Monday, February 25, 2013

More Korean Literature Recommendations

As my first Korean literature post has been one of the most viewed, I have decided to do a follow-up post and recommend a few more titles.

For those of you interested in reading more Korean literature, I would like to recommend a great series of novellas and short works called The Portable Library of Korean Literature by Jimoondang Publishing Company and KLTI (Korean Literature Translation Institute).  Each book contains a selection of a few short works by a selected author.  Once again, we have Charles at KTLIT to thank for a full list (and reviews) of the series here.

Two of the three recommendations in my previous post can be found in this series.  Each book usually contains at least two, but sometimes three works.  My descriptions below are only of the title stories for each work, but I do mention the names of the other stories included in each.  Here are five more that I would recommend:

Rust by Yang Gui-ja (양귀자)
This story relates a day in the life of an advertising salesman in the late 1980's in Seoul.
Also included: Swamp

Chinatown by Oh Jung-hee (오정희)
A story centering around a young girl and her experiences living in Incheon just after the Korean War.  I really enjoyed the second story The Wayfarer as well.
Two others also included: The Wayfarer and The Release

The Last of Hanako by Ch'oi Yun (최윤)
Set in Venice, the story of a man on a business trip in search of a long-lost friend.  By clicking the author's name, in addition to a short biography, you will also find her story The Flower with Thirteen Fragrances.
Also included: The Grey Snowman

House of Idols by Choi In-hun (최인훈)
A mysterious young man with a seemingly secret past begins to disrupt the atmosphere of a group of writers at their favorite hangout.  One in the group makes it his mission to discover the truth.
Also included: End of the Road and Imprisoned

Deep Blue Night by Choi In-ho (최인호)
Another foreign setting, this time California, follow two Korean ex-pats on a road trip, Kerouac-style. 
Also included: The Poplar Tree

For those of you who are looking for something larger, but are still relatively new to Korean Literature, I would recommend the below anthology.

Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology Edited by Bruce Fulton & Youngmin Kwon
Included in this anthology are stories by many of the most important authors in Korean literature from the 20th century.  A good introduction to Korean fiction that displays its diversity over the past century.  A few of the stories here that I enjoyed are:

The Wings (Yi, Sang) - Same story mentioned in the previous post.
The Crow (Yi, Tae-jun) - A story of unrequited love.
Mother's Hitching Post (Park, Wan-suh) - One of the most famous modern Korean authors.
Another Man's Room (Choi, In-ho) - Same author as the above mentioned Deep Blue Night.

I plan to read The Dwarf by Cho, Se-hui pretty soon.  I've read two stories from it already that were very good, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Hope you find these recommendations helpful and that they have given a little more of a selection for those interested in Korean literature.

As always, feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sushi Books (not recipe books)

From Endo Sushi in Osaka

I am by no means a sushi expert, but I have spent a lot of time searching for books about sushi.  I love eating sushi, and I am also interested in reading and learning about it.  This is not a list of sushi recipe books, it is a collection of books about sushi.  No doubt, countless pages have been written about sushi in Japanese, however, comparatively very little has been writen in English (especially considering its still increasing popularity).  When I search for books about sushi, I usually find that most of them are about how to make sushi or sushi recipes.  Below is a list of books ranging from small, simple books with pictures of sushi and names in both English and Japanese, to books about its history and the evoloution of the sushi industry.

I will not be writing reviews of the books (as I do not usually read reviews), but will give a short description of each and provide links to reviews for those of you who would like to read them.

Books about Sushi 

Sushi: A Pocket Guide by Minori Fukuda & Kit Shan Li
Really a pocket guide, this is a very small book (both size and length) that gives some basic information about sushi and the sushi experience.  It includes color photos and very short descriptions of about 50 different kinds of sushi (Nigirizushi & Makizushi).  It also has the name in Japanese and how to pronounce it in English.

The Sushi Menu Book
A small bilingual (Japanese & English) book (slightly bigger then the previously mentioned one) about sushi and eating at a sushi restaurant.   This book includes about 40 different kinds of sushi and provides some background information about the fish and when it is in season.  This book also includes photographs of the sushi it mentions, some common side dishes at a sushi restaurant and a very short list of expressions used at a sushi restaurant.

Sushi by Mia Detrick
This book is a beginners guide to sushi written in the early eighties.  It is under 100 pages and contains color photographs of numerous types of sushi, including nigirizushi, makizushi and Kansai-style sushi.  Additionally, it has some basic information about the history of sushi, the sushi bar and etiquette for eating sushi.

The Connoisseur's Guide to Sushi by Dave Lowry
This is a long and very detailed book about sushi.  The beginning has a short history and descriptions of the main types of sushi and basic ingredients for sushi.  The bulk of this book is dedicated to giving very detailed information about various sushi toppings, including: background information, history, lore and why some toppings and kinds of fish are know by multiple names.  There are no pictures or photos and no Japanese characters are used.

The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson
Corson's book gives a lot of information about sushi, especially its history, while following the story of a group of students at a sushi academy near Los Angeles.  He traces sushi's origins back to the Mekong River and looks at a number of important events in its development.  This book gives readers a behind the scenes glimpse at a type of sushi training in the US, as well as a wealth of knowledge about sushi.

The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg
This book focuses more on the modern history of sushi as a global industry.  It is about the business side of sushi and looks at some global and environmental developments and issues concerning the industries related to sushi.

Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi & Sashimi by Tetsu Karia & Akira Hanasaki
This volume is taken from a very famous Japanese comic book (manga) series about food.

Squeamish About Sushi by Betty Reynolds
Presented like a children's book with watercolor pictures related to sushi and a sushi restaurant.  Has information and translations of Japanese phrases that would be encountered and useful at a sushi restaurant.

Shiro: Wit, Wisdom & Recipes by Shiro Kashiba
A sushi chef's memoir that follows his story from his early days training in Japan through his move to Seattle, Washington.  The book also contains many photographs (not just of food) and some of his recipes.  It's a good counterpoint to Corson's book.

Books about Japanese Food with a little on sushi

Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking by Michael Booth
A non-fiction account of the author's culinary trip to Japan with his family.  This book is about Japanese food, but has some information about sushi.

A Taste of Japan by Donald Richie
An introduction to Japanese food, it includes one chapter on sushi.

Fictional Sushi

Sushi by Okamoto Kanoko found in The House Spirit and Other Stories

Extra Sushi (for fun) ~

The Japanese Tradition - Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Trevor Corson's website has even more information about sushi and some of his articles on the topic.

Okay, so I've included more than just books.  I hope that you find this information useful and if anyone knows of any other books on sushi in English (of which I'm sure there are many) please feel free to leave a comment.