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100 Greatest Novels: Animal Farm

20 Jun

I’ve had this next novel read for a while but have been too busy to write the blog. I’m currently struggling through another damn Henry James novel so who knows when the next one will be up. I have a few other things planned but for now, here’s the next 100 greatest novel:

200px-AnimalFarm_1stEdAnimal Farm by George Orwell

This is an incredible and incredibly quick read. Finish-able in one sitting, George Orwell packs in so much into Animal Farm. If you aren’t familiar with this novel, Animal Farm is an allegorical story of a farm where the animals rise up in revolution against the farmer. Loosely based on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Soviet Union under Stalin, the story follows the animals leading up to their overthrow of the farmer and what subsequently follows as the animals try to run the farm on their own while guarding themselves from attacks from other farmers.

Orwell wanted to novel to read as a kids story or a fairy tell. And he succeeded. The writing is very simple and the story is easy to follow. None of the characters are too layered and you sympathize with the weaker animals. I think this adds a lot to the reading experience for two reasons. If you really don’t care about communism or the Russian Revolution, the story is a fun read without thinking of all that. And yet, if you do want to see Orwell “fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole,” the simple writing gives you plenty of room to infer your own thoughts and ideas about how this relates to Russian history or even current history with many nations.

The best part of the story, the ending, can be seen two ways. Sometimes I read it in more of a historical context with the Soviet Union becoming allies with many western powers. Other times I see it in a broader context, speaking of politicians in general. See for yourself:

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

________

Anyways, while I read through Henry James, here’s a few articles, interviews, and videos that have interested me recently:

Interview with Joy Williams of the Civil Wars about their upcoming album, indefinite hiatus, and Joy and John Paul White not being on speaking terms.

Lou Reed reviews Kanye West’s newest album, Yeezus, with really interesting and somewhat surprising thoughts.

A full video of a Damien Rice concert at a festival in Holland.

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