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Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong.
The Birth of Korean Cool reveals how a really uncool country became cool, and how a nation that once banned miniskirts, long hair on men, and rock ‘n’ roll could come to mass produce boy bands, soap operas, and the world’s most important smart phone.
"This is one of those books that, when you discover it, you want to buy a hundred copies to give to your friends. It’s the history of a Wyoming meadow and the people who have lived there. It’s an alternative history of America, too. It reads like a poem. I can step into the book and through the grass, and away, back through time."
"If I had to pick a male band that had a good chance of crossover success, it would be Big Bang, and especially one member, G-Dragon, whose real name is Kwon Ji-young. (Dakota Fanning is reportedly a big fan.)”
—The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong, out in bookstores August 5.
(Fact: Korea didn’t have crayons when Euny was growing up. “The closest they had was Cray-pas, which is a more sophisticated pastel cousin of the crayon.”)
“I would like to say something about how I feel in general about what a novel, or any story, ought to be. It’s a quotation from Kafka. He said, ‘A book ought to be an ax to break up the frozen sea within us.’”
Happy Bastille Day! Francophiles, here’s your literary fix:
Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin
Rosecrans Baldwin had always dreamed of living in Paris, ever since vacationing there when he was nine. So he couldn’t refuse an offer to work at a Parisian ad agency—even though he had no experience in advertising and hardly spoke French.
But the Paris that Rosecrans and his wife, Rachel, arrived in wasn’t the romantic city he remembered, and over the next eighteen months, his dogged American optimism was put to the test: at work (where he wrote booklets on breastfeeding), at home (in the hub of a massive construction project), and at every confusing dinner party in between. A hilarious and refreshingly honest take on life in one of the world’s most beloved cities, Paris, I Love You is a book about a young man whose preconceptions are usurped by the oddities of a vigorous, nervy metropolis—which is just what he needs to fall in love with Paris a second time.
Queen of Fashion by Caroline Weber
When her carriage first crossed over from her native Austria into France, fourteen-year-old Marie Antoinette was taken out, stripped naked before an entourage, and dressed in French attire to please the court of her new king. For a short while, the young girl played the part.
But by the time she took the throne, everything had changed. In Queen of Fashion, Caroline Weber tells of the radical restyling that transformed the young queen into an icon and shaped the future of the nation. With her riding gear, her white furs, her pouf hairstyles, and her intricate ballroom disguises, Marie Antoinette came to embody—gloriously and tragically—all the extravagance of the monarchy.
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
It is 1789, and three young provincials have come to Paris to make their way. Georges-Jacques Danton, an ambitious young lawyer, is energetic, pragmatic, debt-ridden—and hugely but erotically ugly. Maximilien Robespierre, also a lawyer, is slight, diligent, and terrified of violence. His dearest friend, Camille Desmoulins, is a conspirator and pamphleteer of genius. A charming gadfly, erratic and untrustworthy, bisexual and beautiful, Camille is obsessed by one woman and engaged to marry another, her daughter. In the swells of revolution, they each taste the addictive delights of power, and the price that must be paid for it.
A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot
Set during and after the First World War, A Very Long Engagement tells the story of a young woman’s search for her fiancé, whom she believes might still be alive despite having officially been reported as “killed in the line of duty.” Unable to walk since childhood, fearless Mathilde Donnay is undeterred in her quest as she scours the country for information about five wounded French soldiers who were brutally abandoned by their own troops. A Very Long Engagement is a mystery, a love story, and an extraordinary portrait of life in France before and after the War.
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