When I added Brave New World to my 40 before 40 reading list I didn't know much about it. I knew it was set in the future in a supposedly Utopian society. I knew it was on all those "100 best . . .", and "must read . . ." book lists. I must say I was more than a little surprised with the obsession with sex in this Utopian society, also a little disturbed by it. But I think that is what the author wanted. Anyways I was glad that the descriptions weren't detailed and there was plenty of other material so I continued reading.
I'm glad I did because this was a good book especially after finishing up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which dwelt a lot on Quality. In the Utopian Society of Brave New World they were obsessed with the exact opposite of Quality. They were looking for peace and happiness in it's easiest, most infantile form.
A few of my favorite lines:
"'Just to give you a general idea,' he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently--though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible." pg 4
"Helmholtz shook his head. 'Not quite. I'm thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I've got something important to say and the power to say it--only I don't know what it is, and I can't make any use of the power.'" pg 69
"Words can be like x-rays, if you use them properly--they'll go through anything." pg 70
"Bernard considered that Electro-magnetic Golf was a waste of time. 'Then what's time for?' asked Lenina in some astonishment." pg 89
"Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand." pg 221
"'But I like the inconveniences.'
'We don't,' said the Controller. 'We prefer to do things comfortably.'
'But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.'
'In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.'
'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.'" pg 240