Shin Ji-sue; Mimesis: 178 pp., 12, 800 won
Illustrator Shin Ji-sue felt something strange was going on in her body when she noticed her stomach was sticking out as if pregnant. Her sense of foreboding was not wrong as she got a health check and she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was 27.
The book “3 grams” tracks her fight against cancer, from the moment she finds out and her initial treatments to surgery and recovery. Her story is not just tear-jerking but depicts life in a hospital in detail including even the mundane parts. She quarreled with another woman in the ward over the television and was surprised by an unexpected visitor to the hospital.
This graphic novel offers consolation, not pity, for those who are struggling against poor health and disease. The title refers to the average weight of an ovary, which is not even recognizable for most people, but weighed heavily on Shin’s life.
— KWON MEE-YOO
Brayton Harris; translated into Korean by Kim Hong-rae: Anbo Books; 528 pp., 25,000 won
Chester Nimitz (1885-1966) was a towering but lesser known U.S. hero of World War II.
Renowned military historian and retired Navy Captain Brayton Harris uses long-overlooked files and recently declassified documents to trace Nimitz’s life and achievements.
Harris met Nimitz, commander of all U.S. and Allied air, land, and sea forces in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, several times in the 1950s over lunch. The author remembers Nimitz as a “keen listener.”
Nimitz was greatly inspired by his grandfather, Charles Henry Nimitz, a former seaman in the German Merchant Marines. His grandfather told him: “The sea — like life itself — is a stern taskmaster. The best way to get along with either is to learn all you can, then do your best and don’t worry — especially about things over which you have no control.”
Harris portrays Nimitz as a brilliant strategist, who astounded his contemporaries by ¬ achieving military victories against insurmountable odds, outpacing more flamboyant luminaries like General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral “Bull” Halsey. And Nimitz was there to accept, on behalf of the U.S., the surrender of the Japanese aboard the battleship USS Missouri in August 1945.
This is a great book for those interested in learning about World War II and the career of one of the most effective combat commanders the United States has ever known.
— DO JE-HAE
The Great Stagnation
Tyler Cowen; translated into Korean by Son Kyung-hyung; Hanbit Biz Publishing: 159 pp., 12,000 won
This mini-book contains a concise, interesting analysis on the multi-decade stagnation of the U.S. economy.
The United States has been through the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and unemployment remains stubbornly high. Median wages have risen only slowly since the 1970s.
The author maintains that factors that drove the U.S. economy in the past — free land, immigrant labor and powerful new technologies — have started to disappear over the last 40 years.
The professor of economics at George Mason University says that the way to overcome this is to focus on a new burst of innovation that will propel economic growth.
His key suggestions are promoting science and engineering in the United States by benchmarking India and China; improving education to put more focus on scientific learning; and raising the social status of scientists. In China or India, scientists and engineers are highly esteemed and occupy the highest offices in government.
— DO JE-HAE
Joel Kimbeck; Miraebook: 352 pp., 15,000 won
Who is the Korean “global nomad,” well known among fashion giants such as Tom Ford, Prada, Raf Simons, Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana?
The answer is Joel Kimbeck, creative director and columnist based in Manhattan, New York.
His book “Fashion Muse” includes behind-the-scenes interviews with 30 international celebrities such as Kate Moss and Keira Knightley.
While most books in the same category focus on analyzing celebrity styles and giving readers advice on how to look similar, the advertising guru instead talks about the everyday clothes worn by the style icons.
Every story he tells will come as something new and refreshing and will even appeal to those who have no or very little interest in the world of fashion.