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Orwell's 1984 Gets Sales Bump Following Government Spying Reports

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

books (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

George Orwell’s novel, 1984, is experiencing a bump in sales since news broke that the National Security Agency has been monitoring people’s phone records.

Ever popular on the high school summer reading list, Orwell’s novel describes a futuristic totalitarian regime in which people are watched and ruled by their government through a shadowy figure known as Big Brother. In the past few days, several news outlets have pointed to a bump in sales of the book on Amazon.com. WNYC went down to Strand Bookstore in Union Square to see if New Yorkers are indeed snatching up more copies of 1984.

"It was the state takeover of everything. It was just predicted way way back, so I can see why the book is very relevant," said Strand part-owner Fred Bass.

Strand staff say more than 60 copies of 1984 have sold in this past month -- more than in previous months.

George Orwell isn’t the only person to imagine a future of constant government surveillance. Here are some others:

Fiction

Farenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

The Minority Report and Other Classic Stories, Philip K. Dick

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Non-Fiction

Privacy at Risk: The New Government Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, Christopher Slobogin

Discipline and Punish, by Michel Foucault

The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age, by Daniel J. Solove

Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life, by Helen Nissenbaum

Are you an avid reader of books on government spying and privacy issues? Add your top picks to the list in the comments below.

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