Thoughts on: The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

The book has two parts; the 1st part is a sociological investigation where Orwell lives a ‘fly on the wall’-existence among the miners of an industrial town in northern England. He wants to experience life of the real working-class life first hand. A class whom he and his fellow half-bourgeois socialists claim to fight and care for.
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The 2nd part is a argument for how and why socialism is failing and what to do to get it back on track again.
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What stays with me is the account of the former; the unemployment, the poverty, the filth; the self-limiting mindset of the deprived, and the horrible working conditions of the mines. But also Orwell’s honest, sober and often beautiful worded observations.
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📝 “..the place is like hell, or at any rate like my own mental picture of hell. Most of the things one imagines in hell are there — heat, noise. Confusion, darkness foul air, and, above all, unbearably cramped space.”
The working conditions in the mines made me feel sick.
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📝 How disconnected isn’t my work life from the miner of the Industrial era? Me with my Xbox ONE Dev-kit on my adjustable standing desk and my free lattes at the touch of a bottom? Not to mention the free massage? You know, we NEED them, because office work is HARD on your body! right?! 🤷‍♂️
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📝 Why can’t the bourgeois see themselves as the equals of the working class?
“The lower class smells”, Orwell concludes “It is queer how seldom this is admitted.”
A physical feeling like smell is harder to overcome than the other dislikes he argues.
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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:
We would be wise to attempt to isolate the qualities in people we look up to and cultivate them in ourselves. I admire Orwell’s willingness to immerse himself in the working class life and his willingness to change his mind. I want adopt this trait further in my own life, but I’m not sure how to go about it…yet.

⚖️ VERDICT:
When I close the books for 2020, one of the images that will linger in my mind is the image of miner walking for miles in the dark cramped space of the mine to his designated spot for the day.

I found this book so powerful and humbling. A catalyst for personal reflection. A remarkably bold and honest book.

5/5

For more great books and reviews, check out my reading lists!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Demian” – Hermann Hesse

A short and moody novel that revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding oneself. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

This is most memorable fictional book I’ve read this year. A coming of age story with strong connections to Jungian psychology and symbolism. It came to me at a perfect time; Since I, much like Hesse did when writing the book, just “began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that really influenced Hesses writings.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Thoughts on: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At the age of 6 the narrator abandoned his favorite hobby; drawing. Grownups kept mistaking his depiction of Boa Constrictors who swallowed entire elephants, for drawings of hats… 🐍 🐘

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“Grownups never understand anything by themselves and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again”.

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The narrator puts drawing to the side and instead becomes a pilot. After a dramatic crash landing in the Sahara desert he runs into a young boy that he refers to as The little prince. The boy shares his life story with the narrator. He tells tales about his interplanetary travels where he visited all kinds of weird and narrow minded people. All of the grownups, all of them very serious, all of them deeply irrational.

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📝 “Anything essential is invisible to the eye”

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📝“It’s the time you spend on your rose that make your rose so important”

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📝 “You are responsible forever for what you tamed.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book is a great reminder of the foolishness of being so serious all the damn time. Grownups often have an inability to perceive what is really important. Children on the other hand can often see things more clearly.

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Reading this book reminds me of a great quote from Nietzsche: “A mans maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play”.

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I’m going to buy this book in Swedish and read it as a bedtime story together with my son.👌🏻 🤴 it’s short, sweet and quite wonderful!

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What is your favorite children’s book?

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Photo credit: @deepsnow_fromjp

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4/5

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!