#13, #21 & #50: Red is my new favourite colour

Yes, that's right, I read all three back-to-back. Um, because one can never have enough of the political classics. After all, sleep deprivation is good for the absorption of propaganda (or so I hear, Thanks Mr. Orwell).

The Communist Manifesto - lovingly bought as a birthday present for someone who wasn't me and hasn't yet read the book - was just exactly what I expected. I suppose this is the trouble with having read one too many feminist/Marxist tracts. I have heard this poor work quoted three ways from Sunday without any hope of discovery left. It was passionate and well argued and truly, a good idea. Unfortunately politics would get in the way of political theory, and armed with the knowledge of how haphazardly Marx's ideas were to be implemented in the future, there was a certain sadness to reading them raw and bleeding from his mind. And the ideas reeked of the urgency of a document written overnight to punishing deadlines - all the better to drive the pleading desire that fires the rage and desperate necessity behind them.

Mao Tse-Tung is one consistent thinker - or at least that is the image that emerges from his collection of quotations otherwise known as the "Little Red Book." Thanks to G. H. Armstrong, the Fort La Bosse School Division and Bookmart through whom this lovely little secondhand book flowed. My favourite quote stands as "If you want knowledge, you must take part in the changing reality." p109. This book is really so much better to come to with some background, be it in Chinese cultural or political behaviour, something anyways with which to evaluate what you are reading. The selections are far more interesting for what they inadvertently reveal than for what they are actually trying to say. It is fascinating in retrospect, with all the changes that have happened in China in recent years, as well as from the perspective of how neatly the "Party" fit into traditional Chinese ideas of hierarchy. Probably an important book to read, should one have the time.

Lastly we have Thomas More's Utopia - a strange and wondrous tale of Utopia that leaves one questioning whether the author ever read the book cover-to-cover, let alone intended anyone else to. The lack of continuity distressed me, and should I return to this book for any reason it will be to look at selected passages, and not at the work as a whole. Admittedly I came to this book in not the best shape (having just read two heavy political tracts previously) and distracted by Jeremy Northam's portrayal of Thomas in The Tudors. The creeping intolerance which suffuses this work left me with a decidedly Distopian feeling. And while the passionate pleading of Marx was corrupted by reality, More's vision of a finer tomorrow contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction from the very beginning.

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