Monday, December 18, 1995

Good Friends Aren't Always Good for You

A Reflection on My 86/87 Year in College

He took the wink out of my sarcasm. I had once delighted in hanging out with anyone and everyone. Now I had fine-tuned my ability to irritate and annoy.

Thursday, August 17, 1995

George Orwell's Animal Farm published 50 years ago today

First posted 6/24/2020; updated 7/6/2020.

Animal Farm

George Orwell

First Publication: August 17, 1945

Category: allegorial novella/political satire

Sales: 20 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

“George Orwell’s timeless and timely allegorical novel – a scathing satire on a downtrodden society’s blind march towards totalitarianism.” AZ “According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union... [who Orwell] believed had become a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror.” WK

“Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.” AZ

“A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned – a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.” AZ

Orwell wrote the book…when the UK was in its wartime alliance with the Soviet Union and the British people and intelligentsia held Stalin in high esteem, a phenomenon Orwell hated. The manuscript was initially rejected by a number of British and American publishers, including one of Orwell’s own, Victor Gollancz, which delayed its publication. It became a great commercial success when it did appear partly because international relations were transformed as the wartime alliance gave way to the Cold War.” WK

Resources and Related Links:

Sunday, July 9, 1995

Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (aka “Northern Lights”) published

First posted 6/26/2020.

The Golden Compass (aka “Northern Lights”)

Philip Pullman

First Publication: July 9, 1995

Category: young adult fantasy novel

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

  • Carnegie Medal (outstanding British children’s book)
  • Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
About the Book:

Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass as it was called in North America, was a #1 New York Times bestseller published in 40 countries. BN It is a young-adult fantasy novel set in a universe in which humans’ souls exist outside of their bodies in the forms of talking animal spirits known as daemons.

The story focuses on “a plucky, wild, courageous, amazing 12-year old girl named Lyra Belacqua [and] her beloved daemon Pantalaimon.” AZThey journey to the Arctic “where witch clans and armored bears rule” BN to find her friend, Roger, who has been kidnapped by the Gobblers. She also must face “her fearsome uncle Asriel [who] is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.” BN

The book deals with “political intrigue in a world VERY much like our own in crucial ways” AZ as well as theology and the Church, all in “the hands of an author who is a great storyteller.” AZ

The book is the first in the trilogy, His Dark Materials, followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. In 2007, The Golden Compass was adapted into a feature film and in 2019, the BBC launched a television adaptation of His Dark Materials.

Resources and Related Links: