The Week in Books #85

Boooooks! I’ve really slowed down my pace in recent weeks as I work on other projects and am in general just lacking concentration, but I finished the first of a new stack and also grabbed some new books at the big book sale/fundraiser down the street this weekend. Here we go!

1. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo. This was a really interesting read. It is a work of fiction but contains true facts about gender inequality in Korea and footnotes throughout. It tells the story of a woman who gives up her career prospects to become a stay at home mom and ends up going insane. It’s kind of like a more modern retelling of The Yellow Wallpaper set in Korea.

Kim Jiyoung is the most common name for Korean women born in the 1980s. At home, she is an unfavoured sister to her princeling little brother. In primary school, she is a girl who has to line up behind the boys at lunchtime. In high school, she is a daughter whose father blames her for being harassed late at night. In university, she is a good student who doesn”t get put forward for internships by her professor. In the office, she is an exemplary employee who is overlooked for promotion by her manager.

At home, she is a wife who has given up her career to take care of her husband and her baby. Kim Jiyoung is depressed. Kim Jiyoung has started to act out. Kim Jiyoung is her own woman. Kim Jiyoung is insane. Kim Jiyoung”s husband sends her to see a psychiatrist. This is his clinical assessment of the everywoman in contemporary Korea.

Chapters

I’ve started on Educated but not made much progress yet. It seems like everyone has read this so I’m excited to get into it!

The annual Book Sale and fundraiser was back this year (last year was cancelled due to covid) and we popped down the road to take a look. All books were just $1 each so I feel like this haul shows serious restraint on my part haha. I got Want Me by Tracy Clark-Flory, The Bridegroom by Ha Jin, Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou, Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose, A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, Shame on Me by Tessa McWatt, Londonstani by Gautam Malkani, and Open City by Teju Cole.

It’s finally cooler and rainy here so I’m thinking it’s a good time to settle into some reading for the fall. Yay!

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