Thursday, October 1, 2009

Books on Korean Subjects - Older Teen to Adult

This is the fifth and final installation of my list of recommended books on Korean subjects.

Contemporary Koreans & Korean-Americans

Free Food for Millionaires by Min-jin Lee

Life in hip NYC with a modern 22-year-old Korean-American feminist struggling with jobs, money and love.

Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters by Annie Choi

Witty, poignant memoir about mother-daughter conflict in a Korean-American family in LA.

Once the Shore: Stories by Paul Yoon

Beautifully crafted short story collection of families on a fictional Korean island, from the Japanese occupation to contemporary times.

Once They Hear My Name: Korean Adoptees and Their Journeys Toward Identity by Ellen Lee, Marilyn Lammert, and Mary Anne Hess

Riveting, honest narratives from nine adoptees who grew up in white families.

Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee

A richly detailed novel about a 28-year-old man working as a private spy in NYC, with vivid accounts of immigrant struggles and Korean-American life.

Over the Shoulder, Underkill, and Fade to Clear by Leonard Chang

Three noir novels with a disaffected Korean-American protagonist named Allen Choice (from Choi), wrestling with identity issues while investigating crimes.

Somebody's Daughter by Marie Myung-ok Lee

A 20-year-old adoptee drops out of college to undertake a difficult journey to Korea where she tries to learn Korean, look for her birth family, and find herself.

Stop Me if You’ve Heard This Before by David Yoo

Teenage angst novel about a high school student who’s gotten used to being a loser until he develops a relationship with a popular girl.

Modern History

The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim

Just-released coming-of-age novel of a young girl born at the beginning of the Japanese occupation, beautifully crafted with memorable characters.

Traditional Korea

Everlasting Empire by Yi In-Hwa

Bestseller Korean historical novel in English translation, of late Chosun Dynasty court intrigue and mystery.

The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble

Parallel and interwoven narratives of an English scholar at a modern-day academic conference in Seoul and 18th-century Crown Princess Hyegyong, whose memoir the scholar reads.


Leonard Chang said...

Thanks! I appreciate the recommendation.


Anne Sibley O'Brien said...

Lovely to have you stop by, Leonard.

I love Allen Choice. He comes out of the page so true, so believable, so human. Though I have almost nothing in common with him in terms of life circumstances, I identify with him completely.

His conflicted connection to his Korean heritage is so like that of my Korean-American friends. Thanks for bringing him to life.