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review 2017-10-25 14:08
Nineteen Eighty-Bore
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

1984 is probably THE book when it comes to dystopian fiction, it is a canonical or if you like „classic“ novel, but now I wonder if it really deserves this status.
My dystopian October readings included Evgenij Zamjatins We, which was actually the blueprint for 1984 (believe it or not, but since Orwell knew Russian very well, he was quite familiar with Zamjatins writing), so I was quite eager to read both novels and now I just don’t understand how Orwell didn’t come up with something better.

 

I was honestly bored throughout most of the time and this has nothing to do with a lack of action in a traditional sense or the average plot, but first and foremost with the characters (1), the structure (2) and the length (3).

 

1. Good characters make good texts in my opinion. To really engage while reading, I have to feel something for at least one of the characters. This can be a liking for someone, love, dislike or even hate – but in 1984 I did not really like nor dislike anyone – I am simply completely indifferent to all of them. Where is the charisma, the uniqueness, the personality? One might argue that in the 1984-kind of future these traits are not allowed to exist, therefore no one possesses them, but then I say that this is what makes us human. I understand, that the average citizen of Oceania doesn’t have any personality, but what about Winston and Julia? I cannot remember ever having a protagonist who was such a flat, non-developing character.

 

2. If the characters are bad, sometimes the writing style or the structure of a novel can help to counterbalance the deficit. But not in this case. One cannot even see the plot for all the repetitions. So many unnecessary repetitions. The past is constantly altered and people killed by the Party have never even exited. Point made. It is a good point. But point understood the first time. There is no need to come back to this in every other chapter.


Also, Orwell obviously went through a great deal inventing Newspeak. Then why isn’t Newspeak incorporated more? I mean, seriously, compared to Burgess’s Nadsat, which is quite unintelligible at first, Newspeak is not hard to grasp.

 

3. The sheer length of 1984! This ties in with point 2 about the repetitions – You could cut out so much and it wouldn’t affect the story at all. When I was probably half through I started thinking, that maybe 1984 would work really well as a short story. And I don’t say this in regard to the shortened attention span of us modern people, but because our social, cultural and literary Erwartungshorizont has been pushed forward so much since 1949 that a modern reader is no longer challenged by this.

 

All in all, I had high expectations for 1984 and maybe that was the problem.

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text 2017-10-23 21:28
Reading progress update: I've read 191 out of 326 pages.
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

In theory, 1984 should be super up to date in terms of surveillance and controll, but I cannot help the feeling, that it is so outdated.

I really want to like it, but Orwell is making this hard.

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text 2017-10-21 14:21
Reading progress update: I've read 132 out of 326 pages.
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

I cannot put my finger on the reason, but I am still not hooked.

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text 2017-10-13 11:26
Reading progress update: I've read 3 out of 326 pages.
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

Is it a good idea to start reading 1984 on Friday the 13th?

 

We will see.

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text 2017-07-09 18:39
Went down the freebie rabbithole browsing over on Amazon again
Superfoods Cookbook: Book One: Over 75 Recipes of Quick & Easy, Low Fat, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Low Cholesterol, Whole Foods Superfoods for Weight Loss ... cookbook - weight loss plan for women 29) - Don Orwell
The Burning Point (Circle of Friends Trilogy Book 1) - Mary Jo Putney
Spellbound (The Haunting of Castle Keyvnor Book 4) - Claire Delacroix,Jane Charles,Claudia Dain
An Affair to Dismember (Matchmaker Mysteries Book 1) - Elise Sax
Champions of the Dragon: Humorous Fantasy (Epic Fallacy Book 1) - Michael James Ploof,Holly M. Kothe
Instant Pot Cookbook: Quick and Easy Recipes For You and Your Family (Vegetables, Poultry, Pork, Beef, Fish & Seafood, Vegan, Beans & Grains, Desserts) - Karen Benett
Better Off Wed (Annabelle Archer Wedding Planner Mystery Book 1) - Laura Durham,Laura Durham
Ketogenic Diet: The Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: 75+ Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Rapid Weight Loss and Amazing Energy (Ketogenic Diet, Intermittent Fasting, Paleo Diet, Ketogenic Recipes Book 1) - John T. Smith

Well, these were free today so despite my trying not to download so many freebies ...

 

I did avoid the ones with book descriptions not readable without a lot of "read more" scrolling so — you know the ones that the synopsis says things like the actual screenshot below:

 

 

 

 

 

Five chapters a week for July bookclub read of Old Man's War.

 

Breath of Heaven (Well of Sorrows) (Volume 3) - Joshua Palmatier,Benjamin Tate  Breath of Heaven (Well of Sorrows)    

 

Plus whatever library ebooks I borrow (lots on waitlist plus binge-ing some series) will interrupt regular reading schedule.

 

Another bookclub read of whatever TOR offers free (mid-month?) plus 24in48 readathon July 22-23 will also disrupt or remake plans.

 

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