Books, those things ...
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10020) 10 years ago
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." ...

Not the best opening line, but one of the best damn ever. And if you pick a random page ... like, I dunno, let's say 147, you end up with stuff like this ...

'You are a flaw in the pattern, Winston. You are a stain that must be wiped out. Did I not tell you just now that we are different from the persecutors of the past? We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instant of death we cannot permit any deviation. In the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we blow it out. The command of the old despotisms was "Thou shalt not". The command of the totalitarians was "Thou shalt". Our command is "Thou art". No one whom we bring to this place ever stands out against us. Everyone is washed clean.


Or perhaps page 23 as another ...

Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For example, the Ministry of Plenty's forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at 145 million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than 145 millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain.


Hmm? Give it a read if you haven't. It's a masterpiece from 1948.
Top
supporter
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 10 years ago
It starts off pretty good, but I remember it drags a bit towards the end. His essays however, are things of beauty.
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10020) 10 years ago
That probably has to do with the agonizing torture. Heinlein would be another good read, a bit more difficult and time consuming than Orwell or Bradbury, but worthwhile none the less.
Top
supporter
Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I read Animal Farm but never finished 1984. I don't remember why.

As far as openings to books go, I think one of the best in a non-fiction book is the beginning of "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and yes it's a true story.

One November morning in 2004, Theo van Gogh got up to go to work at his film production company in Amsterdam. He took out his old black bicycle and headed down a main road. Waiting in a doorway was a Moroccan man with a handgun and two butcher knives.

As Theo cycled down the Linnaeusstraat, Muhammad Bouyeri approached. He pulled out his gun and shot Theo several times. Theo fell off his bike and lurched across the road, then collapsed. Bouyeri followed. Theo begged, "Can't we talk about this?" but Bouyeri shot him four more times. Then he took out one of his butcher knives and sawed into Theo's throat. With the other knife, he stabbed a five-page letter onto Theo's chest.

That letter was addressed to me.
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10020) 10 years ago
Wow, that gave me a chill. Thanks, I'll have to check it out.
Top
supporter
Posted by Stone (+1596) 10 years ago
I read that book Levi. Not for the faint of heart.
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10020) 10 years ago
I haven't read the book yet, not sure I actually want to since I know it's a true story, but the line left dangling, "That letter was addressed to me." kinda of left me thinking of that old film, D.O.A., where the dude stumbles into the police station to report his own murder.
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10020) 10 years ago
Apparently D.O.A. is public domain now, so it's all over the Internet ...

Top
supporter
Posted by Amorette F. Allison (+1917) 10 years ago
The original D.O.A. is great. The remake in the 80s sucks.

Steve and I have Kindles (insert registered trademark symbol here) and I have been rereading the free classics. Pride and Prejudice really is hysterical.
Top
supporter
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
I have my original Kindle and last night downloaded the app for Kindle on my Asus laptop...really great...now I have two :-)...I am a huge fan of Kindle for many reasons, not the least of which is what Amorette just mentioned, a lot of the classics are free downloads...you can adjust the font which for an elderly person like myself is great...Many advantages to Kindle helping out us bug worms..
Top
admin
moderator
founder
Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+10020) 10 years ago
Pride and Prejudice is a doosey. I was told once by a particularly pretty girl, almost sarcastically, to read it. I preferred the lines of Poe a bit more.
Top
supporter
Posted by howdy (+4944) 10 years ago
make that book worms not bug worms LOL...
Top
supporter
Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+18118) 10 years ago
Actually, the new version of Pride and Prejudice with Zombies in it, is quite good.

Well, maybe not that good...but its good enough to read on an airplane.

Top
founder
supporter
sponsor
Posted by Hal Neumann (+10231) 10 years ago
to wound the autumnal city.

So howled for the world to give him a name.

The in-dark answered with wind.

All you know I know: careening astronauts and bank clerks glancing at the clock before lunch; actresses cowling at light-ringed mirrors and freight elevator operators grinding a thumbful of grease on a steel handle; student riots; know that dark women in bodegas shook their heads last week because in six months prices have risen outlandishly; how coffee tastes after you've held it in your mouth, cold, a whole minute.

= = =


Opening lines, page 1.
Samuel R. Delany, DHALGREN (1977).
= = =


Over the years I've come to realize that this is one of the most important books I've ever read.
It gave me my pause/cause to question the cultural norms/bounds that one embraces while growing up in Eastern Montana. Started me to thinking that different most often means nothing more than different.
Top
supporter
Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I got a Kindle for Christmas this year (the e-ink one, not the wanna-be ipad) and it is fantastic. I miss having the book on my shelf after I read it, but it's a much better way to read than the dead tree versions IMO. Also, I can put it on the visor of my feed pickup and it doesn't get beat up nearly as much as a book would.
Top
founder
supporter
Posted by Amorette Allison (+12288) 10 years ago
For books I love--like T.H. White's The Once and Future King, the most fabulous book series in the history of bookage--I like a real book. For stuff like murder mysteries and re-reads, I am enjoying my cheap Kindle. I can make the text BIG and at my age, that is worth the money alone!
Top
supporter
Posted by Sarah Peterson (+374) 10 years ago
I too am enjoying the free classics on Kindle. I'm reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, which somehow escaped my English degree. Also burned right through the Hunger Games trilogy recently for a very inexpensive price. Now I'm reading War Dogs, about military canine units. I really like browsing Amazon books and then having one to read the second I purchase it.
But being the word nerd I am, I also have 3 library-of-the-old-school-variety books (Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller, How to Cook Your Daughter by Jessica Hendra, and Chore Wars by James Thornton).
Thanks for posting about 1984; I never finished it a few years ago, but think I might try again.
Top
supporter
Posted by Bridgier (+9430) 10 years ago
1984 and Animal Farm are his best known works, but Orwell was first and foremost an essayist - if you read nothing else by him, you must read the following:

Politics and the English Language http://www.mtholyoke.edu/...well46.htm
Shooting An Elephant http://www.online-literat...rwell/887/
Charles Dickens http://www.george-orwell....ens/0.html

Homage to Catalonia is good as well.
Top
banned
Posted by Charlessroyal (+10) 6 years ago
This post was removed 6 years ago.
It was removed because it was SPAM.
Top