written. I also remember not liking Julia, the love interest of the main character Winston.
I’m glad to say that, upon re-reading, my overall opinion of the book hasn’t changed. I still find it a good read. Not a light read, mind you – you do have to wade through some of the sections. But it’s just so chock full of Big Ideas. It makes you think about the nature of freedom, of thought, of reality. It’s still relevant political commentary, perhaps even more so than the first time I read it. And I appreciated the detail and ingenuity of the world Orwell built all over again – things like doublethink and Newspeak. You just don’t often see that level of social construction in modern science fiction or dystopias. I still got caught up in the story and intrigue, still liked and felt sorry for Winston. Perhaps what struck me most in this second reading was the palpable sense of atmosphere. You can feel how dirty and wornout, how tense everything is. Orwell is a master of showing rather than telling, and utilizes the full range of sensory reactions in his character to put you in the same shoes. Overall, one of the more satisfying re-read experiences I’ve had.
Though I still don’t like Julia.
I give it 4/5 stars.
Blogger Book Club peeps: let me know if you want to join in the Google Hangout chat tonight at 7pm CST! Also, the book for June is Soulless by Gail Carriger. Link-up and chat for that will be June 27. For July, the category is ‘fairytales’ and you can choose your own book that fits within that (an original, a modern adaptation, a sequel). Link-up and chat for that will be July 25. I hope you’ll join us!