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Suwon Independent Bookstores

Gathering people and creating a stories

 

2020.02.03

 

Suwon Independent Bookstores

 

Suwon was the first new town planned in the world (King Jeongjo, the 22nd king of Chosun Dynasty) and Hwaseong Fortress, located in the center of the city, is a gem of fortress culture. Designated as a World Cultural Heritage in 1977, Suwon Hwaseong Fortress was highly praised for its artistic values. A street full of abundant culture and history with modern senses surrounds the Fortress. And there is an independent bookstore on the street where you can experience the atmosphere and people of the neighborhood, and the culture and values of the region. We introduce you to, “Magnet & Gravity” and “Broccoli_Soop”, two of the flagship independent bookstores of Suwon.

 

 

Magnet & Gravity

 

A  201, 49, Segwon-ro 316 beon-gil, Gwonseon-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do.
H  Monday-Saturday, 11am-7pm
T  82-10-4479-0718
W  Instagram : @magandgra

 

Magnet & Gravity

 

The independent bookstore “Magnet & Gravity”, run by siblings So-Young and Yoo-Jin, is located on the second floor of an apartment in Gwonseon-gu, Suwon. The sunlight shining through four wide windows illumiates the selection of books and attracts readers like a magnet and gravity, just as the name describes. The siblings, So-Young, a keen expert in science and art, and Yoo-Jin, a photography-majored florist, are also writers and wrote a book together. As skilled book people with different styles, they run “Culture Salons” and have reading clubs, providing a space for writers and readers to gather. The bookkeeper, as a good mother with a child, recommends a fine book for children and parents visiting the bookstore. She sits for consultations with a calm and quiet voice and also recommends best-suiting books to schools, organizations, and companies. Drinks are not sold in a menu separately, but when a visitor pays an hourly fee of 5,000 won, the bookkeeper provides a cup of “tea of the day” while reading the book he or she has bought.

 

Books So-Young and Yoo-Jin wrote together and some separately.

Books So-Young and Yoo-Jin wrote together and some separately.
Late last year, So-Young published her first book Masterpiece in the Lab as a recover edition.
She also published a mook (magazine book) titled Artcollective Sogyeok that takes a deep look at one artist together with her 8 acquaintances.

From top left, clockwise:
My First Flower Decoration, Lee Yoo-Jin, Happy Dream Pub.
My First Christmas Decoration from A to Z, Lee Yoo-Jin, Happy Dream Pub.
Happy Playground for Moms, Lee So-Young, Omybook.
How Do Artists Draw, Lee So-Young, Mojosa.
Masterpiece in the Lab, Lee So-Young, Mojosa.
The 1st Artcollective Sogyeok, Editorial Office in Artcollective, Artcollective Sogyeok.

 

Magnet & Gravity

 


Q&A with the bookkeeper
1. What is the concept of the bookstore?   2. What is the reaction of the visitors?   3. How to fully enjoy the bookstore
4. Which book would you recommend to overseas readers?   5. What is the must-go tourist spot in Suwon?


1.
This bookstore is a place where books stay for a moment before leaving, just like a bus terminal or a train station. Books with different fields and topics have a brief encounter, and books with the same topic stack their stories in various styles. Books show the world today in their own unique way. So I try to spread out the new books of various fields thoroughly in the bookstore.

2.
Beautiful. Precious. Envy. Want-to-have. Good books.

3.
I suggest to visitors to come twice or more rather than just a single visit. It is because I believe that the books there are filled with visitors. It is very analog-style, but I think each and every one of the visitor’s preferences and interests slowly permeates into the bookstore.

4.
I want to recommend works of picture book writers that describe the bathhouse culture in Korea. The Bath Fairy by Baek Hui-Na, and Octopus Bathhouse by Choi Min-Ji are books that are receiving steady love from children. The elements of humor, imagination, and impression blend with each other harmoniously. Also, Scrub by Ji-Woo is a book with a very good sense of humor using the sense of touch that only paper books offer.

 

From top left, clockwise: <The Bath Fairy>, Baek Hui-Na, Bear Books.<Octopus Bathhouse>, Choi Min-Ji, Noran Sangsang. <Scrub>, Ji-Woo, Dalgeurim.

From top left, clockwise:
The Bath Fairy, Baek Hui-Na, Bear Books.
Octopus Bathhouse, Choi Min-Ji, Noran Sangsang.
Scrub, Ji-Woo, Dalgeurim.

 

5.
Hwaseong Fortress is a flagship cultural heritage of Suwon. I especially recommend you to take a walk around it. Spare about 2 hours, looking around slowly, and then you will be able to meet the life of Suwon residents in and outside of the wall. You will be able to feel the “true beauty” of Hwaseong Fortress as you look down to a rooftop or an opened gate of a house, elderly men playing go with a handy fan in their hand on the street, and walk next to a group of students going home after school.

 

일러스트이미지

 

 

Broccoli_Soop

 

A  2nd floor, 21-10, Hwaseomun-ro 32 beon-gil, Paldal-gu, Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do
H  Everyday, 12pm~7pm
T  82-31-243-7389
W  blog.naver.com/broccoli_soop

 

broccoli_soop

 

There is a little forest at the entrance of an alley in Haenggung-dong, Suwon. It is Broccoli_Soop (soop means forest), an alley bookstore. A small signboard marks the location for visitors. This bookstore, located in an alley which is also the birthplace of artist Na Hye-Sok, the first woman artist in Korea, was set up by two people that once worked in the fashion industry. This background has contributed to a unique atmosphere in parts of the bookstore. Books shelved in between miniature items, such as artworks, are a charming point for visitors. Dotted around the store, little stickers in the form of manuscript paper written and curated by the bookkeeper offer customers good advice.
Hand drip coffee and tea are sold in the bar-style counter/ kitchen in the center of the bookstore. The mood in the bookstore is cozy as if a little flavor of the alley was brought inside. It is a friendly space where the picture book writer living in the neighborhood drops by and has a little chat with the bookkeeper. Book concerts and lectures are often held in the bookstore. It serves as a sarangbang (guest room) of the neighborhood, carrying out collaborations with the regional culture and art. Books written by writers in Suwon can be easily found; the hand-written letter saying “It is a pleasure to be introducing my book” draws attention. One pencil with the name of the bookstore carved on it is given as a gift when purchasing books for more than 10,000 won.

 

broccoli_soop

 


Q&A with the bookkeeper
1. What is the concept of the bookstore?   2. What is the reaction of the visitors?   3. How to fully enjoy the bookstore
4. Which book would you recommend to overseas readers?   5. What is the must-go tourist spot in Suwon?


1.
I tend not to be leaning to a single genre such as general novels, poetry, travel books, and picture books, and not to mention independent books. It is because I want to make this place a friendly bookstore in the neighborhood for everyone. I hope it can be a friendly and warm space in which various visitors coming to Haenggung-dong can find it easy going to a bookstore.

2.
There is a good variety of curated books. Amazing. Warm. Cute.
It is an attractive place with imagination and dreams from independent books and picture books.

3.
There is a good variety of curated books. Amazing. Warm. Cute.It is an attractive place with imagination and dreams from independent books and picture books.

4.
I recommend picture books Fox Hat and The Second Wing Boutique by Kim Seung-Yeon.

 

『여우모자』, 김승연 저, 로그프레스(좌)『두 번째 날개양품점』, 김승연 저, 텍스트컨텍스트(우)

Fox Hat, Kim Seung-Yeon, Logpress (left)
The Second Wing Boutique, Kim Seung-Yeon, Textcontext (right)

 

5.
Haenggung-dong is located inside Suwon Hwaseong Fortress, a world cultural heritage. It is good to walk along the wall, but I truly recommend you to see the red sunset which is particularly mesmerizing with Hwaseomun Gate in the background.

 

 


Written by Kwon Ji-Hye

kbbok

Kwon Ji-Hye

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