This book is a nightmare come true- a government that can track anything and everything you do. I had thoroughly enjoyed Orwell’s Animal Farm for its short, accurate portrayal of politics not only in Russia but in almost every country in the world. It is not without any reason that this book has become iconic with people referring to 1984 in so many texts and movie spin-offs which resemble this sort of a society…or what is today known as Orwellian Society.
The central theme of this book is the totalitarian society in which people live. This society is controlled by an authority which controls what you see, watch, do, wear, eat and the way you lead your life. It is a scary scenario and there are some scenes which actually are chilling. The focus is on two individuals in this society, who dare to fall in love, meet and have sex for pleasure and break one of the most important rules of this society. Needless to say, they are caught and brainwashed to accept the structure to become abiding citizens.
It is still hard to think that any organization can control each and every individual like this, but such a drastic change does not happen overnight. It happens with time and with the kind of technology and gadgets available, it seems we are heading there. Though I seriously hope not. This book was written way ahead of its time and it is only now that we are seeing some of the things that actually happen in our society. Things like controlling the media to say what the Government wants to say, technology and gadgets that know where you are and what you are doing are all happening in our society.
It is a must-read for everyone to know where our society is headed.
The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows
by Laura Grindstaff
I am going through this non-fiction phase so you may see more non-fiction book reviews. This book is a study of American talk shows which led to the degradation of television content. Talk shows have been at the center of heated debates about its ethics, impact on people and responsible use of media.
This book discusses the issue from the side of the producers, the hosts, guests, experts and all those involved with this genre of television programming. It takes a look at how producers get the “Money Shot” which is basically that moment when the guest lets go of his/ her emotions and the kind of shot which garners ratings. It covers shows which are considered downright trashy to the classy ones. The book also talks about the motives behind why guests would want to talk openly about their problems in front of a live audience and the viewers.
The book is a decent read for those interested in topics related to television and programming.
Beyond A Billion Ballots: Democratic Reforms for a Resurgent India
by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe
Beyond a Billion Ballots is a look at the functioning and components of a democracy. It talks about political parties, voting formats, forms of democracy in other countries and problems in the Indian democracy. While this book has a lot of content related to different democratic functioning styles and examples from different countries, it fails to provide anything new related to Indian democracy.
The book lists out problems which are already known, does not provide effective solutions and is pro-BJP which is not a surprise considering Mr. Modi came for the launch of the book. It does not provide anything new that we do not read in the newspapers, conveniently leaves out BJP’s flaws while focusing on Congress and does not give any practical solutions to India’s current scenario. I am sure there are better books on Indian democracy written by more unbiased authors.
1) The God of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy
You need to make a family chart to read this book. Simply because the family goes back to 3 generations and every character is described in detail and have complicated south-Indian names. I got confused at certain points as well. However, Arundhati Roy has written this novel in a very different style. This Pulitzer-prize winning novel has a very simple story, but the way the characters have portrayed their emotions is what will keep you hooked to this novel. It does get a little slow and boring in between but this novel is worth a read if you are looking to read something which has a plot that is very different from the other novels.
by Henri Charriere
This novel reminds me of Shantaram, but this one seems better. It is about this French guy (Henri Charriere, known as Papillon) who was wrongly convicted for a murder in 1931. This is his journey as he runs away from many prisons, is captured again and escapes again (from a prison no one had ever escaped before) and is captured again…only to escape again. He vows to get back into society and prove to the French justice system that even prisoners can start a new, clean life. It has been written in a way that you will feel that you are on a journey with him. You will rejoice with him, cry with him (I did not :D) and go on a journey across South America together.
One small chapter in which Papillon is in solitary confinement for two years just takes your breath away. A definite read!
3) Animal Farm
by George Orwell
This book and the author need no introduction. I remember half the class doing a book report on this book until the teacher told everyone to pick another book. But this book should be read by everyone. It is just 160 pages but has an impact like no other. If you still have not read this book, then do it today…and I assure you that you will be done in 2 days.
Next is a Paulo Coelho week. 🙂