Friday, July 22, 2011

cambodia: the royal palace









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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1984: a review

It tells the story of Winston Smith – a member of the outer party which constitutes about 20% of the population.  It is a time of permanent war – Oceania, one of three superpowers, is at war with either of the two – often alternating with no prior notice.  Children are encouraged to listen at the keyholes of their parents bedrooms and praised when they turn their parents in to the thought police.  Every house has a telescreen – and Big Brother is always watching.

 He is of above average intelligence and begins to question the regime which he is living under.  Having been born a few years before Big Brother took over he can still remember a time before History was altered and kept under control by the party.  Living under the regime where sex is seen as a disgusting necessity; where women are taught that by having children they need to ‘fulfil their duty to the party’ he begins a love affair with a younger woman, Julia, a boisterous woman who doesn’t bother worrying about any of Big Brothers rules and restrictions except when it interferes with her sexuality.  The pair run off to the countryside and rent a room and meet up to discuss joining the brotherhood – a secret underground organisation plotting the overthrow of Big Brother.  With only one problem: Big Brother is always watching.
This book has inspired so many things – not only the television show ‘Big Brother’ but also ‘Room 101’ – the infamous room full of the thing you hate.  It’s easy to see why so many have found it inspiring – it is completely unique, this dystopian world which Orwell has created.

I originally read this about six years ago – and the main thing which stuck with me was the last chapter.  It haunted me throughout my re-reading of the book – which I think made the second reading even more profound.  At times I felt a bit uneasy reading the novel as I was visiting places like The Killing Fields and reading about Pol Pot’s regime and although he wasn’t as extreme as Big Brother there did seem to be quite a few overlaps between the novel and real life.  

Personally, I loved it, I was sitting on a bus driving on the bumpiest road and was so enthralled in the action that I continued reading.  It’s a bit slow to begin with, to understand the terminology, place names and ideas behind everything but it is soon explained.  It’s easy to read and just such a classic.  Cannot recommend it enough!  You should read it purely to see how many different things have become spin-offs from Orwell’s genius.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cambodia: Anghor Wat














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Sunday, July 10, 2011

one day: a review

A little late on the uptake but I finally got around to the much hyped 'One Day' by David Nicholls AKA the guy what wrote 'Starter for Ten'.   Visit the Amazon page and this book has tons of postive reviews from critics. It is the story of Dex and Emma - after meeting on the night of their graduation from university and the start of their grown up lifes we meet them on the same day through their friendship.  Dex travels the world while Emma slaves away at a tacky Mexican restaurant in London; her parents begging her to come home and 'work at the gas board'.  Gradually they grow up, find their way in life, with many ups and downs between.

The characters themselves are wonderfully developed; Emma and Dexter, this is, as the other characters we bump into on the day-long insight into their life are briefly described and even if we meet them on several occasions - the same descriptions seem to apply.  There is, however, a wonderful sense of watching these people grow up - something which is heightened because we literally meet this people for one day at year long intervals.   There are, however, some moments which are so predictable that it was borderline annoying.  You know when you are sitting watching a film and can see the plot coming a mile off?  Yeah, that.  There were some elements of surprise and if anything because the characters were so likeable and 'real' that kept me reading until the end.  I think that had I picked this book up randomly I would have been pleasantly surprised but having read Nicholl's work before and seeing rave reviews everywhere I went in with greater expectations which just weren't met.  That said, I think it is a good and engaging read - perfect for holidays, you can pick up easily from where you left off.


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Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Lake District
















Okay, so I'm by no means a hiker but I do like a good walk and with views like this even walking through torrential rain is fun.  Plus there are tea rooms with fresh cakes pretty much everywhere which i found to be very motivational.  there's something about the lake district which, on a sunny day anyway, just seems like it has been stolen from switzerland or something.
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