Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.

This week’s theme: None

Unfortunately, there are still no fresh prompts. Nonetheless, I have decided to go on with the 5 on my TBR list. For this week, I am featuring works of Korean literature; last week I featured works of American literature. However, unlike American literature, Korean literature is a part of the literary world I rarely venture into. In the past five years, I made big strides as I explored the works of Han Kang, Chang-rae Lee, and Kyung-Sook Shin. However, I still that my exploration of Korean literature is lacking, hence, this list. Without more ado, here’s my list Happy Monday and happy reading!

5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!

Title: Love in the Big City
Author: Sang Young Park
Translator: Anton Hur

Synopsis: Love in the Big City is an energetic, joyful, and moving novel that depicts both the glittering nighttime world of Seoul and the bleary-eyed morning-after.

Young is a cynical yet fun-loving Korean student who pinballs from home to class to the beds of recent Tinder matches. He and Jaehee, his female best friend and roommate, frequent nearby bars where they suppress their anxieties about their love lives, families, and money with rounds of soju and freezer-chilled Marlboro Reds. Yet in time even Jaehee settles down, leaving Young alone to care for his ailing mother and find companionship in his relationships with a series of men, including one whose handsomeness is matched by his coldness, and another who might end up being the great love of his life. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: The White Book
Author: Han Kang
Translator: Deborah Smith
Publisher: Granta
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 161

Synopsis: From the Man Booker International Prize-winning author of The Vegetarian comes a book like no other.

The White Book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a simple list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty, and strangeness of life.

Title: I’ll Be Right There
Author: Kyung-Sook Shin
Translator: Sora Kim-Russell
Publisher: Other Press
Publishing Date: 2013
No. of Pages: 321

Synopsis: Set in 1980s South Korea amid the tremors of political revolution, I’ll Be Right There follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate, twenty-something woman, as she recounts her tragic personal history as well as those of her three intimate college friends. When after eight years of separation Yoon receives a distressing phone call from her ex-boyfriend, memories of a tumultuous youth begin to resurface, forcing her to relive the most intense period of her life. With profound intellectual and emotional insight, she revisits the death of her beloved mother, the strong bond with her now-dying former college professor, the excitement of her first love, and the friendships forged out of a shared sense of isolation and grief.

Yoon’s formative experiences, which highlight both the fragility and force of personal connection in an era of absolute uncertainty, become immediately palpable. Shin makes the foreign and esoteric utterly familiar: her use of European literature as an interpreter of emotion and experience bridges any gaps between East and West. Love, friendship, and solitude are the same everywhere, as this book makes poignantly clear.

Title: Violets
Author: Kyung-Sook Shin
Translator: Anton Hur

Synopsis: We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.

We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop’s mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San’s moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.

A story of desire and violence about a young woman who everyone forgot, VIOLETS is a captivating and sensual read, full of tragedy and beauty. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: Cursed Bunny
Author: Bora Chung
Translator: Anton Hur

Synopsis: Cursed Bunny is a genre-defying collection of short stories by Korean author Bora Chung. Blurring the lines between magical realism, horror, and science-fiction, Chung uses elements of the fantastic and surreal to address the very real horrors and cruelties of patriarchy and capitalism in modern society.

Anton Hur’s translation skillfully captures the way Chung’s prose effortlessly glides from being terrifying to wryly humorous. Winner of a PEN/Heim Grant. (Source: Goodreads)