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Books recommended by bookstore MDs and librarians

People who have an eye for great books

 

2019.10.07

 

Bookstore MDs, or merchandisers, and librarians are links between books and readers.
They are a bridge between publishers that create books and readers of books.

 

Some people are closer to books and readers than others. These would be bookstore MDs and librarians. Bookstore MDs read dozens of books a week and decide what values the books hold after going through press releases from publishers, prefaces and tables of content. MD is an abbreviation for merchandiser, and they are responsible for selling books to readers by deciding what order books are to be displayed and what that display should look like. Librarians collect research, categorize it accordingly to fit their library's characteristics and help library users and readers find the research material they need.
One thing these two groups have in common is that when readers are in search of a book, they both provide services to cater to readers' information needs. They are the link between books and readers and serve as a bridge between publishers that create books and the readers who read them. It is because of this that they notice book and reader trends in the market ahead of anyone else. The following article details book recommendations by bookstore MDs and librarians.

 


Books recommended by bookstore MDs

 

<My Mother's Story>, <Daughter in Law (Myeoneuragi)>

My Mother's Story, Daughter in Law (Myeoneuragi)

 

Kyobo Book Centre's Han Ji-soo, an MD, says she recommends Kim Eun-sung's comic My Mother's Story (Anibooks) and Soo Shin-ji's Daughter in Law (Gyul Press). My Mother's Story tells the tale of a mother in her 80s who has experienced the independence of the Korean peninsula from Japanese colonial rule and the Korean War. Her daughter, in her 40s, has expressed her mother's story in the comic art form. "When this book was first released in 2008, it didn't receive much attention. Late last year after author Kim Young-ha introduced it on television, it instantly became a bestseller," said Han. "Readers have said the book is effective in showing contemporary Korean history through the personal story of an individual," Han went on, explaining her reason for recommending it. "The content is striking while the traditional-looking art inside helps readers better understand Korean history."
Soo Shin-ji's Daughter in Law (Myeoneuragi) portrays a woman who has just gotten married and is trying to grow closer to her husband's family. "'Myeoneuri' is what you call your son's wife in Korea but it carries political connotations that are quite complicated," says Han. Through the main character of the book, Min Sa-rin, the book sheds light on South Korea's traditional patriarchal family structures by focusing on conflicts between the older generation, which is more familiar with ranks within families and closer relationships between family members, and the younger generation, which favors individualistic relationships. "This book tends to sell more during traditional Korean holidays like Seollal and Chuseok when conflicts between older and younger Koreans arise the most," said Han. "If you're a reader who'd like to learn about Korea's unique family structures, this will be a fun read."

 

<The Bracken Bag>, <Only Han-a on Earth>

The Bracken Bag, Only Han-a on Earth

 

Do Ran, who is an MD at online bookstore Aladin, recommended autobiographic comic essay The Bracken Bag (Sakyejul) by Kim Seong-ra and Only Han-a on Earth (Nanda) by Jeong Se-rang. The Bracken Bag is a book that goes well with early spring, when spring breezes start blowing, rather than the autumn season we have now. The book has lovely depictions of spring on Jeju Island in short comics that are like fairy tales. It tells the story of the author who momentarily leaves busy Seoul to collect bracken on Jeju Island. There, the author takes a short trip to find herself, which she had lost in her busy life. "I take this book out and read it whenever my heart is weary, and I need some comfort," says Do Ran. "It's like my heart can feel the winds of Jeju," the MD added, saying this book is recommended for readers who live busy lives.
Do also said she reads Korean novels the most in her personal time and recommended Jeong Se-rang's latest, Only Han-a on Earth. Do said she likes the worlds Jeong creates in her books. "You could be talking about a very realistic issue at one moment and then suddenly in another, you find yourself in a fantasy world. The two worlds seem so realistic there are many times when you can't feel the difference between the two," Do said. "There is a sort of catharsis from that." The book is also for readers who seek romance stories out of the norm. "The book is short, and it reads quickly, but once you close it, the thrilling romance in the book stays with you for a long time," Do says.

 

<The Non-Greasy Book of Prose>

The Non-Greasy Book of Prose

 

Interpark's MD Yang Dan-bi also recommended Jeong Se-rang's Only Han-a on Earth and Kang Yi-seul's The Non-Greasy Book of Prose (Whale Book). "Jeong Se-rang has a unique color of her own that shines on the border between pure literature and genre fiction. That uniqueness she has is so brilliant it's as if we're seeing Northern Lights," said Kang. "I think through this latest novel; she's solidified her position as someone that can't be left out of Korean literature."
The other book Yang recommended was The Non-Greasy Book of Prose. This book won the top prize in the sixth Kakao Brunch Book competition, where 10 editors from different publishers personally select the best books. "This is a book that truthfully, plainly tells stories of youth that aren't regularly addressed, but at the same time, tells them in a savory, fun way," said Yang. "Its uncensored sentences and expressions tickle and melt our hearts."

 


Books recommended by librarians

 

<Why Are You A Human>, <Psychology of Monday>

Why Are You A Human, Psychology of Monday

 

The National Library of Korea offers books recommended by its librarians. The national library is a treasure trove with the country's knowledge and information. After its establishment in 1945, local publications and other knowledge information have been systematically organized here and made open to the public. The librarian in charge of the national library's recommended books said they selected Song Eun-joo's Why Are You A Human (Whale Book) and Ha Yu-jin's Psychology of Monday Morning (Chungrim) for September.
"As you can see from the title, this book begins its story by asking basic questions like why we are human and what makes us different from machines amid scientific technology's development," said the librarian about Why Are You A Human. "As you progress through the book, you may get the feeling you're reading several science fiction novels. And you can see how you can properly live life as a human. As uncertainties grow in our world, we can forecast what can come next and try to think about how to address those changes."
About Psychology of Monday, the librarian said, "This book's mission is to lend advice to those who are afraid to go to work because they don't see the meaning of it. It's quite useful as it tells readers how to act when they are suffering from problems at work, in relationships and emotions," said the librarian. "Readers would do well in trying to ask themselves what meaning their work carries for them so that they can realize their vocational calling as that's what the author of this book is trying to do."

 

<Where is Grandmother?>, <Tasty Liberal Arts for Teens>

Where is Grandmother?, Tasty Liberal Arts for Teens

 

And then some librarians recommend books for children and teens. There is a separate librarian in charge of recommending books at the National Library for Children and Young Adults. This librarian chose Ahn Eun-young's picture book Where is Grandmother? (A Thousand Hopes) for children and Chang Chung-hee's Tasty Liberal Arts for Teens (Mom ae deurim) for young adults.
Where is Grandmother? compels readers to think about the serious question of 'How would one feel if they had to say goodbye forever to a person they thought would be with them always?' This book tells the story about a person who goes in search for their grandmother who has died. The main character, who is a child, tries to comfort themselves by thinking of all the memories they have with their grandmother. The librarian who recommended this book explained their hopes children would be able to learn about death and saying goodbye through this book. "It teaches children, who don't know yet about death and parting, to not be afraid of saying farewell," the librarian said.
For teens who are always hungry, the librarian recommended Tasty Liberal Arts for Teens. "Have you wondered what eating 'well' really means? Instead of searching for something delicious? This book teaches readers how the food we eat every day is made and what effects the food has on our bodies, society and earth's environment." "It also prompts us to think about our rice and soup, of which less has been eaten since the arrival of fast food. The book gives us a chance to think about how everyone can eat well and live well."

 

<For Pain to Become A Road>, <Dignity of Words>

For Pain to Become A Road, Dignity of Words

 

Lee Seung-gil is a teacher-librarian at Kyungshin High School and chairman of the Korea School Library Association. Lee recommended Kim Seung-seop's For Pain to Become A Road (East Asia) and Lee Ki-ju's Dignity of Words (Hwangso Books). "The author is creating awareness on social issues or legal conflicts in society that are being neglected," Lee the teacher-librarian said on For Pain to Become A Road. "The book offers a favorable path regarding what has happened in South Korean society for at least a decade and sheds light on what we have grown insensitive to."
Regarding Dignity of Words by Lee Ki-ju, the teacher-librarian said, "Saying that there is a dignity to words is equal to saying a person's words is actually that person. People have dignity and dignity of words refers to their nature being shown through their words." "It's a book that offers fun examples of things we are already well aware of in a well-knit format and one that compels readers to look back upon themselves," Lee said, adding that he too, found some things to contemplate regarding himself after reading the book.

 

Bookstore MDs and librarians are, to this day, in the search of good books and reading many of them to recommend to readers.

 

Bookstore MDs and librarians come across so many books that are published every day and even now, they are reading them to recommend good books for readers. With cool breezes stirring, autumn is prime time for reading. If you've put off reading for a while because of your busy routine, now might be the best time to enjoy this fall season by reading some of the books recommended here by bookstore MDs and librarians.

 

〈Book Recommendation〉
・ Kyobo Book Centre's MD Han Ji-soo
・ Aladin's MD Do Ran
・ Interpark's MD Yang Dan-bi
・ Librarian in charge of recommendations at the National Library of Korea
・ Librarian in charge of recommendations at the National Library for Children and Young Adults
・ Lee Seung-gil, teacher-librarian at Kyungshin High School

 

 


Arranged by Choi Ha-Yeong

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