Before Orwell wrote 1984 or Animal Farm, he experienced extreme poverty in the streets of Paris and London. This memoir is painful in its sense of misery and desperation as he worked countless hours as a plongeur, or dishwasher. “A plongeur is a slave, and a wasted slave, doing stupid and largely unnecessary work.” The circumstances are so harsh, it’s hard to stomach, from the horrific bathrooms, to him feeling something along his feet and seeing “a wave of black things moving across the floor; they were blackbeetles.” I talked about Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell at the Entrofeed at Entropy today. It’s a powerful book, though not for the faint of heart. Ironically, I learned about this in a bookstore in Italy, rather than Paris or London.