I picked up this George Orwell classic in Fopp in Manchester. It's a fascinating account of people in the early 1900s, struggling to get by on waiter's wages and slipping into utter poverty and destitution. You think you're poor? You are not poor.
It's surprisingly entertaining and not as depressing as you'd expect. The narrator tramps his way through the two cities, battling the cold, hunger, tiredness and the vicious attitudes of short-term employers. It's a fairly directionless story, really, (aside from a distinct downward spiral), but is suitably short and very interesting.