게시물 상세

One-Liner Quotes

 

Secondhand Bookstore Manager’s Pick

 

2022.05.02

 

Before I began to work at a secondhand bookstore, I used to visit Japan and have chats with people working at used bookstores. They were mostly on the books, but sometimes we moved on to talking about the language itself. If you think of a secondhand bookstore in Tokyo, the first regions that come to mind would be Jinbocho or Kanda. But after discovering that there are unique used bookstores around the central subway line, I traveled to the suburbs of Tokyo.
Then, one day, a worker at a secondhand bookstore near the central subway asked me to recommend him a Korean book. The bookstore he was at was a popular spot for foreign students studying at nearby universities, most of whom are from different countries and are great fans of Korean dramas. So, taking this as a chance, he created a group with some like-minded customers to study the Korean language and wanted me to recommend any fine Korean books to read at group meetings.
And as I couldn’t give clear answers then, I returned to Korea, selected some books, and sent them to Japan. There were points I thought important when choosing them. First, sentences should not be complicated and easily written with words that are not so difficult. Second, they should be a good representation of Korean culture. And third, their content or writing style should be general, meaning they shouldn’t be following any kind of social trend so that they can be read over a long period of time. So, I have selected about a dozen books based on this criteria, and I would like to introduce two of them that I particularly liked.

 

?

?

 

Kim Hoon's prose collection Making Ramen (Munhakdongne) covers deep topics, but is written in concise, easy-to-read sentences. Perhaps this is because the writer worked as a journalist for a long time before he began to write novels. While his sentences are not particularly flashy, they make the readers relax just as well presented food that stimulates appetite. In the author's note, Kim Hoon called the phrases "low and soft." In his opinion, words should not have a higher place than readers. It is not necessary that they be provocative to attract attention. If writing can open somebody's heart with soft words, it is well written.
In the prose titled Rice, there's a sentence that says, "All rice has a fishing hook inside. When we swallow rice, we take it in together. The gill, hooked, is pulled down towards the rice. Who is it, sitting by that shore with a fishing rod, hooking me up from the water? It is me.” Reading this, which says that only by being dragged towards rice can we earn a living again, I got to engrave the deep meaning of “rice” and “life” in my heart.

 

?

?

 

Novelist Park Wan-Seo is skilled at unravelling the story of our lives, which is full of profound meaning, in simple sentences. Just look at Kind Mrs. Bokhee (Munji Books), her last a short story collection. The people in each story are very different from the characters in the novel. People say that writing a novel is “creating a story that is likely to happen,” but it is rather surprising that the fiction in Park Wan-Seo's novel has no embellishment.
Later in her life, Park wrote a book by compiling several novels whose protagonist was an older character. Except for the age of the characters – middle-aged or older, the settings all vary. Well, it’s obvious. Since nobody on Earth was born the same, living the same life, everyone on this planet is like a different novel.
Readers read these books and take the time to look into themselves. Perhaps, this is the attitude towards life that we need the most. If you want people to understand you, you first have to understand yourself, and if you look at your life with beautiful eyes, you can discover beautiful flowers blossoming within you.
As such, how wonderful would it be if everyone in the world could live with beautiful eyes? Because it is difficult to be realistic, we live in conflict every day. The author gives us a warm pat on the back with indifferent sentences borrowing the mouths of the characters in her stories. "In all human relations, hypocrisy comes into play, and this is unavoidable. It is a necessary lubricant.”

 

Kim Hoon’s Making Ramen and Park Wan-Seo’s Kind Mrs. Bokhee are books that I open up frequently whenever I’m stuck writing stories. While I'm working in a bookstore, I also have a second job as a writer, so I sometimes wonder what good sentences are. Then, I stop thinking and start reading these books out loud, slowly. Then I realize, that all the good things in this world – not just books – are not in high, fancy places. Unlike what you think, the beauty of life is not hidden, but is always in a simple and accessible place.

 

 


Written by Yoon Sung-Keun (Writer and head of bookstore “2sangbook”)

 

kbbok

Yoon Sung-Keun (Writer and head of bookstore “2sangbook”)

#Secondhand Bookstore#Making Ramen#Kim Hoon#Park Wan-Seo#Kind Mrs. Bokhee
If you liked this article, share it with others. 페이스북트위터블로그인쇄

Pre Megazine