Kim Rando et al; Translated by Buyers Guide from Korean to English; Miraebook Publishing; 240 pp., 16,000 won
One of the hottest books of the year, "2013 Consumer Trends in Korea" has been translated into English.
The English version written by Kim Rando, a professor at Seoul National University and his colleagues, is designed for foreign entrepreneurs doing business in Korea or businessmen in other Asian regions such as China, Thailand and Vietnam.
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected via the Internet and mobile devices, global trends are easily shared.
But the book says that the consumer market is still heavily influenced by the national characteristics of each country.
The book selects 10 hot trends expected to prevail this year ― City of hysteria; OTL ... Nonsense; Bravo, Scandimom; Redefined ownership; Alone with lounging; Taste your life out; Whenever U want; It's detox time; Surviving a burn-out society; and Trouble is welcomed.
Readers can discover what elements affect consumers' minds.
Kang Byung-yung; Pushikin House: 404 pp., 13,500 won
Last year was the 50th anniversary of the birth of Viktor Robertovich Tsoi, a Russian musician of Korean descent who led legendary rock band Kino in 1980s. He died in 1990 at the age of 28 in a car accident, leaving behind a timeless legacy.
Inspired by the musician, this novel revolves around a Korean boy who grows up listening to his music.
On Aug. 15, 1990 when Tsoi died, a Korean boy was born and named Choi Seung-ja by his grandfather.
Seung-ja literally means winner. But he was a loser who underperformed at school and had no friends until he happened to hear Tsoi's music which moved him with the intensity of a storm.
After encountering music, his life begins to change.
It is a kind of the coming-of-age novel with a mixture of humor and sadness.
"Aluminum Cucumbers" is the third track of Kino's first album and provides not only a fictional story but also features various trendy Korean musicians such as Yoon Do-hyun and Brown Eyes.
America is Starving
Yim Yoo; Hanul Books: 272 pp., 15,500 won
Yim Yoo, a financial specialist who worked for the Roh Moo-hyun administration, moved to the United States in 2008. He witnessed the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis gripping the world economy that also affected the Korean American community. This book is based on essays he wrote during his stay in L.A. over the past four years.
He criticizes the economic structure of the U.S. and not only deals with the financial market but also the real estate sector and consumers' trends.
He speaks of difficulties such as finding a house and earning a green card. "It is not easy to live in the U.S. pursuing the American dream," he said. The book elaborates on various episodes of settling down there and reveals unfair practices he experienced. The Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement is also viewed from a Korean American perspective.