book review

Book Review: Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

I just finished this book a moment ago, and all I can say is “wow…” I am no stranger to the plight of North Korea and its relations with the rest of the world, as East Asia is a huge interest of mine. That is one reason why I picked up this book. Since I love South Korea, I wanted a better picture of the North, and this book was the perfect place to get it.

Demick profiles 6 North Korean defectors, spinning their tales as if she had been present for them herself. She also includes tidbits from the lives of other North Koreans, as well as plenty of facts and statistics from various reputable organizations. This book is truly gripping, heartbreaking, and impossible to walk away from without thinking about what you’ve read. It will also make you extremely thankful for all that you have.

Book Review: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Well, not many books have left me as flabbergasted as this one has. It’s not that the book is really confusing or the plot doesn’t make sense throughout, etc, it’s just that I’m having a hard time forming a solid opinion about this book. For me, that is uncommon. Usually I either love a book or hate it. As I made my way through college, I began to have some more middle-ground feelings for certain works…so I’m still getting used to not being at one extreme or another.

Anyway, the reason I am so torn about this book is because I guess I had different expectations it, way before I ever began reading it. I was expecting a Gothic terror-like novel, basically in the style of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And I guess I do see the threads of that type of writing throughout the novel, but it wasn’t AS good in that way as I had expected.