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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Brother One Cell: An American Coming of Age in South Korea's Prisons - Cullen Thomas South KoreaNarratives of foreign incarceration stints typically combine complaints about the institutions inadequacy and sadism, sometimes coupled with self-reflection. Brother One Cell has both, with a believable progression from naivete to indignation to receptivity. Compared to Fellows's prison experience, Thomas's was fairly benign, though still awful in many ways. Though it moved slowly at times, it sustained my interest and I found Thomas's depiction of his own development convincing. Thomas's language is sometimes poetic and sometimes strained. I would have liked more about description of his decision to smuggle drugs into South Korea, and more explanation of the title (it commands only a few sentences). Thomas refers to Kang Chol Hwan's Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, a North Korean prison narrative taking place on the other side of the not-too-distant border, and they would be interesting to read in tandem.Listening to the audiobook version confirmed my extreme dislike for voice characterizations in non-fiction. Many of the accents attempted by the reader sounded similar, and those that didn't sounded like caricatures.