reading · science fiction

What’s the most terrifying book you ever read?

This is a question that a BookEnds asked:

The writers chose books for various reasons, including how real the book felt.

He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

For me, the scariest book I ever read is Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s dystopian, not horror, but the way they changed the newspapers after publication? Yeah. Not taking it back, not apologizing for a print error, but changing it altogether.

That kind of thing wasn’t possible when it was written, it wasn’t possible in 1984, but it is possible now. And that’s scary.

I love ebooks and reading online in general, but that kind of thing is possible and it scares me. It really does.

General · reading

S is for Speed Reading

columnfivemediainfographicsinfographicdesigncontI don’t speed read. I don’t want to speed read.

I read fast enough on my own. 75% faster than the national average, according to  the Staples test. It says I read 436 words per minute, about the level of a college graduate, which makes sense. 🙂 It makes me wonder about the rest of this country, too. LOL

It says if I maintained this speed, I could read War and Peace in 22 hours and 27 minutes. Which is fine. I could maintain it, as I read the piece in the test rather more slowly than usual because I knew there would be a test afterward. So I could probably read it even faster than that.

It’s just that I don’t want to read War and Peace. I read it once in high school (took about a week, reading a few hours everyday) and I am not ever reading it again.

It also says I can read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling in 2 hours and 56 minutes. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien in 18 hours and 18 minutes. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller in 6 hours and 40 minutes. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell in 3 hours and 24 minutes. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand in 11 hours and 55 minutes. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck in 6 hours and 29 minutes. Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper in 5 hours and 34 minutes. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens in 5 hours and 11 minutes. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in 4 hours and 11 minutes. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee in 3 hours and 47 minutes. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

See, the Harry Potter book takes only a day to read and I don’t actually want to finish books that fast. Especially if I like the book. If I dislike the book, well, the faster the better. (Sadly, my speed decreases when I dislike a book.)

I want to spend a few days with a book, you know? I want to spend hours lost in the world, in the characters. I don’t like it when a book ends too soon.

So . . . I hope I never have to learn speed reading. Too many books end too quickly as it is and I really don’t to speed up the process.

Do you feel like I do? That speed reading allows you to read a little bit too fast?

Book Review · General · reading · science fiction

Book Review: 1984

From Bookreads:
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.:

I read 1984 for Banned Book Week. It is a pretty horrifying dystopia.

1984 is so well detailed, it’s easy to believe in. But at the same time, it’s hard to believe anyone swallows the Party’s lies. In fact, the love interest doesn’t believe half of what the Party says. But she doesn’t care, either, and that is very hard for me to credit.

The main character, Winston Smith, works as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth. His job is to revise historical documents to reflect the current Party line.  If (when?) newspapers go completely digital, this would be scarier, because someone could come along behind you and change an article. You would never know.  The idea is pretty damn scary.

Julia, the love interest, is a practical and live-in-now sort of young woman. The Party approves of sex only for reproductive purposes, but she indulges in it for pleasure. She’s better at getting around the Party than Winston, but that’s because she grew up with its restrictions.

The world is shown through Julia and Winston’s love affair. The constant threat, the constant surveillance and the necessary secrecy of their trysts.  The TVs have microphones; if they had personal computers, it would be monitored, too.  Even the décor is bugged.

The characters are who they are. You could call them cardboard characters. Their whole purpose is to show the horror of their world. If the characters were more real, better rounded, I think 1984 would be a lot scarier. Maybe scary enough to tip the book into horror.
The last line stands out in my mind:

He loved Big Brother.

After being caught and tortured, after knowing the Party is lying to him, he learns to love Big Brother. But that’s the point of torture and re-education: to love Big Brother. I think that’s Stockholm syndrome at its finest. 😉

Winston gets out, but he only goes to work a couple of days a week. He drinks morning, noon and night. He’ll probably drink himself to death.

General · reading · science fiction · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: 1984

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Reading this for Banned Book Week!

My Teasers: 

He had given a quick glance up and down the street and then had slipping inside and bought the book for two dollars fifty. At the time he was not conscious of wanting it for any particular purpose. He had carried it guiltily home in his brief case. Even with nothing written in it, it was a compromising possession.

– 1984 by George Orwell

Interesting Links
Book Review — 1984 by George Orwell (caffeinesymposium)

George Orwell’s manuscript for 1984 (thefictiondesk)