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?
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.