Thursday, November 30, 2017

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Written in 1938, Ayn Rand's Anthem is a short novel about the drive for a person to be themselves instead of being one of the herd. 

Blurb from Goodreads: "In Anthem, Rand examines a frightening future in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values. Equality 7-2521 lives in the dark ages of the future where all decisions are made by committee, all people live in collectives, and all traces of individualism have been wiped out. Despite such a restrictive environment, the spark of individual thought and freedom still burns in him--a passion which he has been taught to call sinful. In a purely egalitarian world, Equality 7-2521 dares to stand apart from the herd--to think and choose for himself, to discover electricity, and to love the woman of his choice. Now he has been marked for death for committing the ultimate sin. In a world where the great "we" reign supreme, he has rediscovered the lost and holy word- 'I."'

At times I found this story confusing as everyone is referred to in the plural from form of us, we, they, them. There is no you or I. People have numbers not names, and Equality 7-2521 struggles to fit into his society. He doesn't want to be a street sweeper, and when he discovers electricity, he is marked for death as he does not have permission to invent. 

When reading this novel, I could see the seeds of Lois Lowry's The Giver, and I wondered if she got the idea from this little book. The worlds and story are different, but the themes are similar. I listened to the audio version of the book and the narration was good. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We are in need of Spanish books at this time, especially board books. We can always use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the book you donate. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you.

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