Edited by Brother Anthony; The Academy of Korean Studies Press: 431 pp., $28 or 25,000 won
The Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch was founded in 1900 by several learned scholars, mostly missionaries such as Homer Bezaleel Hulbert, James S. Gale and H. H. Underwood, who experienced dramatic changes in Korean history.
They published “Transactions,” an annual journal containing articles that recorded various aspects of Korea including its history and culture. Their writings are a window to Korea and also a fundamental means to in-depth study of Korean culture. The journal offered significant insights into how Korea was seen in the eyes of the early Western scholars.
Hulbert wrote in his article “Korean Survivals” that points of similarity with the Chinese are the exception and that the survival of things purely native and indigenous is the rule.
George Heber Jones penned “The Spirit Worship of the Koreans” and “Introduction to the Study of Buddhism in Corea” and Mark Napier Trollope wrote “Kang Hwa” on Korean shamanism and Buddhism in a detailed and positive way. Diverse lifestyles and customs that prevailed in the early 20th century can also be seen in this book.
― Chung Ah-young
Don Kulick and Anne Meneley; Translated from English to Korean by Kim Myeong-heui. Sodong: 375 pp., 17,000 won
Weight issues have been one of mankind’s biggest obsessions. Centuries ago, rather rotund royals Yang Guifei of ancient China exemplified beauty. But today wafer-thin models strut down runways and it’s easy to spot people counting calories.
What if someone told you it’s OK to eat a greasy fried chicken leg?
A couple of cultural anthropologists specializing in obesity and obsession prescribe the virtue of eating without worry.
In the appropriately titled “Fat,” the co-authors examine the nature of fat ― as an idea, physical matter and way of life, as well as its political, economic, social and cultural implications.
Don Kulick, a professor at New York University, and Anne Meneley, who teaches at Trent University in Canada, explore the way contemporary society treats fat ― from Starbucks, Spam and olive oil to pornography and diet pills.
The book looks at intriguing cases, such as how obese male hip hop stars grace popular music videos or how a Portuguese woman of religion insists on fasting. It takes a look at how obesity is considered in different contexts.
― Lee Hyo-won
Get off Your “But”: How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up For Yourself
Sean Stephenson; Translated by Park Na-young from English to Korean; Sam & Parkers: 284 pp., 13,000 won
“But if only…” People are always wrapped up in their “buts,” but the author of “Get off Your ‘But’: How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself,” Sean Stephenson, writes that living with the mindset of a victim holds you back from achieving the most out of life. Stephenson is a living example.
From birth Stephenson was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle bone disease. The disorder has made everyday activities a series of life-threatening obstacles for the author. But the writer does not limit himself to his external condition.
In the book, Stephenson communicates exactly how he eliminated all those pesky “buts” that were keeping him from pursuing his dreams into six applicable lessons: start connecting, watch what you say to yourself, master your physical confidence, focus your focus, choose your friends wisely, and take full responsibility.
Stephenson adds a realistic element while encouraging the reader to overcome self-sabotage because in the end nothing matters but this moment, and reality is what we make it.
― Park Sung-hee
Luxe et Civilisations
Jean Castarede; Translated from French to Korean by Lee So-young; DDStone: 352pp., 22,000 won
The book reviews "luxury," which always existed with the human civilization since the dawn of history.
French economist and historian Jean Castarede defines luxury as anything that goes beyond basic desire, such as higher-order thinking and cultural and artistic desires. In the book, the author divides extravagance into two types ― material luxury and luxury as cultural power.
The book reviews human history in the perspective of luxury across the globe from Europe to Asia and Africa. He contemplates the luxury items, from Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the Mesopotamian Civilization to the fad of designer brands in BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, which made a great contribution in rediscovering human potential as art and civilization.
― Kwon Mee-yoo