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Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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Chris OConnor

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Re: Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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I know how frustrating it can be to find a book from your past. I give you credit for your dedication and perseverance.
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ewomack
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Re: Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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I know you'll all be terribly disappointed, but this thread will finally come to an end.


The book has arrived and it is the much sought after cover. I took this photo of it myself. It does exist.
OrwellClergy_01.jpg
OrwellClergy_01.jpg (43.6 KiB) Viewed 2375 times

And here it is among the other Orwell volumes with the same (now old) cover format. New BFFs.
OrwellClergy_02.jpg
OrwellClergy_02.jpg (107.06 KiB) Viewed 2375 times
You may be asking: why did I do this? Why did I take over six months (ten minutes here, ten minutes there) to find this particular book with this particular cover? Good question! Here's a fun fact and the reveal: I was reading that same edition of "Burmese Days" when my now very ex-wife approached me and said she wanted a divorce. I literally had my face right in it when she approached me. I had planned to read all of the Orwell books in order of publication at that time and I had only finished "Down and Out In Paris and London." It was a total shock to me and I ended up only half-reading "Burmese Days" to the end. I never picked it up again and I never went beyond that particular book in Orwell's oeuvre. I actually avoided that book and all Orwell books for a number of years afterwards. So, this quest had a double intention: to read all of Orwell's books, which I still plan to do, and to read them with the covers that I was reading when I was disrupted all of those years ago by that particular incident. So there is a very personal twist to this whole insane thread. It might still make little sense to anyone else, but I guess we all have our strange motivations for doing things. Also, I did marry again a few years after that episode and have remained happily married ever since.

Why it took so long to find that particular cover still confounds me. As I said, I came across probably every other possible edition of that book dozens of times while searching. I even came across a first edition selling for $35,000, but not that "Harvest" edition. All of the rest of the books in that series that I didn't already have were very easy to find. I highly doubt it's a rare book, but perhaps fewer of that title were printed because it's often known as Orwell's least read and least appreciated book. Some even claim that it's outright awful. I guess I'll see. All I know is that it became a frustrating challenge and I had probably looked for a few months before I even began this thread, so I probably searched closer to nine or ten months total.

Anyway, for those of you who have endured my absurd and pitiful updates, thank you. The quest has ended. I guess persistence and a lot of really agonizingly repetitive online searching paid off.

(Postscript: there is also a short collection of essays in that same cover series, but I think I'll leave that one alone; I already have a large volume of his essays handy)
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Re: Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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:appl: :clap2: :clap: :bananadance: :up:

I'm not familiar with any of those books, which would you recommend to start?
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Re: Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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LanDroid wrote: Fri Nov 17, 2023 9:30 am I'm not familiar with any of those books, which would you recommend to start?
I have read only Down and Out In Paris and London, which I thought was fantastic. I did read Burmese Days years ago, but the memory has faded. I'm planning on reading them in order (which was another reason that I wanted to find "A Clergyman's Daughter" sooner than later). In parallel, I'm reading an enormous collection of Orwell's essays. To put it another way, I'm kind of saturating myself with Orwell.
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Re: Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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I finished Burmese Days today. It kept my attention pretty intensely on and off for the past 48 hours or so. Inspired by Orwell's days in the Burmese Police during the British Empire, it painted a pretty bleak and cruel picture of what empire can do to people. The main character tries to appreciate the local culture and "the natives" and this confounds everyone in the "the English Club." He falls in love with a woman who doesn't share his sentiments, but she loves his heroism, and things, somewhat predictably, don't end too well. Those who have read his essays "A Hanging" or "Shooting An Elephant" will recognize cross-themes. Do I recommend it? Definitely to those interested in anti-Imperialistic literature or Orwell, but I'm not sure whether I would recommend it enthusiastically to others. I enjoyed it, but I don't think I would consider it "a great novel," either. It does contain language and prejudices of its times, including the notorious "N-word," which the British also used in different contexts.

Similarly, Down and Out in Paris in London shares themes with the essays "The Spike" and "Clink." In all, Orwell/Blair, as the narrator, enters the world of the poor and relates his experiences in detail. They all provide fascinating insights into a different and often disturbing world. Obviously, times have changed so they also provide a historical perspective. I would recommend this book to nearly anyone just because of the new perspective it seems to provide.

Many consider A Clergyman's Daughter, the book that I searched so long for, as his "worst" book. Called an "experimental novel," one YouTube reviewer even claimed that she couldn't get a quarter of the way through it. So that should prove an interesting experiment, as I plan to read all of the books pictured previously in order of publication, and that one comes next.
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Re: Looking for a book with a specific cover...

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Months after locating the book with the specific cover, I did finally read A Clergyman's Daughter. Though I wouldn't enthusiastically recommend it to anyone but Orwell completists, it actually held my attention and kept me turning the pages far more than I anticipated. Many refer to it as "an experimental novel," and I worried it might just prove altogether unreadable (i.e., every other word gets reversed, etc.). Not at all. It even touches on some themes from Down and Out in Paris and London by describing the lives of itinerant hop pickers and the abuses and exploitation they likely suffered. One memorable scene slips into dialogue to describe how a group of homeless people survive extreme cold overnight in Trafalgar Square. The main character, not surprisingly a penitent clergyman's daughter, suddenly finds herself out on the street unable to provide for herself. Plus, she has lost her memory. I don't feel like the book effectively explained why or how this happened. It sort of makes a suggestion, sort of, but not enough of one to keep this event from feeling a little gimmicky and contrived. She goes through another major life transformation by book's end that I felt was more stated than shown. Sort of akin to writing "suddenly, Bob was upset" without providing much explanation or narrative flow as to how or why this happened. Bob just becomes upset. Again, one can try to infer from the story line, but I didn't think this particular character revelation was handled in an impactful way. That this also tied in with what seems like the main theme of the book really didn't help. Despite all of this, the book contains enough poignant, entertaining, and shocking passages to arguably justify a read. Orwell fans may like it more than they expect. I wouldn't call it outright bad, maybe just flawed. Whether it turns out to be "Orwell's worst book," as I've read in many places, I guess I'll see after reading his other books. So far, I've liked it the least of the five Orwell books I've read (I have read Animal Farm and 1984 previously), so we'll see if it keeps that status as I read on.
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