New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2019

Unlike my list that attempts to compile upcoming literature and fiction titles, here I’ve had to be selective in what to include, otherwise the length of this post would be unmanageable. Nevertheless I’ve almost certainly missed out some titles that I’d want to have on my bookshelf. I’ve divided the list into seven sections: Literature […]

New and upcoming non-fiction titles for 2018

Too many books, not enough time to read them, or space to store them. Encouragingly, in a skim of the upcoming publication lists I had no problems finding plenty of books on a wide range of interesting topics. No longer it seems is the reading public (or the publishers’ perception thereof) solely interested in that […]

BKS hosts an interview with Michael Breen

We enjoyed Mike Breen’s first book – The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies – and are currently enjoying this completely new and updated version. It’s full of fascinating detail as well as giving you the big picture. We were hoping to have written a review by now, but events […]

Evelyn Glennie’s musical journey in Korea

Percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie has just been in the news for winning the Polar Music Prize 2015 along with Emmylou Harris. The award, according to its website, is “one of the most prestigious and unique music prizes in the world, crossing over musical boundaries and awarded to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional […]

Book Review: Robert E Buswell, Jr — The Zen Monastic Experience

Robert E Buswell, Jr: The Zen Monastic Experience – Buddhist Practice in Contemporary Korea Princeton University Press, 1992, 259pp A curious tourist visiting one of the popular Korean temples will admire the architecture of the buildings; will poke their nose into the main shrine, nervously wondering whether they’re allowed in and if so what is […]

Eerie Tales from Old Korea – republished 100 years on

100 years ago, Homer B Hulbert and James Scarth Gale translated and published “Eerie Tales from Old Korea”, a collection of Korean ghost stories. Now Brother Anthony of Taize has handpicked some of those tales, and Seoul Selection has republished them to celebrate the 150th birthdays of Gale and Hulbert. It’s definitely going on to […]

Book review: Land of Scholars (Kang Jae-eun)

The Land of Scholars: Two Thousand Years of Korean Confucianism by Kang Jae-eun (translated from Japanese to Korean by Ha Woo-bong, then from Korean into English by Suzanne Lee) Homa & Sekey Books 2006; original Japanese version published in 2003. 515 pp Students of Korean history, and particularly of the Joseon dynasty, will inevitably at […]

New book on Korean artefacts in Oxford

Oxford’s Bodleian Library announces the publication of a new book on historic Korean artefacts in the University’s collections. It accompanies an exhibition which runs 26 August to 26 September 2011 in the Proscholium at the Bodleian Library: Korean Treasures: Rare Books, Manuscripts and Artefacts in the Bodleian Libraries and Museums of Oxford University by Minh […]

Donguibogam to get English translation

The Donguibogam, the encyclopedia of Korean traditional medicine finished by Heo Jun in 1613, finally gets translation (http://bit.ly/ecjgvO #) in prepartation for the 400th anniversary of its publication. “The translation is almost done, and we will soon check the material a final time before publication,” said Shin Gyu-bum, an official at the Ministry of Health […]

Words of inspiration

NO RIVER TO CROSS: Trusting the Enlightenment that’s Always Right There Zen Master Daehaeng Wisdom Publications, Boston US$14.95 The title refers to the idea that you don’t have to make a grand pilgrimage to find your Buddha nature, as it’s already inside you, and this approachable book offers plenty of inspiring thoughts. It starts with […]

Book review: J Scott Burgeson — Korea Bug

J Scott Burgeson: Korea Bug Eunhaeng Namu, Seoul, 2005 A recent article in the JoongAng daily about a foreigner in Seoul who hasn’t made himself popular with hypersensitive and volatile Korean netizens introduced me to a gem. Burgeson, a foreigner who has been in Seoul since 1996 is one of the more unusual expats out […]

Marshall R. Pihl: The Korean Singer of Tales

(Harvard 1994) Read this before watching Im Kwon-Taek’s Sopyonje. It’s a useful introduction to Pansori styles and rhythms, and contains a translation of the Shimchong-ga, the story of Blind Man Shim and his filial daughter. A number of excerpts from this story is performed in the film and it helps to know the story a […]