Most people I know who read George Orwell have read 1984 and Animal Farm. I might occasionally bump into someone who was once assigned to read one of the revered George Orwell Essays like:
These are three illuminating, fantastic essays that speak volumes in a few pages. These essays encapsulate all of the themes that Orwell concerned himself with.
But they aren’t the only ones. I think just about every Orwell essay that doesn’t get assigned in school is under-apppreciated, or at least under-read.
Orwell wrote and wrote and wrote. He has so much non-fiction out there, and I believe that anyone who enjoyed any of the essays mentioned above would enjoy most of it.
There’s so much of it that simply going out and trying to piece it together is a daunting task. So far, my favorite and most comprehensive collections of Orwell’s writing (essays, letters, and journalism) are these books:
- George Orwell: An Age Like This 1920-1940
- My Country Right Or Left 1940-1943
- As I Please 1943-1945
- In Front Of Your Nose 1945-1950
The reason that many of these seemingly insignificant or irrelevant pieces matter to me–such as Orwell’s ruminations on manners, the perfect tea, English parliamentary procedures–is that there is at least one moment of insight in every single piece that makes me glad I read it.
I always find a slightly different way of seeing things. That’s all I ever want when I read. A new set of questions to think about.
If you’re interested in reading George Orwell’s Essays, I’d start with the top three. If they are powerful or persuasive to you, please consider trying any of the others I mentioned.