Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great taste, more filling

It's nice to see that Scott Burgeson's new book 더 발칙한 한국학 is currently at number 8 in the politics and society category at Kyobo Bookstore's website, and not just because I'm in it, but because a multifaceted presentation of foreigners and their lives in Korea seems to me a good idea as the government touts Korea as wanting to be a 'multicultural society' but at the same time you have newspapers publishing divisive and out-of-context articles like this (which, say, might perhaps benefit from showing how the foreign population has grown over the same period).

While it has been favourably reviewed in several places (some of which have made mention of his assertion that 'expat' would be better word than 'oegugin' when describing foreigners living in Korea), major papers like the Chosun, Joongang, and Donga Ilbo or the Kyunhyang Shinmun or Hankyoreh haven't reviewed it, which seems odd, considering Scott has written for some of those papers, and you'd think his essay on the mad cow protests would draw some attention. Despite the lack of reviews in these papers and not having done any interviews, it seems to be selling better than Misuda panelist Vera Hohleiter's book (seeing as it hasn't appeared in the rankings at Kyobo Bookstore's site) which was released at almost the same time, and which has been the subject of several interviews and reviews (like this one). That her book would get more attention in the media doesn't surprise me, and I have no opinion of her book, having not read it, but considering my opinion of Misuda, I find it heartening that people are choosing to go with something a bit more critical. Or maybe people can just smell a bargain, what with 더 발칙한 한국학 being almost the same price but twice as many pages!


King Baeksu said...

Hey Matt, thanks for the write-up!

I'd like to encourage anyone who thinks "Gusts of Popular Feeling" is as great as I do to be sure to check out my interview with him in my book, which includes lots of color pictures and a free-ranging discussion of his background and thoughts on Korean culture and society.

Spread the word to your Korean friends, too!

Helen said...

It's at number 7 now. toward number 1!