Insert a book a suspect that everyone and their guardians have already read, except for me. I have already been dragged through the dirt by my friends, so please, no more judging. I understand that it is terrible that it took me being in graduate school to actually getting around to reading this book. I just wasn’t interested until fairly recently. In some regards, I do regret not reading it earlier but better late than never. What book am I talking about, you may ask. Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the book I’m discussing, where not even a movie coming out interested me apparently.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the setup before completely turning it on its head. I was expecting a utopian world where everything is great, but that was quickly dismantled. Sure, everything was great, but at what cost. This book was discussed in a way that I’ve never really seen in a dystopian novel. It’s usually all about blood and gore and nothing else, which is something I typically dislike. Instead, every aspect had a world-building element to it that kept me engaged in the story.
Now, there are other books that I’m guessing you’ve not heard about or read. I only know because of how I keep track of the books I read. I plan to read those and then tell you if those other books are as good and if I get the same feeling from them. I’m actually excited to see where this goes since each book discusses a different societal aspect.
I feel pretty comfortable saying that this past month has been crazy, specifically in the United States, and fraught with tension. Whenever I’m confused about things, I try to turn to books because what else is there to do. I turned to social psychology to maybe explain some things to me. That lead to me reading The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo. If this name sounds familiar, he was the principal investigator of the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment.
This book goes through every step of the prison experiment from opening day to when Zimbardo was convinced to close the doors. Not only this, Zimbardo discusses every step in the slow descent of his guards and prisoners in playing their roles. It also walked through the real-world example of abuses in American prisons across the world built for the War on Terror. Instead of just blaming the “bad apples,” this book accuses the barrel those “apples” are found in, blaming the system that sets the rules in place and gives no actual oversight. In other words, this book does a great job of explaining what is going on in today’s world and how to prevent oneself from being brainwashed by these systems. But before reading, I must warn you of trigger warnings, and I must say every single trigger warning imaginable. If you get offended by anything, this might not be the book for you, no matter how important I feel reading it is.
I’ve spent that last couple of years swearing up and down, promising that I would eventually read the classic 1984 by George Orwell. Apparently, it took me getting into grad school to finally fulfill that promise. Like most people who read this book, I knew the general plotline and some key moments that are considered cliché in our modern society. Even with knowing all of that, I couldn’t help but get captured in every single page. I kept promising myself that I could go to sleep once I got to go breaks in the chapter; that didn’t happen. It also felt like the book was written a couple of years ago. It’s just so timeless. I would definitely call this a must-read. I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t warn you about discussions of sexual assault and torture, though.