Tuesday 18 January 2011


I've been doing a lot of reading out here, mainly because I want the time spent on public transport to go a little quicker, so I thought I'd make a post of the books I've read so far and what I thought of each one.

1984 was great. It is quite a dark book, but after seeing/reading about westerners visits to North Korea and what they experienced I couldn't believe how similar the world in Orwells 1950s novel was! Crazy!

Someone else I knew had bought this book and as I'm interested in North Korea I thought I'd give it a go. Another excellent read, nice to read about ordinary people and how well documented events were felt by the normal population and their real feelings about the party, Kim il sung and Kim Jong il. Amazing to think that people really did have genuine love for Kim Il sung and how easy people can be manipulated when they are kept sheltered from the outside world. It seems things in the North still resemble the west in the 50s, and how strange that such an advanced and futuristic country can literally be bordering one so far behind.

When I was younger I read Little women with my mum, and then I watched the film (which is actually Little Women and Good Wives together). In China I found good wives and read that. Although I always knew about the next two books in the series I had never read them. I found Little Men second hand in a bookshop in Itaewon so had to snap it up to read. It was good, the story of Jo and her school for boys.

On another occasion (and different bookshop) I found the last in the series so decided to read that too. It wasn't as good as the others in the series but it was nice to finally get to the end of the story.

I bought this book for my dad as a present but for some reason never read it. After reading the other North Korea book this was recommended by that author and Wendy had just finished it so I borrowed her copy and gave it a go. It was different from the Barbara Demick one as it's one man's story and of his family fall from grade. After they decided to move back to their homeland from Japan only to be treated as traitors and eventually moved to a labour camp. Only after many many years (he grew up there from the age of about 10 ) when his grandfather (the 'traitor') died were the family released. Living on the outside as former political prisoners was hard and when he found he was being investigated again by the secret police he decided to make a run for it and fled to South Korea. Very interesting insight into the labour camps and what people had to endure there.

I've read one of Lisa See's book before, about China. This one was excellent and very real and sad and shocking. I nearly cried on the bus during one chapter. It's about two 'Shanghai girls', well off living there before the war and how their father gets into debt and sells them as brides and they have to move to America to new lives, and the struggle as FOBs (fresh off the boat) and then the identity crisis the daughter of one of them goes through there as a Chinese American.

Terrible book. Hated it. 'Classic'? It builds and builds, the main character is troubled and angst ridden. and at the end? He gets a cold after being out in the cold without a coat. Shit book. Don't read it. Seriously.

This book was really good! Soooo funny. He's an American journalist who lived in England for 20 years and takes one last tour of the UK before heading back to America. It talks all about typically British things and how strange they seem to an outsider and of all the great, lovely things that are right on our doorstep and that I think I really should go and see one day! He has negative things to say too, mostly about crappy places in the UK and the public transport system.

It's really not what you think. Yes he's a bit of a dickhead, but his story is interesting and he has worked hard to get where he is, has a genuine talent for broadcasting and love for the medium. The 90s wouldn't have been the same without the Big Breakfast and TFI friday, would they?

This was my secret santa present from Luke. I've only just started it but it's a classic so must be done!

And after that... Chris recommended this book. The last lecture from a tutor at an American uni after he has found out he has incurable cancer.

Any other books anyone would like to recommend to read would be greatly received! :-)
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