The Only Book I Read in April 2019

I really fell off the reading wagon in April! I finished reading just one book because I was more or less obsessed with rewriting my novel manuscript. Therefore, I don’t apologize for reading only one book. I read parts of others that I hope to finish in May… or sometime.

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

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

This is the book I listened to in April.

Masaji Ishikawa’s mother was Japanese. His father was Korean. He didn’t fit in anywhere.

After World War II, there was an organized push to convince such mixed families to move to North Korea. On the promise of a better life – a paradise. Masaji Ishikawa moved there with his parents. It soon became obvious that North Korea was no paradise. Life there would be fraught with hard work, propaganda, and mass starvation.

When Masaji Ishikawa could take it no more, he made a snap decision to attempt to escape. If he could make it back to Japan, he could work and make enough money to somehow get his wife and children out of North Korea.

A River in Darkness is the true story of Masaji Ishikawa’s life in Japan, the shattered dreams he and his parents endured in North Korea, the many ways he tried to make a living as a young adult, and the desperation for survival that forced him to escape North Korea against all odds.

Oh how I wish leaders in Washington, DC who praise Kim Jong-un would read this book! There is so much they don’t know – or don’t care to know.

Since my last blog post

I hit a milestone in my writing since last Monday’s blog post. On Wednesday, May 1, 2019 I completed the first rough draft of my historical novel with the working title The Doubloon. The word count was 85,275. It felt so good to come to “The End.”

I’ve left the manuscript on the back burner since Wednesday night, so I can come at it with fresh eyes this week. The hard work lies ahead.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I finally found a copy of The Waxhaws, by Louise Pettus, assisted by Nancy Crockett, that I could borrow from a library. The book is out-of-print, and the only used copy I’ve found online is available for more than $150.00; hence, my relief when I found one library copy that I could borrow.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time and will soon get to type, “The End.”

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog.

Let’s continue the conversation

If you’re a writer, what is your favorite or least favorite part of the process?

Janet

Books I’ve been reading

I had no idea that I had not written a “What I’m Reading” blog post since last September. Today’s post will hit the highlights of what I read over the last several months of 2015.

The Map Thief, by Michael Blanding, taught me about the dark side of map collecting. I loved geography from the time the subject was introduced to me as a child. I have fond memories of poring over my parents’ AAA map of North and South Carolina. I distinctly remember the time I pointed out to them that the yellow line running straight to the coast looked like the most direct route to me. That’s the day I learned that the straight yellow line was the state line and not a highway. I was hooked! Maps will forever fascinate me. Getting back to The Map Thief, though, the book presents the history of E. Forbes Smiley, one of the world’s foremost cartography experts; however, Mr. Smiley yielded to temptation and systematically stole valuable rare maps from various museums and libraries. All the stolen maps that were recovered and linked to their sources were returned to their owners, but many of the recovered maps are still in the possession of the FBI because the owners cannot be verified. It’s a fascinating book, but the details got a little tedious.

Pretending to Dance was the first book I’ve read by Diane Chamberlain. It this novel, Molly Arnette keeps a secret about her North Carolina childhood from her husband. After a trust was broken, Molly moved to California to make a new life with her husband. When they try to adopt a child, Molly fears her secret will come to light. It was a good read. I’ll definitely read more books by Diane Chamberlain.

Paula McLain’s book titled The Paris Wife is the highly-acclaimed historical novel based on the life of Ernest Hemingway’s wife, Hadley. Hemingway swept Hadley off her feet, married her, and whisked her off to Paris to a life for which she was ill-prepared.

The Narcissist You Know, by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D., will help you understand and cope with that person you know who thinks he is the center of the universe.

In Without You, There Is No Me, Suki Kim tells about her experiences while living in North Korea as an English teacher. The book gives a glimpse into a country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. Although a nonbeliever, the author went to North Korea with a group of Christian teachers under the guise of being one of them.

Still Alice, by Lisa Genova gained popularity when it was made into a movie. I have not seen the movie yet because I like to read a book before it hits the theater. It is an intriguing novel about a 50-year-old Harvard cognitive psychology professor who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The book brings home how utterly sad it is for someone who is professionally trained in brain disorders to receive the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, knowing full well what the future probably holds for her.

Corrupted is the third book in Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & DiNunzio’s series. A case from Bennie Rosato’s past haunts her until it resurfaces and she is compelled to try to set things right and get justice for a man she could not save from a juvenile detention center when he was bullied as a 12-year-old. A good read!

Lee Smith’s The Christmas Letters was the November 2015 selection for Rocky River Readers Book Club. It is a lovely telling of a family’s history through their Christmas letters. The letters go beyond what family members did since the last year’s Christmas letter, and includes what the writers are thinking and how they are maturing as family dynamics change. It is a relatively short book. You might want to put it on your list to curl up with in front of the fireplace on a cold winter weekend.

My next post will be about some of the books I’ve read so far in 2016.

Happy reading!