Friday, September 13, 2013

Introducing Reading Korea

Dear readers,

Here is an exciting bit of announcement: the Korean is beginning a new blog, called Reading Korea.

In the seven years that the Korean has run Ask a Korean!, a constant issue has been that readers ask a question that asks for too much, such as: "What should I know about Korean culture?" The Korean's standard answer has been: "I can't write a book for you." While that answer is true, it is not a particularly satisfying answer for either the questioner or the Korean. Fortunately, there are increasingly more books in English about Korea, and more books in English that deal with a particular aspect about Korea in depth. In addition, if one can read Korean, there is a full universe of books regarding every aspect of Korea imaginable. And the Korean reads a lot of books about Korea.

This inspired the Korean to start Reading Korea. Essentially, it is a book review blog about books about Korea. Each review will be kept short, and will also be posted on review if the book is available through By introducing those books in a single space, the Korean hopes to build toward the ultimate reading list of books about Korea for those who want to learn more about the country in depth. The Korean expects to be a slow process, but that's ok--this blog's modest success came not because there was a great deal of publicity, but because the Korean simply kept writing day by day until more and more people came. Down the line, the Korean is certain that Reading Korea will find its own share of readership.

Reading Korea's first review is already up: Kim Chang-nam's K-POP: Roots and Blossoming of Korean Popular Music. There will be several more book reviews coming down the pipeline in the next few days. Please feel free to visit and poke around Reading Korea, and give any suggestion you may think of.

As always, thank you very much for all your support.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at


  1. "Escape From Camp 14" is the one Korean book I will never, ever be able to forget. It's just a shame that such a blind eye is being still being turned on the North's atrocities there while countless Koreans suffer in truly horrendous lives in ghastly conditions. It made my stomach sick to hear/read that the South was going to allow Kaesong to re-open. Unbelievable as it also reeks because the South pays the North in U.S. dollars which makes the U.S. government (and its people), in part, an accessory to the crimes going on in the North by not demanding that the South not use U.S. currency in this on-going boondoggle.

  2. Hooray!!! Added to my Feedly list, and K-POP: Roots and Blossoming of Korean Popular Music is on its way through our state-wide library lending program. (Apparently only one copy in California!) I'm looking forward to your next recommendations.

  3. Reading is great. Unfortunately, I hate reading unless it is a scientific magazine with tons of illustrations. So I won't be reading anything, even though I am sure this book is great. I also like TED talks if they are informative. Most of them are not.

    I don't think you should abandon this blog though. I think Ask a Korean is more all-inclusive. Especially since I still have tons of unanswered questions.
    For example:
    1. What do people in Korea think about their government supporting the U.S. in Syria? What do they think about president Obama canceling his decision to bomb Syria?
    2. Korean women are in a very difficult situation now - they are working more and yet they are still expected to do all the housework. Is there a family crisis coming on?
    3. Is that true that Korean men cheat a lot? A person I know who just came from Korea told me that they were expected to spend some time with girls at the karaoke after a business meeting. Is it the norm?
    4. I know that porn is outlawed in Korea, but what about prostitutes? Can they follow the Swedish model?
    5. Why does Dennis Rodman say that Kim is like his best friend?
    6. Why did they execute Kim's ex-girlfriend? It was not about porn, I know.
    7. Why did South Korea agree to reopen that factory in North Korea? President Park wants to build bridges?
    8. How did Jeon Wook Pyo escape and what did he say about his life in North Korea?
    9. How can I write to a drama channel since they all require Korean SS number? How do I tell the writer of one drama that I hate her script and she needs to change it?
    10. Where the heck is Lee Min Ho? I haven't heard from him in a long, long time.


  4. Awesome. Good luck on your blog and thanks in advance for all the reviews.


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