Day 2 - A book and a movie

I completed reading Down and Out in Paris and London today. It’s a book by George Orwell. I am yet to write a review on Goodreads.

It was a good book, I plan to give it a 5/5. Mainly because it had some really profound lessons on poverty, not on poverty, but on how poor people get by, and why the motivations behind why people continue to remain poor and how society treats poor people, and how poor people treat each other. It’s like the unwritten rule book of poverty in the 1940s.


I took a lot of time for me to finish this book. It was a 200 page book and the primary reason I read it was that it was from Orwell and I wanted to read a book of his that isn’t a dystopia because I find his dystopias to be extremely depressing (the two of them: 1984 and Animal Farm, seminal dystopias!) The secondary reason was that it was only 200 pages and although I like long books that build up the characters to the point of loving him/her a lot, they are involved and require a significant amount of commitment over a few weeks, if you are in the middle of a crowded semester. And it was totally worth it.

He’s in Paris for half the book and England for the rest of the book and it’s not the late 20th century Europe where Paris is the capital of ramance and London is the capital of … Um, capital of politeness or something? I don’t really know how exactly London is shown in today’s books and TV shows but it’s definitely polite and the British accent makes concentrating on the rest of the frame hard. It is rather the Paris as inhabited by the poorest of the poor. Living on a pound for a week, lodging houses instead of hotels, tea-and-two-slices instead of elaborate English breakfasts.

It’s a good book, read it if you have a week or two to spare. Or just a long flight (Trivia: I think I can read about 30 pages in one hour. I am not sure if that’s exactly my reading speed, and I don’t want to be sure about it either, I know there might probably be a test out there to check that. I have seen Goodreads reviews of people saying that they completed a 250 page book in 3 hours. To read that fast must be amazing!)

After reading that book, I prepared for the exam I have tomorrow. It’s my fourth mid-term exam, the previous three were okay. I hope tomorrow’s one goes fine as well.

But after dinner, I watched the movie Side Effects (2013). Jude Law’s character is great. About 1 hour into the movie, the story is almost at an end, and Dr. Banks (Jude Law’s character) is grappling with his own life, ironically he is a psychiatrist, and is almost coming apart trying to figure out whether he engineered or played a part in the play that was just enacted out. And then, the movie really gets started. Rooney Mara and Vinessa Shaw both put on a stellar act, apart from Jude Law and … . Okay, saying who that was would be a spoiler because the very fact that her character is important will propel you to a line of thinking that might ruin the movie. (Not really, but I don’t want to take chances!) And as a side note, although I am no judge of this because I know nothing about it, the camera focusing thing in this movie was amazing! A lot of the shots are close-ups of Emily Taylor (Mara’s character), and a lot of her shots start with focus beside her and on an object that’s far away or a completely unfocused shot and they eventually focus on her face. That’s so good to look at!

There is an interesting story here though, the story of how I ended up at this movie. I googled (I don’t use Google as my go-to search engine, but sometimes DuckDuckGo doesn’t cut it and then you must use Google. Why don’t I use Google? One link: ) for Movies like Contagion because I think that Contagion (2011) is one movie that’s heavily under-rated. It’s a GREAT MOVIE. It’s such a GREAT MOVIE! I have watched it twice in the past 6 months, and that’s plainly because the whole movie is so well written and so well shot. The technical discussion parts are interesting and not bland-and-dull per the usual Hollywood movie rhetoric at all. (I think I didn’t use the word rhetoric right in that sentence). Fishburne and Damon pull of great characters with ease. Incidentally, Jude Law plays a manipulator in that movie as well!

So, after Contagion, the Google search that I had to do was to get the name of this one book that I remember reading which had one man who had a … That won’t make sense, I can’t explain it. I searched for book with underground lab and one man with the button to not destroy it and found that the name of the book was Andromeda Strain (I remembered that it was written by Crichton). The particularly fascinating theory in this book is called the Odd Man Hypothesis, basically a set of scientists go to an underground high-tech lab that houses a really bad virus, and in case things go wrong, then the lab will be destroyed using some sort of a nuclear weapon. And the Odd Man, Dr. Mark Hall in this case, will have a switch that can prevent this from happening. There is a great scene in the book in which Hall is under the impression that pressing the switch will actually destory the place and then someone explains to him that on the contrary, pressing the switch will in fact stop the place from being destroyed. There’s a revelation right at the end of the book (another spoiler :( ) which leads to the lab being destroyed using a nuclear bomb being worse than doing nothing at all, so Hall has a huge sequence where he has to go and press the button. It’s a great book. No clue why I remembered it suddenly and felt the need to find the name of the book.


P.S This post is longer than yesterday’s post, there’s nothing creative about this post at all (I feel), it’s just a collection of my thoughts throughout the day. I am pretty sure this is how it is going to be. It is 23:58 now. Must commit and push for this to be today’s post in the next 2 minutes.