Book choice for January 2013

Essays [suggested by Amy Gregg]

Essays

The articles collected in George Orwell's Essays illuminate the life and work of one of the most individual writers of this century - a man who elevated political writing to an art. The Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Bernard Crick.

This outstanding collection brings together Orwell's longer, major essays and a fine selection of shorter pieces that includes 'My Country Right or Left', 'Decline of the English Murder', 'Shooting an Elephant' and 'A Hanging'. With great originality and wit Orwell unfolds his views on subjects ranging from a revaluation of Charles Dickens to the nature of Socialism, from a comic yet profound discussion of naughty seaside postcards to a spirited defence of English cooking. Displaying an almost unrivalled mastery of English plain prose, Orwell's essays created a unique literary manner from the process of thinking aloud and continue to challenge, move and entertain. [product description on Amazon]

There appears to be no single Wikipedia page for the collection of essays known simply as "Essays" although Orwell's complete bibliography page does list several collections assembled by various people at different times. This link to a tribute site includes the text of many of the essays (and is free!).

About the Author

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.
Wikipedia page.
Further extended biography (another part of the same site linked above)

 

Shortlisted for this month

Book selectors can bring one, two or three books for selection, although it's usual to bring three. This month Amy's other selections were unusual in being all by the same author:

Animal Farm

Animal Farm

Animal Farm, by George Orwell is a brilliant political satire and a powerful and affecting story of revolutions and idealism, power and corruption.

'All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.'

Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges...

Animal Farm - the history of a revolution that went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power. [Product description from Amazon]

Wikipedia entry.

About the Author

See above.

Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia

A firsthand account of the brutal conditions of the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia includes an introduction by Julian Symons in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism as I understand it'. Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the vicious treachery of his supposed allies. [Product description from Amazon]

The book has its own Wikipedia page.

About the Author

See above.

 

Previous Months' Book Choices

2012

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2011

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2010

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2009

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2008

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2007

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2006

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