Monday, April 4, 2011

1984 Redux and Other Blogg-y Thoughts

Yesterday, the annual book discussion event was held at my school. It's meant to be a grand finale of sorts to a week of activities that (I think) are supposed to foster discussions regarding diversity, gender and race issues and other happy things. It is a testament to the yearly organizers that after three years of "On Common Ground," I'm still not quite sure what the whole thing is about. Also, I'm not quite sure how a book discussion really helps, but I suppose it goes to the whole idea that without a dialogue, there can be no understanding. But again, I don't understand what I should be understanding.

Please don't misunderstand me: I love diversity and equality and for crying out loud, can't we all just get along? And I also love me a good book discussion. Especially this book:


by George Orwell

I read (ok, listened to) this book over winter break, and I fell in love with it. It is so beautiful and so terrible. Its ending stuck with me for a long time.

But of course, these are law school kids - not normal book lovers. So we got off topic really fast. Instead of talking about the wonderful use of language in the book (Newspeak, double speak, double think, thought crime, mundane conversations layered with meaning, etc.) someone mentioned how the government in this novel used language as a tool. In and of itself, this is a fine observation, and worthy of discussion. Except that 40 minutes later people were still arguing about whether the government does this today, and whether bad words (like the "n" word which one lady said far too many times and with far too much enthusiasm) should be taken out of classics like "Huckleberry Finn."

Everyone at our table wanted to change the subject, so a friend of mine (who had dipped more than once into the champagne) took the reigns and proclaimed that the most unsatisfying thing about the book was the sex. If it was such an important political act, why weren't there better descriptions of it? And of course everyone was off again.

The discussion really wasn't bad. There were some interesting things said and some good parallels drawn between the novel and today's society. The problem is being in a room with 40 people who all want to be lawyers and love hearing themselves speak. Maybe it was unrealistic of me to think that we'd have time to discuss everything on my list. We didn't talk at all about class or the Proles. We didn't talk about gender issues. My biggest question to this day is whether or not George Orwell like Julia. Are we supposed to like her? I didn't, but I can see why some people would.

Whatever the point of "On Common Ground" is, I hope they keep it going - if only to keep the book discussions going. Two years ago, the book chosen was "To Kill a Mockingbird," and last year it was "Catcher in the Rye." All these books have important issues that relate directly to the law and the legal community, and I think it's important for anyone heading out to practice law to be able to think critically about literature and to take important lessons and questions to heart.

Also, it was at this event last year that the Whittier Law and Literature Society was born. I was speaking with Professor Leary and a friend (the very same one who likes to indulge in the free champagne - oh who am I kidding? I had plenty of it too). We thought it would be nice to have book discussions more than once a year, and to discuss those things I mentioned above. I'm so grateful for the support of a professor and friends who helped me set up something that will continue after we're gone.

Anyways, on a personal note, I've finished a couple more books that I haven't written about yet. I'll get to them eventually. I keep thinking that I have to get better at this whole blogging thing. I have to post more often, and maybe I should start posting on other blogs, and link all over the place and this and that and... oh I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Whenever I'm reading my daily dose of other blogs, I make mental notes of all the cool things that other book bloggers do. It's kind of a cool community. It would be fun to get friendly with other bloggers. Plus, there are a lot of networking and fun events where I could go to meet other bloggers. But all of that will have to wait until after I take the Bar in July.

I had this weird moment of reality the other day. I was looking at my calendar, which right now is booked almost completely solid for the next month or so. I have something on every single day, and most days have about 10 hours occupied (not including studying). Then graduation in mid-May and a slight (4-day) break - yay!. Then almost every day occupied through the end of July with bar preparation classes, practice tests, mock exams, lectures, studying, eating, breathing and dreaming about the law.

Then I looked at my calendar the week after the bar: empty. The week after that: empty. My calendar is completely empty for the rest of the year. It's going to be so strange. I'll be so used to going, going, going, and then there will be this sharp drop-off into a deep abyss of nothing. I won't have a job (how's that for a reverse-jinx?) and I won't have anywhere to be everyday. No responsibility, no list of things to do. I don't quite know how I'll get through it. I suppose I have plenty of time to figure it out before then. I'll just squeeze in 15 minutes here and there throughout my calendar this summer.

On the bright side, Mike has come up with the most brilliant post-graduation celebration plan ever. My parents and sister are coming to graduation, as is my mother-in-law and her boyfriend. Rather than stay here and go to dinner then come home and watch TV, or something else equally rote, we're going to Palm Springs!!! We've rented a van big enough to drive the whole crew there, and we've reserved rooms at a resort with the best pool ever. Slides, waterfalls, a lazy river, etc.! They have restaurants there too - yummy ones! It's going to be so fun! And it will be nice to treat our families to something so fun. I can't wait. The countdown to graduation day has officially begun!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I read this in college and liked it then, still do.
    PS Stop over at my blog and say hi.