First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.

A group of English working men are joined one day by Owen, a mysterious journeyman – prophet with a strange vision of a just society. Slowly, he wins the trust and hearts of his fellow workers, rousing them from their dour complacency with his spirited attacks on the greed and dishonesty of the capitalist system. Originally published in 1914, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is an absoloute classic of social critique, a rousing piece of economic and political argument wrapped in a novel that is powerful, thought-provoking and, above all, riotously funny.

Who’d have thought that August is about to end in three days. This year, so far, has been proceeding like a fast train headed to who knows where. HAHA. September is knocking around the corner. Filipinos are already preparing their Christmas decorations; if you haven’t heard it yet, Filipinos have the longest Christmas season, starting from September and lasting until December, the proverbial four months. Social media is already abuzz with memes and all.

In terms of reading, the quarantine and lockdown period has afforded me more time to read, although not really to relax. I have read more or less 40 books and I am already reading my 58th book for the year, Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. I picked up the book during the 2018 Big Bad Wolf Sale. The title piqued my curiosity and, since it was being sold at a bargain, I didn’t hesitate in adding it to my cart.

More than two years later, I am finally reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. A part of my 2020 Top 20 Reading List, I didn’t know then I bought the book that it was part of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The book does come highly recommended and reading from the two-part introduction, it incited quite the conversation.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was published posthumously in 1914, about four years after the author’s passing due to tuberculosis. The introduction also helped lay the landscape of the narrative for me; I am just actually done with the first chapter and hoping to read more later today. I was already introduced to some of the characters whose strands I should follow – Owen, Crass and a crew of house painters.

I am actually looking forward to the story, especially after reading the introduction and preface. It is my first time reading the story about this group of individuals (house painters) but what I am more keen on is how Tressell (or Noonan, his real last name) weaved elements of politics and philosophy into the story. Socialism and capitalism are repeatedly discussed in the text, I surmise. It also contains some autobiographical elements.

It is going to take me sometime to read the book because month end reporting is just right around the corner but I will relish this story. I am hoping that it is not a giant rant against elitism or a particular group of people although I get the sense that the novel is largely about the disparities in the different social classes. We’ll see.

How about you fellow reader, what book are you going to read this weekend? I hope it is a book that you’ve been looking forward to and I hope you enjoy it. Keep safe, and happy weekend!