Author: Anthony Burgess
Genre: Dystopian fiction
How demanding of a read is Anthony Burgess' futuristic look at criminal reform, A Clockwork Orange? Most modern editions include a dictionary in order for readers to decipher every strange, unintelligible bit of slang that Burgess sprinkles throughout.
The extra work required from its readers aside, A Clockwork Orange is perhaps pop culture's greatest indictment of governmental treatment of prisoners. Its despicable protagonist, Alex, who rapes women and torments homeless people with his fellow "droogs," undergoes a cruel and unusual punishment that turns him into a softie repulsed by even the slightest inkling to engage in "ultra-violence."
Like Stanley Kubrick's pitch-perfect 1971 movie adaptation, Burgess' novel drops you into a familiar yet largely foreign world where morality is flimsy, payback seriously is a bitch, and Beethoven's Ninth is an unnverving trouble-starter.
Fun Fact: To create the characters' made-up language, which Burgess dubbed Nadsat, the author combined Slavic words with Russian dialect and his own, self-made gobbledygook.