Is Richard Branson Now Awake and No Longer Supporting the Globalist After His Comments Made Re George Orwell 1984 Classic
I’ve always loved reading. It’s a great way to open your mind, spark the imagination, and land in a new place at the turn of a page. My love of reading inspired me to start my own Literati book club, and it’s what drew me to answer this #AskRichard question shared by Andrijana Nikolivskas. There is a near endless list of enlightening, enduring and impossibly brilliant books to recommend, but here are the ones that come immediately to mind.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
As part memoir, part love story and part eulogy, Just Kids is one of the most enchanting books I’ve ever read. The narrative recount Patti’s early days in New York, where she evolved from a skinny wallflower to a leather-clad cultural icon with Robert Mapplethorpe by her side. Beyond the star-studded storyline and Patti’s beautiful prose, the lingering influence of Just Kids is that life is made richer by the people around you and, no matter what direction your pulled in, you can always come back to yourself. This is why I picked Just Kids for my Literati Book Club a few months ago, and it led to a very special Ask The Author interview with Patti a few weeks later. The ‘punk poet laureate’ was as endearing, cadenced and inspiring as I had imagined, and I would recommend her writing to anyone.
1984 by George Orwell
I might not be the first person to recommend 1984, but perhaps that makes it even more important. When I first read the novel in the early eighties, I was so moved by it that I decided to turn it into a film. We ran a production company at the time called Virgin Films and we arranged for Eurythmics to produce the soundtrack. The film was released in 1984 and went on to become something of a classic, with incredible performances by John Hurt and Richard Burton. It was his last ever film.
Although the book is fictional and was written over 70-years-ago, it’s concerning to see how relevant it is today. 1984 explores a dystopian world where a totalitarian regime maintains power through spreading destructive misinformation and propaganda. As Orwell writes in the pages: “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” In today’s world – where science is scrutinised, surveillance is on the rise, fear tactics dominate politics, and ‘alternative facts’ stifle the truth, 1984 explains the unbreakable relationship between truth and freedom. As we navigate the post-truth era, 1984 reminds us why it is important to defend the truth above all else. After all: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
I first met Bryan Stevenson at a Virgin Unite gathering many years ago. Despite being one of the most acclaimed civil rights attorneys in the world, I was impressed by how gentle, eloquent and humble he was. Bryan’s firm belief that ‘each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done’ is such an important message, and it sets the tone of his memoir, Just Mercy. I chose Bryan’s book for my Literati Book Club earlier this year and I was so inspired to hear how it either reinforced or completely shifted so many of the readers views on criminal justice. Just Mercy perfectly articulates how cruel and flawed the death penalty is, but it is also a story of hope and a reminder that everyone deserves a second chance.
Thank you for posing this wonderful question Andrijana and I hope you all find these books as enlightening and moving as I did. What are the books you would recommend everybody reads at least once? I would love to know.