Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Orwell's '1984' back as bestseller amid focus on 'alternative facts'

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2017-01-26 13:05:44 BdST

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Laura Wood of Skoob Books poses for a photograph with a copy of George Orwell's '1984' in central London June 9, 2013. Reuters

George Orwell's "1984" novel about a dystopian future under an authoritarian regime is back as a bestseller and being reprinted decades after it was written as readers grapple with Donald Trump administration's defence of "alternative facts."

The book, first published in 1949, features a devious "Big Brother" government that spies on its citizens and forces them into "doublethink," or simultaneously accepting contradictory versions of the truth.

Sales spiked after a senior White House official, Kellyanne Conway, used the term "alternative facts" on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sundayduring a discussion about the size of the crowd at Trump's inauguration.

Some commentators denounced her expression as "Orwellian."

By Monday, the novel by the late British author hit Amazon's list of top 10 bestsellers, which is updated hourly. On Wednesday, it was No. 1.

Responding to the renewed interest, its publisher ordered a 75,000-copy reprint this week, Signet Classics said in a statement. A company spokesman told CNN late on Tuesday that was more than would normally be reprinted.

The West Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to "resist" the president's policies on immigration and other issues, said on Twitter it picked "1984" as the read of the month for its book club.

Conway was responding to accusations that the Trump administration was fixated on the size of his inauguration crowds, saying: "We feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there."

Amid widespread criticism of the expression, even Merriam-Webster chimed in to challenge Trump's former campaign manager. "A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality," the dictionary publisher tweeted.