Fangirl Friday: Books of the Resistance

We aren't very vocal about it on here, but the Wenches (though not all of us are American) are firmly on team #resist. We are appalled by the job #45 has done so far and are doing our part to spread unity and love, not his intolerance, racism, xenophobia, and his general idiocy. We aren't looking to alienate our readers, but we can not stay silent on this issue. This is something we all feel strongly about. We can not let this country go backwards rather than forwards. So, today for our Fangirl Friday, we are listing the books we feel embody the #resist movement. Keep reading after the break to see what we are featuring!

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Summary: It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed.

Wench Notes: This is so horrifyingly close to reality I had a hard time listening to it. This is what happens when a theocracy takes over the government.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Summary: As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.

Wench Notes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” If that is not the epitome of white privilege and the "All lives matter" people, then I don't know what is.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Summary: Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

Wench Notes: Myself and Wench Barb both re-read the whole series recently. We were startled to realize how close Voldemort's ascent to power mimicked Trump's. This book, specifically where the vast majority are denying Voldemort's power, really struck home. And, his pure-blood (or white Christians, in Trump's case) platform was startlingly familiar.

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

Summary: Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century & the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, NY, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. Almost magically, the line between fantasy & historical fact, between real & imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud & Emiliano Zapata slip in & out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family & other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler & a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.

Wench Notes: This doesn't speak as much to the resistance movement. But, it does speak to white privilege and how far we haven't come in immigrant and POC rights, since more than a century ago. If the book isn't your style, try the musical. It is a powerhouse piece that brings me to tears every time. And, I'm a musical nerd. I listen to this fairly often. The original Broadway company includes Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie, and a very young Lea Michele. 

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Summary: The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.

When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. She sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature. 

Wench Notes: The wealthy ruling over the poor? The poor stay poor and the rich stay rich? There hasn't been an apocalyptic event in our world...yet, but we are quickly moving towards a world much like Panem. Minus the Hunger far.....

The Children of Men by P.D. James
Summary: Told with P. D. James's trademark suspense, insightful characterization, and riveting storytelling, The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future. The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race.

Wench Notes: Admittedly, I haven't read this book. But, I did see the movie. The movie painted a quite bleak picture of an infertile world, much like The Handmaid's Tale. From what I've read of the book's reviews, the book is much of the same. With declining birth rates among more educated couples, either this or the movie Idiocracy is starting to come to pass.

1984 by George Orwell
Summary: Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching...

A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

Wench Notes: Mr. Orwell may as well have been a prophet with how accurately this book predicts our current world.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Summary: A frightening and powerful tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world, V for Vendetta stands as one of the highest achievements of the comics medium and a defining work for creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Set in an imagined future England that has given itself over to fascism, this groundbreaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit which rebels against it. Crafted with sterling clarity and intelligence, V for Vendetta brings an unequaled depth of characterization and verisimilitude to its unflinching account of oppression and resistance.

Wench Notes: This is where we're headed. It's terrifying.

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Summary: The only one of Sinclair Lewis's later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith, It Can't Happen Here is a cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America. Written during the Great Depression when America was largely oblivious to Hitler's aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a President who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, rampant promiscuity, crime, and a liberal press. Now finally back in print, It Can't Happen Here remains uniquely important, a shockingly prescient novel that's as fresh and contemporary as today's news.

Wench Notes: Did you read that summary? If this isn't what #45 and his minions aren't trying to accomplish, then I will eat my hat (figuratively speaking, of course).

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
Summary: The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left. From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.

Wench Notes: I haven't read this, but it sounds apropos to our world today.

The Penultimate Truth by Philip K. Dick
Summary: World War III is raging - or so the millions of people crammed in their underground tanks believe. For fifteen years, subterranean humanity has been fed on daily broadcasts of a never-ending nuclear destruction, sustained by a belief in the all powerful Protector. But up on Earth's surface, a different kind of reality reigns. East and West are at peace. Across the planet, an elite corps of expert hoaxers preserve the lie.

Wench Notes: Well, this sounds interesting and realistic.....

Alternative Truths edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Bob Brown
Summary: Alternative Truths is a look at the post-election America that is, or will be, or could be. We attach no manacles to the word truth to bind it to our visions. Instead we free it to find its own way through the minds of the two dozen writers who have shared their vision of the future in either sensitively written allegorical tales such as Relics by Louise Marley, a woman who grew up bucking hay in Montana and moved on to a talented musical performer and successful novelist; or the raw humor of Adam Troy-Castro in his Q & A, which takes on the verbal veracity of Donald J. Trump. 
Jim Wright (of Stonekettle Station) imagines Trump giving the Gettysburg Address. Blaze Ward, Daniel Kimmel, Janka Hobbs, and I explore dystopias. Marleen Barr and Adam Troy-Castro envision humorous, kinky, and scatological endings. What can I say? It rocks. 

Wench Notes: This is a collection of works done by current writers and bloggers, like Jim Wright. It sounds very interesting.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Summary: Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Wench Notes: Burning books? The written word nearly extinct? This is a Wench nightmare. Sadly, in a world where one in four American adults hasn't read a book in the last year, this doesn't seem too far fetched.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Summary: Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

Wench Notes: Brainwashing, hmmm? Does that sound anything like #45's supporters?

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Summary: John Wyndham takes the reader into the anguished heart of a community where the chances of breeding true are less than fifty per cent and where deviations are rooted out and destroyed as offences and abominations.

Wench Notes: Not only have I not read this book, I had not even heard of it. But, reading through the summaries and reviews online, it seems a pretty fitting read for this post. At birth, you must pass an inspection using guidelines of the "True Form" set by the Bible. That really tells you all you need to know about this book's place in the resistance.

The Iron Heel by Jack London
Summary: A dystopian novel about the terrible oppressions of an American oligarchy at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and the struggles of a socialist revolutionary movement.

Wench Notes: This is labelled as dystopian, but we are horrifyingly close to this being real life. That sounds close enough that I don't really even want to think too closely about it. :::shudders:::

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Summary: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Wench Notes: I really enjoyed this book, though the story unfolds nonlineraly, so it was a little hard to get through. The obvious Resistance connection is Nazi Germany. But, the bigger connection is the Nazi's determination to control information and the current administration's "fake news" campaign. 

What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather
Summary: "I find myself thinking deeply about what it means to love America, as I surely do."

At a moment of crisis over our national identity, Dan Rather has been reflecting—and writing passionately almost every day on social media—about the world we live in, what our core ideals have been and should be, and what it means to be an American. Now, in a collection of wholly original essays, the venerated television journalist celebrates our shared values and what matters most in our great country, and shows us what patriotism looks like. Writing about the institutions that sustain us, such as public libraries, public schools, and national parks; the values that have transformed us, such as the struggle for civil rights; and the drive toward science and innovation that has made the United States great, Rather will bring to bear his decades of experience on the frontlines of the world's biggest stories, and offer readers a way forward.

After a career spent as reporter and anchor for CBS News, where he interviewed every living President since Eisenhower and was on the ground for every major event, from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to Watergate to 9/11, Rather has in the last year also become a hugely popular voice of reason on social media, with nearly two million Facebook followers and an engaged new audience who help to make many of his posts go viral. With his famously plainspoken voice and a fundamental sense of hope, Dan Rather has written the book to inspire conversation and listening, and to remind us all how we are ultimately united.

This book will be a must-read for everyone you know who is engaged in the urgent national conversation right now—and interested in our place in history going forward.

Wench Notes: This book isn't released yet (November 2017), but Dan Rather and his News and Guts team have been a voice of reason amidst the chaos. He is also one of the most venerated journalists of my lifetime for sure, if not longer than that. I can't wait to see what he has to say in this.

Well, that's all I've got for this, Saucy Readers! Did I miss any of your favorite resistance books? Let me know below and keep fighting the good fight!


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