One of the features of the British book market is the grassroots book club movement: suburban housewives gather to discuss the latest novels over a coffee; there are even workplace book clubs (the UK’s Financial Services Authority has one). The popularity of this movement has now been hijacked by the popular daytime TV double-act Richard and Judy, whose book club can propel an author to the top of the best sellers list.
Less likely to make a millionaire of an author, but still very worthwhile, is Seoul magazine’s “book of the month” series. For people who don’t know where to start with Korean literature (making no comparisons with the Richard and Judy audience) it’s a great way to find out about individual authors or books, and with luck will help get people interested in buying some of these authors in translation – and in the process boost Seoul Selection’s revenue a little. It started earlier this year, and so far has covered a Tower of Ants (Choi In-ho), and the Photo Shop Murder (Kim Young-ha) neither of which I have read. The articles are never heavy-going (they are written by one of the magazine’s existing contributors) and are a good way of finding out what a book’s all about without reading it. Since the series started, my wishlist has grown longer. January’s feature will be on Yom Sang-seop’s Three Generations, which I am looking forward to.
Links: Seoul Magazine at Seoul Selection