[This is Day 19 of #Booktober! Stay tuned for more recommendations!]
What It Is: A dystopian novel from 1949 imagining a society (modeled after Stalinist Russia) in which truth is suppressed and public support is devoted entirely to the all-powerful State, and what happens to an ordinary man who suddenly questions whether or not to follow the crowd.
Why You Should Read It (Again): If you grew up in the American school system, you may have read this one back in high school. You may think you’re familiar enough with it, because you get the references to things like “Big Brother.” But I would strongly encourage you to find another copy and read it again with fresh eyes (as I’m actually about to do, myself). 1984 presents a society in which social messaging is delivered from the top-down by an all-powerful state, going against the prevailing group-think is considered dangerous or radical, and the meanings of words and ideas are rewritten in real time to serve the desires of the state. While it’s become a cliche to say that any social movement you find oppressive is “Orwellian,” I would suggest that in an era when academics are actually discussing on social media why “2+2=4” can be wrong (or racist?), we’ve entered a new and yet oddly familiar situation.