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A River in Darkness
A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea | Masaji Ishikawa
Previously published in Japan in 2000. Translated from Japanese by Risa Kobayashi and Martin Brown. First published in English by AmazonCrossing in 2017.
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executivespooky
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Probably shouldn't be reading a bummer book given my life right now, but here we go anyway 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Sweettartlaura
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Pickpick

A harrowing true story of an escape from North Korea. It‘s short, and all the more impactful for it. The translation is excellent, keeping the story flowing. And sadly, the propaganda techniques used by the party are becoming all too familiar in our daily parlance.
Make time for this when you can.

cathysaid Agreed. I found this fascinating. And it read like fiction. It‘s frequently on Kindle sale. 2mo
Sace I just bought the kindle edition. I didn't even wait for it to go on sale. 2mo
Sweettartlaura @Sace good for you - it‘s great 👍🏻 2mo
Sweettartlaura @cathysaid exactly - it was captivating 2mo
36 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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AkashPhoenix
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Pickpick

An Emotional Powerhouse! There's so much in life we take for granted and the author just helps us realise the same. As our materialistic demands increase we have forgotten to truly savour & cherish what we already have!

A story of a man and his struggle to escape North Korea.

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derr.liz
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"Ever since moving to North Korea, I‘d never felt truly alive; part of me had been walled off, silenced. After a while, I felt that that part of me had simply withered away like a limb that atrophies from lack of use."

#travelread

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Chelsey

God, what a massively depressing read. It was a fantastic insight into what North Korea looks like from the inside though. The thing that struck me most was the hopeless bleakness of the average citizen, followed by amazement at the pigheaded stubbornness of the regime in the face of catastrophic results to their policies. Particularly the farming failures and how closely they follow the epic failures of Stalin's Soviet Union.

11 likes1 stack add
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Soubhiville
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Pickpick

This book is tough to read; about a life of the deepest poverty. It‘s bleak, but a worthwhile read.

#LitsyAtoZ LetterI for author

Tamra I see it‘s a Kindle deal today - think I‘ll download it. 7mo
83 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Soubhiville
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Airport reading. It was a wonderful trip, but I‘m looking forward to getting home.

4thhouseontheleft Safe travels! 7mo
RadicalReader Airports one of the best places to read 7mo
TheSpineView Travel safe! 7mo
SW-T Safe travels to you 😊 7mo
67 likes4 comments
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Soubhiville
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One thing traveling is great for is getting me to read things that have been languishing in my kindle forever! I‘m headed home tomorrow, but starting this tonight.

cathysaid This is so good! 7mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz How was your nephew's graduation? Hope you enjoyed yourself in Colorado! 7mo
Soubhiville @Jee_HookedOnBookz My nephew‘s graduation was outdoors and it was cold and drizzling! But the ceremony was wonderful. I‘m so proud of him! He and my sis lived with me until he was 2, so it was especially poignant. 😢😁❤️ 7mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz Awwwww ❤️❤️ and congratulations to him and kudos to you for being such a wonderful, caring and loving aunt! ❤️ ❤️ 7mo
70 likes1 stack add4 comments
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PurpleRobo
Pickpick

My first read of 2019

RaimeyGallant Welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon 7mo
Chelleo Welcome! 7mo
deadrabbitsbooks 💛 Welcome to Litsy 🐇 7mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗 7mo
4 likes1 stack add4 comments
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kellyann28
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Pickpick

Wow, powerful read. Not much is truly known about North Korea and this is a true story of what one man endured and escaped from. No happy ending in this one. At one point he and his family survived the winter eating ACORNS. This puts into perspective how lucky most of us are.

#pop19: author from Asia
#booked2019: "Night" oriented title. "Darkness" means so much more in this book. @cinfhen @BarbaraTheBibliophage @4thhouseontheleft

Cinfhen Nice use of prompt 🙏🏻 7mo
23 likes1 comment
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Howseldomtheydo
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#bestof2019sofar #readathon #deweyapril #litsywalkers #3miles #read
Pic from my latest walk, still looking for something green 😂 tagged book was the best so far... will be reading The Great Alone today
#grateful21 coffee, pizza, retirement 😉

Eggs 💗💗 retirement 💗💗 8mo
102 likes1 comment
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Redjewel_7734
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Pickpick

We know things are bad in North Korea, but I don‘t think I‘ve ever really thought about how bad they are...this book really brings home the horrific day to day of so many there. Knowing it makes it that much worse that our leaders won‘t push the current NKorean leaders about their human rights violations. It‘s also sad that after such an ordeal he found himself so alone & unable to help his family. This is a heartbreaking & important story to read

79 likes4 stack adds
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janeycanuck
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Pickpick

Another great discussion with my #GirlyBookClub ladies last night - this one was a challenging read but sparked such interesting conversation.

Chelleo Love the table tent 9mo
38 likes1 comment
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pasiphae_reads
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Pickpick

The first 4 #books I read in 2019!
1. A River in Darkness: One Man‘s Escape From North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 [nonfiction]
2. Pride by Ibi Zoboi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 [YA P&P retelling]
3. Lift by Alexa Riley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 [romance]
4. Solo:A Star Wars Story by Mur Lafferty ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 [sci-fi]

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Howseldomtheydo
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Too windy to walk outside, too lazy to drive to the gym, got in a quick 1.77m walk on my treadmill. I am now sitting by my tulips 🌷 reading and dreaming of springtime. #litsywalkers #currentlyreading

Tamra So pretty & cheerful! 10mo
wanderinglynn Beautiful tulips! 🌷 10mo
Velvetfur Love the 2 colours of the tulips! 10mo
Jaimelire Such a pretty picture♥️ 4mo
126 likes4 comments
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CafeMom
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Pickpick

This book is about much more than one man's escape from North Korea. Masaji tells he was born to a Japanese mother and Korean father. Much of his life is complicated by these two cultures. I learned so much from this little book. The propaganda machine that got the family to North Korea. The depth of poverty and despair. The caste system. Complicated relationship between Japan. N Korea, S Korea and China. I recommend this book.

4 likes2 stack adds
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CafeMom
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One of my February books for Reading the World group on Goodreads. So far a quick read I am about 30% in. It is a sad story. I am learning a lot about Korean history which I knew next to nothing.

5 likes1 stack add
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Smrloomis
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This is on sale as a kindle deal for 1.99 USD again if you‘re interested in learning about one man‘s experience in North Korea. No surprise this is incredibly bleak.

64 likes1 stack add
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Howseldomtheydo
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On sale today! #tbr #kindle #amazon

Soozee Why should the kindle edition cost more in the UK? It‘s Qb.98 here which is equivalent to $5.13. Just saying. ? (edited) 11mo
Crazeedi I was just looking at this in a biography list I was perusing ! Thanks for the tip! 11mo
cathysaid This book is so good. Highly recommended! 11mo
See All 6 Comments
Howseldomtheydo @cathysaid Good to hear! 11mo
88 likes1 stack add6 comments
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swynn
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Pickpick

The author migrated to North Korea with his family as a boy, and then escaped thirty-six years later. This is his memoir of living through poverty and starvation in a land that was promised to be "Paradise on Earth." It is horrifying.

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JessNevertheless
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Spent the weekend visiting my friend in central VA, while enjoying the beautiful Blue Ridges. This audiobook was a fascinating great companion while on my drive, highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about life inside North Korea.

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TheLibrarian
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Pickpick

A River in Darkness is a heartbreaking, harrowing, true story about a man‘s life in North Korea and his eventual escape. Even if you normally don‘t read non-fiction (like me), I‘d still highly recommend reading this book.

mreads I've not red this yet but it's free for those with kindle unlimited. Thanks for the review 13mo
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Smrloomis
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Harrowing, just as you‘d expect. The Kindle version is on sale for 1.99 USD right now.

cathysaid This really is so good. 13mo
Smrloomis @cathysaid Yes - absolutely terrifying and engrossing. (edited) 13mo
Chazlyn Saw this in a BookBub email today - went straight to my TBR pile. Glad to see someone like it! 13mo
Smrloomis @Chazlyn Let me know what you think when you get to it! Definitely a worthwhile read in my opinion. 13mo
69 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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J.Dormouse

There‘s nothing like reading about people starving under totalitarianism to make me feel simultaneously better and worse about my own life. A good, wrenching, nonfiction read.

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tricours
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Pickpick

About as uplifting as expected. Well-written and interesting.

Smrloomis Completely agree with your review. 14mo
35 likes1 stack add1 comment
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korynnerobustello
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Heartbreaking ...but a must read for anyone, even if you aren't interested in the secrecy of North Korea. No illusions just brutal truth. Highly recommend.

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SqueakyChu
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“And I came to recognize that, no matter how difficult the reality, you mustn‘t let yourself be beaten. You must have a strong will. You have to summon what you know is right from your innermost depths and follow it.”

Why does it seem so hard these days for some individuals to know what is right? This man lived in an extremely harsh conditions, but even those who live elsewhere comfortably seem to have a hard time telling right from wrong.

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SqueakyChu
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I just started reading this memoir of a Japanese man who was taken to live in North Korea at the age of 13. He was shocked at what he found there. The year was 1960. He writes, “I became obsessed with all the things I had taken for granted before...”

Discouraging words. Don‘t we all experience this at different levels?

SqueakyChu Bleak...so bleak and harsh was life for this young man in North Korea. I‘m up to 1966. Still reading... 1y
24 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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TorieStorieS
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Pickpick

This is the first book from Amazon‘s international sale this past April that I‘ve read/listened (#AudioColor ed) to! It is a brief memoir with simple language that so matter of factly relays the hardship and horror that makes up living in #NorthKorea. I really hope there‘s a follow up...

Christine Love the flower/colors! :) 1y
TorieStorieS Thanks, @Christine !!!! ☺️☺️☺️ 1y
30 likes2 comments
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CSeydel
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Pickpick

Last of my vacation reads. This was a fast read and completely horrific. As it is a memoir, the writing is a little unpolished and the story occasionally feels unmoored in time - time passes abruptly and sometimes the sequence of events felt confusing. But his style is very emotional and conversational; it very much felt like sitting down with this man to hear his harrowing tale.

CSeydel I couldn‘t figure out how it would end, how he was going to get his family out. Well: he didn‘t. This is a memoir, not a novel, and his suffering didn‘t end just because he escaped to Japan. Tragic and sickening. 1y
Soubhiville Nice review! You just bumped this up my TBR! 1y
tammysue Great review! Stacked 👍🏻 1y
79 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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InnerSavvy
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Pickpick

This was a hard book to read because of the subject of a South Korean that lived in Japan and then was sent to North Korea. The poverty and propaganda was unbelievable but definitely worth reading.

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InnerSavvy
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It is going to be hot for the next couple of days so I'm getting some reading done. Here's my eclectic taste in books from the library. Currently reading A River in Darkness about a South Korean in Japan who later goes to North Korea. It is hard to read about the poverty and propaganda , but it's a good book

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Jnnlb
Pickpick

Must Read!

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QueenBook
Pickpick

Will never look at food the same way again

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Tkgbjenn1
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Pickpick

A look at life among our new best friends, the North Koreans. An absolutely heartbreaking story of a Japanese/Korean boy who at the age of ten is repatriated to North Korea by his abusive Korean father. The North Korean government offers the repatriated “Paradise on Earth”. What they find is poverty, starvation, and abusive public and government. He spend 30‘s years suffering and watching those he loves, including his father, suffering and dying.

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cherinium
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Settled onto the couch with my #kindle. I'm prepared for an unsettling look into a world I can only imagine and am thankful that I can say that. #nonfiction #memoir

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ILoveReading28

This is such a sad story. But very real. This is such a real and heart wrenching account of the author‘s life and family life first growing up in Japan and then moving to North Korea when he is a teenager till adulthood. This is a story of a man‘s survival and perseverance through many tragedies and hardships that he went through. But also his will to live and be there for his loved ones and family.

14 likes1 stack add
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ILoveReading28
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Current read 📖

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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

Luckily this book is short, because it is intense. 44‘s adulation of N Korea‘s current dictator make this an important read for seeing exactly how bad things are, and have always been, under the Kim regime. So read it. But don‘t expect a hopeful ending.

cherinium I have this one on my #kindle. Two times over the past couple weeks I've almost opened it, but ultimately chose to go with something a bit lighter. I anticipate this one is pretty heavy, and just haven't felt like my brain is ready to tackle it yet. 1y
Lcsmcat @cherinium It is heavy, but it‘s so important to know what really goes on. And it‘s short so you can tolerate it. 1y
Eggs Sad but eye-opening 1y
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Lcsmcat
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saresmoore Newspeak. “Let them eat cake.” Trump. Ugh, so true. 1y
CSeydel Oh I‘m just about to start this one! 1y
45 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Lcsmcat
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Starting this. It seems sadly appropriate.

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WorldsOkayestStepMom
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Pickpick

We can't let people's stories be forgotten, and we can't stand by and watch abuse. I hate that Masaji had a terrible life in NK. His memoir is tragic.

50 likes1 stack add
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Well-ReadNeck
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Mehso-so

This is the author‘s story INTO and out of North Korea. Born in Japan to a South Korean father and Japanese mother, the author‘s family is convinced to move to North Korea with false promises and he escapes years later after a brutal life spent in the country. Very sparse prose makes this a cold read at times, but the story is one very much worth reading.

LoverofLit I read The Paper Menagerie earlier this year and felt the same way about the prose being cold. It was heartbreaking situations at time but wrote with almost no feeling. It was unsettling. Glad you put what I felt into words! 1y
Well-ReadNeck @LoverofLit Unsettling. Exactly right. 1y
Dogearedcopy 🎧 I started this in print and knew it was somehow lacking so I added the audio and it made all the difference (for the better!) The audio, narrated by Brian Nishii (IIRC) did a great job of bringing the story to life and the foreign words into the narrative without faltering. (edited) 1y
130 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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ABookGeek
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Pickpick

This was a brutal but eye-opening book. Difficult to read due to the overwhelming sense of sadness and bitterness over a lifetime of starvation, suffering and disappointment expressed by the author. I learned a lot and feel was definitely worth the read.

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Smrloomis
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Kindle deal 🎉 I thought this was great, although obviously brutal. If you‘re interested in North Korea, this may appeal to you.

arubabookwoman I just read #NothingToEnvy which was great, and I bought this when it was on sale (free), so I should try to pick this up soon. It‘s a timely subject right now. 2y
Smrloomis @arubabookwoman I also thought Nothing to Envy was a very worthwhile read. Let me know if you get around to this one. 2y
69 likes1 stack add2 comments
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BookArt
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Mehso-so

I learned a lot about North Korea, China, South Korea, and Japan while reading this book. It's not the most exciting read but it was eye opening and somber. I think I would have had a difficult time reading so I would recommend listening instead. #educational

RaimeyGallant Nice review. And welcome! 2y
4 likes1 comment
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Dogearedcopy
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Pickpick

This is a memoir is a poverty story, an account of one man‘s life in North Korea from his “repatriation” to his escape decades later. The testimony is fraught with repetitive phrases and ideas, the bitterness born of eating weeds and battling fate, and the fervor and zeal of a man clinging to hope and survival. The audio, narrated by Brian Nishii brings it all to life, incorporating Japanese words into the performance without fault. 3.75-4.0 stars

Dogearedcopy Image: Cropped publicity headshot of the author 2y
32 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Dogearedcopy
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🎧 On World Book Day, AMZN offered this 174-page memoir of a North Korean citizen‘s escape from that country. The writing felt too low key considering the enormity of Ishikawa‘s challenges so I decided to switch to the audio narrated by Brian Nishii. I just started, and if I now feel things are a bit melodramatic in delivery, I‘ve decided to go with overstatement rather than understatement!

37 likes1 stack add
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Daisey
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Pickpick

This is a heartbreaking story about a man‘s life in and escape from North Korea told in a simple, straightforward way.

#audiobook #nonfiction #memoir

Finishing this also means I‘ve completed 4 books this week for #boutofbooks and I‘m a little over 3 hours into #8intwo.

54 likes2 stack adds
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Daisey
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I had to make a trip to town this morning, so I stopped at the coffee shop I can't make it to on a regular work day for breakfast. I also started listening to a this audiobook on my drive and now while working on cleaning up my classroom for the summer.

#nonfiction #audiobook #TeachersofLitsy