1984 – George Orwell

CoverA novel that is very much considered a classic, and which is often regarded as becoming more like reality, 1984 was bound to take a while to read. Despite it’s modest word count, it is the kind of book that needs to be mulled over between sessions.
As a novel – discounting the political essay behind it – it is a highly readable book that will keep you reading – even when you find the main character changing. However to ignore the political statement behind the novel is to do it a great disservice.
As a political work it is even greater. The empathy provoked with Winston is astounding, you can really find yourself passionately praying that the Brotherhood is real. Even a simple thing such as coffee is a reminder of the message – the poor, cheap taste is contrasted with the name “Victory Coffee” cleverly designed to instill the sense that Oceania is on the brink of victory. The amount of thought put into the very names of such simple things sums up the novel as a whole – it is delicately crafted to give a reasonanse throughout the story that is constantly there – whether it’s at the surface of the text, or just in the background.
Finally, my one crticism of this text is the large dose of the political history and Ingsoc philosophy from Goldsteins book. Such a large block of text in one session is, in my opinion, too heavier dose for most readers who may well give up reading there.
But, regardless, this text remains a literary and political masterpiece.
5/5

Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sherlock Holmes #1 & #2 – Arthur Conan Doyle

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#1 – A Study in Scarlet
#2 – The Sign of the Four

These two books are my first foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes and both were immensly enjoyable. The logic of deduction is perfectly intombed in these books – the theory, the methodology and the practise. While I do find the Holmes’ near flawless logic implausible – only minor mistakes are made – when presented fully formed the logic is certainly convincing.

In Study in Scarlet the first half of Part 2 is a dramatic change in style, and one not too my liking – after being used to Watson’s narration, to find a full time and place shift is off-putting. However, thankfully, that did not happen in Sign of the Four and it should by no means detract from this addictive series.

Both perfectly portray the world as it was. The amount of detail is substantial and one could almost suggest that Doyle knew that they may well be read in a different day in the future when readers would need the descriptions of the infamous smog.

They are certainly worthy of their place in any bookshelf devoted to ‘classics’.

5/5

Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Dice Man – Luke Rhinehart

CoverThe claim that “this book will change your life” is one I have heard many times before, and it often fails to do so. In this case however it did.
The book spends its first few chapter building up your sense of the established order, only for it to be rapidly torn down in the following ones. As you follow Luke on the roller coaster ride that is the life of the die you see him slowly destroy everything we hold dear to us, yet you also see him have moments of questioning what he is doing. It is this aspect that makes him come to life.
You will find yourself both repulsed and attracted at the thought of The Dice Man.
After reading this book, I thought well it hasn’t changed my life, but I was wrong. I found myself paying more attention to my desires and all the little voices. I found myself questionning what I had previously taken for granted. I may not have gone to such an extreme as Luke, but I have certainly discovered more about myself, my stereotypes, and ultimately society.
This book HAS changed my life… and I don’t regret it.

5/5

Originally posted at LibraryThing at http://www.librarything.com/review/27575107

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 3:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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