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Hannu Salama: Kosti Herhiläisen perunkirjoitus
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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Book tag

The Marmot passed on the "book tag" making rounds in the blogosphere; how come it took so long to concoct this?

How many books I’ve owned
Hundreds, beyond thousand perhaps. Been a little slow in adding new ones lately as there are so many older unread. (And the Korean bookshops don't deliver by airmail any more but with the much more expensive courier service.)

The last book I bought
Siinä näkijä missä tekijä (1972) by Hannu Salama. A classic of contemporary Finnish fiction, based on actual communist activists, of whom some were engaged in sabotage, in the town of Tampere during the WW2. (From the point of view of the official Finland, de facto allied with Germany in the 1941-44 phase of the war, these communists were traitors and punished accordingly, but they themselves were able to maintain they were on the side of the Allies.)
Now that book will be an interesting read in comparison to Taebaek Mountains, in which the political environment and the motives of the main characters are not entirely different. Salama nevertheless, himself far left in the political map, was criticized by communists for presenting his protagonists in a non-heroic light.

The last book I read
Taebaek Sanmaek (Taebaek Mountains), as frequent visitors to this blog perhaps already know (posts here, here and here).

Five books that have meant a lot to me
The following are not in the order of importance.

1) Peiliin piirretty nainen (1963, "Woman drawn in the mirror") by Veijo Meri. A work of fiction to which I return again and again. A taxi trip during two days of summer.
2) Hyôndae Hwaryong Okp'yôn (Tusan Donga, 2001). Dictionary of Chinese characters; not the most important of my dictionaries but one that I like perhaps the most. I have one at home and one at my department desk.
3) Tie Tampereelle. Dokumentoitu kuvaus Tampereen antautumiseen johtaneista sotatapahtumista Suomen sisällissodassa (Road to Tampere. A documented account of the war operations leading to the surrender of Tampere in the Finnish civil war) by Heikki Ylikangas (1993). Convincing, chilling, depressing; not only Koreans have shown some of their worst sides amongst themselves.
4) Han'gang (2002, "Han River") by Jo Jung-rae (Cho Chông-nae). No work of scholarship has been able to provide this kind of spectrum of experiences and give an idea of the feelings in the 1960s's and 1970s' Korea. This, not Taebaek Mountains, is to me the major work of Jo.
5) Kunnon sotamies Svejk maailmansodassa (The Good Soldier Svejk) by Jaroslav Hašek.
So many of all kinds of conflicts? Could it really be that such kind of books have been meaningful? I'll have to think about it.

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