In preparation for Literature Circles, please review the following information about the books. You will select a book of your choice and join in a circle with 3-5 members of your class. During class Friday, we will review lit circle procedures, deadlines, and assignments. You will receive a copy of your book at that time, so have your first and second choices in mind.
1984 by George Orwell
Published in 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life–the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language–and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Orwell’s vision of a future in which truth is fluid, privacy is gone, and even your thoughts can be enough to send you to prison ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…everything has changed.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The 1931 debut of Brave New World reflected the fears European society held after the Great War and how the explosion of technology and industry would impact individual identity. Huxley’s darkly satiric vision of the future envisions a “utopian” world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order–and what happens when a “savage” asking questions about humanity, society, and love shows up.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the story through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.