Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Impressive Wilderness Survival or Elaborate Hoax? The Long, Strange History of Fake Survivalism

The great thing about a show like Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel is that you can watch other people sink into quicksand in the Moab Desert, bite the heads off snakes and get dumped into a piranha-infested jungle river -- all from the comfort of your own La-Z-Boy recliner!

Bear Grylls: Knowles' descendant?
Adventurer Bear Grylls, a survivalist.  Of course, since it's a so-called "reality" show, the action should bear some resemblance to actual events. Man vs. Wild's British star, former Special Forces op Bear Grylls, has had some credibility problems lately. The producers claim that their rugged hero "strands himself in popular wilderness destinations where tourists often find themselves lost or in danger," but according to an eye-popping story in the UK-based Daily Mail, Grylls was spending some of his evenings ensconced in luxury hotels, where the amenities included Internet access and blueberry pancake breakfasts.

On a trip to California where he was supposedly surviving on "just a water bottle, a cup and a flint for making fire," he had room service. And was he really stranded on a remote Hawaiian archipelago as a "real-life Robinson Crusoe"? Naw, the paper said, he had the keys to a motel room. Even the "wild mustangs" he lassoed in the Sierra Nevadas were tame and delivered by trailer.

John Knowles begins his ordeal in the wilderness in 1913, nearly naked in front of a crowd of reporters and onlookers. Fake survivalism? When I heard Grylls' sad story last year it was rather serendipitous, because I'd spent the last eight months working on a biography of a man who, long before television, was the prototype reality show contestant. And he was charged with being a fraud, too!

Knowles disappears into the forest, August 1913. Naked in the Woods
My book is entitled Naked in the Woods: Joseph Knowles and the Legacy of Frontier Fakery (Da Capo), and it tells the story of a former trapper and hunting guide who, in August of 1913, left his clothes behind and disappeared into the forests of Maine for two months to prove he could live off the land. It was a publicity stunt for the struggling Boston Postnewspaper, and it couldn't have been better timed.

In 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes was being serialized to tumultuous applause, and Jack London's Call of the Wild was still a bestseller. The frontier had been closed, and Americans were leaving the farm for industrial jobs in the big cities. Were we losing our connection to nature? Not if Joe Knowles could help it.

"When I emerge in October, I shall be sufficiently clothed to walk the city streets," he proclaimed in the Post. "From cap to heels, I shall be fitted out with at least one [outfit], and may possibly have a variety to suit weather conditions." He said he expected to dine regularly on broiled frog's legs, and promised to send out regular birch bark dispatches to the newspaper, written in charcoal taken from his cooking fires.
John Knowles made this charcoal sketch of a wild cat in the wilderness in 1913.  One of Knowles' charcoal sketches from his (disputed) ordeal in the wilderness. Naked in the Woods

The dispatches told of many adventures, and were illustrated with his vivid sketches. He trapped a bear, and emerged wearing its skin to a huge welcome. As many as 200,000 people thronged to catch a glimpse of the Nature Man on his first day back in civilization. Co-eds lined up to pinch his muscles, and Harvard's director of physical education proclaimed him the most perfect specimen of his age.
The crowds greet the Nature Man in Boston, circa October 1913. / Naked in the Woods

But just as Knowles was embarking on a lucrative vaudeville career (making fire on stage was among his tricks) the rival Boston American bannered that he was a fake. Instead of a crude lean-to, he'd been staying at a comfortably appointed cabin, eating canned beans. The bearskin was bought from a trapper, the American said, and it had bullet holes in it.

A huge crowd gathers in the streets of Boston in 1913 to celebrate John Knowles, the Nature Man, as he emerges from the wilderness. Was he a fake survivalist? Knowles fired back with a spirited defense, and the back and forth was a tonic for the circulation departments of both papers. It was small wonder then, that when tempers cooled a bit the Hearst papers (which included the American) made Knowles a lucrative offer of their own. He went into the woods twice more, with the first trip (on the California/Oregon border) interrupted by the start of World War I and the second in the Adirondacks aborted by the Eve to the Nature Man's Adam (the comely Elaine Hammerstein, star of stage and screen).

Knowles in his bearskin: Were there bullet holes? Naked in the Woods
The cover for the book Naked in the Woods: Joseph Knowles and the Legacy of Frontier Fakery by Jim Motavalli.   John Knowles, the Nature Man, posing with his rifle and bearskins in 1913. Was he a fake survivalist? Bear Grylls is still working. He puts faces in front of screens, as Knowles got them reading the newspapers. And natural fakery continues unabated. As the Guardian newspaper's George Monbiot reports in "Planet of the Fakes": "Natural history programs lie more frequently than any other documentaries. They film animals in cages and pretend they have been filmed in the wild. They import tame predators, and release them to hunt wild prey. They cut between uneventful sequences to suggest that animals are interacting. Most of the soundtrack is added to the film in the studio: the noise of antlers clashing is likely to be the noise of technicians dueling with broomsticks."

What's worse, the programs make it appear that the animals live in pristine wilderness, when in reality their habitats are ever shrinking and hemmed in by humanity.

Oh well, it's all about production values, isn't it? Joe Knowles never had kids, but he certainly had many descendants.

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/cars-transportation/wilderness-survival-hoaxes-460305#ixzz1f6XMTotw

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2005 Interview with Michael Hoy, Editor and Founder of Loompanics, Unlimited

     Originally published at Sunni's Salon, by Sunni Maravillosa. Please see the contact page for reprint information. Thanks Sunni, for the rights to republish this interview in full! - The Lone Haranguer at Last Earth Distro.
     Long live independent, radical booksellers, publishers and printers in the Pacific Northwest!
     We are one of the entities who helped buy out Loompanics back in 2005 when they closed their doors, and we have a lot of their titles available still. Please contact us at lastearthdistro@gmail.com for more details.

with Mike Hoy

SUNNI: Hi Mike. Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. How's life in beautiful, wet Washington these days?
MIKE: Life is good in beautiful, wet Washington. Actually, Port Townsend gets about half the rain Seattle does.
SUNNI: Ah, so you're not in the rain belt. I'd heard how gray and rainy the Seattle area is, but it wasn't until I was there -- all too briefly, earlier this year -- that I experienced it for myself. I think maybe the sun was out for about three hours total, in the four or five days I was there ... Is the weather responsible for all the coffee addicts around there? [laughing]
MIKE: Weather in Seattle is usually quite nice in the summer -- most of the rain comes in the winter months, when we get rain instead of snow. I don't know what the story on coffee is -- me, I like just plain coffee, and I think Starbucks et al suck out loud.
SUNNI: I prefer unflavored coffee too, but with cream. And yeah, Starbucks coffee isn't all that great. Maybe it was the mermaid -- the version with her breasts showing -- that's more responsible than they realize for their early success ... [laughing]
MIKE: [laughs] I have never understood the concept of "flavored coffee." Coffee is the flavor that I want. I would no more put chocolate syrup or something in a cup of coffee than I would put it in a glass of beer.
SUNNI: Exactly! You know, you're the first person I've interviewed whom I don't really know at all. In preparing for our conversation, I read a quasi-interview on the Loompanics web site, but it reveals very little about you, the brain trust behind Loompanics. What would you like people to know about you?
MIKE: Well, once upon a time, I was an accountant working for a CPA firm. It didn't suit me, so I went off on my own trip. Politically, I first became aware in the tenth grade or so, when I was a Goldwater Republican. Then I was into Ayn Rand for a while, before settling on anarcho-libertarianism. Actually, I am a political solipsist, the anarchists have too many rules for me, and as for the Libertarians, what a bunch of uptight corporate-sucking wimps they are -- yech!
SUNNI: Anarchists have too many rules? [laughing] Okay Mike, I'll bite -- what do you mean?
MIKE: You should see them! Zines such as The Match and Anarchy and so on, are always denouncing other fellow anarchist absolutists for not being proper anarchists. You should check them out. A while back, the anarchist guru Murray Bookchin let out a screed titled Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, which is typical of this genre. If you aren't the right kind of anarchist, then fuck you and the horse you rode in on. [laughs] Really, you should look into this -- it can provide a few brief moments of entertainment before you shout, "A pox on all your houses."
SUNNI: I will -- and thanks for the tip! The story behind the Loompanics name is amusing, and tantalizing with its mention of "all your publishing projects". What are some of those other projects?
MIKE: My pre-Loompanics catalog publishing projects included an index to National Lampoon magazine, a collection of paintings by the SF/Fantasy artist Stephen Fabian, and a little manual titled Slugs, on which foreign coins worked best in parking meters, and where to get them cheap.
SUNNI: What an interesting, diverse set of projects! So, how long has Loomps been around? How many books have you published?
MIKE: The first Loompanics Catalog came out in fall of 1975, so this marks my thirtieth year. I would guess that I have published around 300 books by now.

SUNNI: Congrats on thirty years in the business! That's no small accomplishment, especially these days. From all the language on the Loomps site cautioning customers about books being seized, one might think that's a serious liability for your business. How often does that happen? Is any particular country noteworthy for its five-finger treatment of your orders? What book or books seem to be seized most often?
MIKE: Books are seized by government bodies far less often than, say, 20 years ago. Canada used to be particularly bad. Right now Australia is probably the worst. Just about any book on drugs is likely to rouse the ire of those who would protect us from thinking for ourselves. American prisoners often have their books confiscated, as well -- that is why we warn them about it. Various prisons have offered various rationales for not allowing books about sex, drugs, knife fighting, lock picking, etc.
SUNNI: Interesting ... I would've guessed former Soviet countries and South American ones to be worse than supposedly freer ones. That drugs are so scary to them isn't so surprising, unfortunately. Which has had a larger impact on the books you choose to publish, Mike -- the Hit Man lawsuit against Paladin Press, or the USA Patriot Act?
MIKE: The Hit Man lawsuit against Paladin Press has had a chilling effect amongst small press publishers, not just in what people will publish, but in what people are able to sell, since as a result, Paladin dropped about 50 titles from their line. The USA Patriot Act doesn't scare me much, insofar as being a publisher goes, but the draconian cloud of the entire Act scares the hell out of me as a citizen.
SUNNI: One might think that the current political climate would have a chilling effect on your business; but it's also possible that more people are becoming interested in some of your diverse topics -- and that they, and long-time customers alike, are buying your books in anticipation of a day when books like yours aren't allowed to be sold. What do your sales trends -- and what you're hearing from your customers -- indicate?
MIKE: I don't think the current political climate has had an effect on our sales one way or the other -- unlike, say, the Y2K scare, which greatly increased the sale of survival and independent living books. For the past 5 years or so, our sales have been dropping, but I think it is just the lousy economy in general that accounts for this. If you measure the American economy the way Wall Street does -- by toting up corporate profits -- they tell you the economy is booming, that we are in a recovery, etc. But if you measure the American economy according to the disposable income the average Joe has in his pocket after downsizing, taxes, etc., you will find a different story. We often have customers tell us that they really appreciate the job we are doing, and occasionally someone will tell us that our catalog isn't as good as when we had dozens of explosives manuals in it.
SUNNI: I can see that; I miss the explosives titles myself. It also strikes me that part of the picture might be the unevenness of the books you publish. I don't mean the variety -- that's great -- but the quality of the books themselves. For example, I know Claire Wolfe's books are going to be solid; but a self-employment book you recently published was a great disappointment to me -- it didn't have much that common sense wouldn't tell someone, or that a few hours of web research could provide. I've heard similar things from others, too ... I'm not intending to beat up on you, Mike, but trying to offer some food for thought. I'd imagine it's harder to get really good writers too, with the increase in self-publishing we've seen in the past few years. Is that consistent with your experience?
MIKE: Well, it's always been hard to find good writers, and not every book is as perfect as I would like it to be. I actually like the increase in self-publishing, because we can pick up the good stuff as retail items. But instead of self-publishing, what we are seeing a lot of times these days is vanity publishing, i.e., subsidized publishing. For the most part, these publishers are very unfriendly to booksellers, offering only minuscule discounts. I know of a few cases where I have seen a good book that I just simply cannot offer in the catalog because I can't make a profit on them. At least one such author has told us that he would have been better off with a small press publisher than with the vanity publisher he had bring his book out.

SUNNI: Ah, okay. We touched on this briefly earlier, but I didn't realize until we started talking that a lot of Loompanics' diversity comes directly from you. What are some of the books that have had a strong impact on you?
MIKE: The early National Lampoon, of course, the Firesign Theatre, and The Whole Earth Catalog, to name just some. Also, science fiction in general, when I was in my early teens. If I had to pick just one thing that inspired me the most, it would be The Whole Earth Catalog -- a truly paradigm-rattling publication!
SUNNI: I imagine you heard about Laissez Faire Books' decision not to carry Vin Suprynowicz's novel The Black Arrow. What's your take on that?
MIKE: My take on it is that I am not at all surprised. The organized "libertarians" are so pusillanimous and life-hating that this is exactly what anyone with a brain should expect from them. I have seen some libertarians trying to excuse this egregious action by calling it a "business" decision -- that Laissez Faire was somehow following their customers' demands by refusing to sell a novel by a writer who is right now arguably the single most brilliant exponent of the rights of the individual against the forces of conformity. What a bunch of baloney!
Laissez Faire, like all the major "libertarian" propaganda outlets, is not a business at all -- it is a charity. Kathy, or whoever is responsible for that decision [Kathleen Hiserodt], is not serving her customers, but is sucking up to whom she perceives to be her donors. She is afraid of offending someone who might give her money. It is the same among all the "libertarians". I mean, doesn't it strike you as odd that the bunch of people who proclaim themselves as knowing more about economics and business and the market than everybody else on earth avoid the marketplace like poison? They have all gone to the government and asked to be granted non-profit status -- i.e., they have asked the government to protect them from the very economic forces they claim to advocate. Why don't the "libertarians" quit running their mouths and show us by example how much they love the marketplace?
SUNNI: [laughing] Don't hold back, Mike -- tell me what you really think! Seriously, I think you've hit on something that's a problem with a lot of libertarian think tanks -- they claim that being able to deduct contributions from one's taxes is important in order to get funding. Through my work at Free-Market.Net, I've seen a difference that offering tax deductions can make to a charitable organization. It seems to be a good tactical decision, but you're right, it isn't the most principled one. But why do pro-freedom people expect that tax deduction? If we're going to dismantle the system, let's get started already ... and getting back to the subject, if people aren't willing to pay straight up for what an organization wants to do, why should they do it? think it's a case of "too many chiefs, and not enough Indians".
MIKE: Yeah, why don't they "get funding" by engaging in honest trade, which they claim is their most deeply held principle? Nobody has ever done more to discredit an ideology by espousing it than the "libertarians".
SUNNI: That seems to be the case for a non-trival number of them, sadly. How do you balance what your customers seem to want from Loompanics with your personal views? Is the customer always right, or do you reserve the right to reject book proposals or other material for personal reasons? Is there any subject that you would flat-out refuse to publish on?
MIKE: Actually, I don't "balance" my views with anything when I am selecting books for the catalog. If I like a book, I will put it in the catalog -- as long as it will sell. Over time, I have had to drop some truly outstanding titles, simply because hardly anyone ever bought them -- e.g.,The Thinking Body, a book written for dancers that really showed you how to integrate your mind and body. There is not much point in having even a truly outstanding book in a catalog, if it is not selling.
My rejecting proposals or books has more to do with space limitations than with any personal squeamishness. Of course, I reject books that I think are stupid, e.g., most religious tracts, or books advocating institutional solutions to personal problems, or books that contain false information. For example, lots and lots of my customers have asked that Loompanics carry The Anarchist Cookbook, but I refuse to sell it because I think the book is full of falsehoods and bullshit. Over the decades, I have often been asked if there is any subject that I would refuse to publish on, and the only thing I have been able to come up with is that I would not publish a book on how to bomb abortion clinics, or otherwise interfere with abortion clinics. Although any such book would necessarily contain material on general explosives and infiltration techniques, I just plain think it is mean-spirited to single out abortion providers.

SUNNI: You're right, it is, especially when there are so many other, more deserving targets. The quasi-interview I mentioned a bit ago contains the statement "America needs to loosen up". That seems to be even more true now ... what kind of loosening up would you recommend first?
MIKE: In my opinion, America needs to loosen up the most about drugs in general, and marijuana in particular. The cannabis plant is the single most useful plant that exists on this planet, and it is truly insane to throw people in jail for possessing it.
SUNNI: Yep. How do you think "we, the people" have morphed from being a hardy, self-reliant lot into a bunch of busybodies who are more interested in what our neighbors may be doing than taking care of our own lives? I mean mainstream Americans mostly, not the pro-freedom rabble, with some exceptions.
MIKE: That is puzzling to me, because now the baby boomers are running the country, and just about all of us smoked dope when we were young, and know it is not only harmless, but beneficial. Now it's asshole boomer parents who are leading the anti-dope crusades. If I had a dollar for every party I was at in the 70s where we were passing a joint around and telling each other, "Sss [inhalation sound] ... Wow, man! In about like 20 years, man, our generation is gonna be the Congress and we will be passing the laws, and, like ... sss... we can get rid of the whole pig trip, man ...", I could buy a lot of albums, man. [laughs] It just goes to show you that it takes a pig to be a pig, and if you become a pig, then you are going to be a pig, regardless if you were a nice guy before you became a pig. Pigs is pigs!
SUNNI: [laughing] And pigs will never fly ... While we're comparing past and present, Mike, what do you make of the observation that The Onion seems to be more in the prediction business than satire these days?
MIKE: I'm not sure what you mean; I'm not familiar with The Onion.
SUNNI: Oh! I guess I assumed that since you're a Lampoon fan you'd know about The Onion -- it's available online and as a print zine, and it features some pretty wicked political satire. Here are some headlines: from this week's issue, Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses' Teeth; from last week, God Outdoes Terrorists Yet Again, and an amusing Virgo horoscope: "Despite your claims of historical importance and the need to remember America's fallen heroes, the authorities continue to refuse to grant you the permits required by your avid group of drug-war re-enactors." You might want to check it out. Out of all the books that Loompanics has published, what one are you proudest of having published?
MIKE: That is a very difficult question to answer -- I like 'em all. But to single out just a few, let's say: The Art & Science of Dumpster DivingSecrets of Methamphetamine ManufactureTravel Trailer Homesteading Under $5,000Guerrilla CapitalismEat Well for 99 Cents a MealMethods of DisguiseUnderstanding U.S. Identity Documents ... where can I stop? I guess if I had to pick just one, I would say Guerrilla Capitalism, a how-to-do-it book on dodging taxes in the underground economy. I think that one most fully lays out what Loompanics is all about. It is out of print now, but most of the material has been recycled into Deep Inside the Underground Economy.
SUNNI: That sounds interesting; I'll have to check into that one. And I'd agree on Dumpster Diving -- that's a very good book. What kinds of things do you do for fun, Mike? Washington is so pretty, especially the western part of the state, with all the evergreens. When you're not busy with Loompanics, do you enjoy the outdoors? If so, what activities do you like?
MIKE: Washington is beautiful -- I have fallen in love with Port Townsend, and don't see myself ever leaving here. For outdoor fun, I love walking -- not hiking, where you have to have equipment. Other fun things I do are: I read a tremendous amount, I love good movies, and I piddle around with miniatures -- I recently finished a basement recreation room that fits on two bookshelves -- took me almost 5 years to get it right. I am also a fan of old-time radio shows and have quite a collection of adventure, western, and horror shows. And, oh, yeah, I collect jokers from decks of cards. I have about 1,400.

SUNNI: Needing equipment to walk is stupid, I agree. Is there anything special about the jokers you collect, or will you take any old joker a customer might want to send you after reading this?
MIKE: [laughs] Well, I didn't mean this to be a call for jokers! I specialize in what I call true jokers -- i.e., the court jester type, which I think is descended from the fool in medieval Tarot decks.
SUNNI: What do you see as the greatest challenge facing individualists today?
MIKE: The biggest challenge facing individuals -- as opposed to individualists -- is how to keep your head straight in the maw of conformist forces, most of which these days are coming from the private sector rather that the public sector. Loompanics has just published the latest book by one of the most brilliant writers working today, Claire Wolfe: How to Kill the Job Culture Before It Kills You: Living a Life of Autonomy in a Wage-Slave Society, that goes a long way towards effectively grappling with this problem.
SUNNI: Your answer hit upon why I chose the word individualist instead of individuals, Mike. Everybody is an individual, but not everyone values his or her individuality sufficiently to embrace it. Even individualists can have problems sometimes with conformist forces. I suppose it's a never-ending struggle between our need for autonomy and independence and our social nature.
MIKE: I think the school system, especially the public school system, is really dumbing kids down, even more than ever before. Their ideal is for no one to be an individual, but to make all kids want to see themselves as part of a group. I'm sure glad I'm not in grade school or high school right now! [laughs] Well, if I was in high school, I could just quit, but if I was in the 3rd grade, I would be one of the kids who they would dope down with Prozac and Ritalin, and other chemical straitjackets. If we had had all this fascist shit when I was a child, they would have deliberately destroyed my brain with drugs -- as part of the War on Drugs!
SUNNI: I think most freedom lovers have a similar story, don't you? We never seem to fit in, sometimes even with other freedom lovers. But, speaking of being young, who inspired and motivated you when you were young? Who do you count among your heroes?
MIKE: I have been inspired and motivated by lots of people, including Edgar Allan Poe, Ayn Rand, especially the brilliant and late Michael O'Donohue, and Lysander Spooner. My heroes include Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Paul Krassner, Michael O'Donohue, Lysander Spooner, Durk & Sandy, Pedr Lund of Paladin Press, my late father when he was young and strong, and Stewart Brand of The Whole Earth Catalog.
SUNNI: Lots of good folks in there. Before we wind up the conversation here, what new books do you have in the pipeline at Loompanics? Are you working on any other new projects that you're excited about?
MIKE: Claire Wolfe's book How to Kill the Job Culture Before It Kills You will be out this week. Other books in the pipeline include another underground economy book, and a book about modern-day train robbing.
SUNNI: Great stuff! I gotta tell you, Mike, as I was looking through your catalog I had several ideas for book projects to pitch to you ... maybe I'll actually write up one or two for you to laugh at ... [laughing]
MIKE: I am always looking for interesting book projects, Sunni, so feel free to send in some ideas!
SUNNI: Thanks, Mike. We'll see what happens ... Right now my children are my first priority, and I am perpetually short on time to do all I want. Thank you very much for all your time today. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, and kicking around some issues with a fellow individualist and free thinker. I'm hoping next time I'm out that way I'll be able to meet you and Gia in person -- coffees or beer will be on me.
MIKE: Thank you. It has been my pleasure. I would love to actually get together in person with you! Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wikipedia's Page on Food Preservation

'Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down spoilage (loss of quality, edibility or nutritional value) and thus allow for longer storage.
Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteriayeastsfungi, and other micro-organisms (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria, or fungi to the food), as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which cause rancidity. Food preservation can also include processes which inhibit visual deterioration that can occur during food preparation; such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut.
Many processes designed to preserve food will involve a number of food preservation methods. Preserving fruit, by turning it into jam, for example, involves boiling (to reduce the fruit’s moisture content and to kill bacteria, yeasts, etc.), sugaring (to prevent their re-growth) and sealing within an airtight jar (to prevent recontamination). There are many traditional methods of preserving food that limit the energy inputs and reduce carbon footprint.[1]
Maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavour is an important aspect of food preservation, although, historically, some methods drastically altered the character of the food being preserved. In many cases these changes have now come to be seen as desirable qualities – cheese, yoghurt and pickled onions being common examples.

Top 100 Utopian and Dystopian Novels

Here's the top 15 from GoodReads, check the link for the other 85, all of which can be obtained from Earthlight Books, Last Word Books & Press, or Last Earth Distro. If we don't have 'em in stock, we can easily obtain a copy for you. Read on, dear prepper, closet collapse critic, or apocalyptic bibliophile!

1The Hunger Games (The Hunger G...
4.54 of 5 stars 4.54 avg rating — 304,133 ratings
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 477,377 ratings

3The Giver (The Giver, #1)
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 228,773 ratings

4Brave New World
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 298,593 ratings

5Fahrenheit 451
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 295,966 ratings

6The Handmaid's Tale
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 113,838 ratings

7Catching Fire (The Hunger Game...
4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 218,230 ratings

8Animal Farm
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 550,359 ratings

9Lord of the Flies
3.56 of 5 stars 3.56 avg rating — 535,295 ratings

10Mockingjay (The Hunger Games,...
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 185,309 ratings

11The Road
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 127,997 ratings

12A Clockwork Orange
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 66,352 ratings

13A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1)
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 138,655 ratings

14The Uglies Trilogy (Uglies, #1...
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 5,060 ratings

15Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1...
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 195,836 ratings