From 1984 to 1Q84: An Installment of the Girl Friday Book Club

Big Brother is watching you, or at least Winston and Julia, and boy oh boy, they better watch out. Like for rats. Anyone remember what’s in Room 101? For many of us, the last time we read 1984 was in…1984. It seems to have been a thing. Like playing certain Prince songs before the millennium. If it has been a quarter of a century since you cracked Orwell’s dystopian classic, I have to say, read it again. I am a book professional—you can trust me. And after you read that, move on to Fahrenheit 451. The Giver? Read it alongside your middle schooler and have a good long talk about the SCENE that gets PTA moms all over the country seeing red. And while you’re at it, talk about the suppression and reinvention of language with an eye toward stripping away all of that pesky nuance. Or txt it. Tht wrks 2.Then maybe move on to the omnipresent screen that’s always on in your house. You know the one—the one that records all your movements, “checks you in” at your neighborhood haunt, tells you how to think and what to do. No, not Facebook, silly. I was still talking about Orwell.

No time to talk about books, you say? Too busy watching the flat screen, so big and 3-D enhanced it almost seems like the walls are talking? Spend so much time with the Kardashians or the Duggars that they feel like your adopted family? Bradbury anticipated you.

As for The Giver. Shucks. How can you not appreciate folks who want to ban a book that describes, as Ms. Lowry notes with some irony, “a world where choice has been taken away”?

Has anyone else read a dystopian fave lately and noted that it’s not just fashion making 2011 look more than a bit like 1984?