REVIEWED: The Court Dancer

The Court Dancer by Kyung-Sook Shin (Historical Novel, 2018). Kyung-Sook Shin is one of South Korea’s most prominent and awarded novelists. She also hit the New York Times bestseller list with Please Look After Mom. Her newest book is a historical novel, evoking the last years of the 19th century. The previously isolationist Kingdom of Korea is slowly opening […]

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REVIEWED: RAINBIRDS

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan (Contemporary Novel, 2018). Ren Ishida heard of his sister’s violent and mysterious death just after finishing his graduate degree at one of the top universities in Japan. Keiko was long-estranged from the rest of the family, though she spoke to Ren through weekly phone calls. She’d been living in a smallish town […]

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REVIEWED: Searching for the Amazons

Searching for the Amazons by John Man (History versus Myth, February 2018). Historian John Man specializes in topics related to Asia. In addition to being thorough and doing excellemt research, he is also a skilled writer, making the past come alive. For instance, last year’s excellent biography of Saladin, which I reviewed in an earlier blog […]

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REVIEWED: The Shattered Lens

The Shattered Lens by Jonathan Alpeyrie and Stash Luczkin (Memoir, October 2017). While still a somewhat young man, Alpeyrie was already an experienced photographer specializing in documenting various wars around the world when, in 2013 he was kidnapped by a rebel faction in Syria. In fact it was his third trip inside that world-torn country when […]

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REVIEWED: White Chrysanthemum

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht (Historical/Contemporary Novel, 2018). Korean-American Mary Lynn Bracht’s first novel is the compelling, tragic yet love-infused story of two sisters caught up in and separated by the cruelty of modern war. In 1943, Hana is 16 and Emi is several years younger, living in a coastal village on the Korean island […]

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REVIEWED: The Night Trade

The Night Trade by Barry Eisler (Crime Fiction, 2018). This violent and effective revenge book is the latest in a series centered on Livia Lone, a police detective specializing in sex-crime cases in Seattle. A victim of human trafficking and sex abuse herself from age 13, she has a lot of issues (to put it mildly). […]

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