Favorite Fridays highlight media the HCDL staff recommend. Find your next favorite book, audiobook, movie, TV show, magazine, etc., here every Friday this summer—and share your own favorites in the weekly posts’ comments!
Yesterday was George Orwell’s birthday, author of Animal Farm and 1984, so this week we’re sharing some of our librarians’ favorite dystopian novels. If you’ve read these titles, share your thoughts in the comments along with your own favorite dystopian books!
*Hoopla is available to Howell library district residents only.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Call# Fiction Burgess
Told in the first person by a not-so-reliable narrator Alex, a 15-year-old street tough in a dismal future London full of brutal youths, this classic story details how he went from committing nightly acts of horrible crimes (theft, rape, and other acts of “ultraviolence”) with his gang of droogs (the nadsat–future slang–word for friends) to a brainwashed model citizen and back. Perhaps you’ve seen the film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick starring Malcolm McDowell. Not having seen the film but knowing of the story, I did not expect to like this book. It’s brutally violent and crazy and the nadsat slang is hard to digest at first. Still, it’s a very interesting read. Burgess’s slang device is innovative and his contemplation on free will and the concepts of good and evil is thought-provoking.
The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
Call# Fiction Newitz
The Daughters of Harriet travel back in time secretly making “edits” in the past to improve their present and the future. What if we could live in a world where Comstock Laws never came into existence? What if we could live in a world where Harriet Tubman was a Senator? What if you could stop something terrible from happening in your own past? There was a lot packed into this book – thought provoking concepts and themes alongside intense personal narratives for the protagonists. The mechanics of time travel presented by Newitz were a bit of a struggle for me to accept, but even that was not enough to take away from my enjoyment in reading this book.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Call# Fiction Atwood
America has become the Republic of Gilead. In Gilead, there are second class citizens, and then there are women – ripped from their families and stripped of every right imaginable. This patriarchal society is so terrifyingly awful to women that it is painful to read, and yet I couldn’t help wishing it felt more far-fetched. I simultaneously could not put it down and wanted to chuck it out the window. This book will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Call# SciFi Bradbury
From the author of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles follows humanity’s attempt to colonize Mars after fleeing a failing and ultimately atomically devastated Earth. The novel is a series of loosely connected vignettes that highlight humanity’s struggle to start again— without making the same mistakes. It’s an interesting read that offers a cautionary tale for Earth’s future if changes aren’t made.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler
Call# Fiction Butler
In a future American society in decline, plagued by social chaos and violence, Laura and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods outside LA. When this tenuous safety is shattered as the diseased outside world smashes its way in, Laura treks north with her traveling companions to find safety, conceiving a revolutionary idea that may save humanity from itself. I listened to the audiobook and did not want to stop it to talk to my husband and I like my husband–this story was that good.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Call# Fiction Mandel
In Station Eleven, Mandel takes us back and forth between present day (ish) and a post-apocalyptic future, in which a disease has wiped out 99% of the population and the Traveling Symphony is bringing art and theater to newly formed communities of survivors throughout the Great Lakes region (I love seeing Michigan pop up when I’m reading!). The story revolves around the Traveling Symphony, it’s members, and the surprising connections bringing them together and threatening to tear them apart.