July Book Recommendations: / by Deborah Clague

Modern Romance
Written by Aziz Ansari

I should have read this book before reading 'Spinster', as they unintentionally combine to form cause-and-effect in regards to why people choose to remain single. 'Modern Romance' discusses the unique challenges of singledom in the twenty-first century from meeting people online to the psychological effects of communicating via text and how the quest for our soul mates has led to a dysfunctional belief that passionate love is better than companionate love. My favourite part of the book examined the culture of romance in three distinct regions: France, Argentina and Japan, which appears to be going through a love crisis that even the government is taking action on. 

Favorite line: the section on "Hey" texts, as it's about time someone talks about how annoying and impersonal they are. 

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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Written by Barbara Demick

Of all the books I've read and recommended on the topic of the totalitarian regime of North Korea, this is by-far the best. I would even state it's one of the best books I've ever read on any subject matter. The engrossing narrative that Barbara Demick crafts focuses less on politics and more on first-person perspective (obtained through interviews with numerous defectors) on what it is actually like to live in the hermit kingdom completely cut off from the rest of the world. From the innocence of falling in love with someone from another class to the shocking survival methods during the arduous march and beyond, this is an eye-opening, thought-provoking and ultimately tragic tale of evil allowed to reign in the 21st century. 

Favorite line: "The night sky in North Korea is a sight to behold. It might be the most brilliant in Northeast Asia, the only place spared the coal dust, Gobi desert sand, and carbon monoxide choking the rest of the continent. In the old days, North Korean factories contributed their share to the cloud cover, but no longer. No artificial lighting competes with the intensity of the stars etched into the sky."

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