Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
Hi everybody, and welcome to a new Top Ten Tuesday post! Today’s topic is “books set in a place I’d love to visit”. I decided to focus on just ONE single spot from my travel bucket list and that’s South-Korea.
All the books below are set in Korea – some I’ve read and some are on my TBR. There’s a nice mix of genres, from YA fantasy to contemporary romance to science-fiction to historical fiction. So let’s get to it!
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – This is an immensely popular classic so what better way to start this list? “This family saga chronicles the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations as they leave their homeland in an indomitable quest to survive and thrive.” The kdrama adaptation is now also available.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha – “A debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossibly high standards of beauty, secret room salons catering to wealthy men, strict social hierarchies, and K-pop fan mania.”
The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn – “This historical Fiction is set in the aftermath of World War II on the Korean Jeju island and follows Junja, the latest successful deep sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo.”
Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh – “Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.”
Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park – “A brilliantly written novel filled with powerful sensory descriptions and both humor and emotion, Love in the Big City is an exploration of millennial loneliness as well as the joys of queer life”
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho – A fantasy romance set in modern-day Seoul – “Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she rescues the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.”
Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick – A heartwrenching yet hopeful romance about a 25-year old Korean adoptee who travels to Seoul in search of her roots. This is part of a duology, so be sure to also check out the sequel Seoulmates.
XOXO by Axie Oh – A YA contemporary about Jenny, a Korean American cello prodigy who dreams of getting into a prestigious music conservatory. One day, she meets a mysterious boy and they share an unforgettable night of adventure together. A few months later, when Jenny arrives in Korean she’s shocked that the mysterious boy is not only a student at the same arts academy as she is… he’s also a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See – “This historical fiction takes place on Korea’s Jeju Island and follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls from very different backgrounds, as they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective. Over many decades—through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones and wet suits for the women divers—Mi-ja and Young-sook develop the closest of bonds. Nevertheless, forces outside their control will push their relationship to the breaking point.”
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo – “A fierce international bestseller that launched Korea’s new feminist movement, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 follows one woman’s psychic deterioration in the face of rigid misogyny.”