wilderthan: ((Akihiko) Oh yeah?)
[personal profile] wilderthan
I loved Nineteen-Eighty-Four when I read it, so I'm not sure why I never got round to reading Animal Farm. It was one of those things I heard about but didn't really hear any details about. Somewhere I heard about it being about communism, or Stalin, or something, but didn't remember where and that didn't really pique my interest...

Well, and then I saw it on the ridiculous list of one hundred books -- or whatever it is -- that someone thinks most people will only have read six of. So I mooched it and decided to read it soon, in a spirit of defiance. Not that I wasn't doing well already, with fifty-seven books...

Anyway. The book itself is easy to read. Easier than I was expecting, maybe. I know someone who decided to discount it because it's "about talking animals" and "no one could take that seriously". It's meant to be a fairy tale type thing, though; it's meant to reflect on the truth. It's political writing. It's perhaps less comprehensible to people who didn't live through the Cold War -- communism wasn't really that much of an issue in my life except that there were vague references to it in history class and it came up once I started doing some philosophy at university.

I've read other reviews saying it's too easy to read, too simplistic. I'd have to agree that it can't cover all the complexities of history and politics and people. But I don't think it's meant to, I think it's meant to be a simplified, more universal version, exploring communism-going-wrong. I don't think it necessarily says that communism is impossible, either -- you have to draw that conclusion for yourself.

The writing itself isn't stellar, I suppose, in that it doesn't light fireworks and dance and sing. It's pretty matter-of-fact and down to earth. I liked it a lot, though. I think that added to the ease of reading and understanding.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-24 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] samuraiter.livejournal.com
1984 is one of my favorites, too, since I, like you, have come of age in a time of constant public surveillance and the like. (Those street corner cameras in the U.K. are very 1984, though I suspect the only reason that the U.S. has not adopted similar security measures is because of too many overlapping jurisdictions.) Animal Farm is a good book, too, and certainly very instructional, but I find it to be less personal than 1984. ... Then again, my last name is Smith, too. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-24 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
Yeah, Animal Farm didn't get to me as much as 1984. Animal Farm was more reading about theory, whereas 1984 is disturbingly close to reality.


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