For my last birthday my daughter gave me a selection of booklets from the Penguin "Great Ideas" series. They're extended extracts (100 or so pages each) from great works of literature or philosophy. In my little pile are extracts from Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Fyodor Dostoevsky and this selection of essays by George Orwell. Both Penguin and my daughter know me well - a full volume of Kant would wait on my shelf for years, but I can promise you the 100 page version will be read pretty soon. They're also good for plane flights. I read about half the Orwell on a flight to Sydney last week.
Orwell would have been a great blogger - he doesn't waste words, he draws you into the world he describes, he is prepared to live his art not just read about it, and he is interested in a wide range of things. Here's something I thought was especially clever. One of the essays is called The Art of Donald McGill. McGill was a designer of comic postcards and the essay is an examination of the themes and ideas presented in those postcards - the kind of illustrated jokes you still see sometimes in tabloid papers or on comic blogs.