75 Books in 2015: May, Part II

pyongyangPyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle (2007)

Excellent. Humorous. Creepy. Sad.

From Amazon.com: “A westerner’s visit into North Korea, told in the form of a graphic novel. Famously referred to as one of the “Axis of Evil” countries, North Korea remains one of the most secretive and mysterious nations in the world today. In early 2001 cartoonist Guy Delisle became one of the few Westerners to be allowed access to the fortresslike country. While living in the nation’s capital for two months on a work visa for a French film animation company, Delisle observed what he was allowed to see of the culture and lives of the few North Koreans he encountered; his findings form the basis of this remarkable graphic novel. Pyongyang is an informative, personal, and accessible look at a dangerous and enigmatic country.”

oliversacksOn the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks (2015)

Great memoir. Exactly the level of quality you would expect from Dr. Sacks. I was absolutely surprised and overwhelmed by his descriptions of growing up and starting his career as a young man. Highly recommended.

From Amazon.com: “When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: “Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far.” It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, we see how his engagement with patients comes to define his life. With unbridled honesty and humor, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions—weight lifting and swimming—also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual; his guilt over leaving his family to come to America; his bond with his schizophrenic brother; and the writers and scientists—Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick—who influenced him. On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer—and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.”

isaacIsaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson (1999)

I’ve not been a huge fan of Erik Larson and usually pass over his books. When I found myself stuck in an airport after reading the two books I brought (why did I leave the Kindle at home!?), this one jumped out at me from the airport bookstore shelf. I’m fascinated by the story of the Galveston hurricane, but – although I’ve watched several television shows about it – never read a full-length book. After a quick look to make sure this book wasn’t going to alternate chapters of two different stories (hate that), I picked it up. Glad I did – great book!

From Amazon.com: “On September 8, 1900, a massive hurricane slammed into Galveston, Texas. A tidal surge of some four feet in as many seconds inundated the city, while the wind destroyed thousands of buildings. By the time the water and winds subsided, entire streets had disappeared and as many as 10,000 were dead–making this the worst natural disaster in America’s history. In Isaac’s Storm, Erik Larson blends science and history to tell the story of Galveston, its people, and the hurricane that devastated them.”

2015 total books: 44
2015 total pages read: 9300
2015 total pages listened to: 4559

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