Congrats – you are a First Reads winner!

That is the title of the email I received yesterday morning!  I am a member of Goodreads – see my profile HERE and become my friend.  Goodreads is an online community where you can keep track of your books (Read, Currently Reading, To Be Read) and also add your rating & reviews for each book.  It is a great way to keep track of your thoughts on the books, and also see what is on your friends’ shelves!  Although my “To Be Read” list far outweighs what I can read in one year…it is a great place for me to capture any books that at one point I thought sounded interesting enough to capture.  Last week I randomly entered a drawing for a new book to be read and reviewed…and it ends up that I won a free advance copy!  Publishers often provide free copies to Goodreads in hopes of getting early feedback about the book.  The book’s scheduled publication is January 10, 2012.  How fun!

PREVIEW

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

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