Tag Archives: 1984

#17 Stasiland – Anna Funder

21 Feb
Stasiland - Anna Funder

Stasiland – Anna Funder

Goodreads rating: 4.14/5 (2,000+ ratings)

My rating: 7.5/10

First Published: December 5th, 2003 by Text Publishing

Genre: Non-Fiction, History

Stasiland is about people who resisted the surveillance state of East Germany, and about others who worked for the Stasi – the secret police of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Stasiland is written by Australian woman Anna Funder, who lived in Berlin in the late 90s and interviewed a variety of people from both sides of the GDR regime. She used classified ads to get in touch with former members of the Stasi, who she interviewed extensively. People such as those who helped to build and plan the erection of The Berlin Wall, a television presenter and host who was famous during the GDR regime, and a resistor who could have started WWIII!

I didn’t realise when I started this that it was not a fictional novel. I went into it thinking it was a novel about someone living in that time, but then shortly realised that it wasn’t!

I really enjoyed this book. It was really easy to digest and understand, even though I didn’t fully understand to begin with what the situation was after WWII in Germany. there was a map at the beginning of the book of both West & East Germany, and a smaller one of Berlin and the wall – this really helped me in reading and understanding this book.

I found that the theme of Stasiland reflected George Orwell’s 1984 which is scary! I can’t imagine living in a place that is so highly regulated. I know these places exist, but it sounds terrible!

I highly recommend this book. It’s short, interesting, captures attention quickly, and best of all, is TRUE!

Bits & pieces

  • Winner of the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize
  • Stasiland is being developed for the stage by The National Theatre in London.

Past reviews

‘Anna Funder explores, in the most humane and sensitive way, lives blighted by the East German Stasi. She allows ex-Stasi operatives an equal chance to reflect on their achievements, and finds—to her dismay and ours—that they have learned nothing.’
— J. M. Coetzee

‘Your book STASILAND: TRUE STORIES FROM BEHIND THE BERLIN WALL struck me like no other in the last five years. It is fascinating, entertaining, hilarious, horrifying and very important.’
– Tom Hanks

‘Informed judgements and historical background are communicated with deceptive ease. Targeted at a broad audience, Stasiland is compelling reading.’
– 
Sydney Morning Herald

-H-

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#10 1984 – George Orwell

18 Jan
1984 - George Orwell

1984 – George Orwell

Goodreads rating: 4.05 (795,000+ ratings)

My rating: 8/10

First published: June 8th, 1948 by Secker and Warburg

Genre: Dystopian, Political Fiction

1984 was written in 1948, and was Orwell’s idea of what the future would be like in 1984. I’m not very knowledgable of politics or governments, so I probably won’t describe this book perfectly.

1984 is set in Oceania, where society is ruled and governed by ‘The Party’. ‘The Party’ controls everything, edits history, governs thought, and there is constant government surveillance and mind control of the people. Big Brother is the party leader, who may not even exist.

The book focuses on Winston Smith, who works for the Ministry of Truth and his job is to re-write past articles in the newspapers to reflect and support the current party stance. Winston secretly hates and wants to revolt against the party however the fact that all actions and conversations are constantly monitored, he doesn’t know if anyone else feels the same way.

Eventually, after a few interactions, he meets Julia, who feels the same way as him in regards to the party. They start meeting in secret, and fall in love. From here, they meet someone who they think is running a revolution, however, you can never be sure what’s true in Oceania.

loved this book. There were some dry parts that were a lot of text and read more like an essay, however the overall story was awesome. The thought of living in this world sounds terrible, however after I recently read Stasiland by Anna Funder, I realised that life in the German Democratic Republic from the 1960s – 1989 was a diluted form of the way of life in 1984.

I highly recommend this book, and it’s not overly long so despite some of the lengthier chapters, it’s a pretty quick read. It’s become a bit of a cult book, and a lot of the ideas and words have been often referenced since its publication.

Notable quotes

‘From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY 
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH’

‘People simply disappeared, always during the night. Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, and your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.’

‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’

In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy. 

 Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. 

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

Chastity was as deep ingrained in them as Party loyalty. By careful early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that was dinned into them at school and in the Spies and the Youth League, by lectures, parades, songs, slogans, and martial music, the natural feeling had been driven out of them.

“Big Brother is Watching You.” 

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

18 Dec

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: 1984 by George Orwell
Page: I’m currently up to page 237. My spoiler is from page 302

In no chess problem since the beginning of the world has black ever won. Did it not symbolise the eternal, unvarying triumph of Good over Evil?

1984 - George Orwell

1984 – George Orwell

 

Teaser Tuesday

11 Dec
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.
Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

The next moment, it was hard to say by whose act, she was in his arms. At the beginning he had no feeling except sheer incredulity. – page 126

This is from 1984 by George Orwell. I’m only up to page 100 though.

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