The Man-Made Disaster of “The Deadliest Animal in History”

Book review: No Beast So Fierce, by Dane Huckelbridge (Amazon / Book Depository) Around 1900 in India and Nepal, a Royal Bengal tiger had gone “cannibal”. That’s the term author John Vaillant attributes to Russians in The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, used for describing when a tiger preys on humans as its primary food source. The Champawat tiger would take 436 lives in … Continue reading The Man-Made Disaster of “The Deadliest Animal in History”

The Obsessive, Expensive World of Arowana Collecting

Book review: The Dragon Behind the Glass, by Emily Voigt (Amazon / Book Depository) Once upon a time I had wanted to find out why a pet fish was so irresistible that people smuggled it into the United States, risking their very liberty. Three and a half years and fifteen countries later, I was now in Brazil (possibly illegally) pursuing the fish myself. At some … Continue reading The Obsessive, Expensive World of Arowana Collecting

Heartbreaking, Illuminating North Korean Defector’s Memoir that Lingers

Book review: A River in Darkness, by Masaji Ishikawa (Amazon) What do I remember of that night? The night I escaped from North Korea? There are so many things that I don’t remember, that I’ve put out of my mind forever…But I’ll tell you what I do recall. It’s drizzling. But soon the drizzle turns to torrential rain. Sheets of rain so heavy, I’m soaked … Continue reading Heartbreaking, Illuminating North Korean Defector’s Memoir that Lingers

Many Names, Many Lives Of A North Korean Defector

Book review: The Girl With Seven Names, by Hyeonseo Lee with David John (Amazon / Book Depository) Leaving North Korea is not like leaving any other country. It is more like leaving another universe. I will never truly be free of its gravity, no matter how far I journey. After reading Barbara Demick’s brilliant Nothing to Envy, her group biography of several North Korean defectors, I was fascinated by … Continue reading Many Names, Many Lives Of A North Korean Defector

We Have Nothing to Envy in the World

Book review: Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick Amazon “In the futuristic dystopia imagined in 1984, George Orwell wrote of a world where the only color to be found was in the propaganda posters. Such is the case in North Korea.” I saw this book mentioned in an article about David Sedaris’ special habit when going on a US speaking tour. He recommends a book for … Continue reading We Have Nothing to Envy in the World

Across Continents, On the Trail of a Con Man

Book review: Serpentine, by Thomas Thompson Serpentine is a long book but it doesn’t actually read like one. The writing is detailed and engrossing, pulling a reader in from the start. The story is about Charles Sobrahj, a French national of Vietnamese and Indian parentage born in Saigon. He had a troubled early start and things never much improved, as the book details his early life … Continue reading Across Continents, On the Trail of a Con Man