"Escape from Camp 14" by Blaine Harden
4 out of 5 Stars
This book had special interest to me as I served in the US Air Force in South Korea from 1989-1991.
This book is about a man, Shin Donghyuk, who was born into a North Korean political prisoner camp - and he managed to escape. North Korea won't even acknowledge it HAS these camps, even though the show up on satellite and there are refugees who confirm it. But even more troubling, I think, is the world's ignorance of these camps -- and when people KNOW about them, they don't raise a furor.
To put these camps into some sort of perspective -- the North Korean camps have been around about twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Shin Donghyuk was expected to snitch on his family, and even looked at his family as competitors for food and survival. He was tortured horribly, and this part of the book is hard to read. It's also hard to comprehend the extreme hunger the prisoners go through (and in fact, nearly all of North Korea).
This isn't an easy read -- it's a fast read, but not an easy read. However, it's an IMPORTANT read. We need to know about these things, and we need to do something about it.
"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson
Five out of Five Stars
After reading "Camp 14", I had to read something light.
I'd been looking forward to this memoir ever since I discovered The Bloggess on the blogosphere. Jenny is hilarious, irreverent, and gets away with words I couldn't. I expected the book to be entertaining, and I wasn't wrong.
What I wasn't expecting was the poignant moments. Sure, Jenny has a trucker mouth and grew up in a crazy-strange household (Raccoons in the bathtub? Snakes in the freezer? Why yes!) but she also has a softer side that's affected by illnesses and pain, OCD and depression. I totally get her.
I read this book in one sitting. If you're easily offended, don't pick up this book! But if you can handle the liberal use of the F-bomb, and can find the humor in the crazy, grab this book!
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Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking here. She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book Bead Soup.
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