Mark’s #16-21 (mini reviews)

It’s been far too long since I posted a review. With the passing of each week and the completion of each book, the pressure to get a review done has mounted.  However, I want to get back on track, so I’ll post very short (one or two sentence) reviews of some of the books I’ve yet to review.



#16 – Escape from Camp: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blain Harden (256 pages)

Since John previously read and reviewed this book, I was intrigued by this story of human oppression (in the prison camp) and human triumph (in Shin Dong-hyuk’s heroic escape).  Shin’s account of the human rights abuses by the North Korean government should be a catalyst to raise a global alarm, yet sadly, little has been done by the worldwide community.  5 Stars



#17 – The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King 

This is a classic Stephen King novel, which has also been adapted into a great movie as well. 4 Stars



#18 – Finder’s Keeper’s by Stephen King (544 pages)

3 – Stars



#19 – The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks (448 pages)

This is the story of what makes us happy, fulfilled, and successful.  Drawing upon a variety of social sciences and the latest research, Brooks tells the story of Harold and Erica from birth to death and shows how the subconscious mind actively shapes our view of reality, virtues, hopes and dreams. 4 Stars.



#20 – The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror by Natan Sharansky (352 pages)

Natan Sharansky understands government oppression.  A Russian Jew, he spent time as a political prisoner of the Soviet communists as a political dissident. There his conviction that freedom is the best thing for human flourishing solidified.  More recently, he has served in various roles within the government of Israel.  This book is a passionate appeal to fight for freedom everywhere and against oppression anywhere it is found.  5 Stars.



#21 – The Martian by Andy Weir (387 pages)

This book was at times a fast-paced page turner, and at other times a boring recount of various mechanical, electric, or botanical solutions devised by NASA astronaut Mark Watney for his survival on Mars.  Overall I enjoyed the book (I have not seen the movie), but a I found Mark’s tone and language use to be more like a freshman frat boy than a highly educated and trained scientist – this gave an otherwise highly technically believable story a feeling of inauthenticity.  3.5 Stars

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