Home Feed
Home
Search
Search
Add Review, Blurb, Quote
Add
Activity
Activity
Profile
Profile
Nothing to Envy
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea | Barbara Demick
A National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle finalist, Barbara Demicks Nothing to Envy is a remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen yearsa chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime todayan Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjectsaverage North Korean citizensfall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them. Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance. From the Hardcover edition.
Amazon Indiebound Barnes and Noble WorldCat Goodreads LibraryThing
Pick icon
100%
review
youneverarrived
post image
Pickpick

This was excellent on audio. What the author does so well is shine the humanity on North Koreans, specifically its defectors. I want to say it‘s hard to imagine such poverty, propaganda and such lack of freedom happening today, but sadly it‘s not. Five stars from me. #nonfiction2024 (1984)

Graywacke 👏 I was a bit shocked and found this pretty powerful stuff. 1mo
TrishB Yeah, not difficult at all! We all need to remember people live in these countries that mostly have no say at all in their governments actions. Though sometimes that is also true in a democracy 😞 1mo
tpixie This sounds like it would be incredibly profound 1mo
youneverarrived @Graywacke sometimes with audio books I might get a bit distracted here or there but not with this one, very powerful 1mo
youneverarrived @TrishB I had the same thoughts 😔 1mo
53 likes3 stack adds5 comments
review
Singout
post image
Pickpick

Fascinating insights into the lives of six defector North Koreans (100 were interviewed) with context re the politics, structures, and culture since WW2, with absolute government dominance as the constant theme. A dedicated Communist, street kids, a South Korean POW, a doctor with no resources, and many more watching their loved ones starve and die. Also good insights into the Koreas/Russia/China/US tensions.
#Nonfiction2024 #HandmaidsTale

Ruthiella This was such a good book - eye opening. 🤯 2mo
Suet624 Stacked! 2mo
15 likes2 comments
blurb
Singout

April ##Booksping
1. Doppelgänger
2. A Woman Is no Man
3. Run Towards the Danger
4. Thank You Mr Nixon
5. When We Were Sisters
6. An Immense World
7. Ghosts of the Tsunami
8. Hunger
9. Fresh Water for Flowers
10. Saving Time
11. Citizen
12. H is for Hawk
13. The Covenant of Water
14. Fruit of the Drunken Tree
15. We Should Not Be Afraid of the Sky
16. The Bandit Queens
17. Big Men Fear Me
18. Don‘t Bite the Hook
19. Some People Need
20. Greenwood

review
Tamra
post image
Pickpick

A peak into the lives of North Korean defectors. 🥺 It‘s hard to believe a dystopia like NK is so long lived. Really interesting and engaging listen!

In particular the 90‘s famine was/is incredibly shameful. Repugnant.

jlhammar Such a good book!! 9mo
Tamra @jlhammar it was indeed! Added more personalized detail to what I already knew or suspected. Really feel terrible for the people. 9mo
39 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
jlhammar
post image

📕 Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
🖊 Naylor, Gloria
🎬 The NeverEnding Story
🎙 Nina Simone
🎶 National Anthem - Lana Del Rey

#ManicMonday #LetterN
@CBee

review
Smarkies
post image
Pickpick

I am so happy I picked this for #northkorea for #readingasia2021 . I was hooked from the beginning as Demick manages to make this a moving narration of the North Koreans. It is amazing how a few people can have such a hold on a country.
Highly recommended.
@Librarybelle @BarbaraBB

Librarybelle I have this one stacked already. Great choice! 3y
37 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
Simona
post image

#NonFicton2021 challenge is ✅ My favourite book from this list is Nothing to Envy, and the biggest disappointment was The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

RaeLovesToRead I agree, Nothing to envy was excellent! 3y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Wow! Great job! 3y
Simona @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Thank you ☺️ 3y
See All 10 Comments
Simona @RaeLovesToRead Some things are really disturbing and shocking, and beyond of the imagination … 3y
RaeLovesToRead @Simona I really hope things change for North Korea. Its heartbreaking. 3y
Simona @RaeLovesToRead The saddest part is that the world countries aren‘t interested in opening up North Korea, because they are afraid of massive emigration … 3y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa You‘re very welcome! 3y
BarbaraBB Another challenge finished. You‘re on a roll! 3y
Simona @BarbaraBB I had to make up for last year 😘 3y
BarbaraBB I‘m glad you did! 3y
45 likes10 comments
review
JennF13
Pickpick

Not quite done yet but this is a page-turner! Well written and eye-opening. Definitely recommend!

review
Simona
post image
Pickpick

Barbara Demick is journalist and this book is based on her interviews with the defectors from #NorthKorea She also includes some historical background information, but the main focus is on individuals who manage to escape. Stories are more than sad ... and it‘s hard to imagine how many horror events (like it was famine) are hidden. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #ReadingAsia2021 #Nonfiction2021

Librarybelle Stacking this one! 3y
BarbaraBB Me too! 3y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Sounds really interesting! I‘m stacking too. 3y
Simona @Librarybelle @BarbaraBB @Riveted_Reader_Melissa All (except one) interviewed defectors are from ‘richer‘ or at least more established families and their lives were hellish ... I can‘t imagine how it is for common people. 3y
59 likes3 stack adds4 comments
review
candority
post image
Pickpick

Nothing to Envy delves into the lived experiences of North Koreans under Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, with a specific focus on the stories of six North Korean defectors. Their stories are difficult to read at times, but I was captivated by their resilience and strength. It is an eye-opening book and I found myself reading it at a much slower pace than normal, in order to fully immerse myself in the story and learn as much as possible. ⬇️

candority I wouldn‘t have picked this up if it wasn‘t a #NewYearWhoDis recommendation from @meghathecloud. Thank you for including it on your list! 💕 @monalyisha 3y
Smarkies I am planning on reading this for #readingasia2021 😁 3y
candority @Smarkies I hope you like it! I found it a bit hard to get into, but once I was a few chapters in, it held my attention! 3y
See All 11 Comments
Crazeedi This would break my heart. If only people here would understand what could happen if our rights get trampled. We must stand always or this could be us 3y
plemmdog This was a great book 3y
candority @Crazeedi It is heartbreaking, but I think we‘re a long ways away from this sort of control in North America. I don‘t think we could ever get to the point of North Korea or other communist regimes. Our society is too interconnected and individualistic to conform to that kind of control. 3y
Megabooks This is a perennial fav. Wonderful book!! 3y
Crazeedi @candority I pray you are right 3y
meghathecloud This book is really one of those which you need to read slow and process even if what's happening is horrible or maybe because of that. I am glad you 'liked' it. (edited) 3y
candority @meghathecloud Yes, definitely! 3y
103 likes2 stack adds11 comments
blurb
Ruthiella
post image

One nonfiction, two fiction books I‘ve read that take place in/are about North Korea. They remind me of the #fortitude required to survive under such a regime and remain sane.

#FallFinds

Eggs Communism can be brutal 😓 4y
35 likes1 comment
blurb
Smrloomis
post image

I still remember this book pretty well. Loved it and glad I could work it into my latest Book Riot post 💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽 https://bookriot.com/2020/03/24/north-korea-books/

58 likes1 stack add
review
Floresj
post image
Pickpick

I‘m rounding this one up to 5/5 stars. Part history of Korea, psychology, and story telling of 6 families of North Koreans, this book is really interesting. Explaining how Korea was split, what life is like for different classes of Koreans, the famine, humanitarian aid, propaganda, defection, romance, medicine, and spies, this book has something for everyone. Well written and engaging!

Megabooks I love this book! 5y
14 likes1 comment
review
NikonRon
post image
Pickpick

I can‘t remember the last time I felt myself sucked into a read the way I did with this book. The author‘s retelling of the lives of North Korean defectors feels more like a novel than a nonfiction. You hear so often about the Kim family; it‘s eye opening to hear so vividly and honestly the effects of their policies on the everyday citizens of North Korea. Highly highly HIGHLY recommend 📚

Smrloomis I loved this book too. It was so fascinating. Welcome to Litsy! 🥳 5y
4 likes1 comment
blurb
Megabooks
post image

It‘s #AMatterofHonor to be respectful of the Kim dynasty in North Korea. This book May be 11 years old, but it has stood the test of time well. I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in #nonfiction about defectors.

Can I say how awesome it was to find Star Trek:TNG view-master slides?! Plus I love all the crazy Klingon cuisine in this episode. Gagh anyone?? I‘ve heard the Tibius claw is nice!

#StarTrekSummerMay

8little_paws Those slides are awesome :) 5y
Megabooks @8little_paws I loved my view-master! 5y
74 likes2 comments
blurb
Maria514626
post image

😱 This book is amazing and horrifying. Many of the famine scenes reminded me of the famine stories from WW2. EXCEPT, these were unnecessary, due to neglect. And instead of imposed on one part of the population, to everyone. #mustread

Zelma I really liked this one (though it feels wrong to say I like a story about famine in North Korea). Great storytelling and writing by the author. 5y
Maria514626 @Zelma So true! 5y
27 likes3 stack adds2 comments
review
Lauren_reading
post image
Pickpick

I know this book is 10 years old, but it was an awesome look into life in North Korea. Really sad, but shows the amazing strength people have to survive. #nonfiction #audiobook

8little_paws I've been meaning to read this for a while! 5y
EmilyM I read this awhile ago and found it fascinating! 5y
74 likes3 stack adds3 comments
review
ShannonOffDuty
post image
Pickpick

Unbelievably fascinating. North Korea seems like such a mysterious, yet obviously oppressive, country. But learning about what life is truly like there was shocking.

6 likes1 stack add
review
Allthebookclubs
post image
Pickpick

I listened to this on Audible. The narrator‘s voice and tone was a tough to get used to, but the stories of survival are fantastic. I dove into researching other books like this about those who‘ve escaped NK once I realized this book was 8 years old.

review
Lexeegee
post image
Pickpick

Quite the eye-opening book. It ends in 2008, i would like to find a book that covers the years since. Any suggestions?

CaitlinR Try DEAR LEADER (Jang Jin-sung). A memoir with great background about current events. 6y
23 likes2 comments
blurb
Lexeegee
post image

I saw this a couple of weeks ago on Litsy and was instantly drawn to it.

Reecaspieces This is a fabulous read 6y
20 likes1 stack add1 comment
blurb
emilyhaldi
post image

Kim Jong-un and fam come to mind for #rocketbrothers 🚀 This book follows the lives of 6 North Koreans over a span of 15 years and shows shocking insight into the life of a repressive regime and a bleak life that is hard to fathom. This book will stay with me for a long time 🖤
#septemberdanes

Cinfhen Your choice is perfect!!!! Love it❣️❣️❣️😆 6y
Kalalalatja 😂😂😂 this is awesome! 6y
GripLitGrl 😂😂😂👍 6y
See All 6 Comments
LeahBergen 😂😂 Perfect! 6y
Nerdfins I loved this book, and that hashtag is perfect. 😂 6y
Reviewsbylola Not sure I could read this one. 6y
90 likes6 stack adds6 comments
review
Nitpickyabouttrains
post image
Pickpick

Super interesting nonfiction about life in North Korea. It follows a few people and their lives giving a broad picture of life for different sorts of people.

23 likes2 stack adds
blurb
pgh.femme
post image

This book is amazing. If you haven‘t read it, it is worth $3

blurb
Smrloomis
post image

Kindle deal 🎉 2.99 USD. Heart-breaking and fascinating. #NorthKorea

Wilkie Amazing book! 6y
Smrloomis @Wilkie so true! I was sucked in from the beginning. 6y
47 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
kellyann28
post image

Super excited this was on sale today! I am hopeful this will be very eye opening and interesting.

blurb
Wilkie
post image

A book recommendation #frommetoyou . This morning I was horrified to read that Trump complimented Kim Jong-un, calling him ‘a tough guy‘ ‘a smart guy‘ and ‘a great negotiator‘. After being pressed about Jong-un‘s human rights violations Trump said: “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things. I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.” Bad things: Torture, starvation, repression. #heyjune

Cinfhen 🙌🏻to you 😣to the other guy 6y
Caroline2 Oh I‘ve got this on my tbr shelf, be interesting to see what you think of it! 👍🏻 6y
Wilkie @Caroline2 I‘ve already read it. It‘s a very good book, highly recommend reading it sooner rather than later! 6y
Caroline2 You‘re right, now is a very good time to read it considering recent events!!! 😳 6y
51 likes3 stack adds4 comments
quote
arubabookwoman
post image

“North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy during 14 hour days spent in factory day-care centers, that for the subsequent 50 years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim il-sung....”

bnp I didn't manage to finish this when I had it from the library earlier this year, but what I read was compelling. 6y
18 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
arubabookwoman
post image
Pickpick

This has been on my shelf for yrs. and now seemed to be the appropriate time to read it. Through the lives of 6 North Korean defectors, the book details everyday life there, including horrific descriptions of the effects of the famine (Up to 20% of the population died of starvation or resultant illness, and babies and children‘s physical and cognitive developments were forever stunted.). Con‘t below:

arubabookwoman It details how each of the individuals arrived at the decision to defect, despite the pervasive propaganda they were subjected to from birth, how they accomplished their escapes, and the difficulties they had in adjusting to life on S. Korea. This is my best nonfiction read of the year. It reads like a novel and in my opinion everyone should read this book. 6y
BarbaraBB It has been on my wishlist forever. Your review again convinces me I should really read this. 6y
arubabookwoman #BarbaraBB I‘m just sorry I waited so long to get to it. It‘s a stunning book, and very readable—I‘d even call it a page-turner. 6y
Liz_M It is a very good read, and I enjoyed the audiobook. 6y
17 likes3 stack adds4 comments
review
BestDogDad
post image
Pickpick

This was a very interesting and sometimes hard to read look in to the lives of six average (former) North Korean citizens. While the world sees only selected polished images of Pyongyang this book takes you off the beaten path to smaller towns and industrial Chongjin where life is hard and poverty and hunger pervade. All while the elite get fat siphoning the humanitarian aid and the government spends millions and millions on weapons.

Suet624 Ugh. Why must it always be this way. 6y
7 likes1 comment
quote
BestDogDad
post image

And yet these horrors continue year after year. Nothing changes.

saresmoore How awful. 6y
3 likes1 comment
quote
BestDogDad
post image

saresmoore Wow, I hope you are taking breaks with this book! It seems quite bleak—not surprising, but not an easy read. 6y
Suet624 Holy Toledo!! 6y
6 likes2 comments
quote
BestDogDad
post image

Suet624 Wow. 6y
6 likes1 comment
quote
BestDogDad
post image

For this: three days of incarceration and interrogation. Ugh.

blurb
BestDogDad
post image

Starting my next paper book tonight. I‘ve been fascinated with North Korea since I read The Orphan Master‘s Son. This sounds good. Plus, the Olympics are next door to this odd nation. 🇰🇵

EllieDottie This looks really good! And I love goldy!! 6y
BestDogDad Yes! Can‘t wait to read it. And Go Gophers! 6y
5 likes1 stack add2 comments
blurb
Beccas
post image

Getting in some reading before work. This book has all the feels.

5 likes1 stack add
blurb
readinginthedark
post image

I promised a couple of friends that I‘d drive to see them today, so I took my #LitsyPartyofOne on the road with this book about North Korea. I just don‘t even know what to say; so much information I never knew before. 😔

RebelReader This book came to me highly recommended and so I will be reading it later this year for my #recommendationschallege2018. 6y
readinginthedark @RebelReader I‘m reading it as part of my Read Around the World Challenge, and so far, I‘m learning a lot and would definitely recommend it! The narrator‘s a little repetitive in cadence at times, but she‘s growing on me. 6y
88 likes2 stack adds2 comments
blurb
ephemeralwaltz
post image

So I just bought my first kindle book and downloaded my first FREE kindle book! Yay😋🙌

julesG Wasn't too difficult, was it? 6y
Cinfhen 😀 Yay 6y
cathysaid Nothing to Envy is really good! 6y
TheWellAccompaniedBook No turning back now! 6y
ephemeralwaltz @julesG so easy!👌 @Cinfhen 🙌 @cathysaid happy to hear that! I've been looking forward to reading it for some time. @TheDoubleLetterThief you can say that again! 6y
49 likes5 comments
review
BookishRedhead
post image
Pickpick

I enjoyed this book. I liked how it showed you different lives from different people. Now onto Stars Between The Sun And Moon (book behind).
I'm surprised it took me less than a month to finish.

4 likes1 stack add
blurb
flippingchapters
post image

I surprised myself yesterday by picking up a genre that I don't usually reach out for. I'm halfway through Nothing to Envy and I gained some much insights and for the first time, I wished that it's all fiction😕

27 likes1 stack add
blurb
BookishRedhead
post image

Decisions decisions.
Which one to read?
Nothing To Envy is different north korean stories.
The Invitation Only Zone is north Korea kidnapping Japanese and passing them off as Korean.

review
MusingsOnMidlife
post image
Pickpick

Terrifying but interesting. An interesting insight into life in North Korea. I really enjoyed this. 4 stars.

9 likes1 stack add
blurb
cathysaid
post image
rachellayown 👍👍👍 7y
PurpleyPumpkin Well done!👌🏽 7y
Suet624 Harold fry. 💕💕💕 7y
cathysaid @rachellayown @PurpleyPumpkin Thanks! @Suet624 I listened to it on audio. So glad I did. Great narration. 7y
Suet624 👍👍 7y
41 likes5 comments
review
cathysaid
post image
Pickpick

From now on, whenever I am feeling hopeless about the state of things here in the US, I will refer back to this book for perspective. The hell that North Koreans have endured and continue to endure is heartbreaking. Demick follows six people over decades, chronicling their lives (and defections) against the backdrop of a communist country. In spite of the subject matter, her style is engaging. A relevant and necessary read. #nonfiction

Reecaspieces Totally agree....I listened to this while I worked at a hospital and I think about all the doctors going and picking their own herbs for medicine...so sad 7y
cathysaid @reecaspieces Really sad. The descriptions just broke my heart, especially the people who have never known anything else. (edited) 7y
34 likes2 stack adds2 comments
quote
Nitabasu
post image

2 likes1 stack add
quote
Nitabasu
post image

“This is not the sort of thing that shows up in satellite photographs. Whether in CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, or in the East Asian studies department of a university, people usually analyze North Korea from afar. They don‘t stop to think that in the middle of this black hole, in this bleak, dark country where millions have died of starvation, there is also love.”

blurb
cathysaid
post image

Wow. Just wow. The power of description... 😞

29 likes1 stack add
blurb
cathysaid
post image

Still working my way through this nonfiction read as well. Engaging and thoughtfully written account of the experiences of some who escaped from North Korea. The extended amount of time it is taking me to read it has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my tendency to read several books at once! 😳

#MarchIntoReading #RecentNonfictionRead

LauraBrook This is such a good book! Almost want to reread it (but who has the time when there are so many unread ones out there?!?) 7y
izah.ahmad Woooo looks so good! Been looking for books on North Korea 7y
See All 6 Comments
cathysaid @izah.ahmad It really is! I'm about halfway through and enjoying it. So interesting. 7y
izah.ahmad @cathysaid it's getting more interesting for me due to the meltdown between Pyongyang with my country! International relations seem getting messier and juicier nowadays 😅 7y
cathysaid @izah.ahmad Right? So unpredictable right now. 7y
43 likes5 stack adds6 comments