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message 1: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Is his writing as good as the popularity of his books would have us believe OR is it the ideas he captures that make him readable?


message 2: by Travis (new)

Travis (travishiltz) He makes you think, but I've never walked away from an Orwell book thinking 'that was fun!"


message 3: by Ivan (new)

Ivan | 561 comments Yes, I read quite a bit of his work, and he was never "light hearted" or "fun."


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim | 24 comments I think Orwell is worth reading because He saw the reality of the situation He wrote about whether the racism in Burmese Days or the Big Brother world was his focus.

I was wondering why he used a pen name instaed of his real name Eric Blair. anyone know?


message 5: by El (new)

El Jim, he wanted to publish Down and Out in Paris and London under a pen name, and gave a friend like four different suggestions but finally decided on Orwell for the sound of it. Not sure of the validity of all this, but I read that somewhere years ago.

I think he also kept a pet goat in his backyard (I believe I read that in the New Yorker a few years back). Has nothing to do with his pen name or his writing, but I always liked that anecdote.


message 6: by El (new)

El As for the why behind the pen name... I can only speculate that perhaps because he was a teacher he didn't want to sully his name by some of his writing. Just an idea.


message 7: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1525 comments I reviewed Michael Shelden's GEORGE ORWELL: THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY this morning and he notes that although Orwell had previously published articles under his own name, he did request that Down and Out be published under a pseudonym - based on his lack of confidence in it.

He'd had much of failure, including his father's view of his resignation, and he didn't want the book to be Eric Blair's failure or even Eric Blair's success.


message 8: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Here is the link to George Orwell's short essay entitled 'Why I Write' - I found it quite illuminating so I've shared it in both the Burmese Days discussion thread and in here:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/w...

Let me know what you think...

Ally


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim | 24 comments A really good article and it's good to know Orwell was in Burma
I think he did reach his goal of writing "exactly" in describing the imperialist culture of the British near its death


message 10: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) I Love Orwell for manly his black sense of humour. It was in 1984, he was brilliant with irony. Though I might be the only person to giggle a little during 1984 so I don't know what that says about me.

Some of his essays were great. One called 'Shooting the Elephant' is actually very funny, though it is about the shooting of an elephant. He was very good at pointing out the absurdities with everything, though most of his humour was fuelled by his deep anger.



message 11: by Ally (new)

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
Here's another great article of Orwell's - Politics and the English Language:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/p...



message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Canoeist (michaelcanoeist) | 23 comments There is a great comment from the late American author and professor Neil Postman about Nineteen Eighty-Four that rings some bells with me:

"We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

"But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another -- slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preocuppied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny 'failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions.' In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

"This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right."

from the foreword to Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, excerpted here: http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/A...


message 13: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) I like it!


message 14: by Lindz (new)

Lindz (miss_bovary00) In a way I have always thought that both Orwell and Huxely weren't talking about some futuristic time but more about their own society. 'Brave New World' was published in 1932 a few years after the stock market crash, where in the 1920's it was all the bright young things it was about pleasure and self indulgent, and the passive and happy masses.

Then of course disaster, the Great Depression, Hitler, World War Two. Orwell published '1984' in 1948. In fact Orwell wanted to call it 1948 his publisher thought it was be too confusing so changed it to '1984' (really hope that is not an urban myth, love, love that story). Orwell lived through the blitz and the threat of the Third Reich invading Britain and changing life as everyone knew it. Plus with the strength of Communism and Stalin taking over in Europe; it was everything Orwell feared and hated

What each author wrote makes sense to the time period it was written in. But that sad thing is that we have learnt nothing from their work or history.


message 15: by Felisa (new)

Felisa Rosa (glassmongoose) | 23 comments On the subject of Orwell and fun, Down and Out in Paris and London is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I agree that his fiction isn't exactly fun, though.


message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin (trochus) | 35 comments Sorry to be a spoiler. For those who like him - that's good, don't be disheartened that I don't (or mostly I don't).
I like some of his essays, and he can certainly write with passion. But he irritates me so much. In the year (1949) he published 1984 (his great work on "Big Brother" society), he released his list of names to British Intelligence, warning them of undesirable elements who could not be trusted to put a pro-British stance in international relations. In Orwells list Chalie Chaplin was suspected of being a "Jew" (shock Horror!! How terrible!); other authors and some actors and a few labour politicians were described by Orwell as "Stupid", "Communist Sympathies", "weak and corrupt", "A liar", "Possible homosexual", etc; details from a notebook that Orwell had going for some nine years in which he clearly slanders many distinguished people whom he did not like (and there's a lot of them). The full list was published in The Guardian in 2003.

And if you read his "tribute" to working people - The Road to Wigan Pier - you just want to strangle him for his snobbish upper class attitudes (I do! - But he does feel for the dirty critters).

I think a lot of people like him, because 1) he writes good prose - I think he does (mostly) - and 2) they associate his works with his what they assume to be his convictions about injustcie and totalitarianism. If that is so, that is good. But as I have said before - Orwell himself is not what he appears to be.
If you like him - and he encourages you to read and feel outraged at injustice - then good. That is commendable in itself.


message 17: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1525 comments i remember when it came out about him being a rat. i was kind of shocked. It had always seemed to me that he swung the other way but at the time i had read animal farm. that was why i started reading his biography. i wanted to learn more about him.


message 18: by Ben (new)

Ben Carlsen (arkholt) | 2 comments I dunno, I was never really a fan of 1984. I like the ideas expressed, but it's always been unreadable to me. I've always loved Animal Farm, though. It can be seen as an allegory, but it's so much more than that. The ending is always my favorite part. I remember when my wife read it, she said, "What... that's it?!" She was very upset. I just told her that the world just works like that sometimes. Happy endings and politics don't always mix.


message 19: by Matt (new)

Matt Cowens (mattcowens) | 7 comments It was only on the third or fourth time that I read 1984 that I found out that Orwell's son was about the same age as Winston Smith (born at around the same time). I found it intriguing that a man of ailing health should choose to write so bleak a book about the future of his son's generation. The photo of Orwell with his son on his knee is quite lovely.

Pynchon's essay The Road to 1984 is where I read about this:

"...There is a photograph, taken around 1946 in Islington, of Orwell with his adopted son,Richard Horatio Blair. The little boy, who would have been around two at the time, is beaming, with unguarded delight. Orwell is holding him gently with both hands, smiling too, pleased, but not smugly so - it is more complex than that, as if he has discovered something that might be worth even more than anger... Winston Smith "believed that he had been born in 1944 or 1945 . . ." Richard Blair was born May 14,1944. It is not difficult to guess that Orwell, in 1984 , was imagining a future for his son's generation, a world he was not so much wishing upon them as warning against. He was impatient with predictions of the inevitable, he remained confident in the ability of ordinary people to change anything, if they would. It is the boy's smile, in any case, that we return to, direct and radiant, proceeding out of an unhesitating faith that the world, at the end of the day, is good and that human decency, like parental love, can always betaken for granted - a faith so honourable that we can almost imagine Orwell, and perhaps even ourselves, for a moment anyway, swearing to do whatever must be done to keep it from ever being betrayed. © Thomas Pynchon 2003"


message 20: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb I adore Orwell and have revisited much of his work over the last 12 months or so. You are possibly aware of his six rules for writing, which are...

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

There are many writers I've encountered who could benefit from these simple rules.

The original essay where Orwell published these rules is well worth reading. Here it is.


Sarah (Presto agitato) (mg2001) | 12 comments Matt wrote: "It was only on the third or fourth time that I read 1984 that I found out that Orwell's son was about the same age as Winston Smith (born at around the same time). I found it intriguing that a man of ailing health should choose to write so bleak a book about the future of his son's generation. The photo of Orwell with his son on his knee is quite lovely.

Pynchon's essay The Road to 1984 is where I read about this..."


I really appreciate you bringing Pynchon's essay to my attention. I hadn't read it before. I'm kind of an Orwell nut and I've read 1984 many times, as well as most of his other work and a lot of books about him, but I haven't seen anyone else make the point Pynchon did about the Newspeak appendix at the end of the book. (view spoiler) Like the example you mention about his son's age, it's nice to have a little optimism in an otherwise very dark book.


Sarah (Presto agitato) (mg2001) | 12 comments Nigeyb wrote: "I've just listened to two excellent podcasts on Orwell:

In this one, John Simpson, the BBC's World Affairs Editor and writer Hilary Spurling discuss George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, as part of..."


Thanks for the links! Great podcasts.


message 24: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Sarah wrote: "Thanks for the links! Great podcasts. "

Glad you enjoyed them. I thought they were great.

Jim wrote: "I was wondering why he used a pen name instaed of his real name Eric Blair. anyone know?"

I'm pretty sure it was to spare his parents' potential embarrassment prior to the publication of Down and Out in Paris and London.

Ivan wrote: "Yes, I read quite a bit of his work, and he was never "light hearted" or "fun." "

I thought Coming Up for Air had some funny moments but, yes, he's not a comedic writer - that's why PG Wodehouse was invented :-)


message 25: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 239 comments It is his ideas certainly for 1984 and Animal Farm but what else generaly gets read??? Not many. Having sat on Wigan Pier, I am about to read The Road to Wigan Pier which it a stark reminder of Britain in the 1920 and 1930s for the working classes. It is in great contrast to P G Wodehouse's "Jeeves & Wooster" Series or Agatha Chrsitie's Marple/Poirot, which sometimes I feel the world outside of the UK seldom sees the reality. The reality of Industrial areas of Britain such as Manchester, I still remember stories of true poverty from my aunts. Anyway I shall compare his words to my family's experiences.


message 26: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments There is a film adaptation of Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying, available on DVD titled A Merry War starring Richard E. Grant and Helen Bonham Carter. Very well done, the clothes and the scenery, set in 1930's London.


message 27: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Greg wrote: "There is a film adaptation of Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying, available on DVD titled A Merry War starring Richard E. Grant and Helen Bonham Carter. Very well done, the clothes and the scenery, set in 1930's London."

Thanks Greg. In the UK it was called by its original title. I think the name change was only for the US, Australia and New Zealand. Not sure why they changed it.

I've never seen it having only read very bad reviews of it. This one is fairly typical....

Unsuccessful adaptation of George Orwell's satire on the advertising industry, Keep the Aspidistra Flying seems to have ditched most of the novel's finer points in favour an old-fashioned romantic rift between Grant and Bonham Carter. Grant convinces as the copywriter giving up his job for poetry, only to end up as the sort of capitalist Orwell despised. Director Bierman seems unsure of what to do with his material or indeed his talented actors. Even if you haven't read Orwell's original, this reeks of a failed literary adaptation which has little regard or understanding for its source material.


I thought Keep the Aspidistra Flying was one of his less successful novels (though still well worth a read - it is George after all) - perhaps I should check out this film, especially if the attention to period detail is done well. I do like Grant and Bonham Carter very much.


message 28: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments Nigeyb wrote: "Greg wrote: "There is a film adaptation of Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying, available on DVD titled A Merry War starring Richard E. Grant and Helen Bonham Carter. Very well done, the clothes an..."

I haven't read Keep the Aspidistra Flying, so I couldn't compare it to the film, which seems a good thing, from reading the 'bad' review.
A lot of films only capture part of a book and change things anyway.


message 29: by Greg (last edited Jul 31, 2013 10:55PM) (new)

Greg | 330 comments Ally wrote: "Is his writing as good as the popularity of his books would have us believe OR is it the ideas he captures that make him readable?"

Ally, here's a good article on George Orwell, from NYRB.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archi...

I have wondered, is George Orwell any relation to a former British PM?


message 30: by Nigeyb (last edited Aug 01, 2013 01:01AM) (new)

Nigeyb Greg wrote: "Ally, here's a good article on George Orwell, from NYRB."

What a marvellous article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. That crossing of the notorious Corryvreckan whirlpool sounded like a heck of an escapade.

I have, but have yet to read, the Bernard Crick biography...

Orwell left explicit instructions that no biography be written of him, and he even actively discouraged one early attempt. He felt that “every life viewed from the inside would be a series of defeats too humiliating and disgraceful to contemplate.” And yet the posthumous treatment he received from his biographers and editors is truly admirable—I think in particular of the works of Bernard Crick and of Peter Davison, whose volumes are models of critical intelligence and scholarship.


...I nominated it on a few occasions for the BYT non-fiction read but it never garnered enough votes for us to read it. I will definitely read it sometime. I have heard very good things about it.

Greg wrote: "I have wondered, is George Orwell any relation to a former British PM? "

I doubt it. If he were I am sure we'd have heard about it before now.


message 31: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1525 comments Greg wrote: "Ally wrote: "Is his writing as good as the popularity of his books would have us believe OR is it the ideas he captures that make him readable?"

Ally, here's a good article on George Orwell, from ..."


Not that I know of. I am readibg (on occasion) the Michael Shelden (authorized) biography of him. It is a fairly good read.


message 32: by Sarah (Presto agitato) (last edited Aug 01, 2013 12:34PM) (new)

Sarah (Presto agitato) (mg2001) | 12 comments Greg wrote: "Ally, here's a good article on George Orwell, from NYRB.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archi..."


Great article! The books he is reviewing (Diaries and A Life in Letters) are essentially "highlights" from The Complete Works (edited by Peter Davison), and are worth reading for Orwell fans who may not be up for the entire eleven volumes of The Complete Works (no longer in print) that are letters, diaries, and essays.

"I have wondered, is George Orwell any relation to a former British PM? "

If there is any relationship, it must be distant, as Orwell only had sisters, and they had different married last names.


message 33: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments Nigeyb wrote: "Greg wrote: "Ally, here's a good article on George Orwell, from NYRB."

What a marvellous article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. That crossing of the notorious Corryvreckan whirlpool sounded l..."


Nigeyb, regarding an earlier comment on George Orwell's slim book, (148 pages), titled Fighting in Spain, I think it is an extract from Homage to Catalonia.

Here is another good article on Mr. Orwell. Everything I read about George Orwell, my admiration for him increases.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archi...


message 34: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Thanks Greg - another interesting article. Like you, my admiration only ever seems to increase.


message 35: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments Here's my review of Down and Out in Paris and London.

The comparison of being down and out in these two cities, so close geographically and yet so different in character, and the policies of the two government toward the homeless, Orwell's very clear straight-ahead journalistic writing style gives a good idea of the period, places and the people of two very different cities. The unemployed seemed to have a better time of it in Paris than in London, but still, hunger is hunger.


In England, a country that established individual rights, Magna Carta and the rule of law, also created a system of entrenched inequality and those terrible 'vagrant' laws. This was a time when there wasn't much, if any social safety net, just religious charities.

By the end of the book, Orwell raises more questions than gives answers.
So many of the 'down and outs' were returned servicemen, which Evelyn Waugh gives the genius of his pen to describe a withering summation in Brideshead Revisited of how the working class were used as cannon fodder. "These men must die to make a better world for Hooper; they were the aborigines, vermin by right of law, to be shot off at leisure so that things might be safe for the travelling salesman, with his polygonal pince-nez, his fat wet hand-shake, his grinning dentures."
Oh, ouch!

The book doesn't account for or recognise anything about homelessness caused by mental health issues, a lot of which would have been the result of going to war.
Tradesmen were tramps because they couldn't afford to buy tools, with which they would have been able to work.
There was deplorable wastage of nutritious food deliberately not given to vagrants, tramps and the unemployed who had malnutrition from a diet of stale bread and constant hunger.
It was surprising to learn that tramps had no possibility of female contact and consequently, homosexuality was common among vagrants.

Such was the English class system that Orwell changed his name on his first book to prevent embarrassing his lower-middle class parents, their only son having lived as a vagrant, instead of them saying that their son is a published author highlighting this area of social inequality.

Everything I read about George Orwell, he increases in my estimation. Orwell had a good heart - a lot of integrity.


message 36: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Great review Greg. Thanks.


message 37: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments George Orwell's letter on why he wrote '1984'.

From the Daily Beast
5 years before publishing '1984,' George Orwell penned a letter detailing the thesis of his great novel.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles...

I haven't read 1984, I've attempted Aldous Huxley's Brave New World a few times but I don't like novels that predict the future.
Is 1984 similar in theme to BNW?


message 38: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb It's been decades since I read either, however I plan to reread 1984 which I remember as being superb.


message 39: by Val (new)

Val "1984" and "Brave New World" are only similar in that both authors took concerns of the day and projected their effects into the future. The concerns are different, although both authors include high levels of social conditioning.


message 40: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments Val wrote: ""1984" and "Brave New World" are only similar in that both authors took concerns of the day and projected their effects into the future. The concerns are different, although both authors include hi..."

Thanks Val and Nigeyb. "1984" is one of those iconic works that I should get to. It sort of nags at me that I haven't read it.


message 41: by Val (last edited Aug 13, 2013 04:53AM) (new)

Val The forward to Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman, which Michael quotes from earlier in this thread, includes a comparison of the concerns addressed in 1984 and Brave New World.
The other main difference is that Huxley writes like an intellectual with a perspective and Orwell writes like a crusading journalist. I like both books, but the styles are very different so you might find "1984" appeals more directly.
If you suddenly find you do like dystopian novels after all, try a forerunner to these two: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (and if you don't try H. G. Wells, he is a lot more optimistic).


message 42: by Greg (new)

Greg | 330 comments Val wrote: "The forward to Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman, which Michael quotes from earlier in this thread, includes a comparison of the concerns addr..."

Excellent, and helpful, thanks again Val. 'Amusing Ourselves to Death' looks like it is turning the spotlight back onto The Fourth Estate.
'We' looks prescient. Not sure if I want to go there. It looks like a good book though.


message 43: by Anna (new)

Anna I see this thread ended a few months ago but I've just spotted it. I've just finished reading Coming Up for Air by George Orwell. It was a re-read for me as I really like this book. Has anyone else read this as I'd love to hear your thoughts.

My review of it is on my blog: www.leftontheshelfbookblog.blogspot.c...


message 44: by Nigeyb (last edited Dec 23, 2013 06:23AM) (new)

Nigeyb Anna wrote: "I've just finished reading Coming Up for Air by George Orwell. It was a re-read for me as I really like this book. Has anyone else read this as I'd love to hear your thoughts."

Thanks for the link to your review Anna. I enjoyed reading your review and agree with everything you've written.

I read it back in June 2012 Anna, and really enjoyed it. I have yet to read an Orwell book that I have not enjoyed, though would also say that Coming Up for Air is one of my favourites by him.

Here's what I wrote just after I'd finished it:

My preoccupation with British literature set in the immediate pre-WW2 era and in, or around, London continues. I recently read Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton and that kick started a whole fascination with English literature set in or around London c1939. In addition to Hangover Square, particular recent highlights include...

London Belongs to Me
The Slaves of Solitude
Of Love And Hunger

...it's a rich vein that I continue to mine.

"Coming Up For Air" was my first George Orwell since "Homage to Catalonia" a few years back (whilst preoccupied with books about the Spanish Civil War). I'd also read "1984" and "Animal Farm" when I was a teenager.

This book is another great slice of pre-WW2 English literature. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It evokes the era perfectly. The book is split into four parts. The second part is full of childhood reminiscences from the early twentieth century. The protagonist recalls his childhood from the perspective of the late 1930s. This section reminded me very much of "Cider with Rosie" (one of my favourite books), with the key difference that this is fiction. It made me wonder how Orwell managed to so credibly know, and be able to relate, a childhood in a small rural community. Either way it's a stunning section, and also very cleverly manages to highlight some of the seismic changes that took place for the average person in the UK throughout the twentieth century.

George Bowling, the middle-aged, middle-income protagonist is a great vehicle for Orwell's musings on pre-WW2 England. Bowling is an insightful, straight talking Everyman character who conveys his thoughts with great honesty and self-deprecating humour.

The book also contains some hints at what was to come with "1984" which Orwell would write a few years later - specifically musings on an "after-war" dystopian future characterised by hate, slogans, secret cells etc. Remarkably prescient and demonstrating he was already thinking about some of the themes that were later developed so memorably in "1984".

The end of the book is pretty downbeat and this tone characterises the whole book and therefore might not be to everyone's taste. I loved it. I've already bought Orwell's "Keep the Aspidistra Flying" which I will read soon. If you like any of the books I list at the start of this review then I'm confident you'd enjoy this book too.


message 45: by Anna (new)

Anna Nigeyb wrote: "Anna wrote: "I've just finished reading Coming Up for Air by George Orwell. It was a re-read for me as I really like this book. Has anyone else read this as I'd love to hear your thou..."

I think you are absolutely right about the book being a foretaste of things to come in 1984 and in that sense it was very Orwellian.

Thank you for the suggestions of the other books. More books to add to my ever growing wish list :)


message 46: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb Thanks Anna. My other favourite books by Orwell (and bear in mind I think they're all good) include...

A Clergyman's Daughter
Down and Out in Paris and London
Burmese Days


message 47: by Anna (new)

Anna Nigeyb wrote: "Thanks Anna. My other favourite books by Orwell (and bear in mind I think they're all good) include...

A Clergyman's Daughter
Down and Out in Paris and London
[book:Bu..."


We are of one mind. I have read all of those and they are excellent. I shall reread them again at some point to. There are very few books that I think deserve rereading but Orwell's can stand many rereads.

My favourite Orwell remains 1984 though.


message 48: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikeynick) | 239 comments I have today found lurking in the back of one of the cases a six novel collection of his novels. I must re-acquaint myself with him. I have a photo of me sat on Wigan Pier which appropriately I shall use as a bookmark.
Anyone recommend the definitive Orwell biography?


message 49: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1525 comments I don't know if it is the definitive biography but I am reading George Orwell: The Authorised Biography by Michael Shelden. I also have on my shelf The Girl from the Fiction Department: A Portrait of Sonia Orwell by Hilary Spurling.


message 50: by Nigeyb (last edited Dec 24, 2013 02:29AM) (new)

Nigeyb Jan C wrote: "I don't know if it is the definitive biography but I am reading George Orwell: The Authorised Biography by Michael Shelden."

Thanks Jan. What do you make of it? I'd be keen to hear a first hand review from someone who has read it. Like Michael, I am up for reading a good biography of the great man.

I have a biography of George Orwell by Bernard Crick called "George Orwell: A Life", that a friend, and Orwell fanatic, told me was his favourite. That said, I have seen quite mixed reviews - though such is the passion that he arouses that it seems to me most biographies about him provoke contrasting reactions. I have not read it yet but perhaps 2014 will be the year I finally get to it.

I nominated "George Orwell: A Life" for the BYT non-fiction read on a few occasions but, sadly, it was never chosen.


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