I finally got around to reading the classic 1984 by George Orwell (I like to mix it up between technical/programming books, fiction, and non-fiction/business/design books). This book was a chilling account of a future, uber-totalitarian world. Reading it shortly after Atlas Shrugged, I actually found a lot in common between the two texts. In Ayn Rand's book, the heroes overtly portray the virtues of selfishness, individualism, and capitalism, whereas in George Orwell's book, he teaches the same lessons by contrast: the heroes can only try to subvert the system, and the reader sees the horrors that happen when the opposite (collectivism and loss of rationality) takes over.
Some of the descriptions in the book were so graphic and emotional that I had a hard time at first figuring out whether the author was serious (a fan of collectivism) or not; I was pretty sure he wasn't, but he made the point very clear of how a mass of people could be brainwashed into accepting it and losing individual rationality. I also wondered whether there were elements of satire and commentary on the political environment of his time or whether he was just commenting on a (bad) possible future.