For years, Jang Jin Sung traveled within Kim Jong-il’s inner circle. As North Korea’s official poet laureate, he was tasked with “writing epic poems for [the] dictator … and overseeing inter-Korean espionage.” But in 2004, fearing a charge of treason, Sung fled the country, becoming one of the nation’s most high-profile defectors. Recently, Sung – who just published his memoir – spoke with Maclean’s about his life, his escape, and literature.
“Putin, like Hitler, understood that the purpose of spectacles is to dazzle the eye while clouding the mind.” For the Daily Beast, staff writer Bill Morris writes about the thuggish dictators who love the propaganda of the World Cup. (If you haven’t already checked out our list of seven great soccer reads, do it now!)
“And now, as an adult, I love nothing more than curling up with a good book, closing my eyes, breathing in through my nostrils, keeping my eyes closed and not reading yet continuing to draw in oxygen for hours, and, thanks to my fetishized olfactory associations for printed and bound matter, becoming sexually aroused.” On the scent that no e-reader can ever replace.
“A colouring book, Colouring in the Lions, will head the list for children and feature vintage art from the NYPL archive. Also planned is a yet-to-be-titled picture book featuring Patience and Fortitude – the two lion statues that stand at the entrance to the library’s main building – and a YA novel based on the true story of a family who lived in the library.” The Guardian reports on a partnership between the New York Public Library and Macmillan publishers to produce five to eight books per year inspired by the library’s collections.
Tintin’s official profession may be that of a reporter, but he is just as much an explorer and archaeologist, dashing around the world to chase down ancient artifacts in addition to nefarious villains and a good story. “Tintinologist” Jean-Marc Lofficier lists his favorite archaeology-themed Tintin adventures.