Reading through a break

Animal Farm

Write Answers has been running a skeleton crew for the past month – not – like many businesses because of COVID but something more old fashioned – mending broken bones.

Those first weeks after that unfortunate collision with the ground remain a haze of pain and painkillers and Netflix binging.

Sometime in week two I reached for a book – carefully chosen  because it was, a) in an accessible position on the bookshelf; b) had big print; c) was a story with which I was familiar with so if I missed a point I wouldn’t miss the plot, and d) lightweight and easily held by a person having trouble holding anything at all.

Thank you George Orwell for Animal Farm and Penguin for this 110-page paperback copy printed in 1989. When I read this book from the school library aeons ago it was because it was about animals. Turns out it’s also an allegorical telling of the Russian Revolution.

As the haze receded and concentration returned, present day me read into the new territory that was Appendix II. To clarify, appendix II has existed during my ownership of this particular copy but THE END is usually the point where I pick up the next book, but, still grappling with the requirements of A and D, a book in the hand was worth two on the shelf.

Appendix II turned out to be the preface of the Ukranian Edition of Animal Farm – a translation intended for Ukranians living in camps for displaced persons after WWII. Ukranians supported the October Revolution then found themselves exploited by Russian nationalists. Orwell claimed no royalties for the Ukrainian edition and paid himself for a Russian-language edition intended for distribution behind the iron curtain.

The moral of this story is good books are worth revisiting, even the ones you think you know well.

And the second moral is if you’re unwell … remember the three r’s … rest, recuperate and read Just Cause and Effect Selenium Deficiency in New Zealand.

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