By Dominique Liboiron
Donald Trump gets a lot of bad press – and it’s often his fault. Contrary to what the most vocal anti-Trump “experts” claim, The Donald’s presidency won’t be all bad. In fact, it’s already having a positive impact on an important part of life – reading.
If you’re reading this, I’m obviously preaching to the choir. That being said, I have an iron conviction in words and have been known to repeat myself.
Literacy is important for many reasons. First of all, modern life is complex and reading is one of the tools we can use to navigate a world where answers aren’t always easy. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, reading saves time. We can’t live long enough to learn everything from personal experience.
According to a recent article published in The Atlantic, a news magazine, the novel “1984” by George Orwell is the top-selling book of any genre on Amazon.com. This is an interesting development considering the book was first published in 1949. The article indicates Trump’s presidency is behind the spike.
For those of you who haven’t read it, or who read it many moons ago in high school, “1984” is a work of fiction that describes with shocking accuracy the way a future totalitarian government would manipulate the public to maintain power. Although set in the future, the book is in reality a commentary on how present-day governments exert domination, often in subtle and malicious ways.
There are several aspects of Trump’s presidency that could be taken from the pages of “1984” and this explains the work’s new-found popularity. Examples of this are Trump’s lying or promoting the hatred of Mexicans and Muslims to distract America from its much more pressing problems. The use of language by this administration is Orwellian in the purest sense. Were he alive to hear the term alternative facts, the British novelist would surely take note and perhaps even voice his outrage.
One of Trump’s senior advisers, Kellyanne Conway, tried to cover a lie her boss told the public. Her last name couldn’t be better suited for what she attempted to pull. Kellyanne tried to con her way into making Americans believe more people attended the president’s inauguration than was actually the case.
Facts are facts and there can only be one truth. An expression such as “alternative facts” appears harmless, but it’s simply another way of slinging BS no matter how intelligent or subtle it sounds.
Bob Siemens is the owner of Cowtown Kids Bookstore. Siemens said he hasn’t seen an increase in sales of “1984,” nor has Gail Johnson who owns Nippy’s Nook, although she is thinking about adding the novel to her inventory of books.
The Great Courses is a company that sells popular lectures from the top experts on a wide variety of subjects. They sell a course called Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature. Orwell’s totalitarian dystopia is discussed. In fact, an entire lecture of the 24-lecture course is devoted to this timely British novel.
I contacted customer service to see if the Great Courses have noticed an increase in sales since Trump was inaugurated last month. The customer care agent explained to me the course is only a month old so it’s impossible for them to know at this time whether or not Trump is generating sales.
Further to this, I also spoke to several people in Maple Creek about “1984.” Many of them read the book in high school and felt they might not have had the life experience then to fully understand it. However, now that they’ve gained more wisdom and seen how governments and bureaucracies operate they think Orwell’s novel would mean more with a second reading.
If you’re interested in purchasing Orwell’s classic of dystopian literature, please speak with Siemens or Johnson. Librarian Violet Wong said the book is also available through the Chinook Regional Library.