My reading pace is sluggish, thanks to my Nintendo DS, Seinfeld DVDs (“I lie every second of the day. My whole life is a sham.”) and Knitting 101 (I can knit a very fancy looking string). But there is progress nonetheless!
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Huxley writes of a sanitized future where people are born in test tubes and raised in government labs. War, poverty and illness have been eliminated by ridding humans of passions like malice, envy and hatred. But at what cost? According to Huxley, a world without vices is also a world without virtues. There is no love, courage or compassion in a such a dull, mechanized society. Overall, I thought Brave New World was okay. The premise was interesting but the writing was hokey (“electromagnetic golf”, really?) and distracted from the story.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
This book consists of a series of letters sent from a senior devil (Screwtape) to a junior devil (Wormwood) sharing advice on how to successfully corrupt humans. Though Lewis’ Christian apologism turns off many readers, I found The Screwtape Letters to be relevant to all faiths (or lack thereof). As I read it, the letters argue that the seemingly inconsequential decisions we make actually do matter. Or, to use Wormwood’s actual words, “the safest road to Hell is the gradual one” (replace “Hell” with “corruption” or “moral decline” if you’d prefer). Lewis makes this argument in an interesting form (letters) by an entertaining cast (devils).
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It was about time that I read this classic about a young girl named Alice and her paranormal adventures in a fantasy world called Wonderland. Briefly put, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it as an adult, because the symbolism about math and logic was wrapped up in too much nonsense. And I wouldn’t have liked it as a child because quite simply, Wonderland is terrifying. Every creature that Alice meets is grumpy, murderous or insane. The only redeeming quality was the occasional wordplay and pun.