I don’t want this blog to be one of politics and opinions about current events. I would like this blog to be about reading, educating oneself and encouraging broader perspectives. Unfortunately, politics exist in every corner of life from the politics of a couple to the politics of a country, so it’s difficult to avoid them.
I have found literature and other media often able to uncannily predict the future in ways that seem outrageous for their time. Speculative Fiction in particular can often offer warnings to people. All it takes is opening a book and taking a read.
I’m not much of a classics reader. I have tried many times but I find a lot of the Must Reads to be unappealing. Often there isn’t enough action to keep me interested.
That being said there are some that I have especially enjoyed and I feel they are important to look into, especially given the current instability in the world.
I’m sure you’ve seen these two particular books mentioned several times on Facebook or over Twitter. It’s my opinion that it cannot be reiterated enough why they should be read.
The first book I suggest is 1984 by George Orwell. This book was first published in 1949. It’s a dystopian which focuses on how governments can rule a country down to the very thoughts of its citizens.
Terms like Big Brother and Room 101 were made popular with this book.
The gist is this: A man has become disenchanted with his life working for the government and he begins to write an illegal journal that contains his own original thoughts. At a time where thought crimes are prevalent and harshly punished he is putting himself at risk by writing his down. Then one day he and a woman cross paths and they begin an illegal affair. Together they work to help a rebellion they hope will overthrow their current system.
It seems pretty extreme, yes, but the main theme of the novel sounds a lot like our current world, where governments can be ever present. Current technology is only making it easier for this to be the case.
The second book is called The Handmaid’s Tale and is written by Margaret Atwood. This book is also a dystopian and was first published in 1985.
Atwood’s world is in the future, in a country that previously the United States. At the beginning of the story the US has just become a theocracy based on an extreme fundamental Christian belief. With that belief comes changes in the lives of many and the main character, Offred, finds herself in a situation where her only purpose in life is to be a breeder. The plot of the story is based on her bending the rules and trying to escape to Canada as a refugee.
In the case of this book I think it’s important to look at the fact that the nation has become a theocracy. There is a reason that state and religion do not coincide. It’s the same reason there is a Prime Minister and Members of Parliament in Canada. There need to be checks and balances in place for institutions to work ethically.
The Handmaid’s Tale gives a glimpse of what a government capable of ruling both the country and the religious beliefs of its people can do.
It’s easy to dismiss books as mere stories, but it’s important to remember that stories are nothing more than an idea that was extrapolated into a possibility. In essence, the authors are looking at the world and exploring the potentials of the What Ifs.
Orwell and Atwood have already put in the research for readers, all that’s left is opening the book and discovering the possibilities.
The Beguiled Bibliophile