Reading Guide

Books and Films by people who know their sh*t
Because you can't learn everything from Wikipedia
...And textbooks are boring as hell

I am on a constant quest for  knowledge.  I love to read, but even more so, I love to learn.
While in college, I was disappointed with the reading material in many of my classes. What I found were large, dense pieces of matter with tiny font and  footnotes longer than the actual texts. Sure, the information was all there, but what a pain in the ass to read. There was no voice, no emotion, and no interest in the words of the distant and unknown textbook narrator. If you want raw facts, spare the fluff of textbooks and go straight to the internet. You'll learn faster that way...but still something is missing. Narrative, prose, and provoking dialogues are often totally absent from academic writing. 

These are some books I was lucky enough to discover through friends, professors, and the wonderful internet. They are, at the same time, beautifully written and well-researched. Most, if not all of the authors have lived and worked in the countries and among the cultures that are the subjects of their stories. Most of them are able to express the diverse and dynamic nature of society with the lyricism of a fictional story, and the detailed eloquence of an academic journal. 

Films and fictional works were added to this list later, when I realized that you can learn just as much through fiction as you can through non-fiction. Or, as Dewei Wang expresses in The Monster that is History, "Fiction may be able to speak, where history has fallen silent." 

When Broken Glass Floats - Chanrithy Him
First They Killed My Father -  Loung Ung

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China - Leslie T. Chang
The Monster that is History - Dewei Wang

The Only Woman in the Room - Beate Sirota Gordon
Shinjuku Boys - Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams (documentary)
Poverty Superpower America - Mika Tsutsumi
Takarazuka - Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan - Jennifer Robertson

The Bitter Lemons of Corfu - Lawrence Durrell (memoir)
Eleni- Nicholas Gage (memoir)
I'd Like Amanda Michalopoulou (fiction)
Why I Killed My Best Friend  Amanda Michalopoulou (fiction)
The Colossus of Maroussi - Henry Miller (fiction)
The Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou(fiction) 
…And Dreams are Dreams  -  Vasiles Vasilikos (fiction)
Kassandra and the Wolf - Margarita Karapanou (fiction)
Rein Ne Va Plus - Margarita Karapanou (fiction)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo
The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of New India -  Siddhartha Deb
Earth - Deepa Mehta (film)

Passionate Uprisings: Iran's Sexual Revolution - Pardis Mahdavi
No One Knows about Persian Cats - (film)

Guests of the Sheik - Elizabeth Warnock Fernea

Queer - William Burroughs (fiction)

Finding George Orwell in Burma - Emma Larkin

North Korea:
Nothing to Envy - Barbara Demick
Only Beautiful, Please: A British Diplomat in North Korea - John Everand
The Tears of My Soul - Kim Hyun-Hee
Long Road Home - Kim Suk-Young
Aquariums of Pyongyang -Chol-Hwan Kang
Escape from Camp 14 -  Blaine Harden
The Reluctant  Communist -  Charles Robert Jenkins
Crossing the Line - (documentary)
Seoul Train - (documentary)
Vice Guide to North Korea - (documentary)
Kimjongilia - (documentary)
State of Mind - (documentary)
National Geographic: Inside North Korea - (documentary)

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader - Bradley Martin

United States:
How "American" is Globalization? - William Marling
Beloved - Toni Morrison (fiction)
The City and the Pillar - Gore Vidal (fiction) 

The Quiet American  - Graham Greene (fiction)
The Lover - Marguerite Duras (fiction)

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