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If you're not depressed enough already, read this by George Orwell, written just before the start of WW II.

Orwell really doesn't seem to like anyone or anything very much at all, it's as miserable and dispiriting as 1984 but without the excuse of being set in the future. I shan't be reading THAT again.

Post edited at 09:19
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In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

You could always read cormac macarthys 'the road' to cheer yourself up 😉

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In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

I'm always up for a laugh, I think we've got that somewhere.

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 hokkyokusei 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I quite enjoyed it. I read it in my late twenties, when I was a bit fed up of how my own life was turning out. It actually made me think that things could be worse! (And indeed they did get worse!)

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 John2 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

It's not one of his better works - a bit of a sentimental moan.

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 Brown 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I always thought of it as a prequel to 1984.

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In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I read it whilst doing a degree in a property. It probably contributed to wanting nothing to do with development afterwards. A dour read but poignant.  

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In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

There was a very nice reading by Tim McInnerney of this on Radio 4 a while ago, but it doesn't seem to be available to listen to now. 

I thought there was something strangely moving about the portrayal of an outwardly slightly unpleasant character who turns out to be well-meaning and, aware of his ignorance and poor education, is doing his best to self-educate.  He's not stupid and not unkind, more struggling to catch up after the war and often baffled by the ugliness and futility of the lives he sees around him.  

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 jasonC abroad 12 Oct 2020
In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

Grim book but I keep re-reading it, you've inspired me to re-watch the film version tonight

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 jess13 12 Oct 2020
In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

> You could always read cormac macarthys 'the road' to cheer yourself up 😉

Kafka's 'The Trial' - laugh a minute?

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 jethro kiernan 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Trump, Art of the deal. 
guaranteed to put a warm glow in your heart and a smile on your face. 😀

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In reply to jess13:

I was a pretentious twenty something when I read the trial and convinced myself it was full of good jokes. 

"Under the volcano" was too bleak for me 

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 ena sharples 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Try "down and out in London and Paris" if you are looking for a few laughs.

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 Hooo 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

After reading 1984 and Animal Farm as a teenager I decided to read all of Orwell's novels in a row. It's been a while, but I seem to recall that in every book the story is about a character who tries to break free from their miserable life and fails. They are all just as depressing. I should have stopped after the first two.

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 Hooo 13 Oct 2020
In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

Spoiler Alert!

The Road was less depressing than I expected. It almost has a happy ending.

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 seankenny 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> Spoiler Alert!

> The Road was less depressing than I expected. It almost has a happy ending.


I found Blood Meridien slighty more depressing, I think.

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In reply to Hooo:

I think I did much the same. Gordon Comstock - what a prat! Would society actually continue to function if everyone was as permanently alienated or crushed as Etonian Eric seemed to think they were? 

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 profitofdoom 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> After reading 1984 and Animal Farm as a teenager I decided to read all of Orwell's novels in a row.....

I did exactly the same as you. My conclusion - out of all his books I rate 1984 and Animal Farm very highly; and Down and Out in Paris and London and Homage to Catalonia as being good. I didn't like the rest

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 Hooo 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I think I did much the same. Gordon Comstock - what a prat! 

Indeed. I wonder if that book is partly to blame for my deep cynicism about any artist who puts their art above supporting themselves by making a living.

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In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I quite liked 'Keep the Aspidistra Flying' when I read it many years ago. Can't remembery why now... maybe I should re-read it.

Also a fan of 'Down and Out...'. 'The Road to Wigan Pier' was a bit dull though.

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 Hooo 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Steve Jones:

I laughed out loud at the end of Wigan pier when he goes off on a rant about vegetarians. It was worth reading for that alone.

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In reply to Hooo:

Can't remember that either - but being a born and raised vegetarian maybe I blocked it form my memory!

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 dread-i 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

His essay on being shot is, not exactly joyful, but certainly very sporting and British.

I reflected that as he was a Fascist I would have killed him if I could, but that if he had been taken prisioner and brought before me at this moment I would merely have congratulated him on his good shooting.

https://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/soldiers/george-orwell-shot.html

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 Deleted bagger 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> If you're not depressed enough already, read this by George Orwell, written just before the start of WW II.

> Orwell really doesn't seem to like anyone or anything very much at all, it's as miserable and dispiriting as 1984 but without the excuse of being set in the future. I shan't be reading THAT again.

Found it very insightful. Orwell really had a handle on the shitstorm that was about to overwhelm Europe. As for 1984, it was all the more believable with a background of Europe in ruins.

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 Matt Podd 15 Oct 2020
In reply to JJ Krammerhead III:

I read Under the Volcano last year and it left me profoundly depressed. What a grim book,

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In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

The Blue Bear by Kim Schooler - an absolutely wonderful story wrapped around utter tragedy - and not a novel, more a biography.

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 Hooo 15 Oct 2020
In reply to dread-i:

That's an interesting read. I don't think his attitude is due to being sporting and British, but actually pretty standard for people who think they are dying. I've been there a couple of times, and had a similar detached view of the situation. My main feeling was shame at throwing my life away due to stupid mistake, and Orwell touches on this too. Have you read Fiva? Another well written near death experience that mentions the shame.

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In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Just remembered a horrifically depressing book called "the comfort of madness" in which the narrator feigns being comatose to dodge life, for the entire book. No idea why I persevered and read the whole thing. 

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