Monday, February 13, 2012

I like big books and I cannot lie

I don't have any new house updates this week. We were up in PA this weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday so there is no new house progress to report. We had a nice time with my parents. I had baked her red velvet cupcakes from the new Georgetown Cupcake recipe book that turned out quite well. Even the icing turned out well (which is a first for me). Of course, I forgot my camera, so no photos this time. My dad also helped me with our taxes, which were extra complicated this year since we bought a house. However, I did make an addition to my blog! Did you notice? There is a new tab up at the top of the page called books. Since I am reading all the time, I thought it might be nice to share my reading with everyone. The books are organized by fiction and non-fiction and are sorted by the author's last name. Unfortunately, this does not include all the books I have ever read. I read a lot during childhood but only kept a few of the books. For instance, I read most of the American Girl books, Babysitter's club, Sweet Valley, Goosebumps and Nancy Drew. I didn't include these, nor most of the other books I read during that time frame. I also forget many of the books I read in high school as required reading. I noted a few of the books that had an impact on me in high school. I am also not including textbooks from college. These mostly fall into the non-fiction category. So, the books included are mostly ones I have read after graduating from college. I still feel like I have neglected many books. If I think of others, I will be sure to add. I also tried to differentiate whether I liked the book or not. If the "Liked" column is blank, it means I could not decide or was somewhere in the middle. So, basically, it is a three star system where N = 1 star, Y = 3 stars, and blank = 2 stars. An added bonus of adding the "books" page was that I had to make the table in html, which was a nice refresher. 8-) <-- my nerd face

This weekend, I finished re-reading 1984, by George Orwell. The Hunger Games trilogy reminded me of 1984, so I decided it might be fun to revisit the text since I have not read it since high school.

The parallels between The Capital in the Hunger Games and The Party/Big Brother in 1984 were very much apparent. What was funny about re-reading 1984 so long after I originally read it was that the mental images when reading it in 2012 were quite different than the ones I remember in 2001. For instance, when Winston sits down to lunch with Julia, I remember thinking of booth tables when I read it in 2001. But this time, I  envisioned stand alone tables and chairs. That may seem small, but it occurred throughout the book: how I thought of his apartment, meeting places, etc. all slightly shifted, making the second reading quite different from the first. It feels like I had a better handle on it this time around. Certainly, I paid much more attention to the message in The Book when Winston was reading it. Here is an excerpt:

"The heirs of the French, English and American revolutions had partly believed their own phrases about the rights of man, freedom of speech, equality before the law, and the like, and had even allowed their conduct to be influenced by them to some extent. But by the fourth decade of the twentieth century all the main currents of political thought were authoritarian. The earthly paradise had been discredited at the exact moment when it became realizable."

Orwell, like many of his writing counterparts during the period after World War 2, is deeply disheartened. The idea of an earthly Utopia that was to be created out of humanity's scientific advancement never happened. Instead, the scientific community created a bomb capable of wiping out hundreds of thousands of people at once. The great optimism that existed prior to World War 1 was completely gone after the terrible devastation of WW2. We need to remember that technological progress can lead to great advances, but it can also be used to harm and destroy.

I had forgotten the Room 101 part of the book. But as soon as I re-read it, I remembered that our high school English class assignment was to describe our own "Room 101" (aka personal hell). I am curious what I wrote as a high school-er and unsure how that would differ from now, but it is probably best not to think about it too much. I think the more interesting question is, if you were caught by the Party, what/whom would they want you to betray? Coincidentally, my Bible study just finished reading through 1 Corinthians, and I was struck by 1 Cor 10:13 in relation to that thought:

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

And now you have reached the end of my little musings. I will try to have more house updates shortly.

1 comment:

  1. Cathy, this was a totally fascinating post...Your reflections on 1984, and comparisons with the Hunger Games, have inspired me to go read both of them.