Ever since I finished this book I can't stop thinking about it. I started reading it just before Kim Jong-il's death, and reading it during the countr...moreEver since I finished this book I can't stop thinking about it. I started reading it just before Kim Jong-il's death, and reading it during the country's period of mourning made it all the more poignant. I'd heard some things about North Korea in passing, but the details in this book absolutely stunned me. An entire generation physically stunted, and millions dead, due to malnutrition because Kim Jong-il wouldn't let aid workers pass out rations outside the government-approved capital. Prison camps. Children picking kernels of corn from animal feces and washing it in the river so that they could have something, anything, to eat. Deprivation in the form of speech, dress, faith, food, money - every basic human right we can think of as citizens of a first-world country. The end of the book details the escapes to China, Mongolia and South Korea of a handful of people. Once in South Korea (always through illegal means), North Korean citizens are granted political asylum and are given $20,000 to start their life over, along with a two-month intensive course on how to live in the "real" world. How to use an ATM; what the Internet is; what the real history of the rest of the world is - these are just scratching the surface of the things they all needed to be taught. The people of North Korea have lived hard lives, and this book was equal parts horrifying and fascinating. It opened my eyes to a country filled with so many good people yet so many problems. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject.(less)
What a powerful story of love through Christ. I came across Katie's blog about a year ago, and her story made me want to read more from this book. It'...moreWhat a powerful story of love through Christ. I came across Katie's blog about a year ago, and her story made me want to read more from this book. It's hard to believe that a young American girl would give up everything - her charmed life, her family, her friends, her education, and her boyfriend - to move to Uganda and follow God's plan for her. Not only did she adopt 14 orphaned girls, but she also started a ministry and a non-profit, educates and feeds 400+ children, gives medical care to anyone in need and spreads the teachings of Christ to all who cross her path. I think for many of us it's a struggle to leave the lives we know behind to serve, and I applaud Katie for doing it so unselfishly and purposefully. I would warn any non-Christians that this book may be a hard read, as it's filled with a lot of scripture and teachings from the Bible. But overall I really enjoyed it, and it has definitely inspired me to serve more, even just in my own community to those in need. (less)
I really enjoyed this book! I downloaded it as a free Kindle eBook, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But after reading it (and not wanting to put it d...moreI really enjoyed this book! I downloaded it as a free Kindle eBook, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But after reading it (and not wanting to put it down), I can safely say I would have paid for such a lovely (albeit predictable) novel. It's a pretty standard story of boy-meets-girl in childhood and stay best friends, yet the characters don't try for a relationship or realize what a great thing they've got until they're much older. I loved the quirks each character possessed, and how true-to-life each scenario was in the plot. Nothing was too cheesy or far-fetched for me, and it was easy to get lost in this book. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a light-hearted, quick read with a happy ending.(less)
It's rare, to read the perfect book at the perfect time. I can't recommend this book enough. Donald Miller, author or Blue Like Jazz, finds out some p...moreIt's rare, to read the perfect book at the perfect time. I can't recommend this book enough. Donald Miller, author or Blue Like Jazz, finds out some producers want to turn his book into a movie, but he's afraid his life story is too boring to be made into a film. So he goes on a journey to find out what makes a good story, on paper, on film, and in life.
The book raises some fantastic questions: If my life were a story, would anyone want to read it? Is my story something worth telling? Worth remembering? Or can I do something to change that, and start living my life in a way to create the best, most memorable story possible?
Some favorite quotes: "Fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life."
"The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person's story is about, just ask them what they want. If we don't want anything, we are living boring stories."
"When something hard happens to you, you have two choices in how to deal with it. You can either get bitter, or better. I chose to get better. It's made all the difference."
"If he will face his fate with courage, there is no conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing."
"How much it costs to be rich in friends, and how many years and stories and scenes it takes to make a rich life happen."
"A good storyteller doesn't just tell a better story, though. He invites other people into the story with him, giving them a better story too."
This book (and especially its message) has truly been an inspiration to me, and it's one I'll treasure on my bookshelf.(less)
I loved this book! I think I got the Kindle version for $0.99 or $1.99, but after reading it I can safely say I would have paid more.
Julia DeMarco is...moreI loved this book! I think I got the Kindle version for $0.99 or $1.99, but after reading it I can safely say I would have paid more.
Julia DeMarco is about to get married, but when she comes across a photo at an art gallery that looks suspiciously like her as a child, it turns her whole world upside down. Suddenly, she isn't sure of who she is anymore, and she decides to put her life (and her engagement) on hold to uncover the answers to all her questions. There are so many plot twists in this story, and characters introduced that would give some spoilers away, so unfortunately that's all I can say about the plot in this review. Readers will go on a journey in this book that cannot be predicted.
This book has everything - suspense, mystery, travel, romance - and it kept me furiously turning pages to find out what would happen next. I would highly recommend this book. (less)
I absolutely loved this book. Heft is about a depressed, alcohol-addicted mother and her athletic son; a former teacher-turned-overweight recluse; a p...moreI absolutely loved this book. Heft is about a depressed, alcohol-addicted mother and her athletic son; a former teacher-turned-overweight recluse; a pregnant young house cleaner; and over-privileged high school students. It's about being so overweight that you don't leave your house for a decade. It's about trying to overcome the parents and the neighborhood and the economic circumstances you were born into. It's about some people giving up on life, and about others who refuse to. Every character in this book is dealing with his or her own struggles, and at times it seems outrageous that they're all interconnected and crossing paths. But just like in real life, every person who crosses our path does so for a reason, and those reasons can sometimes leave lasting impressions on the rest of our lives.
It's been a very long time since I connected with and cared about characters as much as I did for the ones in Heft. Liz Moore has a gift for making these characters come to life. I raced through almost the entire book in a couple days, but I had to put it down with 40 pages left because I didn't want to say goodbye to Arthur and Kel. I thought the ending could have been drawn out a little longer, but I suppose sometimes it's better to let the reader's imagination decide what happens to the characters in the future. I have a feeling I'll be wondering about them for a long time. It was truly a pleasure to read this novel, and I look forward to reading other works by Moore.(less)
This is an outstanding book of testimonies on love and all its forms. Rarely do I read a book straight through in one night, but I couldn't put this o...moreThis is an outstanding book of testimonies on love and all its forms. Rarely do I read a book straight through in one night, but I couldn't put this one down! StoryCorps set up booths all over the country and recorded 40-minute conversations between people - friends, family, lovers - to record anything they wanted to say to each other, whether it's interview questions, the telling of a story or the professing of love to one another. "Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress." (StoryCorps.org/about)
All There Is, is separated into three sections: Found (how couples found and fell in love), Lost (couples who lost love, usually through death), and Found At Last (about those who assumed they would never find love but eventually did).
It is truly inspiring to know that ordinary people from all over the world can be made extraordinary through their love stories. Many stories in these pages I will never forget, and I will continue to strive to find the love in my own life that these people did. We all deserve a great love story.(less)