Today is Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Every week they post a new top ten list and everyone can join in and share their own picks. If you’d like to take part, hop on over to the blog and sign up with the linky. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to post your answers in the comments.
This week’s topic is: Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X. I’ve chosen Dystopian fiction.
1) Nineteen-Eighty Four by George Orwell. For me this is the Daddy of all dystopians as it’s inspired so many modern YA novels. It can be wordy in parts, but it’s a good introduction to understanding what dystopian fiction is all about. Orwell imagines a bleak future in which government surveillance is constant and people are manipulated by propaganda and torture. Although this didn’t quite come to pass by 1984, there are eerie similarities to today’s society.
2) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is another classic that I studied at school and really enjoyed and there are so many allusions to other literary works scattered through it. It really makes you think about the ethical implications of things like genetic engineering and cloning.
3) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This chilling dystopian is set in a world where books are banned and burned before they read lest people get any original ideas. It’s a readers worst nightmare! A short, easy read for anyone looking to get into the genre.
4) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. This is the book that inspired Blade Runner, and it poses questions like “what is the fundamental difference between humans and robots?” and “if a robot looked identical to a human being, how could you tell it wasn’t human?”. It’s a brilliant book if you’re interested in the philosophy of the mind and the implications of technological development.
5) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This novel is set in a military dictatorship where many people are sterile due to pollution and STIs. Women’s rights have been taken away and they are kept as concubines or ‘handmaids’ for reproductive purposes by the upper classes and are forbidden to read. It’s a brilliant novel with a hard-hitting Feminist message.
6) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is a brilliant YA read for those who like brave and independent heroines. It’s set in a future where the population is controlled and manipulated by being forced to compete in an annual ‘Hunger Games’ where children and young adults are pitched against each other to fight to the death. It sounds grim, but there’s actually a lot of hope in the books and the spark of rebellion that grows throughout the trilogy is exciting to read.
7) Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is another great YA dystopian in which the population is divided into 5 ‘factions’: Amity (the peaceful), Abnegation (the selfless) Dauntless (the brave), Candor (the honest) and Erudite (the intelligent). And then there are the Factionless, those outcast from society. Each one has their own role in society, but inevitably someone always wants to gain control.
8) Delirium by Lauren Oliver. In Oliver’s vision of the future, love is seen as a deadly disease-‘amor deliria nervosa’. It’s mandatory for all 18 year olds to undergo a medical procedure to ‘cure’ them of the deliria and most of them look forward to it as they’ve been totally brainwashed by the government to think that love is a horrible, dangerous thing. But there are people living in the Wilds outside the city, separated from huge electric fences and they believe people should be able to live freely and have plans to bring down the regime.
9) Wither by Lauren De Stefano. This is set in a future where scientists have accidentally created a virus that means females die at age 20 and males at age 25. As a result, girls are treated like property and sold into marriage for the sole purpose of bearing children. There are many similarities to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid Tale.
10) Legend by Marie Lu. This was apparently inspired by Les Miserables. It’s set in the former US, now known as the Republic, a nation that is continually at war with its neighbours and there is quite a lot of fast-paced military action. There is a star-crossed lovers theme too, as the main characters, June and Day are from very different worlds-she was born into an elite family in a wealthy district and he was born into the slums. Day is the prime suspect in the murder of June’s brother, but despite that they are still drawn to each other and together they discover a chilling government conspiracy.
Which Dystopian books would you recommend to someone who has never read any?