We know on For Reading Addicts that we have fans of all ages and everyone is at a different stage of their literary adventure. One of the questions we often get asked on the page is ‘Which Orwell novel should I start with?’ so I threw it out to the fans and asked your opinion.
Now the answers aren’t that surprising and possibly no one will be shocked at the top two suggestions, but I think it’s a real shame that Orwell’s political work overshadows his contemporary fiction so much. Yes Orwell was insightful politically but he was also insightful in every day life too as works such as Keep the Aspidistra Flying (my favourite Orwell novel), and Coming up for Air go to show.
Anyway I digress, when asked for the recommended Orwell novel to start with here’s what you said:
Probably the most famous allegory of all time Animal Farm is a cleverly written and easy to read novella. It’s short and sweet and if you have an interest in politics is likely to lead you onto other Orwell works.
This book has been on my to be read pile for about 4 years now but I must confess I still haven’t read it. And while it was beaten by Animal Farm and 1984, it was the third most suggested book for the Orwell introduction.
As already mentioned, Keep the Aspidistra Flying is my favourite Orwell novel and one of my favourite books of all time. It’s a fantastic story and just as relevant today as it was then. Oh, and Gordon Comstock is my hero!
Also getting a mention is Coming up for Air, The Road to Wigan Pier, Homage to Catalonia and The Clergyman’s Daughter. Orwell was a prolific writer and there are certainly many books to get through. If you’re new to Orwell our reading addicts suggest you start with Animal Farm!
Orwell is one of those classic writers you’re just going to have to read in the end. His works, particularly his more political stuff is still talked about and studied today. At least now you have an idea where to start.