By George Orwell

I read this book when I was 16; it was one of the most terrifying books I'd ever read, and it's stayed in my mind ever since. Orwell presents an imaginary future where a totalitarian state controls everything. The story is told by Winston, a man living in London under a dictator called Big Brother. Winston is a loyal party member who begins breaking the law: He falls in love, smokes, commits "thoughtcrime" by writing in his diary. It's frightening—the control that Big Brother has over everyone, the social dangers of political authority. It makes me think of surveillance cameras, particularly in London. We don't live in a totalitarian state, obviously, but it's scary to realize how easily a government can tip toward that.


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