The next book on the list of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge: 1984 by George Orwell. Even though this book was written in the first half of the previous century, some of the aspects are still relevant, which surprised me a lot.
At first I was afraid that it would be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, where the story is actually good but it doesn’t seem like it because of outdated language. With a lack of “translations” to modern English and styles of literature, older books have great content but are a bore to read.
The first few chapters required some concentration, but all of a sudden the story pulled me in and I couldn’t put it down anymore! Maybe it was the recognition, maybe the story, or maybe this book just isn’t in the category “outdated language so boring”. Whatever the reason, it was a nice surprise.
About the book
What stood out the most, is how recognisable and relevant this book is. Even though 1984 is from a completely different era, some aspects of the book are going on as we speak.
At first this book was written as a futuristic novel, with a frightening future: “Let’s hope 1984 won’t actually be like this.” But even after 1984, the book remained popular. Maybe because from that moment technology kept improving, and the subjects from the book were covered in every day life.
1984 is about Winston, an employee of the Ministry of Truth: one of the four departments of the government.
For a white Winston has doubts about the work of Big Brother and the effect it has on society. Then, he meets a women with whom he starts a forbidden relationship. Together they decide to join a group of rebels who are against Big Brother.
We all know the concept of Big Brother: you are constantly being watched. Especially in the current world with smartphones, camera’s in doorbells and Home Assistants this is getting more relevant every day. There are more and more ways to keep an eye on each other, so the idea of a Big Brother watching over us and controlling everything isn’t that crazy.
This aspect of the book triggered recognition, because it is more and more normal that strangers can see parts of your life. But next to that, the story of 1984 is also just nice: as reader, you side with Winston against Big Brother. You even hope he joins the rebels.
The aftermath of this book is long. Every time I encounter things or conversations that use the concept of Big Brother, I think back to 1984. Reading this book gave me new perspectives on things, and that will probably last a while.
This is one of those books you won’t read any time soon, but it made you think. The effect this book has had on me, is that I sometimes think back to certain scenes. It is impressively written, for the time it is written in. George Orwell wrote an amazing book, but he couldn’t imagine that it would still be relevant in the 21st century.
When should you read this book? When you are interested in dystopian novels, 1984 is definitely a good choice. But also when you’re into classics, or you want to understand certain references, you should read 1984. Or when you, like me, join in the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge!