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NBCC nominees: the best 5 nonfiction books of 2010

From harrowing glimpses of life in North Korea to the stories of the black Americans who fled the Jim Crow South, these five nonfiction titles were nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as the best work of 2010. The final award will be announced in March.

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1. Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick

"Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea," by Barbara Demick (Random House, 336 pp.)

Through interviews with six defectors from North Korea, Los Angeles Times correspondent Barbara Demick is able to offer readers harrowing but compelling glimpses of daily life in one of the world's most secretive societies. "What is most gripping about this book is that Demick does not tell; she shows," writes Geoffrey Cain in a review for the Monitor. "Whereas most literature on North Korea is laden with blurry statistics and speculation of the policies of ruling elites, Demick exhibits in gut-wrenching detail the struggle for survival that North Koreans face." (Read the full CSMonitor review here.)

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