Posts Tagged ‘england’
Notes from a small island by Bill Bryson
Bryson is good at telling boring stories with a lot of humor, which makes them easy to consume despite the dull subject matter. The travel side of this book was a bit disappointing. In most of the places Bryson visits he informs the reader about the rain, complains about the awfulness of new glass buildings being mixed in with the old architecture, observes some random facts about the history, stumbles along some of the pubs and then goes back to his hotel for an early night.
What prevented this book from being a complete disappointment was that it has a lot of funny observations about the Brits and British culture.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
As good as I remembered it was. Yes, it is a bit simplistic but that’s what makes it powerful. It is a fairy tale after all.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Another great dystopian novel, about the subjugation of women in a totalitarian Christian country. Very well executed, among the best novels I’ve read this year.
Childhoods’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
This book explores two interesting but related ideas: that humanity hasn’t finished evolving, both physically (genes) and in terms of behaviour (memes). What would happen if there was no more hunger, no more war? This novel was interesting but mostly for the underlying ideas; the story or characters weren’t particularly vivid.
Of men and mice by John Steinbeck
Enjoyable and memorable book, which seemed more like a short story.
I read this on a train journey through the English countryside from London to Norwich. The result is that now I can’t help but imagine Lennie and George strolling across some sort of cross between the green, wet, English fields and the south Californian plains.
Snuff by Terry Pratchett
This was an enjoyable read, like most of the Discworld novels, but not one of Pratchett’s best. Pratchett’s take on prejudice in two ways: Pride and Prejudice, and prejudice about other species (goblins in this case).
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Another Sci-Fi classic, and rightfully so. Does empathy really set humans apart from Androids?
My road calls me,
Lures me west, east, south and north.
Most roads lead men homewards,
mine leads me forth.
— plaque in the Norwich castle wall, uncredited
This was a truly wonderful concert. What’s better than sipping herbal tea in an old church, seeing Anathema in concert for the first time? I still get goose bumps on my back just watching the recording.
It’s great to be back in London. Some things here may have changed, but I still feel at home. The 12 pounds I put on my Oyster card a year ago was still valid. The weather is crappy as always. I don’t think I will ever get used to being overtaken by elderly women when I am on the sidewalk.
The main thing that has changed seems to be the introduction of the congestion charge, and with that, the introduction of bicycles. They are everywhere, though it’s not anywhere near Dutch standards yet. A bunch of us rented some “Boris” bikes and cycled around for a bit.
It ought to be a good week.. It even looks like we are even going to be enjoying a genuine old-fashioned British performance of Shakespeare.
I can be really stupid and clumsy sometimes. On this trip I’ve taken a few night trains. When I wake up in one of those I am usually more, erhm, disoriented than normal. This has resulted in several misplaced items previously in my possession:
There’s the bottle of jenever I left in my Budapest hotel room. Hopefully my roommate will not mistake it for water and put it to good use.
Gatwick security (stupid air traffic safety rules) confiscated a can of deodorant I kept in my hand luggage.
There are a number of socks missing. I’m not sure how many exactly, or where I lost them, but there are at least two incomplete pairs. Maybe I just suck at packing.
Our conductor on the train from Budapest to München insisted on keeping our tickets with him during the night. I have had conductors insist on this before, but usually I can talk them out of it. This one wouldn’t bulge, and so when he returned my tickets to me in the morning (right before I snoozed out a few more minutes of sleep) I got them mixed up in my cushion and then left them on the train. New tickets for the rest of my journey: not cheap.