WordPress Daily Prompt: 6 June – Our Other Blog: Two Sisters and Two Points of View

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WordPress Daily Prompt: 6 June – Our Other Blog: Two Sisters and Two Points of View

Daily writing prompt
List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?

I have read a lot of books in my life and while I can think of some that had an impact on me there are probably many others that did when I read them that I now can’t even remember. So, I guess that any book that I can remember after many years did make an impact, right?

1984 by George Orwell: I first read an abridged edition of this when I was quite young. Maybe in my early teens. It was some years before I read it again, this time an unabridged edition and I found the latter part of it so disturbing that I have never read it again. The world as depicted in this book was an awful place. War was constant, the workers lived drab, joyless lives and were constantly monitored by the Thought Police. Big Brother was the leader and all were supposed to be totally loyal to him. Winston Smith, the protagonist had a job as a writer. He rewrote history to suit the current political situation, wiping out the history of anything that did not suit Big Brother for people to remember. The ultimate in fake news. I was horrified by this but the part that put me off ever reading it again was the chapters dealing with the torture and brainwashing of Winston and his lover Julia after they were entrapped and caught by the Thought Police. Here is a link to a full summary of the story. https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/1984/summary/

On The Beach by Neville Shute: This is another book I read when I was young, maybe twenty. The story is set in Melbourne, Australia in the aftermath of a nuclear war which has destroyed all life in the Northern Hemisphere. The radioactive dust is gradually drifting south and throughout the story more places are succumbing to it and everyone knows that they will soon die. There are several main characters and the story revolves around their activities during this waiting period how they choose to spend their last weeks alive and how they choose to die. The Australian government has supplied the population with suicide pills so that when they begin to be overcome by illness they can choose to end their lives with some dignity.

It is a terribly sad book because I found the characters all to be likeable although a modern reader might find them a bit stilted. I have read the book a couple more times, not often because I always cry. I think because it is set in Australia it made me relate to it more and sometimes to think of how I would choose to die in that situation. Here is a link to the full summary. https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/onthebeach/summary/

I might add that I have read a lot of Neville Shute’s books and found them all thought provoking. “In The Wet” and “Beyond The Black Stump” are two that were set in Australia that I like a lot and reread from time to time. I also liked “Ruined City” and “Round The Bend”. I have read the more famous “A Town Like Alice” and “The Far Country” but I liked the others better.

The Vine Clad Hill/ Black Forest Summer by Mabel Esther Allen: These are children’s books. I read them both as a pre-teen. They were typical stories of the day of young girls travelling to a new place and experiencing a different kind of life. I include them in my list because I wanted so much to visit the places in the books. These books were written in the 1950s or early 60s and the characters had to travel long distances through Europe by train. I so wanted to do that. I still do. I know railways have changed, trains are faster and cleaner and a lot of the romance of travel is gone. The places they visited won’t be the same either. I still want to go. I’ve written a few times recently about wanting to do a journey inspired by these two books and maybe in the next couple of years I will.

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