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 […]

Pak Chiwon’s Jehol Diary: An amiable bore abroad

Pak Chiwon: The Jehol Diary Translated with notes by Yang Hi Choe-Wall Global Oriental 2010, 208pp The Jehol Diary is a contemporary account of one of the regular journeys from Joseon Korea to Qing China bearing tribute to the emperor. The journey described in this diary took place in 1780, and was ordered by King Jeongjo […]

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 […]

Royal Ancestors makes it onto

I was taken a bit by surprise when I was introduced at the KCCUK’s firth birthday dinner as “Author of Royal Ancestors and Ancient Remedies.” I had almost forgotten. But coincidentally, a correspondent has just told me that it’s now available on Some enterprising organisation has picked up a free copy or two from […]

Royal Ancestors – an unsolicited review

I recently received an email from a friend who was given a copy of Royal Ancestors and Ancient Remedies for Christmas last year: Just finished reading your Korean book, which I enjoyed a lot. I confess I was struck by a similarity between the book and the Jongmyo ancestral rituals, in that I thought it […]

Walking the Baekdu-Daegan trail

Roger Shepherd & Andrew Douch, with David A Mason: Baekdu Daegan Trail Seoul Selection, 2010, 446pp Korea is a mountainous country. If you google that phrase you will learn that 70% of South Korea’s land mass is designated as upland or mountains. And everyone knows that a lot of Koreans love hiking in the hills. […]

Thank you

Tonight at the Korean Cultural Centre, I’m told that it was a record attendance for a Global Korea Lecture. So, thanks to the people who came along to my talk. I think I said most of the things I wanted to, but missed a couple of things. More importantly, thanks to the Ministry of Culture, […]

The LKL book launch event – 17 May

It’s official – it’s the Royal Ancestors book launch event. There’s no backing out now. I guess I need to figure out what I’m going to say. As usual, pre-booking is essential, this time with the Embassy press office. I look forward to seeing you there. Details below. ROYAL ANCESTORS AND CONTEMPORARY CULTURE A talk […]

Mountain walking, Tea Classics and a thriller: three new books

ROK Drop Book Review: Yin Yang Tattoo By Ron McMillan. Looks like a good novel for summer holiday reading. # Walk the Baekdu-Daegan: Korea's mountain backbone: new book on the hiking trail. # An article about Brother Anthony (brilliant translator, says and his new book about tea (not my cuppa!):

Jennifer Barclay: Meeting Mr Kim

Summersdale Publishers, 2008 Jennifer Barclay went to Seoul with her musician boyfriend eight years ago with no fixed agenda other than a desire to get away from her job. Fortunately, while in Korea she took advantage of her free time to explore parts of the country which are not necessarily on the tourist route. This […]

Charlie Crane: Welcome to Pyongyang

Chris Boot, 2007 The new photo book on Pyongyang can be appreciated on a number of levels. Firstly, there’s the literal level: it’s a collection of well-taken photos, with captions provided by the North Korean Tourist Board. But like it or not, whenever you see anything in which the North Koreans have had a hand, […]