a common reader

boeken van belang

Why I want you to read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

April 27th, 2014  |  by  |  published in boeken van belang, Engelse literatuur, English texts, FOCUS | Comments Off on Why I want you to read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Why I want you to read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath

Only when you read its very last paragraph, you’ll appreciate the true scale of this novel. It is as audacious, as confidently grand as the Ode to Joy of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Amazon as Big Brother

August 3rd, 2009  |  by  |  published in English texts, miscellanea, Nineteen eighty-four | Comments Off on Amazon as Big Brother

Amazon as Big Brother

This is not what you call hot news, I don’t believe in hot news anyway. But I can’t deny myself the pleasure to publish this bit of news. For the complete story, see this article in The New York Times. On July 16th Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener had to publicly present their apologies for a […]

Yann Martel’s original booklist

October 2nd, 2007  |  by  |  published in boeken van belang, English texts | Comments Off on Yann Martel’s original booklist

People seem to love booklists. Whenever a longlist or shortlist for a literary prize has been published, newspapers and blogs start buzzing with gossip and book sales jump up. It works this way for the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the Prix Goncourt, etc. We love lists. Reading lists for instance: what was the […]

Eavesdropping

August 5th, 2007  |  by  |  published in English texts, Nineteen eighty-four | Comments Off on Eavesdropping

The last day before they go on holiday (one month) the American Congress voted the law on eavesdropping. The New York Times reports: Under pressure from President Bush, the House gave final approval Saturday to changes in a terrorism surveillance program, despite serious objections from many Democrats about the scope of the executive branch’s new […]

Nineteen Eighty-Four revisited? Noam Chomsky’s Failed States.

July 15th, 2006  |  by  |  published in English texts, Nineteen eighty-four, politiek | Comments Off on Nineteen Eighty-Four revisited? Noam Chomsky’s Failed States.

This book by the reverend (not in the religious sence) Noam Chomsky looks like an exercise to present real life examples for George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is all there: the superpower eternally at war with varying enemies, the cheating and lying by the government, the propaganda, the rewriting of history. Chomsky argues that the […]

Some books really matter

June 28th, 2006  |  by  |  published in boeken van belang, English texts | Comments Off on Some books really matter

Some books really matter

Suppose you read one book every week. If you are able to do this from, say, your youth at 15 until your old age at 85, you will have read 3.640 books. Let’s compare this respectable amount of reading with some output figures. These figures were provided by Gabriel Zaid in his excellent work So […]

Nineteen Eighty-four

June 23rd, 2006  |  by  |  published in English texts, Nineteen eighty-four | 2 Comments »

In 1946, George Orwell wrote: “What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art.” (from Why I write). By that time he’d already written Homage to Catalonia and Animal Farm. His famous novel Nineteen eighty-four had yet to be written, but he was obviously […]



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