Co-authored by Roh Moo-hyun et al; Bookie; pp.319; 14,800 won
This book contains various essays and writings by the former late President Roh Moo-hyun who took his own life following a corruption scandal in 2009.
After completing his five-year presidential term, he settled in his hometown of Bongha Village in South Gyeongsang Province.
After that, he wrote intermittent online journals on a website he established to communicate with netizens and some of those writings are contained in this book.
His writings mostly talk about what he wants to do for the development of the nation’s farming areas. Essays from his key aides talk about the personal side of the former president and how he well he was adapting to life after politics.
The book also carries many personal photos of the late president that have not been made public until now.
— DO JE-HAE
Joseon Films in Newspaper Articles: 1923
Korean Film Archive: 543 PP., 35,000 WON
The Korean Film Archive presents the fourth of its series chronicling the cinematic history of local films during the Japanese colonial era (1910-45). While the three previous volumes narrowed in on certain periods, such as from 1921 to 1922, the latest book is entirely dedicated to 1923.
This year marks an important moment in Korean cinema history, as it is when local silent films were introduced here. Most notably, Yun Baek-nam’s “The Vow Made Below the Moon” premiered that year, as well as “The Story of Chung-hyang,” which, albeit directed by Japan’s Jo Chun Go Ju, featured local tradition and starred local actors.
Though the former was a propaganda film for promoting postal savings, it was one of the first instances for a Korean cast and crew to take part in a movie project. Meanwhile, the latter achieved box office success that would pave the way for local cinema.
Cinema would become a major form of mass entertainment, with Gyeonseong (Old Seoul) citizens watching on average four movies in a year.
This pivotal year also saw the birth of Korean film production, with the release of Kim Do-san’s “The Border.”
— LEE HYO-WON
Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children
Michael Thompson, Catherine O’Neill Grace and Lawrence J.Cohen; Translated from English to Korean by Kim Gyeong-suk; Yangcheolbook: 468 pp,. 15,000 won
Adults tend to underestimate the intricacies of the social interactions of children as mere play and a child’s desire for popularity and acceptance as shallow. Actually, as the recent incidents of bullied teenagers committing suicide represent, the social ties that are formed during childhood are complicated and shape an individual’s social behavior later on.
Michael Thompson, Ph.D., a psychologist, together with children’s book author, Catherine O’Neill Grace, and psychologist and family therapist Lawrence J.Cohen, Ph.D., illuminate the crucial and lasting role of friendship in children’s lives.
The authors present extensive reviews of recent studies on children’s social lives including the results of their own research over 12 chapters that will benefit many adults. Teachers and parents may better understand their roles in the last two chapters which lay out what the writers see as their responsibilities.
— NOH HYUN-GI
Low Hills in Seoul
Bae Su-ah; Jaeum and Moeum Publishing: 311 pp., 12,000 won
Bae Su-ah has released her 13th novel “Low Hills in Seoul.” Having made her debut in 1998, Bae gaied popularity for her unique and unconventional style of prose.
Her latest work was published serially through Jaeum and Moeum Publishing’s online communities last summer and is now available as a book.
“Low Hills in Seoul” revolves around Gyeong-hui, a woman in her 30s. She is an actress specializing in reading plays. Her job is taken by announcers and voice actors and one day, she decides to travel. At an airport in a strange city, she meets several people including Mr. Nobody, Maria, a healer and an Asian male.
The narrator of the novel shifts from Gyeong-hui to “we” and concludes with a scene of reading a play.
Literary critics say Bae’s novels are free from any hackneyed characters, situation, lines or insights. This novel proves the reviews right with Bae’s unique writing.
— KWON MEE-YOO