A Bit of World Culture | A River in Darkness

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

A World Book Day purchased for free on Amazon in order to read books from authors that are outside of the US. I was excited to read this book from an author born outside of the US and written about a country I will probably never visit. As you might imagine from the title the book was very sad. It made me even more thankful for all the things I have and fortune to be able to provide for my family. It would be interesting to see what else has happened to Mr. Ishikawa since the book was published.

The 172 page book was originally published in 2000, but I think the fact that it was a featured book on World Book Day and the fact that it was free, really helped the sales. It currently has 25,500 ratings at a 4.26 rating on goodreads.

The author tells of his impossibly difficult life in North Korea and his eventual escape from the oppressive country. I gave this book 4 stars.

Sleeping Giants a Science Fiction Mystery

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants was a real surprise to me. I was given this book at a Comic-Con years ago and when I finally picked it up I was blown away. It is a great science fiction story. A young girl finds some metal protruding from the ground and that small discovery turns the world upside down and begins a lifetime of searching. What they discover will change all their lives and the lives of everyone on earth.

Sleeping Giants Signed
Sleeping Giants Signed

This is only the first book in a trilogy called The Themis Files. I grabbed the other two books after reading the first and had the author Sylvain Neuvel sign them at subsequent Comic-Cons in San Deigo. I really enjoyed this book, but as often happens I have been distracted by other great books and I have not gone back to read the other two books in the Themis Files triliogy although I have signed copies. This is why writing about the books on this blog is very helpful for me, because I remember this great books and can finally go back and read them.

I wouldn’t quite call this a hidden gem as it does have 51,000 ratings on goodreads, but It certainly isn’t as popular as some. Most folks over there give it 4 or 5 stars. It earned a sold 4 from me and I said

Excellent book. Lots of action and a great story. Real cliffhanger at the end. I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Book Review | The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault of Our Stars by John Green is an insanely popular book, with just shy of 3 million ratings on Goodreads. The book came first but soon became a major motion picture.

The Fault of Our Stars Movie Trailer

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

After I read the book and really enjoyed it, I decided to watch the film. I would say if you are a reader, you don’t need to watch the movie, it in no way adds to the book you have already read. The acting was okay, but the story in the book is so much more, as usually is the case with books.

Initially I didn’t really want to read this book. Mostly because it was so popular and all the reviews say that the book made them cry. I’m not super emotional, but I don’t want to read books that are sad just because they are sad.

I want to read books that give me something to take away. I want to read books that make me better in some way. We don’t have a lot of time why read or do anything for the matter that doesn’t benefit us in some way.

I did learn to value the things and the people in my life much more than I was currently doing. We all know this is important but sometimes we need a reminder. This is a very good book and a great reminder that what we have in life, whether it is a lot or a little is more than some and we should celebrate and be thankful for that instead of being depressed and always wanting more.

Because of this lesson and really great writing I would recommend this book to most everyone. The story and lesson earned 4 stars out of 5 from me.