In terms of New Year’s resolutions go, wanting to “read more” in 2011 turned out to be a smart idea. Not only should I be reading more — I mean, do my kids really need all their clothes to be clean at the same time? — but it will keep me occupied while I wait for news on Baby Grand.
My first book for the year was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I thought was good, not great, but good. The second was Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which I really liked. Now I’m reading the classic 1984 by George Orwell. It’s hard to believe that the first time I read 1984 was in, well… 1984. I remember enjoying it very much at the time and decided to read it again.
I just got started, but already I’m in love. Not only is the premise of the book completely original, but I’m struck by how much I enjoy Orwell’s prose. And what’s really freaky is that the writing reminds me very much of my own. Orwell’s sentences tend to be direct, with minimal flourish. Mine tend to be the same. I always thought it was because my background was in journalism, but flowery descriptions are just not in my nature. The cool part, too, is the directness of Orwell’s prose lends itself to the world that he is describing which is absent of color, and I wondered whether I will have the same success with Baby Grand, since the world of Jamie Carter, my heroine, is, arguably, absent of color as well.
Or course, there’s no reading 1984 without being blown away by the prophetic nature of the story, and I think I’m just as frightened of it now as I was then. I physically flinched when the female instructress, who is performing exercise routines on the telescreen, screams at Winston Smith: “Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that.”
I remember flinching at the very same spot 27 years ago.