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Showing posts from August, 2019

Mid-Century Dystopia, Part 2: Nineteen Eighty-Four

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Nineteen Eight-Four marks the third famous classic to disappoint me in recent years.  Along with The Odyssey and The Divine Comedy, it would have been left unfinished early on, except for its mammoth legacy and the feeling that I ought to read it.  It's possible I lack the maturity or life experience to appreciate these books - I leave that open as an explanation.  But for the time being, I'll express my unpopular opinion, which isn't without basis.  (For my personal dystopian literature criteria, see part 1.)

England, Except Not England Winston Smith, our very Britishly named protagonist, resides in England of the 1980s.  Now called "Airstrip One," England is a mere drop in the empire that is Oceania, and its once-vivid culture has likewise been largely eaten up by the propaganda of the ruling one-party state.  All citizens are expected to revere Big Brother, the vague yet menacing figurehead of the Party, and in so doing are closely monitored by their colleague…

Mid-Century Dystopia, Part 1: Pan's Labyrinth

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There was no intention on my part to read two dystopian novels at the same time.  I was already in motion to read 1984 - an embarrassingly long-overdue attempt - when I heard a novelization of Pan's Labyrinth was to be released in July.  I got in the library line quickly (these things go like hot cakes), and soon, with del Toro/Funke's fantasy horror in one hand and Orwell's bleak dystopia in the other, made the abrupt leap from "light summer fluff" to "not-sure-if-I'll-sleep-tonight bedtime stories."

So... What Were You Thinking!?1984 requires little introduction.  In Western culture, at least, terms such as Big Brother and doublethink flavor our vocabulary as glib reminders that a British author back in 1948 foretold the existence of increasingly powerful, monolithic, and tech-savvy governments.  We see signs of it everywhere today, from more innocuous instruments such as traffic cameras to the disturbing birth of China's Social Credit System…

It's So Classic - A Tag!

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Excited to be tagged by Hamlette from The Edge of the Precipice!  This tag is all about classics and originally from a blog called Rebellious Writing.

It's So Classic Tag

Rules:

1. Link your post to Rebellious Writing (www.rebelliouswriting.com)
2. Answer the questions
3. Tag at least 5 bloggers.

1. What is one classic that hasn’t been made into a movie yet, but really needs to?
This was a recent Top Ten Tuesday...I stand by all my answers but will add one more:  Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev.  I rated this book very highly and feel it would appeal to anyone who enjoys costumes dramas, while offering a new perspective.  (We need more Russian literature adaptations in general.  Just sayin'!)

2. What draws you to classics?
It is hard to put a scientific answer to this, because I got into classics at a young age and they became a core part of my life.  If anything, I love them most of all for sentimental reasons.  Apart from that, it's the depth of the writing, the complexi…

Top Ten Character Friends

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August is RACING by.  (I guess I say that every month.)  I've finished a couple of books over the weekend, but I don't know when I'll get to writing proper reviews.  Till then, here's a quick post for Top Ten Tuesday!

Characters I'd like to be best friends with, classics and otherwise:
Much from BBC's Robin Hood.  This guy gets a lot of flak from the other members of Robin's gang (and Robin himself), but it's not fair... he does pretty much all the cooking and worrying for everyone.  If we're friends, I'll help with the cooking (even though I don't like it) and back him up when they start picking on him.  Being my friend, he will be loyal to a fault, but also give me constructive criticism when I need it.
Miss Marple.  Poor Miss Marple... I just want to protect her from all the creepers and psychos she encounters (not that I am capable, heh).  She really needs a friend. Lucian Gregory from The Man Who Was Thursday.  Ok, maybe not friends, mo…

Reading Everything in August

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No, that is not the title of a challenge...but it may as well be.  I'm up to my ears in books and it's wonderful.


I spent most of my July weekends working on a large volunteer project for a non-profit.  It was a beneficial experience, but more of a commitment than I realized.  Now that that's pretty much wrapped up, I can turn back to books.

Here's a quick list of what I'll be reading this month, at different levels of undivided attention and in no particular order:
1984 - George OrwellTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - Jules VerneMaster and Commander - Patrick O'Brian Drawn from Memory - Ernest Shepard (illustrator of the original Winnie the Pooh)Psalms (almost finished)Tesla biography (yes, still)Smart People Should Build Things and The War on Normal People - Andrew Yang Nostromo - Joseph ConradMoby-Dick - Herman MelvilleOther??  There's sure to be more. I probably mentioned before how many, many times I struggled to start Nostromo and stick with it. …