George Bowling, an insurance salesman, hits middle age and feels impelled to "come up for air" from his life of quiet desperation. With seventeen pounds he has won at a race, he steals a vacation from his wife and his family and pays a visit to Lower Binfield, the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. But the pool is gone, Lower Binfield has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of Bowling's holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.
Bowling's everyman life is also a sort of cavalcade of England from 1893 to 1938. Written when the clouds of World War II were already gathering, this story of Bowling's journey into his own and his country's past is told with humor, warmth, and nostalgia which will surprise and delight George Orwell's many readers.
Colonial politics in 1930 Kyauktada, India, come to a head when the European Club, previously for whites only, is ordered to elect one token native member. The deeply racist members do their best to manipulate the situation, resulting in the loss not only of reputations, but of lives.
Amidst this cynical setting, timber merchant James Flory stands as a bridge between the warring factions, a Brit with a genuine appreciation for the native people and culture. But he has trouble acting on his feelings, and the significance of his vote, both social and political, weighs on him. When Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives, blonde, eligible, and anti-intellectual, Flory finds himself the hapless suitor.
Orwell alternates between grand-scale political intrigue and nuanced social interaction, mining his own Colonial Indian heritage to create a monument of historical fiction.
Gordon Comstock is a poor young man who works by day in a grubby London bookstore and spends his evenings shivering in a rented room, trying to write. Gordon has published a slim volume of verse and is determined to keep free of the “money world” of safe, lucrative jobs, marriage, and family responsibilities. This world, to Gordon, spells the end of art and aspidistra, the homely, indestructible house plant that stands in every middle-class British window.
Gordon’s sweetheart, Rosemary, understands him: she is patient with his pride and lack of funds. But then, as it happens with all lovers, events overtake them.
Orwell’s picture of the “money world,” as Gordon sees it, is in his best satirical vein.
Orwell’s own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a man living in Paris in the early 1930s without a penny. The narrator’s poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only.
A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.
Voted America's Best-Loved Novel in PBS's The Great American Read
Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred
One of the most cherished stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
Of Mice and Men also represents an experiment in form, as Steinbeck described his work, “a kind of playable novel, written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands.” A rarity in American letters, it achieved remarkable success as a novel, a Broadway play, and three acclaimed films.
In 1936, George Orwell went to Spain to report on the civil war and instead joined the POUM militia to fight against the Fascists. In this now justly famous account of his experience, he describes both the bleak and the comic aspects of trench warfare on the Aragon front, the Barcelona uprising in May 1937, his nearly fatal wounding just two weeks later, and his escape from Barcelona into France after the POUM was suppressed. As important as the story of the war itself is Orwell’s analysis of why the Communist Party sabotaged the workers’ revolution and branded the POUM as Trotskyist, which provides an essential key to understanding the outcome of the war and an ironic sidelight on international Communism. It was during this period in Spain that Orwell learned for himself the nature of totalitarianism in practice, an education that laid the groundwork for his great books Animal Farm and 1984.