In The New York Times Book Review, Nicholas Kristof writes about the best fiction and nonfiction to read for glimpses into the secretive world of North Korea. Kristof writes:
“Thousands of North Koreans have fled their homeland since the famine of the late 1990s, and many are writing memoirs recounting their daily lives and extraordinary escapes. A leading example is ‘In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom,’ by Yeonmi Park, with Maryanne Vollers. Park is a young woman whose father was a cigarette smuggler and black market trader. As a girl, she believed in the regime (as did her mother), for life was steeped in propaganda and anti-Americanism. Even in her math class, “a typical problem would go like this: ‘If you kill one American bastard and your comrade kills two, how many dead American bastards do you have?’”
What opened Park’s eyes was in part a pirated copy of the film ‘Titanic.’ ”
On this week’s podcast, Kristof discusses books about North Korea; Tui Sutherland talks about the graphic novel edition of “Wings of Fire”; Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Gregory Cowles, Jennifer Szalai and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.
Here are the books mentioned in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:
“The Radetzky March” by Joseph Roth
“Winter” by Karl Ove Knausgaard
“Selected Letters” by John Keats
“The Secret River” by Kate Grenville
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