Saturday, November 05, 2016

No TV but Three Books

I stopped watching TV for several days and end up finishing three books today. It wasn't easy laying of TV I must tell you. The pull was there but I held on and read some books instead. 

Visual Intelligence, Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life
by Amy E. Herman
This is a good book but not really that easy a read. There are too many shoulds and should nots, and step-by-step stuff than I would prefer. But it is good that it introduced me to practicing close observation of what and how I see things. It uses art to train us to better see and observe things around us. I really liked the first half of the book. Her second half of the book concerning communication and message is something I'd rather read from other experts. What I would have preferred is more of the first half of the book. 

 My Holiday in North Korea, the Funniest/Worst Place on Earth
by Wendy E. Simmons
This is quite a fun read, not that North Korea is fun. It is a pitiful place and I really feel for the people there who are the most uninformed, inhibited and repressed society in the world. And the sad thing is they don't know it and it's not even their fault. The author tells of her 10-day solo visit to North Korea and how they scheduled, planned and staged her visits to show how great and advanced the country is, except that anyone can see it is not. They even staged a football match complete with spectators in a 50,000-seat stadium just for her at the last minute due to a itinerary change. Simmons wrote, "So was this a real, previously scheduled, Monday-morning-at-9:00-a.m. football match? And had I just been super lucky to have a Monday-morning-at-9:00-a.m. slot on my schedule that needed filling? Possibly, given the damned good luck (knock wood) and propensity for remarkable coincidences I tend to have. Or had a country just pulled together an entire football match (minus a few thousand fans) in less than twelve hours solely for my benefit? It was a thought too absurd, too egomaniacal, too lunatic, and too paranoid, to even consider…right?" I would never have the chance or the the courage to go to North Korea, and so it is good to read about it instead. 

A Thousand Miles to Freedom, My Escape from North Korea
by Eunsun Kim
After reading a book written by a tourist to North Korea, I wanted to read one by a North Korean sharing first hand experience of their lives in the country. Eunsun Kim was just eleven when she nearly died of hunger in a famine, in the mid-90s. It took nine years for her to escape before she set foot in South Korea to begin a new life. It is an amazing story, no doubt about it but the writing was very choppy. She goes in and out of different timelines giving it a very disjointed flow with repetitive sections and statements. But she writes from her perspective, telling her harrowing story from the heart. I would prefer a little bit more information about her perspective and life in North Korea though, but I think that is as much as you can expect from someone who left the country when she was just eleven. Maybe, I should look for a book written by a more elderly North Korean. 

Finishing three books is great but the TV is still beckoning me. I must resist and not submit or yield to its calling. 


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