Lord of the Flies – William Golding

 Stephen King chose this book when asked by the National Book Foundation to name “The Book that Changed My Life.” Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, said “Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books. That was a big influence on me as a teenager, I still read it every couple of years.”

When we asked Carl, our programmer, to tell us his favorite book, he didn’t hesitate. “Lord of the Flies,” was his quick response. When we asked why, he said, “It’s a great story, a real gripping adventure, but it’s also a life lesson. It shows just how quickly society can break down. We all think we’re civilized, but when hunger sets in, we’re really just a few meals away from being savages.”

William Golding’s classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, “the boy with fair hair,” and Piggy, Ralph’s chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island’s wild pig population. Soon Ralph’s rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: “He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet.” Golding’s gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition. –Jennifer Hubert

Stephen King chose this book when asked by the National Book Foundation to name “The Book that Changed My Life.” Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, said “Lord of the Flies is one of my favorite books. That was a big influence on me as a teenager, I still read it every couple of years.”