Category: Books

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    Animal Farm by George Orwell

    All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.

    A single commandment

    The story of Manor Farm and the animals who revolt after being inspired to fight for a better life. But those who assume command inevitably become the enemy of the society they are trying to create.

    Animal Farm is a story that I was already aware of before reading โ€” like many other people no doubt. I was aware of the rough idea of the animals taking over Manor Farm and eventually becoming a particular type of society. But even knowing this, I still enjoyed the book so much that I read it in two sittings pretty much.

    The language of the book was pretty simple and to-the-point โ€” language that is too fancy and, dare I say it, flamboyant, tends to throw me off the story sometimes. But yes, Animal Farm delivered it’s message in a straight-forward and to-the-point way.

    I’m not sure if it was Orwell’s intention, or whether it was just my imagination working over it, but my internal pictures of the farm become more and more lacking in colour as it moved towards its conclusion. I pictured the farm and it’s inhabitants in a darkened black and white as they toiled over their labours towards the end.

    The pigs in the manor house, however, I pictured in full colour as the other animals watched on on that final scene from the window.

    I found some similar themes as I remember from Nineteen Eighty Four too. Namely the idea of rewriting history to suit the narrative being created by the ruling class. And then those under the boot just believe that they themselves must have been mistaken when originally reading their seven commandments.

    I knew that there was a reason this book was regarded as a classic. Now I understand why.

    Other book covers

    Here’s a collection of cool covers for Animal Farm that I’ve found. These could get added to over time if I stumble over some more.

    Pink Floyd’s Animals

    Animals by Pink Floyd is one of my favourite albums ever made. Definitely in my top 10. Until I read Animal Farm I hadn’t made the connection between it and that album. I mean how could I miss out on the giant inflatable pig and not link that with the pig in power from the book?

    Roger Waters inflatable pig

    Roger Waters, in his recent tours with his own solo band, has kept the spirit of this pig alive with warnings and messages to the people watching. Messages such as “Fear Builds Walls” and “Religions Divide Us“. Roger is one of my favourite artists from both his Pink Floyd-penned albums and his excellent solo material. I must write up my thoughts on his stuff soon.

    There is a decent article here that discusses some of the similar themes between the album and the book. It is written better that I could attempt right now.

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    The Gunslinger – The Dark Tower part 1

    Some thoughts of mine after finishing the first book of Stephen King’s epic series ‘The Dark Tower’.

    (Image by Michael Whelan.)

    It took me to my second attempt to actually read this book to completion. And although it started off as a bit of a chore, by about a third in I found myself drawn in to the Gunslinger and his pursue of the Man in Black.

    I found the story to be a slow burn โ€” an ongoing pursuit interspersed with necessary backstory of the titular character. And I mean that in a good way. I have the feeling that this is going to be a build up over a long time โ€” especially knowing that how many books there are now in this series.

    I found it really intriguing how the Gunslinger and the boy he finds, Jake, interact. Their relationship seemed to be building into an interesting one and really hope that it can somehow be explored further. Somehow.

    And Jake’s history too. His origin that spoke of New York in some other world, or that’s what I presumed. Yet the world in which we follow the Gunslinger seems to be in some post-war-ravaged, desolate future of the very same Earth.

    Whatever ends up happening, and however this crossing at the nexus of realities is explored, I’m looking forward to the ride it brings.

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    Thoughts on The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

    In the tale of Squirrel Nutkin, the titular character is a young boy squirrel who keeps getting up to mischief. The other squirrels are all busy collecting nuts whilst Squirrel Nutkin tries to wind up old Brown – an old owl whose home is close to where they are collecting nuts. By the end of the short tail, old Brown gets fed up of Nutkin and physically deforms him – I won’t spoil it as to how.

    I wonder if nowadays Squirrel Nutkin would be recognised as having some form of ADHD or similar? And would be handled accordingly – instead of old brown maiming him. Even in just the first two books by Beatrix Potter I’ve read, I’m noticing a theme of “If you play up or misbehave, you get punished”.

    Nevertheless a good read.

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    Thoughts on The Tale of Peter Rabbit

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit was an enjoyable little read. One thing that did stand out to me was the fact that out of the four rabbit siblings, the three girls were the well-behaved ones and Peter, the only boy, was the naughty little one who snuck on to Mr McGregor’s land. Was Beatrix Potter biased or am I reading too much into it? Nonetheless an enjoyable read.