I Wanna Be Literated #174

I Wanna Be Literated #174

Friday, 26 January 2018

Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays
by George Orwell, George Packer

I owe a debt of gratitude to George Orwell, because it’s his book that I picked up than 10 years ago that sparked my interest in reading. I don’t know why I picked 1984 but it stuck… hard. It might have been my strange attempt to learn more about history and politics but I was very proud of myself when I finished it even though I had no clue what 1984 and Animal Farm were really about.

Orwell, is of course known for these two books and generally as a novelist, but he was also a very prolific writer, and some of his many short non-fiction essays and columns have been curated here in Facing Unpleasant facts.

Just a few essays in and I really started wondering why Orwell isn’t more well known as an essayist, because these chapters are some of the most fun, informative, and engaging I’ve ever read. Orwell was himself kind of a working man having served in the army, faced poverty, and worked as a journalist, and his common language writing style is simple and easy to understand, while still containing a perfect flow.

The subjects of these essays range from serving in the Spanish Civil War, being force to shoot an elephant, spending time in a homeless shelter, defending English cooking, how to make a cup of tea, and his childhood in boarding school. Throughout these essays, his writing is witty, charming, and quite persuasive in the points they’re trying to make. Although I could have done without his war time diary which was a little tedious.

The only shame about Facing Unpleasant Facts is that it isn’t twice as long. It’s a revelation and highly recommended.


Get it from Mariner.

Comments are closed.