On The Nightstand — 1984 by George Orwell
On the nightstand is going to be a regular column I do here about once or twice a month about the books that I am reading. My goal is to read at least two books a month — fiction wise, anyway — and give a review of them. I might have newer selections from time to time, but for now, a lot of these will probably be books that have been out a while. Some are even classics, as I intend to alternate between classic and contemporary works for the time being. Part of my purpose in doing this is to help me to see things I like about different people’s styles so that I can use them in my own writing.
The first book I’m going to look at is the George Orwell classic 1984. This book is about what the world might be like in a socialist controlled government. Set in London, England, the story is about Winston Smith and his struggles as he rebels against Big Brother.
I really enjoyed this book. I read this book a number of year ago when I was in high school (on my own; not for a class), and I think I got more out of it reading through it this time. Maybe it is my perspective on everything. At one point, Winston is reading a book about how society is and why is that way. It helps to develop a greater sense of the world and why it operates the way it does.
I also like the twist in this book. Even though I had read it before, and I knew it would happen, I was still caught off guard by it. For those who haven’t read the book, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but for those who have, I think you’ll know which seen I mean. It was a bit of an awakening for Winston.
From a storyteller’s standpoint, one thing I got from the book is that you can have a lot going on with the action without having a ton of dialog. I know I have a tendency with my own writing to be very dialog heavy with my stories — almost to the point of loosing track of who is speaking. Also, Orwell does a great job of envisioning the world that the people live in and in describing it to us.
Even if you have read it before, I think it is well worth the read.
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