There are books that we all read in high school. They’re part of some canon of public school curriculum and their respective content, characters and themes are considered common knowledge to the point that their casual mention in pop culture gives them meaning.

We all read “The Stone Angel” by Margaret Laurence and felt what it was like to be old, we all read “Romeo and Juliet” and learned how dangerous young love can be. Many of us also read “Othello” or “The Taming of the Shrew” to round out a Shakespearean education, on top of “The Catcher in the Rye”, “The Great Gatsby” and/or “The Old Man and the Sea”.

As far as politically motivated modern literature, I read “1984” as part of a group project in high school about totalitarianism. I loved it. What a great book with such a powerful message about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of dire circumstances. I’ve even read it a few times since; once in university and once on a vacation after I started working.

So, how is it that I’ve come this far as an avid reader and a fan of George Orwell and I haven’t yet read “Animal Farm”? I haven’t even seen one of the many film versions. I just knew it was about a pig who takes over a farm. Well, before we saw “The Dark Knight” on Sunday, Danielle and I went to Chapters to kill some time and I saw the most badass book cover ever and decided that regardless of the book, I had to get it. It turns out it was “Animal Farm”.

Our Great Leader, Comrade Napoleon!

I’m now about halfway through the book and I love it. I’m going to be pretty sad when it ends, but I’m having trouble putting it down. Why, oh why didn’t I read it earlier!? The comparisons to Stalinst Russia are pretty blatant, but not ‘in your face’ blatant, and the story really drives home how the masses become victims of those in power quite easily, through intimidation and misinformation. It’s a remarkable read.

Another book I picked up is “Franny and Zooey” by J.D. Salinger. He also wrote “The Catcher in the Rye” which some of you may have less than fond memories of after enduring Holden Caulfield’s cursing rants about everything as he walked around New York City. This book is quite different, and comes highly recommended by more than a few good friends. Stay tuned for a review.

One Response to “Manor Farm Gets a New Name”
  1. Public School Reading List for Marty:

    Stone Angel – Nope
    Romeo and Juliet – Yes
    Othello – Nope
    The Taming of the Shrew – Nope
    The Catcher in the Rye – Nope
    1984 – Nope
    Animal Farm – Yes

    I have alot of books to catch-up on.

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