Over at Literary Hub, Emily Temple offers a “reading list for resistance”, a list of 25 Works of Fiction and Poetry for Anger and Action.
Included are The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood:
This is the book women will be whispering about to one another in Trump’s America-an all-too-real vision of our country under a totalitarian theocracy where women are stripped of their rights and kept around only as breeders or servants.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin:
There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary. But the idea was real.
And of course, George Orwell’s 1984:
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic…
1984 was my favorite book for a long time — I first read it when I was about 10 years old and reread it every year or two well into my 20s. I haven’t read it in more than 10 years…perhaps it’s time for another go.
A new series of George Orwell’s books are being published by Penguin and this is the cover for 1984:
Cover design by David Pearson…more covers from the same series here. (via @torrez)
Here’s Kevin Staab, Tony Hawk, and Greg Smith watching a 1983 video of free style skateboarder Rodney Mullen. “Look at him just creating modern street skating, right there”. “Yeah, he goes through this run twice. I’ve seen this video before.” The 1983 version of Tony Hawk makes an appearance at around 3:50 trying to figure out how to ride 2 boards.
This Mullen video from 1984 is even cooler to watch, but there’s no commentary. 1984, by the way, is pretty much the most talked about year on this site.
Published just a few days after what would become George Orwell’s most well-known novel in 1949, here’s what the New York Times had to say about Nineteen Eighty-Four.
In the excesses of satire one may take a certain comfort. They provide a distance from the human condition as we meet it in our daily life that preserves our habitual refuge in sloth or blindness or self-righteousness. Mr. Orwell’s earlier book, Animal Farm, is such a work. Its characters are animals, and its content is therefore fabulous, and its horror, shading into comedy, remains in the generalized realm of intellect, from which our feelings need fear no onslaught. But ”Nineteen Eighty-four” is a work of pure horror, and its horror is crushingly immediate.
After yesterday’s post on Ghostbusters (“Don’t cross the streams”), I got hit with a few follow-ups worth following up:
- When I said 1984 was arguably “the biggest/most important year in modern cinematic comedy,” I meant mostly because of the ridiculous amount of money comedies made that year and how those surprise blockbusters affected how comedies were made afterwards.
- Still when you add This Is Spinal Tap, which also came out in 1984 but didn’t make very much money, you really could make a case that it really could be the best/most influential year for movie comedies.
- I didn’t know this, but Aaron Cohen tipped me off: Jason actually already preemptively backed me up: “1984, a fine year for movies.” As Jason says, “My God, the pop culture references.”
- Also via Aaron, his own “1984 Was a Good Year for a Lot of Things” and Bill Simmons’s 2004 post “1984, it was a very good year.” Both mine the same pop culture vein, adding books, TV, and sports into the mix too.
I particularly like Simmons’s note about college basketball (maybe even more relevant today):
College hoops meant something in ‘84. You stayed home on Monday nights to watch the Big East. You knew the players because they had been around for years. And since guys stuck around, you could follow Ewing and Georgetown, Hakeem and Phi Slamma Jamma, Mullin and St. John’s, Pearl and Syracuse, MJ at UNC … these were like pro teams on a smaller scale. I’m telling you, a Georgetown-St. John’s game in the middle of February was an event. These moments aren’t even possibilities anymore. They’re gone.
My favorite document of 1984 (sports or otherwise) is undoubtedly Sparky Anderson’s Bless You Boys, his running diary/memoir of the Detroit Tigers’ amazing season that year. It’s about baseball, but so many other things — life, death, perspective. I wrote about it last year for The Idler when Sparky Anderson passed away.
One last “what if?” note from Simmons:
Rolling Stone was offered the chance to buy MTV, and Sports Illustrated was offered the chance to buy ESPN. Both magazines decided against it.
Talk about crossing the streams.
From a poll in the Guardian: George Orwell’s 1984 is the definitive book of the 20th century. Gatsby, Grapes, and Brave New World also make the top 10 list.
The British government is installing talking CCTV cameras in public places…the control center staff will be able to yell at people they see on the camera to stop littering and the like. “Smith! 6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! That’s better, comrade.”