This has been a relatively turbulent week in the news, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for literature. So here is a brief list of some of the more relevant news and the books you can read to learn about the world’s most pressing current events:
- The ongoing PRISM scandal has caused many to compare the current surveillance practices of the United States to George Orwell’s 1984. It is no surprise, then, that the sales of the 1949 novel have risen by 4,000 percent on Amazon. Whether or not you agree with the tactics, never has this novel been as relevant, and I advise reading this novel if you’re looking to understand how a society under complete surveillance is portrayed.
- Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that reading novels increases our ability to judge ambiguous situations and prevents us from making erroneous snap judgments. A good book to test this theory on is Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, as it distorts the idea of what is factual with an unreliable narrator.
- A Nigerian sailor has survived after spending almost 3 days in a air bubble pocket in a submerged ship. Many classic novels have dealt with surviving in shipwrecks, including Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Julian Barnes’ A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters.
- Recent developments in optical rehabilitation have suggested that a cure for disease-borne blindness may be more accessible than many believe. Jose Saramago’s Blindness, about an epidemic that turns everybody blind and forces its sufferers find ways to come together, is a remarkably detailed look into a condition many must live through every day.