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a little faith's bookshelf

I lost touch with books for about a decade because of life but thankfully I am able to return to this beautiful world. Eclectic mix from YA to erotica. I blame fanfic.

Currently reading

The Making of Asian America: A History
Erika Lee
The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation Conquered the World Through Pop Culture - Euny Hong

I’ve been a fan of South Korean Entertainment for around a decade and like many others around the world I’ve seen it gain popularity steadily, then rapidly and now exponentially.  However trying to understand a culture through media and TV alone is unsafe, naïve and short-sighted.  Euny Hong provides not only the background to South Korea’s seemingly rags to riches story but her own personal musings about how it came about for those not inclined to believe in fate.


Euny Hong’s writing style is eloquent.  I often forgot that I was reading a piece of non-fiction, as facts are told with wit and unique notes.  The writing flows well so that it is a delightful read sprinkled with a good amount of pop culture.   It is rich in details but in a voice that elevates it above the monotone nature of textbooks so that it does not read like a wiki entry.  Right from the beginning the titles of the chapters hint at her wry humour.  Above all else, I loved her take on things, the way she pieced together the past with the present through odd notes that highlight her oblique slant.  It’s a beautiful read and I intend to seek out her other works now, in particular her first book which was interestingly a fictional story.


Euny Hong’s book has created a history that now frames the programmes I watch, the songs I listen to and a culture that interests me.  Her approach is such that I can follow her method and apply it to other nations too, looking closer to home and even comparing themes.  It has added depth to my knowledge of South Korea gleaned from TV and the internet so that I see aspects I was not able to before.  Issues are now nuanced so that I may comprehend the struggle in a way that adds weight to the seemingly easy success that happened overnight, but was actually brought about through hard effort and a determined spirit. 


Ebook provided through NetGalley.