Monday, March 5, 2012

Book 139: A Clockwork Orange and Book Stats.

Title: A Clockwork Orange
Author: Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)

First Published: 1962
My Edition: Norton Paperback (seen at left)
Pages: 212

Other Works Include: Time for a Tiger (1956), The Enemy in the Blanket (1958), Beds in the East (1959), The Worm and the Ring (1960), Honey for the Bears (1963), A Vision of Battlements (1965), Abba Abba (1977), Earthly Powers (1980)

I decided that while I am chugging slowly along in Nicholas Nickleby I should start something a little smaller for Adam's Magical March Event. After looking at the titles I had on my list, this one seemed to jump out at me as being one that would suck me in.

I don't know too much about this one, beyond that fact that it is a dystopian and that it is on the weird side. I remember a friend in high school reading this for AP English, and he said it was crazy! I think I've also heard that there is some crazy slang and such. That's about it. But since I like dystopia and weird, I'm sure I'll find something to like in this one. :)

Anyone read this one before? Any advice for me as I tackle it?


  1. I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie. Unfortunately, since seeing the moving, I can't hear the song Singing in the Rain without wanting to throw up. That is one of maybe five movies I've seen in my life that I wish I could expunge from my brain because it really did scar me, and I've heard the book is worse, so I will avoid it forever if I can. I just hope no class I take will ever make me read it!!

  2. I've tried to read this two or three times but never have been able to get into it. I have heard great things about it though, so I can't wait to hear what you think about it.

  3. I would keep a glossary of all the Nasdat terms on hand. Eventually you'll get into the flow and won't need it, but in the beginning I had no idea what was going on until I printed this up and kept it with me.

  4. My main advice is to read it basically in one go, because I started it, put it down for a day, and had to start it all over again. Like Red says, you will get into understanding what all the Nadsat words mean, but at the beginning it's literally just like 'What the hell is this, aaargh!' etc. Having said that, I did enjoy it, so I hope you will too!

  5. Weird is an understatement. Find a Nadsat glossary and read through it BEFORE the book...then just go with the flow.

  6. the slovos aren't particularly difficult to figure out in your gulliver, most of the time you can understand them by the context that they're in

  7. The nadsat isn't as bad as some people make it out to be, A Damned Conjuror is right, context is key.

    Still, here's a glossary that might be helpful if you get stuck:


  8. My absolute favorite part of reading this book was not understanding the nadsat at the beginning and letting the slang naturally gather in my mind. By the time I was about 50 pages in, the events of the first few pages that I didn't understand before, began to suddenly (and horrifically) become comprehensible. It was a beautiful moment in reading for me - one that could be missed if you learn the nadsat before you read.

  9. Oooh, I like what Kara said without having yet read the book myself. I vote for doing it her way!!

  10. Agree with all the advice above about nadsat.

    I love, love, love this book (and I love Anthony Burgess. My favorite of his books is The Wanting Seed - much more accessible than A Clockwork Orange, but just as important and intense).

    Keep an open mind! :)

  11. I read this one, but it was a while ago. I think that the movie made more of an impression on me simply because I saw it first.

  12. As everyone else said, writing down the nadsat as you go along (or printing out a dictionary) will be a huge help. The first time I read it I didn't - I was rushing through it for a class - and had no idea what was going on. The second time, I went slower and enjoyed it a lot more. It may have also helped that by the time I reread Clockwork, I'd been living in Macedonia for two years. Macedonian is a Slavic language, and I realized that nadsat is really nothing more than baby-level Russian. I think it's one of the best examples of how to use invented slang in a novel, Burgess just does a great job with it.

    I second Amanda's comment on the movie, too. Watching it was one of the absolute worst experiences of my life.