Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reading Material

originally posted elsewhere.

What is the deal? I've been reading like it's going out of style. I'm impressed with myself. When I was a kid, I never read for pleasure. Or for school for that matter - thank you Cliff Notes.

In the last year, I have really been spending some quality time with my computer and a few select books. Granted, they have been in a fairly narrow scope: Korea. As technology continues to enrich my life, I've found a bunch of good reads online. Thanks FeedReader and Delicious for organizing everything.
  • Jumping The Asymptote is a cultural comparative blog written by Tony Hellman of ATEK fame. It's a newer blog but he is well versed and brings a calm, organized perspective to the table. I especially like his pieces on expatriates, 애교, and Korean dating p.1 and p.2
  • The Grand Narrative needs no introduction to fellow K-bloggers. James Turnbull is a smart mofo no doubt about it. His devotion and level of detail is daunting at first but extremely well placed. I applaud his efforts and follow his blog regularly. I'd recommend a starting point, but honestly, it'll just frustrate you. It's like "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie..." once you read one epic post, you'll be tempted to read another one. Do yourself a favor and check out his blog.
  • Gusts of Popular Feeling gets down and dirty. The man knows how to delve into a subject and break it into a million pieces. His ability to summarize is impressive. In an otherwise normal personal blog, he chooses a few topics here and there to analyze. Peak at his pieces on objectification of foreigners, Korean youth, and foreigner images in the Korean media.
  • White On Rice is an online gem. It's an uploaded personal diary with commentary from a former English teacher in 부산. From 1987. His story-telling ability is unparalleled - when I read his posts, I am instantly transported some twenty plus years ago working a job for peanuts, living a lifestyle unable to sustain forever, and living ill-equipped for a job whose industry and policy has changed by leaps and bounds since the 80s. Cringe at his stories of nights out on the town, laugh about his boom box, giggle at his pink blanket, and smile because he's just so rad.
  • Of course the rest is pretty standard (but good nonetheless) online reading material. Roboseyo, Marmot's Hole, Korea Beat, and the like.
Of course, a good book is hard to beat. Especially if it is about history. Here's what I've been reading recently courtesy of Living Social. I picked a few new books and I'm pretty excited to finish them.

The book I'm reading now is rocking all kinds of socks and I'm happy that it survived the summer of 2008 escape in the middle of night. It was raining the night I left Seoul and apparently I was in a hurry because in my haste, I was dragging my suitcase in the rain off the wheels. The book that was bearing the brunt of being drug all over Seoul (mixed with dirty rainwater) left a lovely almost scary four inch long corner of matted paper pulp which makes part of the book unreadable. All of the pages turn a little funny and many of the pages are stuck together but the book is totally worth the dirtiness. UPDATE:

Anyways, I seem to be reading a lot more than I did a year ago and I feel that the blog that I contribute to at KC101 is partially to blame. I like to read up on Korean news and I suppose that in a way for me to synthesize the information, I write a blog entry about it. It seems that the blog is more for my own understanding. Now that I think about it, it's like I'm giving myself homework. Well, in order to write meaningful posts, I need to read up on various subjects - anything ranging from blind dating, getting a teaching job in Korea, Korean age, to quantity of water consumption. Even though my contribution is but a simple overview filled with overtly cheesy jokes, I like writing for the class. I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up the momentum I've kept since this time last year. I can't believe I've written as much as I have now that I think about it. So much more to go, though.


Anonymous said...

Hi! Thanks for the mention. I'm glad you liked those articles. Of the ones you mentioned, I think 애교 was the one I myself learned the most from in doing the research...although the dating ones were the most fun. Thanks again! --Tony

Matthew Smith said...

I loved the 애교 and wished it would get covered more often. It's one of the obstacles of being less-than-fluent with the language that bothers me. 애교 is talked about in Korean but generally omitted in English.

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