Married and back to the blog

Okay, back to reality for me.

Back to work, back to sports, back to blogging. Business as usual.

Finished Of Mice and Men before I left to Georgia for my wedding and finished To Kill A Mockingbird on the airplane to Italy.

Of Mice and Men an American story of deteriorated dreams written very lyrically by John Steinbeck.

To Kill A Mockingbird a wonderfully written, heartfelt story told from the perspective of a southern child. Written by Harper Lee.

There is no doubt that these books are classics and they are very well written. However, is the language in these books too vulgar/racist for the 21st Century? I say, yes.

To me, it makes no difference if you are saying a vulgar/racist word out loud or if you are saying it in your head when reading. It feels wrong. It feels uncomfortable. Are children reading these in school? I don’t remember reading it in school but I don’t remember a lot of things growing up.

(pause for research)

“very widely taught in English-speaking public schools in America…”

Well, okay.

I haven’t done a lot of research on this subject so you will need to excuse me for my ignorance. But please, feel free to comment on this post with any additional information or opinions on this subject.

Reading Pride and Prejudice now

The Thrilla of the Bibliophelia

Announcer: Boxers Ready? Fight.

(Big Books pounds on Little Adam. A right, a left, an uppercut, a roundhouse.  Little Adam is on the ropes, the only thing holding him from a KO.  Little Adam looks at the clock, if only he can last one more round….. ding, ding)

Maybe comparing myself to Muhammad Ali in the late rounds of the “Thrilla in Manila” is being a little dramatic. Well….. yes, very dramatic. But I thought it would paint a perfect picture to my current predicament. A book beatdown.

So, I will admit, I am currently off track. However, I will reassure you; I stand undaunted. My commitment to read 100 classic novels/books in 2 years will be upheld.

Hey, at least I have an excuse… I’m getting married in 10 days and going to Italy.

Don’t worry this blog is not all lost to my insatiable whining.

Here is my chronological list of books/novels:

(#3 being the book I’m currently reading, list of books were suggested by friends and blog subscribers)

1. Cather in the Rye

2. 1984

3. Of Mice and Men

4. To Kill a Mockingbird

5. Pride and Prejudice

6. Lonesome Dove

7. A Tale of Two Cities

8. Siddhartha

9. Walden

10. Moby Dick

11. Ulysses

12. The Great Gatsby

13. A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man

14. The Fountainhead

15-100. ?????

…too many books, not enough time (robot voice)

1984 finished

I finished 1984 last week and moved on to my third classic novel of choice…

1984

I can’t help to subjectively feel hope while reading 1984; although, I wouldn’t describe this as a positive book by no means. A once rebellious, individualistic Winston ultimately is broken in spirit (through demoralizing, physiological torture) and succumbed unconsciously to the philosophy of collectivism. (Ingsoc)

So what is the meaning? Did the book advocate?

I don’t think it was advocating, rather providing a cautionary tale, a glimpse into a post-WWII era with Germany on-top (totalitarianism), while also providing fundamental principles of collectivism and its relation to capitalism. The latter being very interesting: the seekers of change are set to benefit the most as the new ruling class; in short, collectivism does not eliminate the capitalist, rather preserves it.

Oh… and the ending of the book was brilliant.

Remember, O’Brien said that Thoughtcriminals are released after they are “corrected” and the moment they “love Big Brother” they are killed by the Thought Police. Although Orwell stops the book with Winston alive, he alludes to the death of Winston with the last sentence of the book, “He loved Big Brother.”

1984, by far one of my favorite political/philosophical works.

1984 continued

Through 50% (sorry, that’s what my kindle gives me)

I am now well into Part II of the novel (1984 by George Orwell is split into III parts)

I would say the motif at this point really puts the ‘total’ in totalitarianism. Let me give you a sample of Winston’s living conditions:

  • The Party, the ruling party in which Winston Smith is a low-ranking member, watches Party members constantly through video screens called telescreens.
  • Everywhere you look you see Big Brother, the omniscient leader and face of the Party.
  • A new language called Newspeak is being enforced. It seeks to eliminate all words related to political rebellion, unnecessary expressive language, and more.
  • Thinking rebellious thoughts is even illegal. This is known as a Thoughtcrime.
  • History is rewritten.
  • If there is any expression of individuality or free thought, you are taken away in the middle of the night and erased from existence.
  • Living conditions are drab and dreary.

Mr. Orwell does a great job drawing you into Winston’s life with his descriptive writing and imagery.

With this imagery, I started to feel a sense of self-reflection.  I (Adam) live in a democracy ruled by three branches of government chosen by its citizens, a free world with civil rights. As I continue to read the novel, I constantly think to myself, “I don’t appreciate or deserve this life I live.” It’s interesting how fiction can be that powerful, right? After reading these chapters, I woke up the next day, splashed water over my face and the refreshed feeling becomes more than a simple emotion; I say “Thanks for the running water.” As I walk down the stairs, I see Sarah drinking coffee and reading on the couch; I say “Thanks for Sarah.”

“Thanks for Family”; “Thanks for Friends”; “Thanks for freedom”

Well, you get the picture… It was a day of appreciation, something very much overdue.

Continuing with the plot…

Winston is very frustrated with the oppression. He illegally purchases a diary and finds a secret spot in his apartment out of the telescreen range where he can write. We are introduced to characters: O’Brien, a powerful Party member whom Winston believes is a member of the Brotherhood, a secret and mysterious anti-government group; “The Dark-Haired Girl” whom Winston believes is a spy for the Thought Police; Other co-workers.

The “Dark-Haired Girl” is later to be discovered as Julia. In a total turn of events, Julia gives Winston a note that simply reads “I love you.” They start a love affair. (I will touch upon this love affair in another post)

Vocabulary

Inextricably – forming a maze or tangle from which it is impossible to get free

Reconnoitring – make a military observation

Inquisitive – Curious or inspiring

1984 by George Orwell (Through Chapter 5)

Adam, meet Mr Winston Smith

Wow, I need to turn my brain in the total opposite direction having just finished “Catcher In The Rye” – which really was the first book on my journey to read 100.

Lots of things introduced in the first 4 chapters. I’m introduced to the main character and how he fits in this very computerdriven, brainwashed new-world. To sum it up:

“WAR IS PEACE”

“FREEDOM IS SLAVERY”

“IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”

or the basic slogans of this totalitarian government.

My emotions initially when getting through the first chapters were fear and more fear. Not like the fear you get from say… a horror film. Much more like the fear of a second holocaust. Almost like… what would happen if we lost World War II? Well just this, every ascpect of our life would be controlled by super-states with mass warfare creeping around every corner. Very scary stuff.

Favorite quote: “Big Brother is watching you… Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed for ever”

My friend Greg had a great idea to highlight some of the vocabulary I found challenging… so here it is:

Sanguine – cheerfully optimistic

Interminable – incapable of being terminated

Nebulous – hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused

Compendium – a brief treatment or account of a subject

Clandestinely – executed with secrecy of concealment

Inexorably – unyielding, unalterable

Discountenanced – to show disapproval of

Invertebrate – without strength of character

Today I start my quest to read 100 classic novels/books

My mission: Read 100 classic novels/books
Objective: Explore the endless possibilities of generations of great literature
“Why do this?”
Well, that’s a good question. Here’s three reasons off the top of my head:
(1) I never read
(2) My vocabulary is horrible
(3) I enjoy exploring aesthetics
Growing up I hated, no despised reading (It’s almost embarrassing when I read that sentence back in my head)
How did I ever get through college? I credit that to mediocrity.
I just turned 29 years old and I’m getting married in a month. So of course, “I have all the time in the world, right?” hah.
I enjoy reading now; I’ve started getting into it with trade publications on marketing and reading Harry Potter with Sarah (my future wife)
“Why write a blog about it?”
Well, I figure a record of my journey through the wide world of classic literature would be helpful for me in the future.
Not many people can remember where they were or what they felt when they finished… Moby Dick for example.
Maybe people can share their thoughts on books. (assuming I will get even one follower)
Also, I hope to improve my writing skills.
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