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Booklist: Notable titles from 2018

Here is a list of titles published in 2019 that we’ve been tracking and even hoping to read: literature in translation, Korea-related fiction and poetry in English, plus notable non-fiction titles.

Sorted by date of publication, most recent first.

BookCover image

Invincible and Righteous Outlaw: The Korean Hero Hong Gildong in Literature, History, and Culture
Kang Minsoo
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

One of the most important and popular premodern Korean novels, The Story of Hong Gildong is a fast-paced adventure story about the illegitimate son of a nobleman who becomes the leader of a band of honest outlaws who take from the rich and punish the corrupt. Despite the importance of the work to Korean culture […] (Link to online store)

Autobiography of Death
Kim Hyesoon tr Don Mee Choi
New Directions, 2018

From the publisher’s website: The title section of Kim Hyesoon’s powerful new book, Autobiography of Death, consists of forty-nine poems, each poem representing a single day during which the spirit roams after death before it enters the cycle of reincarnation. The poems not only give voice to those who met unjust deaths during Korea’s violent contemporary […] (Link to online store)

A Place to Live: A New Translation of Yi Chung-hwan’s T’aengniji, the Korean Classic for Choosing Settlements
Yi Chung-hwan tr Inshil Choe Yoon
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: A Place to Live brings together in a single volume an introduction to Yi Chung-hwan’s (1690–1756) T’aengniji (Treatise on Choosing Settlement)—one of the most widely read and influential of the Korean classics—and an annotated translation of the text, including the author’s postscript. Yi composed the T’aengniji in the 1750s, a time when, despite King Yŏngjo’s (r. […] (Link to online store)

A Genealogy of Dissent: The Progeny of Fallen Royals in Chosŏn Korea
Eugene Y Park
Stanford University Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: In early modern Korea, the Chosŏn state conducted an extermination campaign against the Kaesŏng Wang, descendants of the preceding Koryŏ dynasty. It was so thorough that most of today’s descendants are related to a single survivor. Before long, however, the Chosŏn dynasty sought to bolster its legitimacy as the successor of […] (Link to online store)

Was that Mountain Really There?
Park Wan-suh tr Hannah Kim
Kitaab International, 2018

Was that Mountain Really there? by Park Wan-Suh, an award winning and well-known Korean novelist, has recently been translated by Hannah Kim and published by Kitaab. The novel depicts the trauma of partition faced by civilians in a war that reft Korea in two. Was that Mountain Really There? portrays the suffering caused by a […]

Flowering Plums and Curio Cabinets: The Culture of Objects in Late Chosŏn Korean Art
Sunglim Kim
University of Washington Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: The social and economic rise of the chungin class (“middle people” who ranked between the yangban aristocracy and commoners) during the late Chosŏn period (1700–1910) ushered in a world of materialism and commodification of painting and other art objects. Generally overlooked in art history, the chungin contributed to a flourishing art […] (Link to online store)

Zainichi Literature
Ed John Lie tr Abbie (Miyabi) Yamamoto, Christina Yi, Haeng-ja Chung, Nathaniel Heneghan, Nayoung Aimee Kwon, Samuel Perry, Youngmi Lim
Univ of California Berkeley Institute of East Asian Studies, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This collection of translated works highlights a selection of writings in translation by Zainichi (diasporic Koreans in Japan). The introduction provides an historical overview of Zainichi diasporic identity; the concluding appendix considers the figure of Kin Kakuei and the flourishing Zainichi literature in the 1960s. Authors whose works are translated and […] (Link to online store)

The Scriptures of Won Buddhism: A Translation of Wonbulgyo kyojon with Introduction
Bongkil Chung
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: “Professor Chung has drawn on all the tools in his scholarly arsenal to convey the flavor and meaning of the original Korean texts. Written vernacular Korean was still very much a work in progress during the early twentieth century and the meaning of the Korean texts is not always clear-cut, even […] (Link to online store)

A New Middle Kingdom: Painting and Cultural Politics in Late Chosŏn Korea (1700–1850)
J.P. Park
University of Washington Press, 2018

Publisher description: Historians have claimed that when social stability returned to Korea after devastating invasions by the Japanese and Manchus around the turn of the seventeenth century, the late Chosŏn dynasty was a period of unprecedented economic and cultural renaissance, in which prosperity manifested itself in new programs and styles of visual art. A New Middle […] (Link to online store)

The Underground Village
Kang Kyong-ae tr Anton Hur
Honford Star, 2018

Kang Kyeong-ae (1906-1944) was a Korean writer whose stories are remarkable for their rejection of colonialism, patriarchy, and ethnic nationalism during a period when such views were truly radical and dangerous. Born in what is now North Korea, Kang wrote all her fiction in Manchuria during the Japanese occupation and witnessed the violence and daily […] (Link to online store)

Rules of the House: Family Law and Domestic Disputes in Colonial Korea
Sungyun Lim
University of California Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. Rules of the House offers a dynamic revisionist account of the Japanese colonial rule of Korea (1910–1945) by examining the roles of women in the civil courts. Challenging […] (Link to online store)

At Dusk
Hwang Sok-yong tr Sora Kim-Russell
Scribe, 2018

Park Minwoo is, by every measure, a success story. Born into poverty in a miserable neighbourhood of Seoul, he has ridden the wave of development in a rapidly modernising society. Now the director of a large architectural firm, his hard work and ambition have brought him triumph and satisfaction. But when his company is investigated […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

The Tale of Cho Ung
Trad / anon tr Sookja Cho
Columbia University Press, 2018

The Tale of Cho Ung is one of the most widely read and beloved stories of Choson Korea. The anonymously written tale recounts the adventures of protagonist Cho Ung as he fearlessly confronts and overcomes obstacles and grows into a heroic young man. As a child, Ung flees a wicked tyrant who wrongfully killed his […] (Link to online store)

City of Ash and Red
Pyun Hye-young tr Sora Kim-Russell
Arcade Publishing, 2018

Distinguished for his talents as a rat killer, the nameless protagonist of Hye-young Pyun’s City of Ash and Red is sent by the extermination company he works for on an extended assignment in C, a country descending into chaos and paranoia, swept by a contagious disease, and flooded with trash. No sooner does he disembark […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Korea: The Impossible Country. South Korea’s Amazing Rise from the Ashes – The Inside Story of an Economic, Political and Cultura
Daniel Tudor
Tuttle, 2018

From the publisher’s website: “Daniel Tudor covers all the important issues, yet does not simply tell the more familiar stories, but looks deeper and wider to give the full story of Korea today.” —Martin Uden, Former British Ambassador to South Korea In just fifty years, South Korea has transformed itself from a failed state, ruined and […] (Link to online store)

Dynamic Korea and Rhythmic Form
Katherine In-Young Lee
Wesleyan University Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Winner of the The Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicology The South Korean percussion genre, samul nori, is a world phenomenon whose rhythmic form is the key to its popularity and mobility. Based on both ethnographic research and close formal analysis, author Katherine In-Young Lee focuses on the kinetic experience of […] (Link to online store)

The Park Chung Hee Era: Economic Development and Modernization of the Republic of Korea
Ed Lee-Jay Cho
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This volume presents a collection of authoritative summaries and analyses of the most significant economic policies of the Park Chung Hee years (1961–1979). It is the product of a major project by Korean academics and officials to critically review and analyze policies aimed at economic development and modernization of Korea. Most […] (Link to online store)

The Korean-American Dream: Portraits of a Successful Immigrant Community
James Flanigan
University of Nevada Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Chairman Yang Ho Cho, head of Korean Air and Hanjin, talks of Los Angeles as a “microcosm of the United States—a land built of immigrants who want to do one thing: improve their lives.” In The Korean-American Dream, respected and distinguished business journalist James Flanigan uncovers the struggles and contributions of the […] (Link to online store)

My Very Last Possession and Other Stories
Park Wan-suh tr Chun Kyung-ja
M.E. Sharpe, Routledge, 2018

An anthology of ten short stories by one of Korea’s foremost living writers. Pak Wanso is the author of five novels, including The Naked Tree, and of several best-selling volumes of short prose. Her works have sold millions of copies in Korea, where the public and critics alike have applauded Pak as a masterful realist. […] (Link to online store)

Bred from the Eyes of a Wolf
Kim Kyung-ju tr Jake Levine
Plays Inverse, 2018

Equal parts poetry, drama, and sci-fi, award-winning poet Kim Kyung Ju’s verse play BRED FROM THE EYES OF A WOLF follows a post-apocalyptic family of wolves (indistinguishable from humans) forced to taxidermy their own cubs in order to survive. An allegory for the degraded social relations of the present, Kim Kyung Ju’s all-too-familiar dystopia partitions […] (Link to online store)

Korean Confucianism: The Philosophy and Politics of Toegye and Yulgok
Hyoungchan Kim
Rowman + Littlefield, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This book explores Neo-Confucianism and its relationship to politics by examining the life and work of the two iconic figures of the Joseon dynasty Yi Hwang (1501-1570, Toegye) and Yi I (1536-1584, Yulgok). Neo-Confucianism became state orthodoxy in 1392, and remained in place for over five centuries until the end of […] (Link to online store)

Mina
Kim Sagwa tr Bruce Fulton, Ju-chan Fulton
Two Lines Press, 2018

“She doesn’t know what to do, and that amounts to a state of torture.” Crystal toils day and night to earn top grades at her cram school. She’s also endlessly texting, shopping, drinking, vexing her boyfriends, cranking up her mp3s, and fantasizing about her next slice of cheesecake. Her non- stop frenzy never quite manages […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

I’ll Go On
Hwang Jungeun tr Emily Yae Won
Tilted Axis, 2018

‘That’s how it generally is with Aeja’s stories. They’re as potent as a putrid peach. Listening to her words your head starts to droop with their sticky juice trickling down your ears, until all you can do is succumb to the saccharine flow.’ From one of South Korea’s most acclaimed young authors comes the story […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Bad Friends
Ancco tr Janet Hong
Drawn + Quarterly, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Pearl is bad. She smokes, drinks, runs away from home, and has no qualms making her parents worry. Her mother and sister beg her to be a better student, sister, daughter; her beleaguered father expresses his concerns with his fists. Bad Friends is set in the 1990s in a South Korea torn between tradition […] (Link to online store)

The Korean Buddhist Empire: A Transnational History, 1910–1945
Hwansoo Ilmee Kim
Harvard University Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: In the first part of the twentieth century, Korean Buddhists, despite living under colonial rule, reconfigured sacred objects, festivals, urban temples, propagation—and even their own identities—to modernize and elevate Korean Buddhism. By focusing on six case studies, this book highlights the centrality of transnational relationships in the transformation of colonial Korean […] (Link to online store)

The Court Dancer
Shin Kyung-sook tr Anton Hur
Pegasus, 2018

Based on a remarkable true story, the New York Times bestselling author of Please Look After Mom brilliantly images the life of Yi Jin, an orphan who would fall under the affections of the Empress and become a jewel in the late Joseon Court. When a novice French diplomat arrives for an audience with the […] (Link to online store)

Lee Ufan: Art of Encounter
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Lee Ufan tr Stanley N Anderson
Lisson Gallery, 2018

Painter, sculptor, writer and philosopher Lee Ufan (born 1936) first came to prominence in the late 1960s as one of the major proponents of the Japanese avant-garde group Mono-ha. Japan’s first contemporary art movement to gain international recognition, the Mono-ha school of thought rejected Western notions of representation, choosing to focus on the relationships of […] (Link to online store)

Cultures of Yusin: South Korea in the 1970s
Ed Youngju Ryu
University of Michigan Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: A broad range of scholars explores the many avenues of cultural production during the Yusin period, casting new light on how it challenged and conformed to the ambitions of the state power. Cultures of Yusin examines the turbulent and yet deeply formative period of time South Korea’s Fourth Republic (1972-79), beginning with […] (Link to online store)

K-Pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance
Kim Suk-young
Stanford University Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: 1990s South Korea saw the transition from a military dictatorship to a civilian government, from a manufacturing economy to a postindustrial hub, and from a cloistered society to a more dynamic transnational juncture. These seismic shifts had a profound impact on the media industry and the rise of K-pop. In K-pop Live, […] (Link to online store)

On an Autumn Night: Classical Korean Poetry
Ed Richard Mayer tr Richard Mayer
Independently published, 2018

From the back cover: The poems collected here are in classical Chinese, the language of learning in Korea before the turn of the twentieth century. Though they range from the seventh to the nineteenth century, most were written during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). They are five-character line quatrain poems written in the New Style, the […] (Link to online store)

Poems by Kim Hyun (K-Poet 06)
Kim Hyun tr Jeon Seung-hee
Asia Publishers, 2018

From the LTI Korea website: They(Poem) were born as part of a larger project, titled “The Future of Voice.” That is why I begin each poem with a sound effect, indicated by an international phonetic character, instead of simply adding footnotes. I hope that the sound, born in another time-space than the visiblbe(legible) screen(writing), has […] (Link to online store)

Poems by Ahn Sang-hak (K-Poet 05)
Ahn Sang-hak tr Brother Anthony of Taizé
Asia Publishers, 2018

From LTI Korea website: The world of Ahn Sang-Hak’s poetry is built on the philosophy of non-doing naturalism. According to this idea, since nature exists, it clearly has substance; however, since its nature is not to stay fixed, but rather to change in every moment, it only appears in variations of itself. In the same […] (Link to online store)

From the Mountains to the Cities: A History of Buddhist Propagation in Modern Korea
Mark A Nathan
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: At the start of the twentieth century, the Korean Buddhist tradition was arguably at the lowest point in its 1,500-year history in the peninsula. Discriminatory policies and punitive measures imposed on the monastic community during the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910) had severely weakened Buddhist institutions. Prior to 1895, monastics were prohibited by […] (Link to online store)

Early Korea-Japan Interactions
Mark E. Byington
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Volumes in the Early Korea Project Occasional Series focus on central issues related to the study of early Korean history and archaeology. The present volume presents seven studies of interactions between societies and polities on the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago from an archaeological perspective. The time periods reflected in […] (Link to online store)

Korean Gardens: Tradition, Symbolism and Resilience
Jill Matthews
Hollym, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Korean Gardens: Tradition, Symbolism and Resilience – The Western Gardeners’ Guide to the Essence of Korean Traditional Gardens Korean gardens strive to be in harmony with nature and to encourage the quiet contemplation of the natural world. They are intentionally humble in their conception and very different from Japanese and Chinese […] (Link to online store)

If my tongue refuses to remain in my mouth
Kim Sunwoo tr Christopher Merrill, Kim Won-Chung
Autumn Hill, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Sunwoo Kim’s debut collection of poems, If My Tongue Refuses to Re­main in My Mouth, appeared in 2000, declaring in the boldest terms that at the outset of the new millennium she would bring to the page a rad­ically different conception of poetry. Central to her work is the belief that […] (Link to online store)

Endless Blue Sky
Yi Hyo-seok tr Steven Capener
Honford Star, 2018

Set in 1940s colonial Korea and Japanese-occupied Manchuria, Endless Blue Sky tells the love story between Korean writer Ilma and Russian dancer Nadia. The novel is both a thrilling melodrama set in glamorous locations that would shortly be tragically ravaged by war, and a bold piece of writing espousing new ideas on love, marriage, and […] (Link to online store)

See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey into Kim Jong Un’s North Korea
Travis Jeppesen
Hachette Books, 2018

From ballistic missile tests to stranger-than-fiction stories of purges and assassinations, news from North Korea never fails to dominate the global headlines. But what is life there actually like? In See You Again in Pyongyang, Jeppesen culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in North Korea to create a multi-faceted portrait of the country […] (Link to online store)

Conscience in Action: The Autobiography of Kim Dae-jung
Kim Dae-jung tr Jeon Seung-hee
Palgrave, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This book is an English translation of the authoritative autobiography by the late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. The 2000 Nobel Peace Prize winner, often called the Asian Nelson Mandela, is best known for his tolerant and innovative “Sunshine Policy” towards North Korea. Written in the five years between the end […] (Link to online store)

The Foresight of Dark Knowing: Chŏng Kam Nok and Insurrectionary Prognostication in Pre-Modern Korea
John Jorgensen, Trad / anon tr John Jorgensen
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Korea has long had an underground insurrectionary literature. The best-known example of the genre is the Chŏng Kam nok, a collection of premodern texts predicting the overthrow of the Yi Dynasty (1392–1910) that in recent times has been invoked by a wide range of groups to support various causes and agendas: from leaders […] (Link to online store)

The Changing Face of Korean Cinema: 1960 to 2015
Aegyung Shim, Brian Yecies
Rowman + Littlefield, 2018

From the publisher’s website: The rapid development of Korean cinema during the decades of the 1960s and 2000s reveals a dynamic cinematic history which runs parallel to the nation’s political, social, economic and cultural transformation during these formative periods. This book examines the ways in which South Korean cinema has undergone a transformation from an […] (Link to online store)

Buddhas and Ancestors: Religion and Wealth in Fourteenth-Century Korea
Juhn Y Ahn
University of Washington Press, 2018

Publisher description: Two issues central to the transition from the Koryo to the Choson dynasty in fourteenth-century Korea were social differences in ruling elites and the decline of Buddhism, which had been the state religion. In this revisionist history, Juhn Ahn challenges the long-accepted Confucian critique that Buddhism had become so powerful and corrupt that […] (Link to online store)

Parameters of Disavowal: Colonial Representation in South Korean Cinema
Jinsoo An
University of California Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: The colonial experience of the early twentieth century shaped Korea’s culture and identity, leaving a troubling past that was subtly reconstructed in South Korean postcolonial cinema. Relating postcolonial discourses to a reading of Manchurian action films, kisaeng and gangster films, and revenge horror films, Parameters of Disavowal shows how filmmakers reworked, […] (Link to online store)

The Paintings of Korean Shaman Gods: History, Relevance and Role as Religious Icons
Bak Yong-suk, Christina Han, Kim Tae-gon tr Christina Han
Renaissance, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated study of Korean shaman gods to be published in English; it includes 130 full-colour plates of shaman gods, many dating back to the eighteenth century. In addition to the plate section, the volume comprises three texts: An illustrated introductory chapter by Christina Han on […] (Link to online store)

Mixed Korean: Our Stories
Ed Cerrissa Kim, Katherine Kim, Sora Kim-Russell, Mary-Kim Arnold
Truepeny Publishing, 2018

From the Mixed Race Studies website: From the struggles of the Korean War, to the modern dilemmas faced by those who are mixed race, comes an assortment of stories that capture the essence of what it is to be a mixed Korean. With common themes of exclusion, and recollections of not looking Korean enough, black […] (Link to online store)

Dust and other stories
Yi Tae-jun tr Janet Poole
Columbia University Press, 2018

Yi T’aejun was one of twentieth-century Korea’s true masters of the short story–and a man who in 1946 stunned his contemporaries by moving to the Soviet-occupied northern zone of his country. In South Korea, where he is known today as “one who went north,” Yi’s work was banned until 1988. His momentous decision did not […] (Link to online store)

The Good Son
Jeong You-jeong tr Kim Chi-young
Little Brown, 2018

Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything’s all right at home – he missed a call from their mother in the middle of the night. Yu-jin soon discovers her murdered body, lying in a pool of blood at the bottom […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Rewriting Revolution: Women, Sexuality, and Memory in North Korean Fiction
Immanuel Kim
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

Publisher description: North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is firmly fixed in the Western imagination as a barbaric vestige of the Cold War, a “rogue” nation that refuses to abide by international norms. It is seen as belligerent and oppressive, a poor nation bent on depriving its citizens of their basic human […] (Link to online store)

Elusive Belonging: Marriage Immigrants and “Multiculturalism” in Rural South Korea
Minjeong Kim
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Elusive Belonging examines the post-migration experiences of Filipina marriage immigrants in rural South Korea. Marriage migration—crossing national borders for marriage—has attracted significant public and scholarly attention, especially in new destination countries, which grapple with how to integrate marriage migrants and their children and what that integration means for citizenship boundaries and a […] (Link to online store)

The Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture
Boye Lafayette De Mente
Tuttle, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Understanding a people and their culture through code words and language. Today, South Korea is an economic, technological and entertainment superpower. How, as a country, did they rebound from war, poverty and political unrest? And how can that success be replicated in other cultures? The answers can, in fact, be found […] (Link to online store)

Arts of Korea: Histories, Challenges, and Perspectives
Ed Jason Steuber and Allysa B. Peyton
University Press of Florida, 2018

From the publisher’s website: A monumental addition to the understudied field of Korean art, this brilliantly illustrated volume assembles the perspectives of art historians, critics, curators, and museum directors from major uni­versities and museums around the world to trace the varied and dynamic experiences of Korean art acquisitions over the past century. The first part […] (Link to online store)

Seo-u / Thou (K-Fiction 022)
Kang Hwa-gil tr Stella Kim
Asia Publishers, 2018

Synopsis pasted verbatim from Amazon.com Thou b The epicenter of ghost stories that began with “rumors of rumors of rumors” – In July 2018, “K-Fiction” Ganghwa road was elected as a “room” in the New Years edition of the Kyunghyang Newspaper in 2012 and started to work. He has been awarded the 8th Young Artist […] (Link to online store)

April Snow (K-Fiction 021)
Sohn Won-pyung tr Jamie Chang
Asia Publishers, 2018

Synopsis pasted, in all its glorious Konglish, from Amazon.com: Snow of April b The story of people who feel the pain of others through their suffering b In April 2018, K-Fiction is the twenty-first piece, Son Won Pyung studied philosophy in sociology at the university and studied film directing at the Korean Film Academy. He […] (Link to online store)

Gendered Landscapes: Short Fiction by Modern and Contemporary Korean Women Novelists
Ed Yung-hee Kim tr Yung-hee Kim
Cornell East Asia Series, 2018

Gendered Landscapes presents ten short stories and novellas by representative modern Korean women writers dating from the 1930s to the end of the 1990s. Signature pieces selected from the acclaimed novelists’ repertoire, these narratives address issues related to Korean women as gendered beings in a Confucian-governed patriarchal society. Thematically interlinked and compellingly articulated, they bring […] (Link to online store)

The Korean War: An International History
Wada Haruki
Rowman + Littlefield, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This classic history of the Korean War—from its origins through the armistice—is now available in a paperback edition including a substantive introduction that considers the heightened danger of a new Northeast Asian war as Trump and Kim Jong-un escalate their rhetoric. Wada Haruki, one of the world’s leading scholars of the […] (Link to online store)

King of Spies: The Dark Reign of America’s Spymaster in Korea
Blaine Harden
Mantle, 2018

From the publisher’s website: In King of Spies, prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden, reveals one of the most astonishing – and previously untold – spy stories of the twentieth century. Donald Nichols was ‘a one man war’, according to his US Air Force commanding general. He won the Distinguished Service […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Ask A North Korean: Defectors Talk About Their Lives Inside the World’s Most Secretive Nation
Andrei Lankov, Daniel Tudor
Tuttle, 2018

From the publisher’s website: “In his new book, Ask a North Korean, Daniel Tudor—a former Economist journalist and current Korean beer entrepreneur— wants people to understand the true lives of everyday North Koreans. Using translated essays written by defectors, the book covers topics from politics to pornography.” — The Boston Globe The weekly column Ask A North Korean, published by NK News, invites readers […] (Link to online store)

Reading Colonial Korea through Fiction: The Ventriloquists
Kim Chul tr Yoon Hye-joon
Lexington Books, 2018

Publisher description: Reading Colonial Korea through Fiction is a compilation of thirteen original essays which was first serialized in a quarterly issued by the National Institute of Korean Language, Saekukŏsaenghwal (Living our National Language Anew) in a column entitled, “Our Fiction, Our Language” between 2004 to 2007. Although the original intent of the Institute was to elucidate on […] (Link to online store)

Not My White Savior: A Memoir in Poems
Julayne Lee
Rare Bird Books, 2018

A provocative and furious book about race, culture, identity and what it means to be an inter-country adoptee in America Julayne Lee was born in South Korea to a mother she never knew. When she was an infant, she was adopted by a white Christian family in Minnesota, where she was sent to grow up. Not […] (Link to online store)

We, Day by Day
Jin Eun-young tr Daniel Parker, Ji YoungShil
White Pine Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Whether suturing NoHae Park and Pablo Neruda together in a cinematic sweep or refusing the global economy’s demands to rush and sign over one’s literary life, Jin’s portraiture is time illuminated by an intelligence committed to “how strange questions, fountains of brilliant blood, gush unceasingly in the boundless desert of answers.” (Link to online store)

Diamond Mountains: Travel and Nostalgia in Korean Art
Ahn Daehoe, Chin-Sung Chang, Lee Soomi, Soyoung Lee
Yale, 2018

From the publisher’s website: A dazzling exploration of the pictorial traditions inspired by Korea’s legendary Diamond Mountains The Diamond Mountains, known in Korea as Mount Geumgang, are perhaps the most famous and emotionally resonant site on the Korean Peninsula, a breathtaking range of rocky peaks, waterfalls, lagoons, and manmade pavilions. For centuries the range has […] (Link to online store)

Land of Tears
Park Sangseek tr Choi Inyoung
Homa + Sekey, 2018

Land of Tears is an anthology of short stories about the Korean experience of poverty and mental and physical anguish. Most of the stories have to do directly or indirectly with the Korean War. The stories depict the lives of a wide range of characters, such as a North Korean People’s Army soldier, a South […] (Link to online store)

A Black Kite
Kim Jong-gil tr Brother Anthony of Taizé, Kim Jong-gil
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This selection from Kim Jong-Gil’s work contains just over 50 poems, written throughout his career and chosen by himself. The poems are those by which he wishes to be remembered. The topics are personal, often the result of a journey back to a place familiar in childhood, or of a moment […] (Link to online store)

Transgression in Korea: Beyond Resistance and Control
Ed Juhn Y. Ahn
University of Michigan Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Since the turn of the millennium South Korea has continued to grapple with transgressions that shook the nation to its core. Following the serial killings of Korea’s raincoat killer, the events that led to the dissolution of the United Progressive Party, the criminal negligence of the owner and also the crew members […] (Link to online store)

Bitna: Under the Sky of Seoul
J.M.G. Le Clézio tr Brother Anthony of Taizé
Seoul Selection, 2018

Publisher description: The French writer and Nobel Literature laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio has harbored a keen interest in Korea that not only prompted him to learn and master the Korean language on his own but also inspired his new novel. Bitna: Under the Sky of Seoul is Le Clézio’s portrait of Seoul—its people and its […] (Link to online store)

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World
Haemin Sunim tr Kim Chi-young
Penguin, 2018

From the publisher’s website: THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER, WITH OVER THREE MILLION COPIES SOLD AROUND THE WORLD ‘Is it the world that’s busy, or my mind?’ The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United […] (Link to online store)

Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction – Selected Writings on Korean Contemporary Art
Lee Yil tr Bada Song, Chung Yeon-shim, Park Eun-ah, Park Sung-ji, Paul O'Kane
Presses du Réel, 2018

Publisher description: This book, the first major publication in English devoted to the Korean critic and art historian Lee Yil, is a collection of texts on aesthetics, theory and history of art by the main observer of “Dansaekhwa”, or Korean monochrome. It also brings together essays and monographic prefaces that gave wide coverage to artists […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Whisper of Splendor
Chong Hyon-Jong tr Cho Young-shil
Homa + Sekey, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Whisper of Splendor brings about 60 poems from the author to demonstrate his poetic ideals and art. In the book, the reader notes the persona’s propensity to take away the tangled web of meanings that packs his consciousness, so that he can take in things as they are, as they move. Declining […] (Link to online store)

The Aphorisms of Yi Deok-mu: Musings of a Grateful Reader
Yi Deok-mu tr Jung Min, Kim Ji-yung
Cambridge Scholars, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This volume brings together excerpts from Seongyuldang nongso [蟬橘堂濃笑: The Inexorable Glee of Master Seongyuldang] and Imokgusimseo [耳目口心書: First-hand Observations] by the 18th-century scholar Yi Deok-mu. Seongyuldang nongso is a collection of Yi’s observations about life. In Imokgusimseo, Yi writes about what he heard, saw, said, and felt in the day-to-day. […] (Link to online store)

Igniting the Internet: Youth and Activism in Postauthoritarian South Korea
Jiyeon Kang
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: ​Igniting the Internet is one of the first books to examine in depth the development and consequences of Internet-born politics in the twenty-first century. It takes up the new wave of South Korean youth activism that originated online in 2002, when the country’s dynamic cyberspace transformed a vehicular accident involving two U.S. […] (Link to online store)

Premodern Korean Literary Prose: An Anthology
Ed Michael J. Pettid, Gregory N. Evon, Chan E. Park tr Chan E Park, Chang Wang-rok, Michael J Pettid
Columbia University Press, 2018

This anthology presents new translations of Korean prose works from the tenth to the nineteenth century. It offers insight into past Korean societies by highlighting genres that have largely not been translated, such as diaries, short fictional biographies, erotic tales, oral narratives, and novellas, all of which illustrate the depth and variety of premodern Korean […] (Link to online store)

White Chrysanthemum
Mary Lynn Bracht
Penguin, 2018

Publisher description: ‘Look for your sister after each dive. Never forget. If you see her, you are safe.’ Hana and her little sister Emi are part of an island community of haenyo, women who make their living from diving deep into the sea off the southernmost tip of Korea. One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Paper
Shin Dal-ja tr Cho Young-shil
Codhill Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: The image of paper, beautifully wrought as the controlling metaphor, runs through each poem sometimes to lament humanity lost over dazzling civilization, sometimes to call for restoration by means of everything good a sheet of paper symbolizes, all in a voice quite pithy and restrained. This poetry book is a grain […] (Link to online store)

Poems of the North
Baek Seok tr Peter Liptak
Exile Press, 2018

From the publisher’s website: Treasured in both Koreas, Baek Seok: Poems of the North opens an intriguing gateway into the spirit of the North Koreans of the 1930’s-50’s. In a land struggling for freedom and short of food, he treats his readers to the dishes they craved, exhibiting a Korea not in mired in the […] (Link to online store)

The Scorpion
Kim Wonil tr Kang Sunok, Melissa Thomson
Kitaab International, 2018

In mainstream literature, it is not unusual to find a great novel whose themes are simultaneously universal and local. humanity and the human condition can be represented through characters and events that reflect the environment of an author living in a specific time and place. In the case of The Scorpion, the 13th novel by […]

The Boy who Escaped Paradise
Lee Jung-myung tr Kim Chi-young
Pegasus, 2018

An unidentified body is discovered in New York City, with numbers and symbols are written in blood near the corpse. Gil-mo, a North Korean national who interprets the world through numbers, formulas, and mathematical theories, is arrested on the spot. Angela, a CIA operative, is assigned to gain his trust and access his unique persona. […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

P’ungsu: A Study of Geomancy in Korea
Ed Hong-key Yoon
SUNY, 2018

From the publisher’s website: The first scholarly book to address Korean geomancy through an interdisciplinary lens. This book is a milestone in the history of academic research on the development and role of geomancy (fengshui in Chinese and p’ungsu in Korean) in Korean culture and society. As the first interdisciplinary work of its kind, it […] (Link to online store)

An Unknown Realm (K-Fiction 020)
Kwon Yeo-sun tr Miseli Jeon
Asia Publishers, 2018

Synopsis not available Not readily available in the UK (Link to online store)