A Unique Memoir


Without You, There Is No Us is the title of a song the citizens of North Korea sing about their beloved leader. It is also the title of Suki Kim’s book, which is a memoir about her time volunteering at a school for the male children of North Korea’s elite. She was undercover as a missionary, but really there as a journalist, and her time there was filled with many surprises and also many harsh realities.


I won’t go into any depth about what happens throughout her time in North Korea, because as this is a non-fiction work it is too easy to spoil. However, Kim’s writing style is engaging and this book is very informative. I rushed through it in one day, not wanting to put it down, and enjoyed it. As much as you can enjoy a book with this subject matter.

If you are at all interested in reading about North Korea I really recommend this book, not only is it well written but it is a unique perspective on the life of people in the country. Many other published works are from citizens who have escaped or non-fiction books from professors etc, this viewpoint has a lot to offer and really gives great insight into this school and how North Korea treats not only its students but also those who teach them

Beautiful and heart-wrenching

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a novel translated from Japanese about a small little cafe which seems to have a secret. If you sit in one seat, you can travel in time.

This book has absolutely gorgeous writing, if you are at all familiar with other Japanese media you’ll also likely feel that the translation by Geoffrey Trousselot has kept the emotion and feelings of the original work. It is a style unique to that culture, and it works so well for this concept.

We follow four different people through their journey to wanting to time travel and their experiences with it, whilst the back drop of the cafe and its staff remains constant. The reasons are all unique, profound, and the results are not what the individual expects but are just so perfectly imperfect.

This quickly became one of my favourite books of 2019 and in fact one of my favourite books of all time. This short novel packs a beautiful punch, and I absolutely recommend it. General fiction with touches of fantasy are always fun, and this one just does it spectacularly.

Thank you to NetGalley for a electronic ARC in return for an honest review.

The Time Travel Handbook by Wyllie, Acton and Goldblayt

I spotted this bright orange hardback book randomly one day in a discount store called The Works that we have here in the UK, and I’m really glad that I picked it up as it ended up being such a unique and interesting concept for a book.

If you couldn’t tell from the book’s title, this is one on time travel. But it’s done with a twist. Instead of being a work of fiction, this is technically a non-fiction book! Let me explain. This is more of a holiday brochure, a holiday guide, it tells you where you’ll be going (and when 😉 ), as well as what to wear, how to behave and where to go to get the most out of your day. It just happens to be taking you to renowned events from the past. From the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to the fall of the Berlin wall, it takes you through history. Showing you the little parts that you might not pay attention to but that are incredibly interesting and bring these events more into real life, rather than something that is distanced from yourself.

If you’re at all interested in recent or distant history, I definitely recommend this book. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’ll look great on your shelves!