Daily Archives: November 4, 2017

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Down and Out in Paris and LondonDown and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Based upon his real-life experience as a scullery worker in a Paris hotel and a tramp in London, George Orwell’s recounting of the stories of the impecunious stands alone in its authenticity of the content and veracity of the experiences. The substantiality of poverty was boredom and inconvenience, because poverty freed people from standards of ordinary behaviors. Nevertheless, this book is not a book of socialist manifesto that urges the impecunious to revolt against the establishment, nor a pamphlet for advocating the welfare of the poor. It’s an investigative report on the people on the lowest and lower rungs of a social ladder. Orwell hoped that his readers would at least change their acerbic views on the low and the lowest because their situations were created through no fault of their own or voluntarily. And I hope there will be more like this book in our time.

Travel with Charley in search of America by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley: In Search of AmericaTravels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mr. Steinbeck’s intention of his travel with Charley, his old poodle, in Rocinante, a noble camping truck named after Don Quixote’s horse, was two folds: first, his innate wanderlust had grown bigger as his age advanced. He defied the senility of mind and body as a man who could still be a manly husband to his wife and function as an able-bodied man in society; second, Mr. Steinbeck wanted to see America as he had known on a personal level and to ascertain what could define true American identity and character. What he experienced in his own eyes across the land was part rhapsody of begone days he used to remember and part treatise on American national characteristics. Mr. Steinbeck was indeed a Don Quixote in his pursuit of finding America as portrayed in his novels and as remembered in his memory. But most of all, Mr. Steinbeck was a quintessential American writer in his tough-guy demeanor tinged in the narrative who had a deep affection for his country despite its foibles and imperfections.