Top Ten Tuesday

Books Set In Korea

20220802 Books Set in Korea
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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.”

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Tell Me:
Have you read any of these are would you like to try one of these?

Lindsey xoxo
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43 Comments

  1. I love this topic! I have Pachinko and The Island of Sea Women. I really want to read both but haven’t yet. I loved XOXO!

    My Top Ten!

    1. I still need to read Pachinko and The Island of Sea Women too – hope we’ll both love them when we get to them. XOXO was so much fun indeed 🙂

      1. Thank you, I hope so too! 🙂

  2. Pretty sure I read about XOXO a while back and thought it looked fun, 🙂 Hope you make this trip someday.

    1. I read XOXO last year and really enjoyed it 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Good choice to go with the one place picks!

    1. Thanks! 🙂

  4. I’ve never read anything set in Korea, The Island of Sea Woman is on my TBR though!

    Lovely choice Lindsey.

    Elza Reads

    1. The Island of Sea Women does sound so good! Hope we’ll both love it when we get to it 🙂

    1. It’s a very popular read, I hope to read it soon!

  5. Great twist to the topic, Lindsey! I also really want to visit South Korea 🙂 The only one on here that I’ve read is Pachinko (which I *loved*!) but I’ve got Mermaid of Jeju, XOXO and Wicked Fox on my TBR and I can’t wait to read them. 😍

    1. Thanks! Hope we’ll both get to visit South Korea one day 🙂 I still need to read Pachinko so I’m happy to hear you loved it!

  6. Stephanie - Bookfever says:

    This is a great list, Lindsey! Out of these I only have Wicked Fox on my Kindle but they all sound really great.

    1. Thanks! I read Wicked Fox 2 years ago and really liked it, hope you will too!

  7. I hope you get to visit someday.

    1. Thanks! 🙂

      1. You’re welcome!

  8. What a great idea for a reading list.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  9. I love that you focused on one country!

  10. I saw your topic title and was like, “HEART & SEOUL”! It would be a fun experience to visit South Korea.

    1. Haha it couldn’t not be on this list! Though I still need to read it, so this is my reminder 🙂

      1. Oh, just do it!

        1. Haha, I will! Soon(ish) 🙂

  11. I’ve not read any books set in South Korea before, so I’ll have to look into these at some point!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2022/08/02/top-ten-tuesday-379/

    1. Hope you’ll find a read set in Korea you’ll enjoy 🙂

  12. I tweaked today’s list as well. This list of yours is very helpful for me as I’m always wanting to enlarge my understanding of the world. My TTT list of places I don’t want to visiti

    1. Thanks, hope you’ll find a book on Korea you’ll enjoy on this list!

  13. masterspj says:

    I love how you focused your list on one country! Great job Lindsey.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!
    https://readbakecreate.com/7-bookish-places-i-want-to-visit/

    1. Thanks so much!

  14. I’d love to visit South Korea too. I’ve even taken to watching walking tours of Seoul and other areas there. I just watched one recently near Jeju Island! Here’s a link if you’re interested. Also… great list!

    https://www.youtube.com/c/SeoulTripWalk

    1. I discovered those walking tours of Korea and Japan on your blog and love them so much! I’m gonna go check out the Jeju one now because I didn’t watch that one yet, so thanks for the link! 🙂

  15. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    Korea seems a fascinating place to visit!

    1. It really does!

  16. Rebel Seoul sounds like such an exciting read!

    1. It does sound so good!

  17. Brilliant idea, Lindsey. I knew it would be some great place you’d chosen.
    I just checked, I read eight different books about Korea (North and/or South) but from your list, I only read “Pachinko”. Which is a great book.
    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week.

    1. Thanks so much! Hope you found some new books about Korea you may like from this list 🙂

  18. I love that you found books all set in one place and that you picked Korea. 😀

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