I’ve made it a goal to read all of the books that people apparently lie about reading. Currently I’m reading 1984 by George Orwell, and I have to say that Orwell is a difficult author for me. Sure, he comes up with great concepts that we’re still talking about today – name one person who doesn’t understand the concept of Big Brother. Yeah, I can’t think of anyone either.

But I’m getting so bogged down in the concept of the thing that I’m not really invested in the characters at the moment. This could be because I’ve had the concepts shoved down my throat since middle school, which isn’t Orwell’s fault (except that he conceptualized the concepts). It’s difficult to remember that these ideas were new and original and paradigm shifting when they were written.

Animal Farm was equally difficult for me, perhaps because by the time I got to Animal Farm, the Berlin wall had come down, the Soviet Union had effectively lost its looming sense of doom, and Orwell’s passion seemed dated.

So my question to you: When does a story lose you because it’s about ideas instead of people? What stories have done that to you? Do you think this a strength or a weakness?

4 thoughts on “1984

  1. Maybe Orwell is an author it's better to read when you're younger. I was totally swept up in the characters, the world and the ideas. But I was also a Freshman in high school.

    Starship Troopers by Heinlein bothered me. I'd just get into the action, and he'd stop and give me a lecture on How Things Should Be. Then a little more story and another lecture. And his view of How Things Should Be did not jibe with mine. Just couldn't take it by the end.

    And therein may lie the answer. If the ideas are no longer relevant or if you don't agree with them, then they pop you out of the story.

    Subterfuge, writers. If you want to get a point across, do it through the story. No lectures.

  2. if you want to read orwell. try 'down and out in paris and london' or 'burmese days'

    10 years ago i made it my goal to read as many of the classics as i could before i died. 10 years later and i am nowhere near finished. 🙂

  3. Raskolniikov–I'll definitely check your suggestions out. I too have made it a goal to read as many classics as I could before I died. Still going….=)

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