Bookclubs

NO PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR BOOKCLUBS

NOVEMBER

++Fri, Nov 3, 7PM – Friday Night Bookclub meets to discuss THE DISAPPEARED: A NOVEL by Adam Braver.  No registration necessary.

A novel of two strangers swept up in the aftermath of two politicized acts of violence. THE DISAPPEARED traces a pair of survivors: a woman whose husband is missing in a San Bernardino-type of attack, and a man who believes his sister was an unidentified victim of the ’93 World Trade Center bombing. With a remarkable mix of nuance and momentum, Braver portrays their post-trauma experience in the face of relentless public feedback.

++Sun, Nov 12, 2PM – Sunday Salon meets to discuss HOW I BECAME A NORTH KOREAN: A NOVEL by Krys Lee.  Bonus reading: WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US: UNDERCOVER AMONG THE SONS OF NORTH KOREA’S ELITE by Suki Kim. No registration necessary.

About HOW I BECAME A NORTH KOREAN:

Yongju is an accomplished student from one of North Korea’s most prominent families. Jangmi, on the other hand, has had to fend for herself since childhood, most recently by smuggling goods across the border. Then there is Danny, a Chinese-American teenager whose quirks and precocious intelligence have long made him an outcast in his California high school.

These three disparate lives converge when they flee their homes, finding themselves in a small Chinese town just across the river from North Korea. As they fight to survive in a place where danger seems to close in on all sides, in the form of government informants, husbands, thieves, abductors, and even missionaries, they come to form a kind of adoptive family. But will Yongju, Jangmi and Danny find their way to the better lives they risked everything for?

About WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US:

Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has gone undercover as a missionary and a teacher. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them English, all under the watchful eye of the regime.

Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don’t know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn’t share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.

Our current bookclub selections are available for purchase at 10% off the cover price and earn a stamp card stamp.

For those in your own bookclub, we offer 20% off your bookclub’s title. Books must be ordered all at once and paid for by a bookclub designee.

Contact Mary at mary (at) newtonvillebooks.com for more information.