• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,081,366 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

Reading Notes: Creepy New World

I have never read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, a Modern Library’s top-100 novel in the 20th century, even though it’s widely taught in high school and college. Piqued by what George Orwell believed that Huxley derived the book partly from We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, I pick up the book. Huxley was able to use the setting and characters, most of whom inspired by his trip to the United States, from his science fiction novel to express widely held opinions, particularly the fear of losing individual identity in the fast-paced world of the future. The more I read about socially-managed contexts, the discouraged individuality, the subconscious messages to mold child’s lifelong self-image and tastes, the more the book creeps me out. In a sense it’s gradual brainwash, very much like what a religious cult does to its members. I’m halfway through but cannot decide whether I dislike it or just not enjoy it. One bright point is what I get out of the reading: Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Do you ever feel compelled to read something because it’s revered by critics?

12 Responses

  1. Brave New World was also inspired by HG Wells utopian Men Like Gods. It’s been ages so I don’t remember the fine details but recall the satirical dystopia’s uncomfortable creepiness. I’m planning on re-reading Brave New World after both of its inspirations.

    Critics may bring books to my attention, but most often I’m compelled to read them based on more personal sources.

    • HG Wells’ Men Like Gods is on my reading list because of Brave New World. After finishing Somerset Maugham’s biography, I’m set to explore more of Wells because he was a contemporary of Maugham.

  2. I’ve had it sitting on my shelf for ages but I’ve never been in a hurry to pick it up. After reading this, and hearing how creeped out it is, I’m very intrigued now!

    • Before I wrote about Brave New World, I’ve always thought I’m the only person who has yet to read it. It is intriguing, getting better as you turn the pages. I especially like the part how Savage, the man from outside the World State, is looking for love while the girl he loves, Lenina, is just looking for sex.

  3. I’ve not had consistent luck with books revered by critics (which makes me feel dumb). Specifically, there have been multiple Pulitzer winners that just feel flat for me. Still I keep trying. I do believe that the more I read, the better equipped I will be to navigate through some of these.

    • Critics is just one of the many factors that I consider in reading a book. Don’t feel dumb or left out if you’re not into the books recommended by the critics. Pulitzer winners just don’t agree with me, or vice versa! My friend just got a copy of The Diary of Oscar Wauh. I was telling him that I couldn’t decide if I wanted to read it. Tinkers is another Pulizter winner that didn’t intrigue me.

  4. I have certainly persevered with books that weren’t really clicking with me because of the acclaim they have received, and I’ve generally found that it doesn’t pay off in the end. It’s rare that I read a book that is entirely without merit, so I can’t say that these books don’t have things to think about and enrich me, but there are so many good books in the world that I figure I can probably stick to the ones that *I* enjoy and find a pleasure to read.

    • “It’s rare that I read a book that is entirely without merit”

      I cannot agree with you more. If a book doesn’t even have merit, why is it published? If a book doesn’t rub me the right way, even a literary prize winner, I tend to move on or to skim through it.

  5. This is one I picked up in high school because I was fascinated by dystopian fiction. I loved it because it’s one of those first books that was “good” and “classic” but also twisted and unique. It made me realize that classic fiction could also be interesting. Now, of course, my scope is much broader, but it took this type of book, along with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, to really get my attention.

    • Dystopian fiction does intrigue me. After reading Brave New World, I cannot decide which creeps me more: The Handmaid’s Tale or 1984. Some parts of Brave New World are better written than others. I found the beginning very slow but the story just gets better and better.

  6. Nice that Brave New World is getting better as the pages turn.

    Hmm…no individuality for the better good, the of vaporization or death at the drop of a pin, being watched all the time, remembering a better life and freedom, etc…Yeah, that’s a toss up between the two, but 1984 is creepily ahead by a nose because of how people can just disappear and history, current events, and books can be altered.

    • 1984 is one serious read because, unlike Brave New World, I didn’t even chortle once as I turned the pages. In Brave New World, I constantly smiled at how the so-called civilized people in the World State thought they were better off, and looking down on those who lived outside of it, say, John the Salvage and his mother, Linda, who was abandoned by the director of Dept. of Hatcheries and Conditioning. The civilized people are those who have lost their emotions, values, and morals, whereas Salvage is going after love and relationship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: