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Book 15

  1. Portis, Charles — True Grit (215 pages)
  2. Simpson, Joe — Touching the Void (210 pages)
  3. Bardin, John Franklin — The Last of Philip Banter (207 pages)
  4. Millar, Martin — The Good Fairies of New York (278 pages)
  5. Millar, Mark — Kick-Ass (190 pages)
  6. Sachar, Louis — Holes (225 pages)
  7. Baxter, Stephen — Moonseed (523 pages)
  8. Buchan, John — The Thirty-Nine Steps (152 pages)
  9. Bukowski, Charles — Post Office (167 pages)
  10. Palahniuk, Chuck — Fight Club (211 pages)
  11. Bemelmans, Ludwig — Madeline's Rescue (50 pages)
  12. Rennison, Nick — Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, Eighth Edition (508 pages)
  13. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout (120 pages)
  14. Rucka, Greg & Steve Lieber — Whiteout: Melt (106 pages)
  15. Orwell, George — Homage to Catalonia (267 pages)

Page count: 3429.

Back in late April/early May I was working on a production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia in Chichester. The director had decided, rather than doing a traditional production, to update the setting of the opera to the Spanish Civil War and specifically referenced Orwell's account as inspiration. So I dutifully set aside my other reading and picked up a copy of Homage to Catalonia.

I previously knew practically nothing about the Spanish Civil War. Perhaps I still don't have a thorough big-picture understanding of it, but Orwell's account was an eye-opener as well as fascinating reading. Yes, he sometimes got a bit bogged down in particulars about the subtle political differences between one faction or another, and I was often confused as to who exactly he was referring to with all the acronyms thrown about or with certain terms applying equally to either side. But his descriptions and analysis of conditions at the front and in Barcelona, of the confusion and lack of leadership and clarity, and of the many lives wasted in what was ultimately a giant political clusterfuck is revelatory and still relevant today.

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