Friday, August 12, 2011

12 Books in 12 Months: A Book That Has Been Banned

Book: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley

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Is it not the saddest of jokes when a book about the suppression of independent thought is itself suppressed? Not that it's particularly surprising with this book. There's plenty there to make the timid blush: drugs, sex, violence, atheism, the works. Ultimately, though, the narrative is a defense of the democratic, free market establishment as communism and fascism were breathing down western European necks in 1932 - not exactly subversive.

Somehow, I got through nearly two decades of formal education without ever being assigned to read this book. I've been meaning to read it for years and even started a few times but couldn't get into it. Once I got going, though, it was a surprisingly quick read.

Brave New World is an amazing book, prophesying the sociopolitical conflicts which have plagued the world ever since. Shakespeare figures prominently in the narrative, an interesting motif for my list thus far. I'd say it's not as dark as 1984, partly because the more recent explorations in genetic engineering make the book's basic premise less shocking. The social engineering portrayed in the book is also pretty tame compared with the all-too-real nightmares that were just about to unfold.

A quick note about the calendar used in the book. 2011 AD would be the same as 103 A.F. (After Ford) in the book. 1908 was the year Henry Ford introduced the Model-T, thus qualifying as year zero in Brave New World. 1908 is significant to me personally for a couple of other reasons. Most importantly, it was the year my maternal grandmother was born. It was also the last year the Cubs won the World Series.


I hope that you, too, will join the 12 Books in 12 Months challenge. Details are here.

If you'd care to join the challenge, please let me know by commenting below or e-mailing me at Also, please tell me how and where I can follow your posts. Don't be shy about suggesting other categories, either. It is my intention to compile a new list of 12 once this one is completed. My only parameter is that no one should have to buy anything in order to complete the challenge - nothing beyond a library card required.


  1. 'Is it not the saddest of jokes when a book about the suppression of independent thought is itself suppressed?'

    No. It just means it succeeded.

    I'm going to bookmark the challenge page and give it a go. I'll let you know as I finish each and whether or not I plan to post about it on my own blog.