Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee

Two and a half stars, read in March 2018. I found this book very stressful. Given how long and sprawling it is, following so many characters throughout four generations, it often seemed strange how long we lingered on specific, not particularly meaningful conversations before jumping through time and space to continue the story. It just…

My Holiday in North Korea: The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth, by Wendy Simmons

Four stars, read in January 2018. I almost didn’t take this home, irritated with it for seeming flippant about a subject that is not in any way amusing (particularly after I’d just finished accounts by Jang Jin-sung and Suki Kim that were emotional and difficult to read). I flipped through to see the photos, of which there are many,…

Human Acts, by Han Kang

Five stars, read in April 2017. I kept not returning this book to the library because I wanted to go back through and get quotes for this post, but when I tried to do it, I felt like it was too late. This book is much too intense an experience to just dip back in…

Shelter, by Jung Yun

Five stars, read in November 2016. This book was my choice for fiction in the first two rounds of the Goodreads Choice Awards, but it was eliminated from the final round.  I read for two hours past my bedtime because that’s how long it took to find a place I could bear to put this…

The Color of Earth, by Kim Dong Hwa

Three stars for the series, but five stars for the first book alone. Read in September 2013. There was quite a bit of buildup for this book before I was finally able to read it. I lived in Utah at the time, and I’d been hearing a lot about it in connection with Banned Books…