Books That Inspire 2006

The Road to Wigan Pier
George Orwell

Both my respect for labor and my distaste for privilege are anchored in this study of English mining-town poverty, which I first read in 1963 as a college freshman. Orwell’s eye for detail and his indignation at the “class racket” made cramped, bone-chilling Wigan so caustically real that it exemplified for me not just 1930s England, but “the other America” of the 1960s, with its black-lung West Virginia and smoldering Watts. And how he handled words! It was Orwell, as much as anyone, who made me want to be a writer and who gave me a sense of the sweat that the discipline would require.
Thaddeus Tuleja
Expository Writing Program