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George Orwell
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Archive > Group Read -> March 2018 -> Nomination thread (A book by, or about, George Orwell, won by Down and Out In Paris and London)

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message 1: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Happy new year. Here’s to a wonderful 2018. It’s the first of the month which means only one thing, it’s Group Read nomination time again.


Every month we will discuss a book on a specific era or a theme. This book will be the winner of a group poll. The approximate timings are...

1st of the month - request nominations
7th of the month - publish poll
14th of the month - announce winner

Our third theme is George Orwell and we will be reading and discussing the winning book in March 2018

If you feel inspired, please nominate a book by, or about, George Orwell that you would like to read and discuss.

It can be either fiction or non-fiction.

Please supply the title, author, a brief synopsis, and anything else you'd like to mention about the book, and why you think it might make a good book to discuss.

If your nomination wins then please be willing to fully participate in the subsequent discussion.

Happy nominating.




message 2: by Cordelia (new)

Cordelia (anne21) The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, Published in 1937.

A book about unemployment and the social conditions in economically depressed northern England. Orwell travelled to Wigan, Sheffield, Leeds and Bardsley, and he lived with the minors and the working class people while he researched the book. He writes about what he saw and experienced. The book was published by the Left Book Club and included photographs of what he saw.

The second part of the book is rather controversial. Orwell discusses the relevance of socialism to improving living conditions. He attempts to answer the questions that he asks in the first part.


message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma (keeperofthearchives) Ive always wanted to read Down and Out in Paris and London but id be happy with anything that isn't his most famous two!

Though i'd happily vote for Cordelia's suggestion of Wigan Pier-- it is rather topical considering the rise of Corbyn last year, as well the increasing homelessness and fall in provisions for the poor.


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
Interesting to see the first two suggestions are non-fiction. That isn't a complaint by the way (I love non-fiction), just a comment!


message 5: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 01, 2018 07:38AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Interesting to see the first two suggestions are non-fiction."


One of the debates surrounding Down and Out in Paris and London is whether it was a piece of factual autobiography or part fiction. I think the consensus view is that it contains elements of fiction, albeit fiction rooted in experience.

I've read (and in some cases reread) all of George Orwell's fiction and the vast majority of his non-fiction. He is one of my favourite writers so I feel I can't really lose with anything we end up choosing. That said, I was mulling over which of his novels I'd most like to reread and concluded it would be the best known, 1984

My favourite George Orwell novels in approximate order of preference are...

Coming Up for Air
1984
A Clergyman's Daughter
Down and Out in Paris and London
Burmese Days

However, my nomination for our March 2018 group read is...

1984

Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.



1984 by George Orwell



message 6: by Roman Clodia (new)

Roman Clodia | 4170 comments Mod
Another non-fiction from me: the 2013 'intellectual biography' of Orwell, George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls.

From the Amazon blurb:
An intellectual who did not like intellectuals, a socialist who did not trust the state, a writer of the left who found it easier to forgive writers of the right, a liberal who was against free markets, a Protestant who believed in religion but not in God, a fierce opponent of nationalism who defined Englishness for a generation.

Aside from being one of the greatest political essayists in the English language and author of two of the most famous books in twentieth century literature, George Orwell was a man of many fascinating contradictions, someone who liked to go against the grain because he believed that was where the truth usually lay.

George Orwell, English Rebel takes us on a journey through the many twists and turns of Orwell's life and thought, from the precocious public school satirist at Eton and the imperial policeman in Burma, through his early years as a rather dour documentary writer, down and out on the streets of Paris and London and on the road to Wigan pier, of his formative experiences as a volunteer soldier in the Spanish Civil War.

Above all, the book skilfully traces Orwell's gradual reconciliation with his country, a journey which began down a coal mine in 1936 to find its exhilarating peaks during the dark days of the Second World War.


I've read the brief introduction and like the way Colls refuses to pigeon-hole Orwell, instead embracing his contradictions (politics, religion), always good for discussion, - and does it all in 220 pages!


message 7: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Roman Clodia wrote: "Another non-fiction from me: the 2013 'intellectual biography' of Orwell, George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls"

Ooh - very tempting RC

I'm already sold, just by the title, and then add in the blurb and I am rubbing my hands together in anticipation


message 8: by Marcus (new)

Marcus Vinicius | 67 comments Greats nominations so far. I always want to read G. Orwell, so I’ll happily participate in this book reading.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
Some great suggestions so far. I think I will refrain from nominating this month as there are so many good choices already. I am also tempted by the biography, as I have already read 1984, Paris and London and Wigan Pier; although I would be happy to re-read any of those.


message 10: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1025 comments I've read Down and Out, am still reading (somewhere) Wigan Pier and Burmese Days, Orwell: The Authorized Biography by Michael Shelden. Animal Farm is also on my shelf for a re-read.

I just noticed that I have Orwell by D.J. Taylor on my Kindle. So this is my nomination.


message 11: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments I have read all the major non-fiction at least twice, some collections of shorter non-fiction, most of the novels and the Taylor biography. This means that whichever book wins will most probably be a re-read and I don't mind what it is, so I am not nominating anything this month.


message 12: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 02, 2018 11:31PM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Thanks for all the nominations so far. Here's a summary....


Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor


Any more?




message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 332 comments I nominate Homage to Catalonia, given the current political issues they are experiencing it may give an insight into the history of how Catalonians see themselves.
(also I am already reading it so it's one less book to source and read, with so many already on the go!)


message 14: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments The BYT group were supposed to be reading that last month, but there is no discussion thread and plenty to discuss.


message 15: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 02, 2018 09:38AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Yes indeed. Homage to Catalonia is yet another goodie, and provides a great insight into the politics of the Spanish Civil War. It also appears to have inspired a number of the scenes in Ken Loach’s splendid Spanish Civil War film ‘Land and Freedom’.

George Orwell’s description of Barcelona immediately after the revolution will live long in my memory – a real glimpse of a socialist utopia. Alas it was all too brief and ultimately factionalism defeats the allies as George explains later in the book.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
Val wrote: "The BYT group were supposed to be reading that last month, but there is no discussion thread and plenty to discuss."

Such a shame, Val. I remember a book I nominated winning a vote, and, when the moderators failed to open a thread, I did it myself. It felt very wrong - I didn't like interfering with the group, as I wasn't a mod there. Well, perhaps Catalonia will get another chance on this group.


message 17: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Thanks for all the nominations so far. Here's a summary....


Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor
Michael: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Any more?




message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
Some great nominations. I would happily read any of those.


message 19: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4269 comments Mod
Me too, Susan - I won’t nominate as I am already spoilt for choice!


message 20: by Roisin (new)

Roisin | 173 comments Wow! George Orwell! Cool! : )

Is it to late to nominate Burmese Days?


message 21: by Roisin (new)

Roisin | 173 comments Meant too late!


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
Not at all, Roisin. The vote is not yet up. (Glad you like the theme by the way!).


message 23: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Great to see you posting here again Roisin. Here's the lastest summary of nominations, now with added Roisin....


Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor
Michael: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Roisin : Burmese Days by George Orwell

Any more?




message 24: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 233 comments I've only read Animal Farm and 1984, so depending on what wins I'll join in. :) (It'll depend if the winner is available to me.) There are some good suggestions here!


message 25: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Great news Bronwyn - here's hoping you feel inspired by whatever ends up winning the poll, and you can easily get hold of a copy.


message 26: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Murtha Not meaning to add to the many excellent nominations, but Emma Larkin's Reading George Orwell in Burma is fantastic.

Burmese Days is an excellent novel, although truly depressing. Not much of Orwell is uplifting, honestly.

My favorite Orwell novel is Keep the Aspidistra Flying. I have yet to read Coming Up for Air or A Clergyman's Daughter.


message 27: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 03, 2018 09:03AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "Not meaning to add to the many excellent nominations, but Emma Larkin's Reading George Orwell in Burma is fantastic"

Just to be clear Patrick, that's NOT a nomination for Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin then? Just a recommendation? I'll assume it's not a nomination unless you come back and confirm that you do want to add it to the list of nominations.

Patrick wrote: "I have yet to read Coming Up for Air or A Clergyman's Daughter"

You've got a couple of treats in store there Patrick - loved 'em both. As I mention above, my top five George Orwell novels in approximate order of preference are...

Coming Up for Air
1984
A Clergyman's Daughter
Down and Out in Paris and London
Burmese Days


message 28: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Murtha Just a recommendation, yes, because there are plenty of nominations already!


message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
I haven't read Burmese Days, but sounds as though it would be great to read alongside Reading George Orwell in Burma. Something to explore later in the year, so thanks for all the suggestions and recommendations, alongside the nominations!


message 30: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 04, 2018 05:44AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
I sense we might now have all the nominations we're going to get for our George Orwell themed read in March 2018.


Here's what we've got so far...

Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor
Michael: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Roisin: Burmese Days by George Orwell

Any more?




message 31: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Murtha Susan wrote: "I haven't read Burmese Days, but sounds as though it would be great to read alongside Reading George Orwell in Burma. Something to explore later in the year, so thanks for all the suggestions and r..."

Absolutely right. I read those two in tandem.


message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9062 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "Susan wrote: "I haven't read Burmese Days, but sounds as though it would be great to read alongside Reading George Orwell in Burma. Something to explore later in the year, so thanks for all the sug..."

Added to my, very long, TBR list - thanks, Patrick :)


message 33: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Last call for nominations


I'll get the polls up later today


message 34: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 05, 2018 04:33AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
The poll is now live (link below)....


Below is a summary of the nominations for our George Orwell themed read in March 2018. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the discussion so far. Each nomination would make for an interesting and illuminating group read. Which one would you most like to read and discuss?...

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...

Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor
Michael: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Roisin: Burmese Days by George Orwell




message 35: by Nigeyb (new)


message 36: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 332 comments Nice picture, I shall be their soon and plan to take the very same photograph, although the square itself is unremarkable in itself.


message 37: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 07, 2018 05:01AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
Please report back Michael


I'm especially curious to learn about your experience of reading Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell whilst in situ, being a wannabe psychogeographer and all.


message 38: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
#pollwatch


Down and Out in Paris and London 5 votes, 31.3%
George Orwell: English Rebel 4 votes, 25.0%
Burmese Days 3 votes, 18.8%
Orwell 2 votes, 12.5%
1984 1 vote, 6.3%
The Road to Wigan Pier 1 vote, 6.3%
Homage to Catalonia 0 votes, 0.0%

16 total votes

https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/1...

Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor
Michael: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Roisin: Burmese Days by George Orwell




message 39: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 11, 2018 01:31PM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
#pollwatch


It's a two horse race now with just over a day to go...

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell 6 votes, 35.3%
Burmese Days by George Orwell 5 votes, 29.4%
Orwell 2 votes, 11.8%
George Orwell: English Rebel 2 votes, 11.8%
1984 1 vote, 5.9%
The Road to Wigan Pier 1 vote, 5.9%
Homage to Catalonia 0 votes, 0.0%

17 total votes




Cordelia: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell
Emma: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
Nigeyb: 1984 by George Orwell
Roman Clodia: George Orwell: English Rebel by Robert Colls
Jan C: Orwell by D.J. Taylor
Michael: Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Roisin: Burmese Days by George Orwell


message 40: by Nigeyb (last edited Jan 13, 2018 12:20AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
We have a winner....


Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Nominated by Emma

Thanks to everyone who nominated and voted

See you in March 2018 for the discussion

This unusual fictional account - in good part autobiographical - narrates without self-pity and often with humour the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities.

The Parisian episode is fascinating for its expose of the kitchens of posh French restaurants, where the narrator works at the bottom of the culinary echelon as dishwasher, or plongeur.

In London, while waiting for a job, he experiences the world of tramps, street people, and free lodging houses.

In the tales of both cities we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.







message 41: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 233 comments Wonderful! I can get this one from the library. I’m looking forward to it. :)


message 42: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 332 comments Excellent, picked a new copies of Down & Out in London Paris together with a copy of Our Man in Havana for a total cost of £5. yay. Along with music CDs and full set of Inspector Montalbano DVD on the TV series, I do have one of the books to read by way of comparison.


message 43: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Murtha I have the Penguin paperback of this in my library, so I am good to go.


message 44: by Seonag (new)

Seonag (seonagp) | 0 comments That's great, my husband has always raved about this book, which also means we've already got a copy on the shelves :-)


message 45: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 332 comments When I was much younger I did try reading it but found it heavy going, I'm older and wiser (well maybe) so hopefully I'll have a more positive reading experience.


message 46: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 8545 comments Mod
I think it's a very good book - I am looking forward to discovering how everyone here reacts to it


message 47: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1025 comments I enjoyed it. Not too sure when I read it. I haven't decided yet whether to get it again since I don't usually hold on to books I've read.

I especially enjoyed it when I was able to compare it to Jack London's The People of the Abyss. Although London only went to London.


message 48: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments Got it!


message 49: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 687 comments Not sure whether I will find time to read this any time soon, as I am overloaded with other reading commitments. I feel a little guilty about this because I voted in the poll to help break the deadlock...


message 50: by Val (new)

Val | 1710 comments I see from the bookshelf that we are reading it in March 2017!


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