Archives For George Orwell

Quote of the Day:
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”
-George Orwell
Born on this day 1904

 
Poem of the Day:
Art by Alfred Noyes
Remembering Poet Alfred Noyes,
who died on this day 1958
 
Kindle Ebook of the Day: 
Home to Harmony: A Novel
(Book 1 in the Harmony Series)
by Philip Gulley – Only $2.99!!!
*** Read our recent interview with Philip Gulley about his Quaker faith
 
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The Wake Up Call – June 25, 2014

 

A Window on the Truth

A Feature Review of

George Orwell: English Rebel

Robert Colls

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2013
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Taylor Brorby
 
George Orwell was nothing if not contradictory. As Robert Colls points out in his latest book, George Orwell: English Rebel, Orwell “was what they used to call a ‘Socialist’. He shared also some attitudes to life that used to be called ‘Tory’.” But, as Colls highlights, Orwell’s contrariness goes even deeper—he was a privately educated (scholarship-funded) student who chose to decline attending Cambridge; he joined the Imperial Police, going to Burma, though he disdained British imperialism; he was thoroughly British, though he swore no allegiance to his homeland. Orwell, in many ways, was the precursor to another of Britain’s more famous sons, Christopher Hitchens.
 
Colls’s book deftly illustrates a rather conflicted man: Orwell left no major body of work, though his works play a large part in literature and political science classes, and, as a result, leave him without classification—is Orwell a satirist? Polemic? Allegorist? Essayist? Novelist? Since Orwell lived in no narrow genre, his mind lives largely in many areas of scholarship.
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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

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Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in an American Prison
By Joshua Dubler

Read the Kirkus Review

 

George Orwell

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Book News

Some interesting bits of book news and conversations that I have collected over the last week:

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Here are a few new book releases this week that are worth checking out:

New Book Releases - Week of 20 August 2012Topping our list of new releases this new is the debut novel by Amanda Coplin, The Orchardist.  In a starred review, Publishers Weekly describes the novel: “Talmedge tends his fruit orchards in the Pacific Northwest during the early years of the 20th century, but his quiet occupation is disrupted when two sisters flee their brothel, seeking refuge. Coplin relates the story with appropriate restraint, given Talmadge’s reserved personality, and yet manages to evoke a world where the effects of two dramatic losses play out within a strikingly beautiful natural landscape.”

Watch for our review in the near future!

Hardback, Harper.
Buy now [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

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The ORION magazine review of
A NATURAL SENSE OF WONDER:
CONNECTING KIDS WITH NATURE THROUGH THE SEASONS
by Rick Van Noy

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/review/4269/

RULE NUMBER SEVEN in our shaggy tiny house crammed with three lanky children: one hour of screen time per day, you choose the screens. Rule Number Eleven: yes, you can vanish all weekend on your bike whipping through the woods with your buddies, and yes, you can putter around in the creeklet all you want, and yes, you can wander along the riverbank looking for minks and money, just be home by dark.

 

And yes, there is daily wailing and gnashing of teeth about the television/ video/computer rule, but the queen of the house agrees wholeheartedly with Rick Van Noy, who says that any natural setting is better than the “flickering waves of TV and the electrifying boing of video games.” So out into the unkempt yard go the children, and to the creek, and to the river, and to the vacant lot by Mrs. Walsh’s house, which isn’t vacant at all, of course.

 

The greatest virtue of Van Noy’s lean and thoughtful book isn’t his thesis, now proved by oceans of evidence about increased obesity and decreased attention spans, or even his graceful and penetrating prose; it’s the witty ways he draws his two children and their friends outside, away from the electric drug—taking the long way to school, poking headlong into every vacant lot, building a treehouse, wandering off on birding adventures, hiking with other families, so that the day isn’t a Boring Family Outing but motley play, skating, wading in creeks, salamandering, poking in tide pools, running around in the dark chasing lightning bugs, and, well, just puttering around with open eyes and ears.

Read the full review:
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/review/4269/

A NATURAL SENSE OF WONDER:
CONNECTING KIDS WITH NATURE THROUGH THE SEASONS
Rick Van Noy.

Paperback: U of GA Press, 2008.
Buy Now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $14 ]  [ Amazon ]


THE NY REVIEW OF BOOKS reviews several
recent books on George Orwell.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22414


Orwell believed in 1936 that “the combines can never squeeze the small independent bookseller out of existence as they have squeezed the grocer and the milkman.” That “never” was a risky call. And on a larger scale, he believed throughout World War II that peace would bring the British revolution he desired, with blood in the gutters and the “red militias…billetted in the Ritz,” as he put it in private diary and public essay. And after the revolution:

The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children’s holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten….

One out of four on the vision thing; and tractors were hardly a difficult pick.

 

Against such a background, it would be rash to try to predict the continuing afterlife of Orwell’s work. Many of his phrases and mental tropes have already sunk into the conscious and unconscious mind, and we carry them with us as we carry Freudian tropes, whether or not we have read Freud. Some of those English couch potatoes watch programs called Big Brother and Room 101. And if we allow ourselves to hope for a future in which all Orwell’s warnings have been successfully heeded, and in which Animal Farm has become as archaic a text as Rasselas, the world will have to work its way through a lot of dictators and repressive systems first. In Burma there is a joke that Orwell wrote not just a single novel about the country, but a trilogy: Burmese Days, Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

 

Orwell shared with Dickens a hatred of tyranny, and in his essay on the Victorian novelist distinguished two types of revolutionary. There are on the one hand the change-of-heart people, who believe that if you change human nature, all the problems of society will fall away; and, on the other, the social engineers, who believe that once you fix society—make it fairer, more democratic, less divided—then the problems of human nature will fall away. These two approaches “appeal to different individuals, and they probably show a tendency to alternate in point of time.” Dickens was a change-of-heart man, Orwell a systems-and-structures man, not least because—as these essays confirm—he thought human beings recidivist, and beyond mere self-help. “The central problem—how to prevent power from being abused—remains unsolved.” And until then, it is safe to predict that Orwell will remain a living writer.

Read the full review:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22414

All Art Is Propaganda: Critical Essays.
George Orwell.
Hardcover: Harcourt, 2008.
Buy Now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ]  [ Amazon ]


A Review of A History of the American Peace Movement
from Colonial Times to the Present.


http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=24095

‘A History of the American Peace Movement from Colonial Times to the Present’ is a remarkable achievement, surveying the entire history of pacifist organizations and leaders in the United States from the beginning of its history to 2006. Moving chronologically from the original peacemakers of the country (Native Americans) through the religious pacifists of the colonial period to the religious and secular non-violent activists for peace and justice in the nineteenth century, to the myriad of peace and justice initiatives of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Howlett and Lieberman provide us with a comprehensive textbook history of the most important people, organizations, and ideas of American peace history. It should be required reading for any student interested in researching any aspect of peace history in the U.S., as it will place any specific peace worker or institution within its broader historical perspective. Indeed, it should be required reading for any specialist in American history because it fills in gaps usually left by history textbooks which focus primarily on wars and violent events, and usually pay little attention to peace movements. It effectively demonstrates how peace movements have always existed in American history, always opposed militarists and those who advocate violence, and effectively pressured for peace and justice at home and abroad. It also clearly shows the important role that non-violent activists for peace and justice have played throughout American history, not only in ending wars and offering peaceful resolutions to conflict, but also in supporting justice movements, such as the women’s rights, workers’ rights, and African-American civil rights movements.

Read the full review:
http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=24095

A History of the American Peace Movement
from Colonial Times to the Present.

Howlett, Lieberman, eds.

Hardcover: Edwin Mellen Press, 2008.
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]