Kwak Ah-ram; Artbooks; 264pp., 12,800 won
The writer, a 30-year-old journalist, talks about her past hopes and present insecurities in the introspective ``The Painting to Her." As she faces the cold reality of hitting 30, she realizes that she is the same insecure, incomplete youth in her 20s; still struggling through relationships, coping with work and worrying about her unforeseeable future.
Kwak opens each of her stories with her favorite paintings, including some by Warhol, Munch and Van Gogh. Having majored in art history, she forges a deep emotional bond with these art pieces and finds a way to identify herself in art, cleverly attaching a particular thought or memory to each painting. Readers feel as though they are strolling through a museum with a friendly guide, as they enjoy her breezy yet insightful prose coupled with beautiful paintings. Deeply personal and unabashedly honest, Kwak consoles fellow 30-year-olds by extending this warm offer, ``Care to have a cup of painting?"
Portia Iversen; Translated from English to Korean by Lee Won-kyoung; Gimm-Young Publishers; 440 pp., 11,000 won
Portia Iversen and her husband felt they had lost their two-year-old son, Dov, when he was diagnosed with autism. Driven by a passion to make sense of her son's condition, the writer embarks on a long, painful mission to uncover the complicated mysteries of autism and in the process meets Soma and her autistic son, Tito.
Tito, despite suffering from severe autism, turns out to be a poet with an IQ of 185 who has miraculously found a way to communicate. Through Tito, Iversen sees a ray of hope and ultimately succeeds in unveiling a part of autism's mystery in which even modern science had failed. Fighting skeptical doctors, she breaks through the seemingly impenetrable world of autistic children and at last, manages to reach out to her own son after years of silence.
The determination and unfaltering belief of two extraordinary mothers send a powerful message that there is always reason to hope.
Story of Madang
Jeong Hyo-goo; Jakkajungsin: 228pp., 10,000 won
``Madang'' is the Korean word for courtyard, which was the living space of Koreans for a long time. However, children now grow up in apartment blocks without yards. Modern life, emphasizing the convenience of apartment buildings, has driven the yard out of people's lives.
Jeong Hyo-goo is a Korean language and literature professor at Chungbuk National University and a literary critic famous for her commentaries on poetry. In this book, she reviews the space as a psychological home for Koreans.
Jeong does not think of the courtyard as an old, dead place only existing in our past, but a place where people re-create and look at their lives and hearts. She unravels her everyday stories of courtyards, such as sweeping and hanging out the washing. These reflections not only portray Jeong's daily life but an open mind to the world, like the horizontality of courtyard.
Ju Myung-duk, a noted photographer for capturing the essence of Koreans, photographed courtyards for the book.
28-Year-Old Ladies' Tokyo Recipe (160)
Kim Sang-eun, Sim Ji-yeon; Maho: 253 pp.,11,000 won
With this book, a trip to Tokyo is full of expectations of what can be experienced only in that city. This tour guidebook is different from others. It tells of representative tourist attractions as the two 28-year-old authors spent one year in Tokyo, setting foot in every corner of the city and tasting delicacies available only in the Japanese capital.
The book covers 32 travel routes in Tokyo, introducing a total of 203 Japanese locations including restaurants, shrines and shopping malls little known to foreign travelers. More than 300 color photos make this book a fun and enjoyable read. For readers in their 20s seeking budget friendly travel, this book should be the recipe for a successful trip to Tokyo.