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If You Liked 1984 Then You’ll Love These 7 Books

Today is World Book Day, and we’re celebrating by playing tribute to George Orwell’s 1984 with a list of other influential dystopian novels. If you’re looking for more like Orwell’s classic tale of Winston Smith, an everyman from the totalitarian state of Oceania One who spends his days altering facts, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of 7 great choices that are sure to satiate your appetite for totalitarian regimes, power struggles, revolution, subjugation, and all things political. Take a look. Pick up a new book.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Student Tips
If You Liked 1984 Then You’ll Love These 7 Books

When you feel like it might not be the “best of times,” as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said last week, then chances are pretty good that you’ll look to a great book for some insight, if not some answers. George Orwell’s classic, 1984, has been giving readers just that for nearly 70 years. 1984 has never been out of print since its initial publication in 1948, but the harrowing account of life, and love, in a fictional totalitarian, surveillance state reached new levels of popularity this year. By the end of January 2017, the novel – a staple of secondary school English classes – was topping charts and became the best-selling book on Amazon. 1984 offers a dystopian vision of a fascist regime ruled by Big Brother, and a tragic hero in Winston Smith who tries to understand it all. So, whether you're a student of literature, or simply liked 1984, and want some fresh insight, try these.

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1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The temperature at which “firemen” burn books is 451 degrees in Bradbury’s dystopian future, where it’s illegal to own a book. The characters commit books to memory—and use their insights and answers to attempt to affect change. Bradbury wrote the book in 1953 because of his concerns about the “witch hunts” of the McCarthy era—and the threats to democracy.

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2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of British school boys crashes on a deserted island—and invents their own society. What type of society do they develop? Think primal. Join Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, Maurice, and the rest of the boys as they about the costs of freedom and integrity at the expenses of innocence, youth, and in some cases—their lives. Golding wrote the book in 1954 as a study of the conflict between human impulse and the desire for power. Sound familiar?

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3. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Orwell is a master of political wisdom. In his 1945 allegorical novel of the Russian Revolution and the age of Stalin, he details the lives of farm animals in their quest for sovereignty from their human keepers—and shows that they cannot escape subjugation. It is a story of dictatorship—and political commentary at its finest.

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4. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Read this 1921 dystopian novel by Russian writer Zamyatin, who shows us a world of harmony and conformity—lockstep—in a totalitarian state. The novel is futuristic, set after the 200 Years War, which wiped out everyone except “0.2 % of the earth’s population.” The “Benefactor” presides over this society, protected from outside forces by a giant Green Wall. Orwell (see #1 and #3) wrote a review of it. His work inspired not only Orwell, but also Huxley (see #7), Rand, Vonnegut, and LeGuin (see #5).

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5. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Leguin

Author of the famous short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” Leguin offers her readers a science fiction twist on dystopia. The Dispossessed, published in 1974, focuses on two planets: Anarres and Urras. She delves into the differences between authoritarian and socialist states—and their responses to capitalism, individualism, collectivism, freedom, imprisonment, and everything in between. If you like science fiction and you like dystopian worlds, this might be just the book you’ve been looking for.

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6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

What if a theocratic military dictatorship overthrew the US government and implemented a political system wholly dependent on the subjugation of women? Set in near-future New England, The Handmaid’s Tale offers a chilling answer in its treatment of class, gender, and occupation. If you like this one, you’ll also like her MaddAddam Trilogy.

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7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Our list wouldn’t be complete without it. Controlled by addiction, divided by caste: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Huxley’s 1931 dystopian novel explores a futuristic vision that thrives on the loss of the individual. Widely acclaimed and one of the most popular novels of our time, Brave New World speaks to readers across generations.

We hope you enjoyed this list! If you're looking for something different to read, check out our list of eight creepy books from around the world.