Book review: I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, by Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

“I just wanted to thank you,” he said.

“For what?” I asked.

“For coming,” he said. “And for giving me hope.

 

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2017 Book Awards

I’ve always wanted to do book awards since the first time I had this blog, but, see, I’m a creature of habit; I always go back to the same genre over and over again. And when you only read either, fictions, non-fictions, historical fictions, young adults, and contemporaries, let’s just say it’s not entirely easy to make your own book awards.

Well, that is until I realise, I can make my own categories and gave out my own awards to the books I’ve read however I like it. Here are the categories that I have come up with.

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Book review: Ravensbruck: Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women, by Sarah Helm

And yet it is precisely because this was a camp for women that Ravensbrück should have shaken the conscience of the world. Other camps showed what mankind was capable of doing to man. The Jewish camps showed what mankind was capable of doing to an entire race. Ravensbrück showed what mankind was capable of doing to women. The nature and scale of atrocity done here to women had never been seen before. Ravensbrück should never have had to fight ‘on the margins’ for a voice: it was -and is- a story in its own right.

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Book review: North Korea Undercover, by John Sweeney

Award-winning BBC journalist John Sweeney is one of the few to have witnessed at first hand the devastating reality of life in the controversial and isolated nation of North Korea.

Posing as a university professor, Sweeney went undercover to gain unprecedented access to the world’s most secret state. He spoke to people who have seen the horrific dark side of the regime and saw things which have been hidden for years from the eyes of the western world: huge factories with no staff or electricity; hospitals with no patients; uniformed child soldiers; and the world-famous and eerily empty DMZ – the De-Militarized Zone where North Korea ends and South Korea starts – all framed by the relentless flow of regime propaganda from omnipresent loudspeakers.

Sweeney also visited South Korea and met defectors from the North who told him the other side of the story: gulags within a gulag state, dire poverty, blunted lives, hideous torture, effective infanticide of disabled babies, stick-limbed children dying of famine and mass graves of political prisoners that could only be dug when the spring thaw set in.

With the world’s eyes focused on North Korea, Sweeney’s timely account is a stunning piece of reportage from the country the author describes as the strangest place he’s ever visited. A combination of first person experiences, new and revealing interviews, and history, North Korea Undercover examines the country’s troubled history and provides a window into life there today. Goodreads.

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Book review: Modern Romance, by Azis Ansari & Eric Klinenberg

Do you know why I like Azis Ansari? Go and watch his stand-up shows, and/or watch the pilot episode for Master of None. I don’t think I need to elaborate on how interesting it is to listen to Azis Ansari. Having said that, I am beyond excited when I saw this book whilst I was browsing a bookstore last year. The theme of the topic reminds me of an episode where Azis was a guest on The Conan Show and he was talking about online dating and how he’s not into that. It was funny, and imagine having to read a whole entire book on his thoughts about romance; modern romance to be precise. Will Azis be as funny as he was in The Conan Show, as sarcastic as during his stand-up shows, as witty as his character in Master of None?

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