Come to the next WNBA Great Group Reads Book Club meeting! Tuesday, February 2, 7 PM

We have a terrific book club in our chapter! 

As our reading guide, we take the list of 2015 Great Group Reads titles recommended for book clubs during WNBA’s National Reading Group Month. Starting in November 2015, we’re reading books from the current 2015 Great Group Reads list.  See below!

 

Our book for our February 2 meeting is….

 

Without You 20685373Without You, There Is No Us:
My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite
by Suki Kim
Crown, hardcover

A haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il’s reign

Every day, three times a day, the students march in two straight lines, singing praises to Kim Jong-il and North Korea: Without you, there is no motherland. Without you, there is no us. It is a chilling scene, but gradually Suki Kim, too, learns the tune and, without noticing, begins to hum it. It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, the students sent to construction fields—except for the 270 students at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a walled compound where portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il look on impassively from the walls of every room, and where Suki has accepted a job teaching English. Over the next six months, she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them to write, all under the watchful eye of the regime.

Life at PUST is lonely and claustrophobic, especially for Suki, whose letters are read by censors and who must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but from her colleagues—evangelical Christian missionaries who don’t know or choose to ignore that Suki doesn’t share their faith. As the weeks pass, she is mystified by how easily her students lie, unnerved by their obedience to the regime. At the same time, they offer Suki tantalizing glimpses of their private selves—their boyish enthusiasm, their eagerness to please, the flashes of curiosity that have not yet been extinguished. She in turn begins to hint at the existence of a world beyond their own—at such exotic activities as surfing the Internet or traveling freely and, more dangerously, at electoral democracy and other ideas forbidden in a country where defectors risk torture and execution. But when Kim Jong-il dies, and the boys she has come to love appear devastated, she wonders whether the gulf between her world and theirs can ever be bridged.

Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world’s most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls “soldiers and slaves.”Suki Kim 8581

Suki Kim is the author of the award-winning novel The Interpreter and the recipient of Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Open Society fellowships. She has been traveling to North Korea as a journalist since 2002, and her essays and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, and the New York Review of Books. Born and raised in Seoul, she lives in New York.

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Our meetings take place on the first Tuesday of each month, 7 PM, at the Panera on Fairview near SouthPark — see dates below. We have chosen books to take us through to next October when there will be a new Great Group Reads list released. If you have questions about our Book Club, please contact Kristen Knox at whitreidsmama@yahoo.com.

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Here are the books we’ll be reading in 2015-2016!

November 3 — Dietland by Sarai Walker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

December 1 — All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews (McSweeny’s)

January 5 — Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League
by Jonathan Odell 
(Maiden Lane Press)

February 2 — Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim (Crown)

 March 1 — Landfall by Ellen Urbani (Forest Avenue Press)

April 5  — The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
(Grand Central Publishing)

May 3 — Henna House by Nomi Eve (Scribner)

June 7 — Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade (William Morrow)

July 5 — The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora (Grove Press)

August 2 — Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jeannine Capó Crucet
(St. Martin’s Press)

September 6 — Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
(Gallery Books/Scout Press)

October 4 — No. 4 Imperial Lane by Jonathan Weisman (Twelve)