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Books vs. Cigarettes; maybe Orwell was on to something?

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George Orwell is a very famous author renown for novels ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ these books are read both recreationally and in schools worldwide. He is less well known for his essays. One of them is about the correlation between two of the most common recreational hobbies, reading and smoking. In the essay he calculates the yearly expenditure that both hobbies require coming to the, predictable, conclusion that reading is more wallet and brain friendly.

The government spends a much larger figure in preventing smoking than in advertising reading. Perhaps we should all take a page from Orwell’s book and invest in an extensive library instead of two packs a week. A book offers you an insight into a former society; educates you and expands your imagination. Were as a Cigarette offers you a short time haven, a state of serenity soon to be interrupted by your craving for your next. Is a short period of guilty pleasure really worth supplementing the sense of pride you get by reading a book from cover to cover?

In theory, one can indulge in both hobbies as it is not an either or situation. That is if you have unlimited monetary funds, which in this current recession the vast majority of us do not. When the money runs out? You won’t be able to re use your cigarette like you could a book; you won’t get a feeling that your money was well spent. You will be in both regret and decline.

What frustrates me is how this scenario is thrust into 21st century. Times are different, rations now absent but does the smoker vs. intellectual debate still exist? Should we all be updating our social acceptances? I think when we see a smoker we should compare their more to a genius than a moron for a hobby does not define the person you are.



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