Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Club: Brave New World

As you might remember, I've been slowly but surely making my way through a list of books that I feel I should have read (because everyone else did) in school. You know the ones: The Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Nineteen Eighty-Four, all that kind of stuff. And most recently it was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
This novel outlines the Utopia/Dystopia of future London (AD 2540). In the "brave new world" there is no room for love or compassion, but residents live a comfortable and easy life that satisfies societal norms. Citizens are grouped before birth into different classes, each of whom are bred with different levels of intelligence and ability. However, the "perfect" world is shaken up when a savage from the undeveloped lands arrives.

Despite being published back in 1932, Brave New World has an extremely engaging plot that is mainly based on character development. I was definitely creeped out by the "normal" things of this future society, like the assembly line production of babies, psychological conditioning, and the daily consumption of a drug called "soma" to combat negative feelings (actually, that part sounded all right!)

There is no parenthood, marriage, war, art, or religion. Promiscuity is the norm, solitude is considered unnatural, and aging is abolished through hormonal treatments that keep people youthful until an abrupt death. Obviously this book was well ahead of its time in the realm of science fiction, which made comparing Huxley's imagined future to our current one that much more interesting.

In Brave New World, society does seem to function quite smoothly, but we are forced to ask... at what cost? It was definitely thought provoking to me, plus it's a pretty quick, short read, so I think I'd recommend it if this subject is something you're interested in.

Are there any books YOU read in school that you think I should add to my list?

3 comments :

  1. I don't know if you have read these, but I love Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes, anything by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Kensuki's Kingdom are great), Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and Charlotte's Web by E.B. White!

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    1. I've read Memoirs of a Geisha and Charlotte's Web, but the others I haven't heard of... thanks for the recommendation!

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  2. This book sounds really good! Quick read meaning I could quickly finish while James naps during the days if and when he naps?!! :)

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