[Welcome to the EL Book Introductions series. These posts are all short (<180 words) introductions/reviews of books in the EL library. They focus on telling you what we think will be interesting for you, a college student and English learner, so use them to help you find the right book for you. You can also use the tags to find books about topics you might be interested in.]
George Orwell’s most famous novel, 1984, is a masterpiece of modern fiction. It is a fictional story examining how a fascist society operates. The setting is a drab but realistic world in which individuality is stamped out by an oppressive government. It was also made into a pretty good movie (see the trailer here: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2065472025/?playlistId=tt0087803&ref_=tt_ov_vi).
Animal Farm is a novella—only about 100 pages—and tells the story of a group of animals who rebel against the farmer and drive the humans from their farm. They create a new society with rules to keep everyone equal and happy. But the good times do not last, as the pigs rise to power, rewrite the history of Animal Farm, and open up relations with the men in the town.
Animal Farm sounds like a fairy tale, but it is really a political critique, like 1984. In this book, Orwell is critiquing the Soviet Union. As the introduction explains, Orwell was a leftist, but he also could not ignore the atrocities and failures of the Soviet government. The fact that he translates this critique into what almost seems like a children’s story is what makes Animal Farm so unique.
My two cents: This is certainly a challenging book, but I think if you are interested in history or politics that it well worth your time.