Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1295
S u mme r 2 0 1 5
Journey deep inside the most oppressive totalitarian regime today: North Korea. Author Barbara Demick chronicles the lives
of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years, following them through the death of Kim Il-sung, the takeover of his son Kim
Jong-il, and a famine that killed more than one-fifth of the nation’s population. In a world cut off from the rest of the globe,
Demick’s subjects still manage to fall in love, raise families, and set goals—all while struggling for survival.
In order to prepare you for college-level reading, inquiry, and discussion, Michigan Technological University sponsors
a Reading as Inquiry initiative each year for the new incoming class. Over the summer, you will read Nothing to Envy:
Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. All first-year students are expected to read this book before arriving
at Michigan Tech.
During Orientation, you will meet with a member of the faculty or staff and your Orientation team to discuss the book as
a group. Parents and family members are also invited to read the book. There will be a Sunday morning book discussion
group designed just for them. To top it off, you will get a chance to hear author Barbara Demick speak.
Book Discussions
Tuesday, August 25
9:00 am–10:30 am
1:00 pm–2:30 pm
Rozsa Center, Theatre
Author Presentation
Summer Reading 2015
Michigan Technological University
Barbara Demick, author
Tuesday, August 25
3:00 pm–4:00 pm
Orientation Team Meeting Room
First-Year Student
Orientation Discussion
Several book discussions will be held throughout Orientation Week. Please note the time and location of
the discussion sessions below, and be prepared for an in-depth discussion of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary
Lives in North Korea.
Parent and Family
Sunday, August 23
11:00 am–noon
Location TBD
How will Reading as Inquiry work?
All first-year students are expected to read this book
before arriving at Michigan Tech. Several activities during
Orientation Week will focus on the reading.
How do I order a book?
You may purchase your book online and have it mailed
directly to you from the Michigan Tech Bookstore.
Visit for more information.
Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success
Heather Simpson
If you have questions during the summer, you can visit the Reading as Inquiry
website at or contact
Robert R. Johnson
Department of Humanities
Bookmark Attached!
Separate the bookmark at perforation below. The questions will help prepare you for your
Orientation team’s group discussion.
Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer,
which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. 34221/0515
Points to Ponder . . .
•What themes did you see in the book? What are the social implications of those themes?
•Given the opportunity to ask one question of the author, what would it be and why?
•Demick follows the lives of six North Koreans. Whose story do you find most compelling, disturbing, horrific, or inspiring?
•What surprised you about Demick’s experience? What could you relate to?
•What do you consider to be advantages, challenges, and limitations of writing a book about a country and culture
from an outside perspective?
•What lessons did you take away from reading Nothing to Envy?