What We Are Reading Today: All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Updated 22 August 2019

What We Are Reading Today: All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

  • From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth

What does it mean to lose your roots — within your culture, within your family— and what happens when you find them?

All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets — vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong, according to a review published on goodreads.com

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town.

From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth.

She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up — facing prejudice her adoptive family could not see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from — she wondered if the story she had been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child.


What We Are Reading Today: The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina

Updated 2 min 57 sec ago

What We Are Reading Today: The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina

The Outlaw Ocean represents a four-year project, built on a series of deeply reported features for The New York Times that brought Ian Urbina from the Antarctic to Somalia — but most of it takes place in the impenetrable vastness of the high seas, a region that begins 13 miles from shore. 

Each chapter tells a different story, in locations ranging from the City of Lights, a glowing patch of the Atlantic where hundreds of poachers shine light into the water to catch squid, to unmarked pirate ships and even cruise ships, which Urbina calls “a kind of gentrification of the ocean,” said Blair Braverman in a review for The Times. 

He said: “There is no clear solution to the ocean’s problems because our entire world — our economic system, our geography — is the cause. I’d always assumed the greatest threat to the ocean was the greed of the rich, but in fact it’s the desperation of the poor, which is, of course, the flip side of the same coin.” 

Braverman added: “As long as there is desperation, there will be exploitation. And people, good and bad, will always be able to use the ocean to disappear.”