Strongly recommend this to almost anyone mildly interested in reading nonfiction. Not the best I've ever read,(5.0) Amazing story told amazingly well
Strongly recommend this to almost anyone mildly interested in reading nonfiction. Not the best I've ever read, but it's certainly up there. Louie Zamperini's life was fascinating from childhood and only got more interesting from there as he survived his bomber being ditched in the ocean, floating over 40 days on a raft, being captured and beaten by the Japanese in several POW camps, and and and.
I could go on, but I just think you should read it....more
(5.0) Excellently researched and told stories of North Koreans from Chongjin
Excellent, but a couple of minor flaws almost made it a 4.5. The North Kor(5.0) Excellently researched and told stories of North Koreans from Chongjin
Excellent, but a couple of minor flaws almost made it a 4.5. The North Koreans' stories were so powerful and well-told that it still deserves a top rating.
I learned so much from reading this book. I don't think I've read a book by a journalist that was actually well-written (well, except for Maziar Bahari--Then They Came for Me is EXcellent!--, but he was writing about himself). But this is better than well-written. It's fantastic. I learned a ton about daily life in North Korea in the past few decades, as well as a lot of history on the Korean Peninsula. But not just that, we hear the powerful stories of several brave North Koreans who all come from the same home town.
I loved this Sandor Petofi poem that one of the North Koreans said he used to comfort himself (not sure how comforting it could have been, but it was so appropriate to his situation it almost makes you cry):
Liberty and love These two I must have. For my love I'll sacrifice My life. For liberty I'll sacrifice My Love.
Wow. The same guy was also a huge fan of 1984 (he had rare access to Western works while still in North Korea because of his status in university).
One thing I was shocked by was that there is/was a crystal meth epidemic in North Korea.
I also loved the final paragraph of her epilogue. So good.
Only after finishing the book did I understand the meaning of the title, but it'll probably be very obvious to you. I think it's a wonderfully and thoughtfully chosen title for a wonderful and thoughtful book.
There are several sources she cited in her acknowledgments that I'm going to check out. A likely candidate is Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader by Bradley Martin.
The only flaws (aside from typical ereader bugs like hyphenation) were organizational. A few of the characters were introduced fairly late in the book and we weren't well alerted to the fact. So I had to reread parts to check if she had mentioned them before. I would've appreciated at least knowing their names in advance so it was easier to tell when a new narrative began. Similarly, Demick seems to have aimed for seamless transitions from one narrative to another (so that for a few pages I thought that Mrs. Song was Jun-sang's mother). Well, they were a little too seamless in my opinion. A common approach was to go from narrative to North Korean history and back down into another narrative. Clever, but a little hard to keep up at times.
NOTE: do not read the Granta Books UK epub edition. There were numerous errors that seemed to be corrected in the Random House US edition.
Nits: - used 'myself' as non-reflexive subject (not even an object, ugh!): "When I finally got a visa to visit Pyongyang in 2005, myself and a colleague were led along a well-worn path of monuments..." It's so awkward, I don't see how this could've made it in...and it's only on page 13! - she parenthetically tells us that a temperature of 40 degrees below was in Fahrenheit...but 40 below is the same temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius! :) - By far, most of the time she refers to North Korea as the "fatherland" but called it "motherland" about five times. Not sure why she did that; I have a feeling it was an oversight. - In the notes/acknowledgments she says she quotes several sources frequently, but there are no notes to that effect in the text. She should've used footnotes; it borders on plagiarism. I was actually curious about where these quotations were but couldn't connect quotations and author. One of the authors she says she quoted the most was Lankov, but I don't think I saw any mention of his name in the body of the text itself....more
Oh my goodness, this was one of my favorite reading experiences ever. I'm not sure I can objectively explain it, but(5.0) I want you to read this book
Oh my goodness, this was one of my favorite reading experiences ever. I'm not sure I can objectively explain it, but I laughed, I nearly cried, my palms sweated, I was just riveted (ask my wife). This memoir is so well written (Agassi gave effusive praise to J.R. Moehringer, who helped him record his history and transform it into this masterpiece, and I'm sure much of the credit must go to him) that I just couldn't handle it. It is such an emotional ride--perhaps only 0.01% of what it's like to actually be a professional athlete--that every free moment I had I wanted to return to Andre-world.
I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this. The coincidences, the juxtapositions, the ironies, the cute courtships....There was humor in so many forms. It was all so sincere though. I guess that's what struck me the most. How open, honest and sincere the book feels. And given what he reveals in it, I have little reason to believe that anything is exaggerated, stretched or glossed over.
But it's just so well written. I never had to guess who he was referring to at any point. He made so many connections between points in his life, but they were effortless to recall and connect. I've just never been able to follow a narrative so effortlessly, feeling I was completely on top of everything going on, past and present. It was just such a pleasure to read, even aside from the actual events taking place.
One interesting typographical note: (at least in the ePUB version I read) There was no use of quotation marks to set off dialog. Without having read the book, I would've thought this was insanity and ridiculed anyone playing any sort of editorial role in the production...but it totally works. I can't explain it, but it probably comes back to how perfectly written the book is....more
History of crypto, from its very beginning to public key cryptography and a sketch of quantum cryptography. Very well written and researched, balancinHistory of crypto, from its very beginning to public key cryptography and a sketch of quantum cryptography. Very well written and researched, balancing accuracy, ease-of-reading and entertainment. One of the best non-fiction read recently!...more
About one of the lost boys from southern Sudan (before events in Darfur). Weaves together his experience in the US and as a refugee, walking from SudaAbout one of the lost boys from southern Sudan (before events in Darfur). Weaves together his experience in the US and as a refugee, walking from Sudan to (eventually) Kenya. Told with what appears to me to be the voice of Valentino as a boy, perhaps even maturing as the narrative continues. One of my favorite reads recently!...more
Very interesting read with many digressions. Basically covers emergence, but also through mathematical formali(5.0) Reading this will make you smarter
Very interesting read with many digressions. Basically covers emergence, but also through mathematical formalism, Godel's theorem. Just a great intellectual experience. See if you can allocate a big chunk of time to finish it off in a week or so. It'll be rewarding....more
child "detective" with Asberger's Syndrome tries to solve mystery of killed dog. He is big on maths, not so big on sensory input, strangers, people tochild "detective" with Asberger's Syndrome tries to solve mystery of killed dog. He is big on maths, not so big on sensory input, strangers, people touching him and the colors yellow and brown. Insight into the disorder and a completely new aspect on the world. Thought-provoking...more
(5.0) So good it's one of my recent go-to fiction recommendations
Innovatively structured novel spanning generations, implying reincarnation. Each chun(5.0) So good it's one of my recent go-to fiction recommendations
Innovatively structured novel spanning generations, implying reincarnation. Each chunk told in a unique way (journal, interview etc.) so it's a little post-modern in that regard. Highly recommend this, and highly recommend you read it when you can read it all in a short period of time (e.g. within a week) to really experience this novel properly. I was utterly lost through a good portion of the novel, but stuck with it and definitely reaped the reward. Read this novel!...more
memoir of woman raped in college. Extraordinarily powerful, insightful. Demonstrates a woman with power, will and determination, but also the traumatimemoir of woman raped in college. Extraordinarily powerful, insightful. Demonstrates a woman with power, will and determination, but also the traumatic effects on a survivor of violence...more
(5.0) So much fun! (may need to be a little computer-geeky to really love it)
Crazy cool true story about an astronomer-turned-sysadmin at Berkeley in(5.0) So much fun! (may need to be a little computer-geeky to really love it)
Crazy cool true story about an astronomer-turned-sysadmin at Berkeley in the 1980s who decides to track down a 75 cent accounting discrepancy in server usage, and turns into a year-long hunt to track down a sneaky computer spy operating for the KGB. Covers several severe holes in Unix security, but emphasizes that the weakest link in security is almost always from human operators.
Very engaging read, tore right through it. It almost reads like a mystery, detective or spy novel, but it's so much more exciting because it's all true. Told by Cliff Stoll, the self-appointed cybersecurity guard who was investigated the discrepancy and eventually tracked the spy/hacker. He got little/no help from many law enforcement agencies who owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Really appreciated hearing his thought process, his approach and reaction to what found.
I recommend this to almost every computer geek I meet or hire (or try to). Strongly recommended and really wish I could read it again for the first time. :)...more
Fabulous work. Tremendous storyteller. I remember thinking..."I know this is fiction, but I really want it to be true. I want to believe it." As MarteFabulous work. Tremendous storyteller. I remember thinking..."I know this is fiction, but I really want it to be true. I want to believe it." As Martel writes, "And so it is with God." The novel suddenly took on a whole new level of meaning....more