September 9, 2020
“To have compassion for those who suffer is a human quality which everyone should possess, especially those who have required comfort themselves in the past and have managed to find it in others. ”
― The Decameron
May 11, 2020
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them― Ray Bradbury
The corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the largest number of shutdowns of businesses worldwide and changed life as we know it. In the first week of April, more than half of the world’s population has received orders to shelter in place. Will our economy and way of life ever come back? Experts agree that it will not until scientists have discovered a vaccine that will be accepted universally. That is not in the foreseeable future.
The world is undergoing a metamorphosis: climate change, rising oceans, weird bugs, rising temperature on Christmas Day and snow on Mother’s Day. As you ponder about what to do, enlighten yourself with reading the “good books”—the books that make you think about life in an alternative world. There are many of them. Here is a short list:
Animal Farm by George Orwell—an allegorical novella that tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury—a dystopian society where books are burned.
The Iron Heel by Jack London describes a futuristic world in which the division between the classes has deepened.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift—a satire on human nature and a parody on travel
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll about a young girl’s adventures in a dream.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley—a dystopian science fiction novel of a consumerist society. Margaret Atwood called it “either a perfect-world utopia or its nasty opposite,” depending on your point of view.
And of course:
The Hand Maid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and any of her other books.
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Not everything is dystopian. Check out the following:
Lost Horizon by James Hilton—the mythical sanctuary of Shangri-La.
The Giver by Lois Lowry—a young adult novel about a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal world.
I will be posting a quote each day. Hopefully, it will inspire you to read some of the greatest works in literature.