Just two books to tell you about this month...
First up was Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick.
This was a recommendation from another blogger that had been on my list for awhile. It's a non-fiction book written by a journalist who spoke to multiple defectors from North Korea. When deciding to write this book, the author decided to try and find people from the same city as a way to "fact check" the stories as much as possible, since it would be difficult to actually fact check their individual stories. We hear from several different people about what life is like in North Korea following the war until the present. Not only is it a way of life that is nearly unheard of for people living in capitalist/democracy countries, they also suffered from a great famine and many people died of hunger, disease, and neglect. It was really amazing to hear the lengths to which people went to feed their families and survive.
This was not the first book I read about North Korea, I also read The Girl With Seven Names, but that was more focused on how to defect from North Korea and the challenges that come after that. This novel, Nothing to Envy, was more about day to day life, and the author did a great job of really painting a picture, like a novel, but with as many true facts as possible woven in. I always love reading about different parts of the world. and this was definitely a different part of the world!
I also read Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst (not be confused with One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle).
This book is told from three points of view, three generations of women, who travel to Italy together one summer. Each one is struggling with their own challenges, and this trip is supposed to bring them closer together. It is a pretty predictable book and you could probably guess the various tropes as soon as you start reading, like I did. However, it was a fun easy book to read. With White Lotus being filmed in Italy, and then everyone on my Instagram travelling there in the past year, this was just another delightful book to read about this area. I have been to Rome and Venice, but there is so much more for us to explore and we'll get there someday.
(Although I would say Rebecca Serle's book is better!)