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The LKL Korea Book DataBase

The LKL Korea Book Database is a list of books we have or would like to have on our bookshelves: books we’re looking forward to reading in the future; books we wish we’d read in the past; and yes, books we know we ought to read but probably won’t. Of course, it also contains books we have actually read, and many of them we have reviewed as well.

Here’s an introduction to things you can find in the database:

1. Literature and Fiction

a) Korean prose literature in English translation

The K-Lit Hub: what we think is a pretty complete list of post-1900 Korean prose fiction that has been translated into English and published in a hard copy book. For the moment, we’ve excluded magazines, journals and online translations. The roughly 1% we haven’t logged represent a handful of books we know were published but which are now impossible to track down, or where there are equally serviceable and more readily available translations available. The database will grow to include eBooks and online translations where I know of their existence. The hub contains the following lists:

When you click on the name of an author or translator in any of the lists, you’ll be taken to a list of titles by that author / translator. Where an author both writes and translates, those lists are combined.

b) Other literature, including poetry and theatre

2. Non-fiction titles

As of May 2021 there’s over 500 non-fiction titles; the challenge is listing them in a way that is as accessible as possible. Whereas with Korean literature in translation we’ve tried to be a comprehensive as reasonably possible, when it comes to non-fiction we have been more selective. In particular we have tended to filter out publications which are likely to become dated pretty quickly or where there’s a mass of publications to choose from and no obvious stand-out choice (for example publications on contemporary security, political and foreign policy issues, entry-level language books and profiles of hallyu stars).

Here are some of the individual subject listings. The listings include works of fiction that deal with a particular topic.

3. Recent and upcoming titles

These lists can only contain the books we know about. So if you’re aware of an upcoming book that we should be tracking, whether fiction or non-fiction, let us know about it. If it’s literature in translation, we’ll definitely add it. If it’s non-fiction, we’ll probably add it, but reserve the right to politely decline because hours in the day, and database space, are finite resources.