Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture by Euny Hong

 Bought on a whim and it did not disappoint! THE BIRTH OF KOREAN COOL is a fascinating look at S. Korea's international success when it comes to tech, pop music, food, and entertainment. Euny Hong, who went to school in Gangnam, infuses the pop history narrative with stories from her own time growing up in Korea, discussing how it started out as a relatively poor country with a GDP that was exceeded by places like N. Korea and Ghana.

This was honestly the perfect read for AAPI month because it offers such a fun insight into a country that often dominates the entertainment headlines now. I loved the narrative voice of Hong as she talked about everything from Psy's surprise success, to Samsung's glowup, to the popularity of once-scorned food like kimchi.

I hope she writes a follow-up because this was so entertaining. Only reason it didn't get a full five is because the tech portions were a little boring and I skimmed (eek). Apart from that, SOLID BOOK.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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