Book Reviews

So many books (you know the rest)

Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
Published in 1932 (I finished it on July 26, 2013)

This was on a list of top 100 books of either all time or the 20th century. I can’t remember which. Yet, I got it for that reason. You see, I need to know what books are chosen and why people selected them. Thus, I’m working through the list—from time to time. I have to be in the mood for them as well.

Dystopias always make great subjects. We see what works or doesn’t work in a futuristic world or alternative world. Being written in 1932, it’s amazing how much the author predicts about the far future. While we don’t multi-split eggs to create dozens of identical children, he does predict that the helicopter (still in its infancy during that time) would eventually be a popular low-passenger inter-city method of transport—for the elite at least.

The social arguments and considerations abound in the novel. An English class would find no shortage of class discussions. An English student could write many a paper on any number of subjects. If desired, one could find numerous reasons to ban it, or conversely, to put it on the top 100 list of best novels.

So much goes on inside it. Some new ideas. Some less known ones.

The idea of having no alone time isn’t entirely new—Renaissance royalty could often expect this, as well as some cultures today, but for most of us, it’s certainly a shocking change in the program. Most of us at least bathe solo. And so forth.

Nowadays, it’s interesting that instead of most people being unable to read serious works or plays like Shakespeare’s Othello, it is more along the lines that many simply don’t wish to, or they see no benefit in doing so. Society doesn’t have to lock up and hide the cerebral-stirring works, we leave them out in the open and the masses flock to more exciting mediums with more immediate gratifications. Full disclosure: it’s been a number of years since I too have read "Othello"; however, I have read about 65% of the Bard’s plays thus far. And I do plan to finish my first round eventually.

Some of the concepts are pretty far-fetched and the free love aspect was essentially tried in the late 1960’s with pregnancy and fast-spreading sexual disease being two problematic outcomes. In the book, I guess these things are not so much of an issue.

Overall, a challenging and rewarding read, but one may not agree with everything Aldous writes–though with parody and dystopia, it’s often hard to discern the ironical from otherwise. Caveat lector.

Rating 7/10