On June 8, 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was first published.

Have you ever read a book that frustrated you so much you actually threw it across the room? And then stomped over to where it landed, picked it up, and commenced reading again? That was my experience as a high school senior while reading Orwell’s post-apocalyptic novel. The year was 1983, so it seemed really strange and frustrating, as well as a little forbidding, to be reading a book that undercut everything I knew and treasured. Outrage! Sheer, impotent anger!

The next day in class, my classmates and I were talking about the reading we had done for homework. It turned out, I was not the only one to chuck my book, and at about the same exact spot in the story. Looking back, I think it was a pivotal moment: a small handful of students in a very rural school in a very rural state all felt the need to push back against a regime that would stifle thought and individuality. The memory gives me hope.

Keep well,


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