After finishing Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass early, and igniting a new passion after years of stagnation for the printed word, I quickly took myself after my next payday to the local Waterstones. It felt as though I hadn’t been there since I was young, unchanged throughout the years that I hadn’t set foot in the place or bought a book from there. It was familiar and comfortable – this was the store I’d bought every Harry Potter book from at midnight, my local.
I went straight to the Classics section, marvelling at the thicknesses of War and Peace and Ulysses – maybe something to try for another time. After rooting around, I found what I was looking for: my next read of Animal Farm. My co-worker had said to me that its length was less than the iTunes Terms and Conditions; I don’t know if it’s true, but the book’s more like a pamphlet than a novel, and so I was pleasantly surprised when I finished it in a day!
I decided to skip the foreword, but I read this after I finished the book. It’s a piece of political satirical work, cloaked in the very rustic Englishness of an animal fable set in a farm. Even though I try not to involve myself a lot with politics and parties and history, I could easily grasp the context and issues brought up in Animal Farm – of how rebellion quickly turns again to capitalism; pigs turning to humans. It’s written in a dry, easily digestable manner – fancy words don’t take away from the story and its moral. I think Animal Farm is an acutely interesting book for anyone interested in reading a simple, gripping tale which gives you something to chew over, and the Penguin Classic’s foreword provides a short and refreshing context of the events and climate surrounding the book’s publication. So that’s two (really, 3, if you count Alice as two) books I’ve read in a month! Pretty good going for a self-professed non-reader!
But I also picked up a second book with Animal Farm – on a whim, and to give me something to read once I finished, lucky for me, as Animal Farm was over and done with in a matter of hours! I bought another Classic, this time a James Joyce collection of short stories, entitled Dubliners. It was the opening words that gripped me: There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke; and the evocative, stark descriptions of Irish life (and often death) are pretty brilliant. Though that’s for my next reading blog!