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Nothing to Envy
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea | Barbara Demick
A National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle finalist, Barbara Demicks Nothing to Envy is a remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen yearsa chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime todayan Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjectsaverage North Korean citizensfall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them. Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance. From the Hardcover edition.
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Floresj
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Pickpick

I‘m rounding this one up to 5/5 stars. Part history of Korea, psychology, and story telling of 6 families of North Koreans, this book is really interesting. Explaining how Korea was split, what life is like for different classes of Koreans, the famine, humanitarian aid, propaganda, defection, romance, medicine, and spies, this book has something for everyone. Well written and engaging!

Megabooks I love this book! 3mo
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NikonRon
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Pickpick

I can‘t remember the last time I felt myself sucked into a read the way I did with this book. The author‘s retelling of the lives of North Korean defectors feels more like a novel than a nonfiction. You hear so often about the Kim family; it‘s eye opening to hear so vividly and honestly the effects of their policies on the everyday citizens of North Korea. Highly highly HIGHLY recommend 📚

Smrloomis I loved this book too. It was so fascinating. Welcome to Litsy! 🥳 4mo
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Megabooks
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It‘s #AMatterofHonor to be respectful of the Kim dynasty in North Korea. This book May be 11 years old, but it has stood the test of time well. I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in #nonfiction about defectors.

Can I say how awesome it was to find Star Trek:TNG view-master slides?! Plus I love all the crazy Klingon cuisine in this episode. Gagh anyone?? I‘ve heard the Tibius claw is nice!

#StarTrekSummerMay

8little_paws Those slides are awesome :) 6mo
Megabooks @8little_paws I loved my view-master! 6mo
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Maria514626
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😱 This book is amazing and horrifying. Many of the famine scenes reminded me of the famine stories from WW2. EXCEPT, these were unnecessary, due to neglect. And instead of imposed on one part of the population, to everyone. #mustread

Zelma I really liked this one (though it feels wrong to say I like a story about famine in North Korea). Great storytelling and writing by the author. 9mo
Maria514626 @Zelma So true! 9mo
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LaurenReads
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Pickpick

I know this book is 10 years old, but it was an awesome look into life in North Korea. Really sad, but shows the amazing strength people have to survive. #nonfiction #audiobook

8little_paws I've been meaning to read this for a while! 11mo
EmilyM I read this awhile ago and found it fascinating! 11mo
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ShannonOffDuty
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Pickpick

Unbelievably fascinating. North Korea seems like such a mysterious, yet obviously oppressive, country. But learning about what life is truly like there was shocking.

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Allthebookclubs
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Pickpick

I listened to this on Audible. The narrator‘s voice and tone was a tough to get used to, but the stories of survival are fantastic. I dove into researching other books like this about those who‘ve escaped NK once I realized this book was 8 years old.

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Lexeegee
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Pickpick

Quite the eye-opening book. It ends in 2008, i would like to find a book that covers the years since. Any suggestions?

CaitlinR Try DEAR LEADER (Jang Jin-sung). A memoir with great background about current events. 13mo
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Lexeegee
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I saw this a couple of weeks ago on Litsy and was instantly drawn to it.

Reecaspieces This is a fabulous read 14mo
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emilyhaldi
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Kim Jong-un and fam come to mind for #rocketbrothers 🚀 This book follows the lives of 6 North Koreans over a span of 15 years and shows shocking insight into the life of a repressive regime and a bleak life that is hard to fathom. This book will stay with me for a long time 🖤
#septemberdanes

Cinfhen Your choice is perfect!!!! Love it❣️❣️❣️😆 1y
Kalalalatja 😂😂😂 this is awesome! 1y
GripLitGrl 😂😂😂👍 1y
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LeahBergen 😂😂 Perfect! 1y
Nerdfins I loved this book, and that hashtag is perfect. 😂 1y
Reviewsbylola Not sure I could read this one. 1y
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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

Super interesting nonfiction about life in North Korea. It follows a few people and their lives giving a broad picture of life for different sorts of people.

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pgh.femme
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This book is amazing. If you haven‘t read it, it is worth $3

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Smrloomis
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Kindle deal 🎉 2.99 USD. Heart-breaking and fascinating. #NorthKorea

Wilkie Amazing book! 1y
Smrloomis @Wilkie so true! I was sucked in from the beginning. 1y
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kellyann28
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Super excited this was on sale today! I am hopeful this will be very eye opening and interesting.

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Wilkie
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A book recommendation #frommetoyou . This morning I was horrified to read that Trump complimented Kim Jong-un, calling him ‘a tough guy‘ ‘a smart guy‘ and ‘a great negotiator‘. After being pressed about Jong-un‘s human rights violations Trump said: “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.” Bad things: Torture, starvation, repression. #heyjune

Cinfhen 🙌🏻to you 😣to the other guy 1y
Caroline2 Oh I‘ve got this on my tbr shelf, be interesting to see what you think of it! 👍🏻 1y
Wilkie @Caroline2 I‘ve already read it. It‘s a very good book, highly recommend reading it sooner rather than later! 1y
Caroline2 You‘re right, now is a very good time to read it considering recent events!!! 😳 1y
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arubabookwoman
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“North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy during 14 hour days spent in factory day-care centers, that for the subsequent 50 years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim il-sung....”

bnp I didn't manage to finish this when I had it from the library earlier this year, but what I read was compelling. 2y
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arubabookwoman
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Pickpick

This has been on my shelf for yrs. and now seemed to be the appropriate time to read it. Through the lives of 6 North Korean defectors, the book details everyday life there, including horrific descriptions of the effects of the famine (Up to 20% of the population died of starvation or resultant illness, and babies and children‘s physical and cognitive developments were forever stunted.). Con‘t below:

arubabookwoman It details how each of the individuals arrived at the decision to defect, despite the pervasive propaganda they were subjected to from birth, how they accomplished their escapes, and the difficulties they had in adjusting to life on S. Korea. This is my best nonfiction read of the year. It reads like a novel and in my opinion everyone should read this book. 2y
BarbaraBB It has been on my wishlist forever. Your review again convinces me I should really read this. 2y
arubabookwoman #BarbaraBB I‘m just sorry I waited so long to get to it. It‘s a stunning book, and very readable—I‘d even call it a page-turner. 2y
Liz_M It is a very good read, and I enjoyed the audiobook. 2y
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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

This was a very interesting and sometimes hard to read look in to the lives of six average (former) North Korean citizens. While the world sees only selected polished images of Pyongyang this book takes you off the beaten path to smaller towns and industrial Chongjin where life is hard and poverty and hunger pervade. All while the elite get fat siphoning the humanitarian aid and the government spends millions and millions on weapons.

Suet624 Ugh. Why must it always be this way. 2y
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BestDogDad
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And yet these horrors continue year after year. Nothing changes.

saresmoore How awful. 2y
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BestDogDad
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saresmoore Wow, I hope you are taking breaks with this book! It seems quite bleak—not surprising, but not an easy read. 2y
Suet624 Holy Toledo!! 2y
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BestDogDad
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Suet624 Wow. 2y
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BestDogDad
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For this: three days of incarceration and interrogation. Ugh.

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BestDogDad
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Starting my next paper book tonight. I‘ve been fascinated with North Korea since I read The Orphan Master‘s Son. This sounds good. Plus, the Olympics are next door to this odd nation. 🇰🇵

EllieDottie This looks really good! And I love goldy!! 2y
BestDogDad Yes! Can‘t wait to read it. And Go Gophers! 2y
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Beccas
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Getting in some reading before work. This book has all the feels.

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readinginthedark
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I promised a couple of friends that I‘d drive to see them today, so I took my #LitsyPartyofOne on the road with this book about North Korea. I just don‘t even know what to say; so much information I never knew before. 😔

RebelReader This book came to me highly recommended and so I will be reading it later this year for my #recommendationschallege2018. 2y
readinginthedark @RebelReader I‘m reading it as part of my Read Around the World Challenge, and so far, I‘m learning a lot and would definitely recommend it! The narrator‘s a little repetitive in cadence at times, but she‘s growing on me. 2y
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ephemeralwaltz
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So I just bought my first kindle book and downloaded my first FREE kindle book! Yay😋🙌

julesG Wasn't too difficult, was it? 2y
Cinfhen 😀 Yay 2y
cathysaid Nothing to Envy is really good! 2y
TheDoubleLetterThief No turning back now! 2y
ephemeralwaltz @julesG so easy!👌 @Cinfhen 🙌 @cathysaid happy to hear that! I've been looking forward to reading it for some time. @TheDoubleLetterThief you can say that again! 2y
49 likes5 comments
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BookishRedhead
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this book. I liked how it showed you different lives from different people. Now onto Stars Between The Sun And Moon (book behind).
I'm surprised it took me less than a month to finish.

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flippingchapters
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I surprised myself yesterday by picking up a genre that I don't usually reach out for. I'm halfway through Nothing to Envy and I gained some much insights and for the first time, I wished that it's all fiction😕

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BookishRedhead
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Decisions decisions.
Which one to read?
Nothing To Envy is different north korean stories.
The Invitation Only Zone is north Korea kidnapping Japanese and passing them off as Korean.

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MusingsOnMidlife
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Pickpick

Terrifying but interesting. An interesting insight into life in North Korea. I really enjoyed this. 4 stars.

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cathysaid
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rachellayown 👍👍👍 3y
PurpleyPumpkin Well done!👌🏽 3y
Suet624 Harold fry. 💕💕💕 3y
cathysaid @rachellayown @PurpleyPumpkin Thanks! @Suet624 I listened to it on audio. So glad I did. Great narration. 3y
Suet624 👍👍 3y
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cathysaid
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Pickpick

From now on, whenever I am feeling hopeless about the state of things here in the US, I will refer back to this book for perspective. The hell that North Koreans have endured and continue to endure is heartbreaking. Demick follows six people over decades, chronicling their lives (and defections) against the backdrop of a communist country. In spite of the subject matter, her style is engaging. A relevant and necessary read. #nonfiction

Reecaspieces Totally agree....I listened to this while I worked at a hospital and I think about all the doctors going and picking their own herbs for medicine...so sad 3y
cathysaid @reecaspieces Really sad. The descriptions just broke my heart, especially the people who have never known anything else. (edited) 3y
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Nitabasu
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Nitabasu
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“This is not the sort of thing that shows up in satellite photographs. Whether in CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, or in the East Asian studies department of a university, people usually analyze North Korea from afar. They don‘t stop to think that in the middle of this black hole, in this bleak, dark country where millions have died of starvation, there is also love.”

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cathysaid
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Wow. Just wow. The power of description... 😞

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cathysaid
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Still working my way through this nonfiction read as well. Engaging and thoughtfully written account of the experiences of some who escaped from North Korea. The extended amount of time it is taking me to read it has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my tendency to read several books at once! 😳

#MarchIntoReading #RecentNonfictionRead

LauraBrook This is such a good book! Almost want to reread it (but who has the time when there are so many unread ones out there?!?) 3y
izah.ahmad Woooo looks so good! Been looking for books on North Korea 3y
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cathysaid @izah.ahmad It really is! I'm about halfway through and enjoying it. So interesting. 3y
izah.ahmad @cathysaid it's getting more interesting for me due to the meltdown between Pyongyang with my country! International relations seem getting messier and juicier nowadays 😅 3y
cathysaid @izah.ahmad Right? So unpredictable right now. 3y
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AlaMich
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Pickpick

See: #northkorea obsession. Always my question: what is daily life actually like for people?

saresmoore It's a great question! And perhaps one that is best answered in books. 3y
Oryx Fascinating book. 3y
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cathysaid
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Interesting. Page 24 contains the title of the book!

And this book...so, so good. I understood the situation in N. Korea in a vague way, but this examination of the day to day life of specific people puts human faces on the situation and brings to life their stories.

#page24ofcurrentread #currentlyreading #nonfiction

Reecaspieces Great great read! 3y
nandana One of my favorite reads. Highly recommend as a complimentary read. 3y
cathysaid @nandana thanks! I'll check that out. 3y
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cathysaid
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I've been feeling sad today about the inauguration tomorrow - avoiding the news and social media, trying to tend to my soul. Today I read this. I am reminded that as much as I detest our president-elect, I can still appreciate living in a democracy and be grateful the description in this quote doesn't apply to me. I accept some will be hopeful tomorrow and some will mourn, but as for me, I am finally able to respect all sides. #peace #truce

LauraBrook Thank you for this. I, too, am sick and worried about tomorrow, and for our country, but at least it's not North Korea. (That sounds glib, but is not meant to be.) 3y
Lakesidemusing Planning to read this soon... 3y
cathysaid @LauraBrook I know what you mean 👍 3y
cathysaid @Lakesidemusing I'm reading it slowly because I've got several books going. It's really interesting and engaging...which seems a bit odd when the subject matter is North Korea. 3y
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mrsbatman85
Pickpick

I'm not usually a lover of non-fiction and so I thoroughly enjoyed the story telling style used in this book. It was informative whilst feeling personal and emotional. It's made me want to look into the subject matter further which to me is a sign of a good book. I read it on the Kindle app on my phone whenever I was without my book hence why it's taken a while, but I thoroughly enjoyed it

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cathysaid
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Written in a journalistic (for me that means readable) style, this is a recounting of life for North Koreans. Much of the book is based on information the author gathered from defectors to South Korea. Highlighted are the struggles of two families facing a lack of resources and class stratification, as well as a total lack of information from inside or outside North Korea. Fascinating and engaging so far. 👍👍
#nonfiction #currentlyreading

Reecaspieces I loved this book!! I can't get over he doctors going to the mountains to pick herbs. And I fuss about big pharma every day.... 3y
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cariashley
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Pickpick

My fascination with North Korea continues; I guess I just can't believe this place exists in our world, right now. This was excellent on audio and really scratched my nonfiction itch on the topic after reading/loving The Orphan Master's Son earlier this year.

Suzze Orphan Master's Son was incredible, 3y
HeatherBookNerd Orphan Master's Son is excellent. 3y
Zelma I read this one last year and thought it was excellent and heartbreaking. 3y
cariashley @Suzze @HeatherBookNerd totally agree, definitely one of my absolute favorites this year. 3y
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EvieBee
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I was obsessed with North Korean literature in 2012. I have read quite a few memoirs and fictional books set there, except for these essentials. What is wrong with me? Definitely need to get to these sooner than later. #tbr #fictionnonfictionpairing #pulitzer

Beachesnbooks Both of these are on my tbr too and I feel you! 3y
Smrloomis I LOVED these both so much. I think you should move them up 😁 ASAP! @Beachesnbooks @EvieBee84 3y
LeahBergen I just started off on my own little "N. Korea obsession" of my own this year. ? 3y
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MicheleinPhilly I bought The Orphan Master's Son in hardback. Before it won the Pulitzer. Still haven't read it. 😬 3y
EvieBee @Beachesnbooks Let's do this, Emmy! 3y
EvieBee @Smrloomis Okay, sounds like a plan! Nothing like recommendations to motivate me! 3y
EvieBee @LeahBergen Really? What has been your favorite read thus far? And have you read...? 3y
EvieBee @MicheleinPhilly I know right?! You'd think the Pulitzer would motive us more so. That actually does the opposite for me. I have no idea why. 😳 3y
Smrloomis Wahoo! 🎉🎉🎉 hope you all love these 👍🏽 as much as I did! 3y
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lauralovesbooks1
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Pickpick

Bleak, but engrossing read. Dystopian non-fiction, it's hard to wrap my head around the fact that is is reality for millions of people. #nonfictionnovember2016

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Megabooks
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#SundayFunday #nonfictionNovember Definitely doing some post Thanksgiving relaxing!

I started Nothing to Envy at the beginning of the month on #hoopla, but I loved it so much, I bought it on #audible. #treatyourselfsale splurge!! I think I've spent $40 at that sale!!

cariashley Ooh this is definitely going to be one of my next listens! 3y
Megabooks @cariashley It's so good!! 3y
TheNextBook Off Balance was really good! And really revealing. 3y
SusanInTiburon Demick's book was riveting, and a real eye opener. 3y
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Martta
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Pickpick

First of the #nonfictionnovember books read. This taught me that I should read so much more non-fiction. Such a good book! Sad stories of people who have lived in a very difficult circumstances in North Korea. This book gives a whole new perspective in the history of Koreas and the current situation there. It is not so simple as it seems. I'm happy I learned something new.

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Martta
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I've always known that North Korea is a dictatorship. I've watched a lot of documentaries about it but this book gives a whole new perspective on how people actually live there. This is not a easy read but it's a really good one. I like that it gives a short view on how the country became as it is today. It is not as simple as it seems.

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Megabooks
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I think I'm going to do my #nonfictionnovember on #hoopla. These are the early favorites. I'm starting with Nothing to Envy, which is a 5🌟 #recommendsday pick for me as a visual book. Any suggestions of where to go next?

cariashley The David Spade is pretty entertaining, really interesting if you're into SNL! 3y
BookishFeminist Just Kids is one of my all-time favorite memoirs. Patti Smith is an amazing writer. 💕 3y
Michreads Just kids. Loved it! 3y
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angrylilasian I'm putting in my vote for Just Kids. Loved the audiobook! 3y
Megabooks @BookishFeminist @Michreads @angrylilasian Okay! I'll definitely check it out, probably next! 😃😃 3y
BethFishReads Awesome 3y
MPHetzer Escape from Camp 14 was really good! Sooo interesting! 3y
Megabooks Thank @MPHetzer !! I'm going to check it out. 3y
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Martta
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A bit #ReadAndEat before going to bed. I'm not sure if this book is something you would like to enjoy while eating. Hopefully nothing too awful happens in the first pages. (Dark bread, delicious green tea and a bit of chocolate)

izah.ahmad Looks yum tho 😂 3y
9 likes1 comment