Jung Jae-in and Lee Jin; Thinking
Tree: 308 pp., 14,000 won
Seoulites think they know the city well as they live here. However, if they are asked to pick out the best destinations, they might struggle to answer. Many Seoulites know less about the city in which they live than foreign tourists.
The book is a guide to the city composed of modern skyscrapers and traditional and natural beautiful landmarks and packages the hot spots by region, consisting of six courses. Each course is comprised of three places with diverse qualities.
The courses include the areas of Samseong-dong, Samcheongdong, Myeong-dong, Apgujeongdong and Itaewon and the royal palaces which are conveniently reached by taking the subway.
Not only tourist attractions but also the cultural codes are presented in the book by exploring the hot places. Among others, it introduces the traditional markets such as Dongdaemun Market, Namdaemun Market, the Fish Market in Noryangjin and Gwangjang Market to provide a glimpse of the run-of-themill life of Koreans.
Colorful photos and detailed information such as contact numbers and addresses of museums, restaurants and prices are all included
Korean Tea Classics
Brother Anthony of Taize, Hong Kyeong-hee and Steven D. Owyoung; Seoul Selection: 196 pp., 18,000 won
The ceremonial way of drinking tea differs from country to country. When drinking tea, the Chinese focus on its taste while etiquette is rendered the most important among Japanese. In Korea, having tea is regarded as a spiritual deed.
Written in English by tea expert and prominent literature translator Brother Anthony of Taize and his two fellows, this book offers in-depth insight on the essence of Koreans’ tea culture from ancient times.
The ancient classics such as “Chabu Rhapsody to Tea” by Hanjae Yi Mok (1471-1498), “Dongchasong Hymn in Praise of Korean Tea” and “Chasinjeon Chronicle of the Spirit of Tea” by Ven. Choui (1784-1866) provide a sophisticated and delicate celebration of tea.
The poems constitute formal poetic stanzas eulogizing tea by the original authors along with additional references.
This book not only offers an English translation of the three ancient works along with the original Chinese texts but also wonderful introductions from the basic lessons of tea ceremony and also biographies of the two great masters of Korean tea in history.
It also gives an opportunity for both Koreans and foreigners to appreciate how the ancient Koreans enjoyed tea as part of the pursuit for harmony with nature and spiritual pleasure.
Choi Do-seong; Book 21: 392 pp., 14,800 won
Follow essayist, professor and travel expert on a journey to Eastern Europe with his new book ``Meet Eastern Europe Once in your Life.’’
The nations listed in the book may be seldom sought after compared to other famous tourist spots like France and England, but this doesn’t mean they are any less interesting, according to Choi.
As the first book to solely focus on Eastern Europe, ``Meet Eastern Europe Once in your Life’’ features practically everything there is to know about the area, including tourist destinations, interesting historical background, cultural fables and real stories about the people in the group of countries that are distinct from the rest of Europe.
``I’m more interested in the people than the attractions. The tourist spots have been there for a long time and will be there in the future, but the people and their stories are more interesting and special,’’ he writes in the preface, and indeed, the book covers numerous stories about the people who lived and still live in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia.
With lovely photos of scenic attractions, restaurants, streets, people and art, the book will make you want to pack up your bags and head directly to Eastern Europe.
Edited by Paul Parsons; Translated from English to Korean by Lee Jae-young. Openhouse Publishers: 268 pp., 14,800 won
Ever wanted to learn about the theory of relativity but wasn’t quite ready to dive into a 10-pound textbook? ``30-Second Theories’’ sets out to cover all of science in 50 snippets that can each be read in 30 seconds. This mini encyclopedic volume reads more like a coffee table book, complete with chic and zany illustrations and photographs. Edited by Paul Parsons, former editor of BBC’s science magazine Focus, the book is a compilation of contributions by a range of authors.
The 50 theories are divided into seven chapters such as The Macrocosm, which introduces concepts like the law of motion and peeks into Albert Einstein’s brain; The Microcosm, which takes a look into quantum mechanics; Human Evolution, which delves in the world of Charles Darwin and natural selection; Mind and Body, which explores psychological issues like behaviorism; and Planet Earth, which breaks down the solar nebular theory and global warming.
Also included is ``3-Minute thought’’ section in between the lessons for a more in-depth look at each idea. Some of the big names that moved and shook the scientific world are featured in short biographies.