We consider self education and discussion to be over and above the beliefs and opinions of any individual or group.

Monday, February 27, 2006

If you like BOOKS...

WHAT AN EVENT!

The Adoxist Society is holding its monthly book swap-meet on Saturday, November 25th, 2PM to 3:30PM at Seattle's Best coffee shop downtown.

This monthly book swap gives English speakers in Daegu a chance to exchange books, and talk about literature and other stuff, as well as meet new people.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Bring any old books you no longer need or want to read!

Straight-swap them for ones you want--ONE-FOR-ONE. Or buy your way in with redeemable Adoxist vouchers, ONE-FOR-ONE.

And this month there's a special NOVEMBER-ONLY LOYALTY PROMOTION: bring us one book with our stamp on it, and take home two!

HUNDREDS of titles are available!

THE ORGANISER...

The Adoxist society is a literary society made up of foreigners in Daegu who like books and don't mind people!

The Adoxist Society is NOT a religious organisation.

The swap-meets are usually held last Saturday of every month, but normally much earlier in the month of December. Exceptions to this will be made known here.

Come and check it out Saturday November 25th from 2PM to 3:30PM.

We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused in May -- due to unforeseeable circumstances, the swap fell through.

If you would like to join our board and help ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen, email us at adoxistupdate@hotmail.com.


FROM NOW ON the book swaps will alternate Saturdays and Sundays...normally. So, the December swap will likely be on a Sunday.

THE ADOXIST SOCIETY

Monday, February 20, 2006

ADOXIST SOCIETY INFORMATION

MARCH BOOK SWAP
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

BOOKS THAT WE HAVE (OR AT LEAST, HAVE HAD AT SOME TIME)
CLICK HERE FOR A SELECTIVE LIST, arranged into ALPHABETICAL ORDER

THE READING GROUP
JOIN US and CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

ADOXIST SOCIETY LINKS
ARE HERE

WHAT IS THE ADOXIST SOCIETY?
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT

HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THIS SITE
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT'S ON OUR SITE

BOOKS: OF MICE AND MEN by JOHN STEINBECK

RECENTLY RETURNED
An interesting and simple sketch of itinerant 1930s Californian lifestyles. Quite a twist at the end.

As the blurb says:
'As nearly perfect as any book can be. It is straightforward, it has simplicity and unsentimental tragedy, and it has a swift, unforced style which stamps it as permanent' Humbert Wolfe

In this classic novel, which establishes him as one of the world's most celebrated writers, John Steinbeck tells the story of two friends in 1939s California.

George and Lennie are itinerant farm workere - one of nimble wits, the other of huge physique - whose simple arrangement keeps them in work. Labouring from dawn until dusk they both have a dream to keep them going. That one day, they'll have enough money to buy a small ranch of their own and keep cows and chickens and rabbits.

But even his best friend and mentor can't save Lennie from his worst enemy - his own strength...

See here for some comment:


See here for more information:


Reading Group questions:

Sunday, February 19, 2006

BOOKS: THE IN-BETWEEN WORLD OF VIKRAM LALL by M G VASSANJI

NEWLY ACQUIRED
"Belonging in a category with Tolstoy's War and Peace, Vasssanji's saga is sweeping in scope....Brilliant." or so the Globe and Mail said.
It is also "an astonishing tapestry of irresistible vignettes", says the 2003 Giller Prize jury, and quotes the blurb.

See here for some comment:

See here for more information:
EXTRACT from CHAPTER TWO

Reading Group questions:

READING GROUP NEWS: CHAPTER FOUR

CLICK HERE for the latest news.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BOOKS: THE DA VINCI CODE by DAN BROWN

There are a couple copies in the collection. The Catholic church needs to be taken down a notch or two...doesn't it?

See here for some comment:

See here for more information:
THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE
THE CATHOLICS

Reading Group questions:

BOOKS: HANNIBAL by THOMAS HARRIS

RECENTLY RETURNED
Quite gripping. The movie (for those who have seen it) had quite a shocking ending... and no less so the book. This book will remind you you're alive - in much the same way as putting your hand into a kitchen whizz.

See here for some comment:
"MOUTHSHUT" REVIEW PAGE

See here for more information:
THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE

Reading Group questions:

FEBRUARY BOOK SWAP

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

BOOKS: DIRT MUSIC by TIM WINTON

RECENTLY RETURNED
This book has been described as a rather good. The author has an unusual technique of using no quotation marks, which is rather irritating.

This book paints an interesting if unflattering portrait of Australians.

This book either is or has been amongst our swappers at some point.

See here for some comment:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/reviews/2329951.stm

See here for more information:
http://www.allreaders.com/Topics/info_14888.asp

Reading Group questions:
http://www.book-club.co.nz/bookclubs/discuss/dirtmusic.htm

HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THIS SITE

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT'S ON OUR SITE

A SELECTION OF BLOGS

An interesting fellow from Nepal who added a comment on our site:
HUMOUR

Computer stuff:
DIGITAL INSPIRATION

Copywriting:
THE CENTER FOR COPYWRITE AND ADVERTISING STUDIES

Asian travelogues:
MY UTOPIA
HOBBS WORLD TRAVELER

Daegu:
KOREA.............
GETTING TO KNOW YOU GETTING TO KNOW ME
http://KNU SUMMER FESTIVAL 2005/
ADVENTURES IN k-TOWN
LINDA WITHOUT BORDERS

Korea:
THE KOREAN BLOG LIST

Japan:
KEN IN JAPAN

Australia:
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MR HERON

Life in general
I AM PREPARED TO GIVE UP AT ANY TIME

BOOKS THAT WE HAVE (OR AT LEAST, HAVE HAD AT SOME TIME)

SOME OF WHICH are presented here in alphabetical order (please note that some of these may have been swapped out by the time you see this, and they may never be seen again...)

PLEASE NOTE that this list is far from complete.

A
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose
Even the Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ludwig Wittgenstein by A. J. Ayer
B
The Penguin Book of NZ Jokes by John Barnett and Lesley Kaiser
Eternity by Greg Bear
The Garden of Eden by Max Brand
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
"Argument: The Value of Nothing" by Dave Breuer
The Ugly American by Lederer and Burdick
C
Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti
The Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr
The Problem of the Criterion by Roderick M. Chisolm
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Timeline by Michael Chrichton
Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case by Agatha Christie
The Chrysalids by John Christopher
Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
Heart of Darkness and Other Stories by Joseph Conrad
Beyond Trinity by Bernard J. Cooke
The Last of the Mohicans by J. Fenimore Cooper
Uncommon Ground ed. William Cronon
D
The Umbrella Man by Roald Dahl
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens
Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
E
"Radical Thoughts on Our 160th Birthday: a Survey of Capitalism and Democracy" The Economist, May 14, 2004 - May 21, 2004
The World as I See It by Albert Einstein
Silas Marner by George Eliot
High Society by Ben Elton
F
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Jackdaws by Ken Follett
Night Over Water by Ken Follett
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences by Michel Foucault
G
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
Expendable by James Alan Gardner
Wisdom and Love in Saint Thomas Aquinas by Etienne Gilson
The Return of the Native (ed) James Ginden
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
The King of Torts by John Grisham
H
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Alan Quatermain by J. Rider Haggard
King Solomon's Mines by J. Rider Haggard
Autobiography of Malcolm X by/as told to Alex Haley
Roots by Alex Haley
Hannibal by Thomas Harris
Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
"The Clash of Civilisations?" by Samuel P. Huntington
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
I
The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
J
The Contemporary Presidency by Dorothy Buckton James
Dubliners by James Joyce
K
Up the Down Stair Case by Bel Kaufman
Satisfaction by Kim Katiree
Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver
Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty by Morris Kline
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
The Farewell Party by Milan Kundera
L
Yes, You Can Learn Korean Language Structure in 40 Minutes by Tangku Lee
M
The Prince by Niccolo Machiaveli
Metaphysics and Ideology by William Oliver Martin
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan
Stupid White Men by Mike Moore
Virunga by Farley Mowat
"A Reader's Manifesto" by B. R. Myers
N
Half a Life by V. S. Naipaul
O
Araby by Eric Ormsby
"Boys' Weeklies" by George Orwell
"Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool" by George Orwell
"Politics and the English Language" by George Orwell
P
Amazing Facts about Australian Mammals by Steve Parish
Reason and Faith Revisited by Francis H. Parker
The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker
More Pocket Positives by Maggie Pinkney
Blackeyes by Dennis Potter
Our Language by Simeon Potter
Q
R
Uber Bad Taste by Jason Rogers
World Literature by Donna Rosenberg
In Memoriam Alfred Lord Tennyson (ed) Robert H. Ross The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
S
Holes by Louis Sachar
King Lear by William Shakespeare
A Preface to Spenser by Helena Shire
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Kokoro by Natsume Soseki
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Master of Ballantrae by R. L.Stevenson
"Readers' Revenge" by Sage Stossel
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
T
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
One L by Scott Turow
U
V
The New Testament by various
The In-between World of Vikram Lall by M G Vassanji
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Candide and Other Stories by Voltaire
W
Ideas and Concepts by Julius R. Weinberg
Card Tricks by James Weir
Songs of Myself by Walt Whitman
The Happy Prince/The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Plays of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde
Hosts by F. Paul Wilson
Dirt Music by Tim Winton
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
X
Y
Choding Yongo Jukmoon by Kim Jin Yong (English Grammar)
Z
Aesop's Fables ed. Jack Zipes

REMEMBER THAT THERE are well over 100 (almost 200) books available for swapping every month at our monthly BOOK SWAP.

IF YOU REVIEW these books we will add your review here or make a link to your blog.

BOOKS: THE CHILD IN TIME by IAN McEWAN

This book either is or has been amongst our swappers at some point.
See here for some comment:
THE THICK AND THIN: BOOKS AND BIRTHING BABIES

Monday, February 13, 2006

FUN and DAFT STUFF on THIS SITE and ELSEWHERE

songwriting for dummies: WAX LYRICAL
some legal fun: THE HORROR OF HARVARD
THE BOOKS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU TURN 30
Pulp novel series: THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF PROFESSOR CARSTAIRS
Neologism: NEWLY MINTED WORDS
Religion: FOUR HORSEMEN AND ONE BUNNY RABBIT OF THE APOCALYPSE
Time Travel: JOHN TITOR'S STORY
...and if you're SCEPTICAL: THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER
and
THE STRAIGHT DOPE

HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THIS SITE

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT'S ON OUR SITE

SOME OF OUR SWAP-BOOKS

BOOK DISCUSSIONS: SOPHIE'S WORLD
Book Discussion: SOPHIE'S WORLD (all)
Writer Discussion: JOSTEIN GAARDER

ARTICLE DISCUSSIONS: GEORGE ORWELL
BOYS' WEEKLIES
Writer Discussion: GEORGE ORWELL
POLITICS and the ENGLISH LANGUAGE

BOOKS: HITCHHIKERS GUIDE to the GALAXY
Book Discussion: HITCHHIKERS GUIDE to the GALAXY(all)
Writer Discussion: DOUGLAS ADAMS
Discussion Questions: The HITCHHIKERS GUIDE to the GALAXY

BOOKS: DAY of the TRIFFIDS
Book Discussion: The DAY of the TRIFFIDS
Writer Discussion: JOHN WYNDHAM
Discussion Questions: The DAY of the TRIFFIDS

OTHER BOOKS and READINGS:
The ORDER of THINGS
Book discussion: The ORDER of THINGS: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences by Michel Foucault (up to and incl. Part I: 2 “The prose of the world”)
ALL QUIET on the WESTERN FRONT
The IMPORTANCE of being EARNEST
CROWDS and POWER

WAR AS TOURISM

War as Tourism: A Trip to the DMZ

By Mark Seeley


The following report is a snapshot of the trip I took last year to the De-Militarized Zone, the two kilometre-wide buffer area between the Military Demarcation Lines separating North and South Korea. The United Nations is mandated to support the Military Armistice Agreement that was signed in 1953, and is responsible for the United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area in Panmunjeom, the village that straddles the border. However, with the redeployment last year of American forces further to the south, it is now only the soldiers of the two Koreas that face each other across the most heavily defended border in the world. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) are still technically at war.

It is an irony of the final cold war of the twentieth century that one the most pacific places on the Korean peninsula should also be one of the most dangerous. This is the land of a million landmines, concrete bunkers, artillery and undiscovered infiltration tunnels. It is a land of vigilance and potential catastrophe. It is also a land of peace and tranquillity - a sanctuary in the middle of a quiet battlefield for dozens of species of wildlife. Such is the contradictory nature of the DMZ.

Our day started in Seoul. Our passports were inspected and returned to us and we boarded our tour bus for the sixty-minute drive to the Odusan Unification Observatory. The highway led north and on our left was the Han River at low tide. Lining the muddy flats every five hundred yards and facing the sea were elevated guard posts. Loudspeakers and spotlights were perched at intervals on an unending stretch of barbed wire that fenced in the entire north-western coastline. The first leg of our trip had begun.

An armed guard waved our bus through a secure gate and we disembarked at the observatory. Using powerful binoculars on the building’s upper deck I could make out the small village and rice fields on the far bank. A few peasants toiled in the fields and a large open-bed truck moved slowly along an unpaved road before coming to a halt and dropping off a half dozen labourers. Members of my tour group were excited to catch a glimpse of the North Koreans and soon we were in open competition to count more peasants and moving vehicles than our neighbours.

The village, known, depending on your political affiliations, as either ‘Peace Village’ or ‘Propaganda Village’, was oddly quiet. There was something amiss and artificial about the place – something that just didn’t seem right. The whitewashed buildings didn’t have the appearance of being inhabited. In fact, on close examination, the buildings didn’t have glass in the window frames. No smoke billowed from the chimneys and no children played out front. It suddenly struck me that the entire village was a façade. I was viewing one of North Korea’s Potemkin villages.

A large sign, extolling the virtues of Juche, the North Korean Communist Party’s philosophy of self-reliance, stood on the deforested mountainside behind the deserted village. I couldn’t see any signs on our side extolling the virtues of capitalism or democracy. Instead, the South Koreans took a different approach and decided to torment the peasants across the river by blaring American country music over loudspeakers. I lowered the angle of my binoculars and observed a group of young South Korean soldiers lounging around the loudspeaker, smoking and no doubt counting the time they had left of their two and a half year enlistment.

The sun was almost at its zenith. An announcement was made over the P.A. system instructing us to return to the bus. My friends and I had just enough time to raid the souvenir shop for bottles of North Korean (brought in from China) soju before continuing on to our main destination.

The highway broadened into a straight avenue of concrete, presumably to be used as thoroughfare for tanks or as an emergency airstrip in a time of war. Our bus passed under a mountain. Our guide informed us that, in the event of a North Korean invasion, the tunnel would be blown up in an effort to slow down the communist assault. We reached the checkpoint guarding the approach to Camp Bonifas, the northern-most American military outpost in Korea. Armed ROK soldiers took up positions around our bus. A sergeant, with a submachine gun slung over his shoulder, boarded and scrutinized our passports with efficiency. He didn’t speak and neither did we. We were waved through without incident.

Camp Bonifas was a neat but Spartan post. The grass was cut short and flowers were planted next to buildings and adjacent to the few streets that served the base. Apart from a barbershop, a commissary and ‘the world’s most dangerous golf course’, there was nothing to invite comment. We were taken to the mess hall for lunch. It was nice to eat ‘real’ American food and I availed myself of the opportunity. After lunch we had time to explore the camp but with instructions not to go approach the road leading to the border.

Before commencing our tour to Panmunjeom, or the UNCSB-JSA, a taciturn officer gave us a short briefing in a small Quonset hut. We were given instructions on how to conduct ourselves. Do not point at the North Koreans. Do not wave at the North Koreans. Do not attempt to make contact with the North Koreans. Keep your voices down. Don’t do anything the North Koreans could misconstrue and use as propaganda. After the slideshow finished and the lights went up we signed a waiver absolving the US army from any responsibility if we were maimed or killed while on the tour. We exited the building and boarded a bus parked next to the single-holed golf course with a literal, sandbagged-roofed bunker for a hazard. A middle-aged Australian man sitting in front of me tried to break the tension by wondering aloud if Hawkeye and Trapper John ever teed-off there.

Two minutes later we were at our destination. It was anticlimactic. A row of single-story buildings, painted in the pale blue favoured by the UN, and flanked by two large visitors’ centres, one North Korean and the other belonging to the UN, stood beneath a small observation tower. The entire Joint Security Area was quiet and it was difficult to imagine it as Ground Zero in a potential Third World War. Its wonderfully common appearance belied the danger that lurked beneath the surface.

The South Korean guards had obviously been selected for their intimidating stature. The guards, in tan and green uniforms, combat boots and black MP helmets, stood erect in the R.O.K. Ready! stance: their elbows were locked, and their arms terminated in tightly clenched fists; these guys are defiant and ready for anything. Half of their bulk was hidden around the corner of the buildings of Conference Row. The other half was exposed to the open ground that separated the two armies and the palatial North Korean visitors’ centre. Mirrored sunglasses masked their eyes and reflected the enemy’s image literally and, in a symbolic way, they reflected the will of the South to repulse any North Korean incursion.

The North Korean guards were a full head shorter than their southern counterparts. They wore Soviet-era brown uniforms were that appeared to be a size too large The North Koreans were present that day but they kept mostly to the background and unfortunately, I never got to see one up close. They appeared indifferent to the posturing of the ROK military policemen. I suspect it was intentional. The game of psychological one-upmanship is played with more subtlety, but with no less intensity, at Panmunjeom than at other places along the DMZ.

We were herded into the powder-blue central conference building, the site of the signing of the armistice of 1953. The room was blandly mediocre. It housed nothing testifying to the history that was made within its confines. A closed door, leading into North Korea and guarded by an ROK military policeman, was located at the far end of the building. We were invited by our guide to encircle the long conference table. A microphone cord divided the table neatly in two. One side of the table was in North Korea and the other side was in South Korea. Cheap DPRK and UN desk flags sat on the otherwise empty table. A second ROK MP stood at the end of the table, implacable and silent, with his legs slightly spread – a foot in each country. Next to our entrance on the South Korean side a small, enclosed interpreter’s booth stood empty. There were no pictures on the walls. Unoccupied leather-backed chairs facing the conference table completed the furnishings. A row of side windows gave us a glimpse of identical buildings to our left and right and I could see the gravel that formed a literal dividing line between the enemies. No DPRK MPs were present.

Conscious of our sombre and serious surroundings we did what was expected of us – we took pictures. The MPs remained immobile and ignored us as we moved in and out of North Korean territory. It was like a trip to Madame Tussaud’s. I looked through my camera’s viewfinder and tried to locate, outside, a North Korean guard to serve as a background but had no luck; the North Koreans were keeping their distance, probably bored with the daily influx of foreign capitalists and their vulgar behaviour.

We were soon back on the bus when, just as quickly, the bus stopped. And this time we were not allowed off. Directly in front of us was the Bridge of No-Return. It was deserted and derelict and the small creek bed it spanned was dry and choked with weeds. I am sure my fellow passengers were trying to visualise, as I certainly was, the thousands of Korean prisoners of war – communist and republican – which, at the cessation of hostilities, crossed over its wooden planks. The POWs were given the choice (and little time to weigh the ramifications) of living in Kim Il Sung’s worker’s paradise or in Rhee Syng Man’s fledgling democracy. Once they had made their decision there would be no going back and for an untold number of soldiers this meant permanent separation from mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and children.

We didn’t have much time for contemplation for our attention was then directed to an innocuous looking tree stump on our right. The people on the left side of the bus shifted in their seats to get a better look. The stump stood on the side of the narrow road like a tombstone. We are given a short moment or two at the site of the so-called Axe Murder Incident to reflect on what transpired there in the heat and humidity of August 1976. Briefly, a detail of American soldiers, given the trivial job of trimming the branches of a poplar that was obscuring the view from one of the checkpoints, was, for reasons that still aren’t clear, attacked by a squad of axe-wielding DPRK soldiers. In the melee two Americans were bludgeoned to death. It is, of course, a morbid and macabre image to visualise (made easier by the pictures of the fracas on display at the Korean War Museum in Seoul) but it is consistent with the strange mixture of banality and tension, boredom and potential violence that permeates Panmunjeom.

The stillness and quiet were broken by the movement, in the distance, of a North Korean military vehicle as it travelled from a secret location amidst the deforested hills on the far side of the buffer zone. A lone pheasant, taking advantage of the security offered by a fifty-year truce, flew between the verdant pines on the side occupied by soldiers of the ROK and American armies. The naked hills to the north and the lush greens to the south are unmistakably juxtaposed. Standing between these disparate demarcation lines runs the DMZ.

Marshalled beyond the barren hills north of Panmunjeom and stretching the entire length of the Korean peninsula are tens of thousands North Korean artillery pieces capable of raining a barrage of twenty thousand shells on Seoul in the first thirty minutes of war. Communist engineers, supplied with cheap labour from North Korea’s million-man army, have dug an indeterminate number of hidden tunnels under the De-Militarized Zone, each with the potential of sending an estimated wave of 30,000 soldiers per hour into South Korea.

The sun was starting to wane and we were driven back to the commissary for the obligatory visit to the Camp Bonifas gift shop. I picked up – to prove I had been there - a JSA ball cap and a matching DMZ tee shirt. I would have bought the teaspoon set but I wanted to save what little money I had left for Seoul. My friends and I had a cold beer and shared our thoughts on what we had just seen. And really, what had we just seen? Pill boxes rising out of the mud. Barbed wire. Some farmers working in a field. A deserted village. An empty conference room. Some bored soldiers. A tree stump. Barren hills. So, what did we see? Nothing, really. But it was something else.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

READING GROUP NEWS: CHAPTER FOUR

ONLY ONCE A MONTH FROM NOW ON...
Last Saturday of every month, 3:30PM, after the book swap

Come one, come all! The reading group lives!

Be there on Saturday, April 15 at 3:30 p.m.

We will be discussing A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

SO the schedule is:
May 27: 3:30 - 5:00 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
June 24: 3:30 - 5:00 tba
July 29: 3:30 - 5:00 tba

At the meetings we will vote on our next book selection.
Don't be afraid to show up even if you have not read the current selection. We are looking for fresh minds interested in literature and will not hold it against you if you'd like to check us out!

Members are responsible for availing themselves with copies of the books.

Questions? Contact napikoski@gmail.com

KEEP WATCHING THIS SPACE FOR MORE UPDATES

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS:
ON-LINE DISCUSSIONS ON THESE BOOKS
can be found here:
http://koreabridge.com/forums/index.htm under GENERAL DISCUSSIONS: OPEN FORUM.
Please join in (and sign up to Korea Bridge if you haven't already done so!)

FREAKONOMICS : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
April 29: 3:30 -5:00
REVIEWS and ARTICLES of this book on the web:
COMPLETE REVIEW

A TALE OF TWO CITIES by CHARLES DICKENS
April 15: 3:30 -5:00
REVIEWS and ARTICLES of this book on the web:
COMPLETE REVIEW

THREE GENERATIONS by YOM SANG-SEOP
March 11: 3:30 -5:00 Three Generations by Yom Sang-seop up to page 161
March 25: 3:30 -5:00 Three Generations by Yom Sang-seop page 162 to end
REVIEWS and ARTICLES of this book on the web:
COMPLETE REVIEW

Thursday, February 09, 2006

BOOKS THAT WOULD MAKE GREAT TELEVISION

Books that aren’t quite books…

Today I speak for some of the pimples on the behind of the Greek statue that is the world's literature. While we might like to come over all la-de-da and talk about how we admire the classics, and the latest Pullitzer prizers and what not, there is part of us which questions who it is that makes the decisions about what is classical, and exactly why. This is almost certainly the part of us which wants to justify reading works that some may deem to be trashy. Things that are actually popular and therefore, by some reckonings, utterly stupid.

And what could be more tacky and crass than the novelisation? The name itself tells us it is supposed as neither a novel nor film, but some unmentionable half-caste. There is no reason why these can't be afforded the status of classics - now and again. The writing is usually tight, having been through the original scripting process and then prepared for publication as a book; the humble novelisation has been filtered many, many times before it reaches you. Two firmly footed the 1970s that reached me recently, Upstairs Downstairs or The Secrets of an Edwardian Household by John Hawkesworth and Doctor Who: Verdigris by Paul Magrs. Both are based on BBC TV shows popular in their time. It was during a brief trip home, raking through the ten-cent bins in the second-hand book shop, when I found these gems.

Upstairs Downstairs is the story of a wealthy Edwardian Tory politician and cabinet wanna-be and his family who live in a huge house, and the enslaved working classes below them (downstairs, you see), who toil loyally and patriotically, and you might argue, a little stupidly. Their job is to scrub and cook and minister to the needs of their upstairs masters, and not to question their station in life too much. It is not as though they have much option, mind you, there is a depression on and its hard to find work at all for those downstairs. This story moves along quickly (judging by my internet research, ten television episodes, the first which was written by novelist Fay Weldon, have been condensed into 220 pages). It is a Victorian roller-coaster ride, mainly across all the usual soapy territory, including love and jealousy. The writing is clear and clean and very much a product of the seventies. Yet it speaks across the ages and across cultures about the power that some classes hold over others.

It is most interesting to be in Korea one hundred years after the book is set and see some frightening parallels not only between class structure, but in the political culture and how important it is to maintain one's breeding, and the even more scary attitudes of the wives of privilege who don't really get out a lot. Along the way there are many fascinating little pieces of authorial research which serve as insights into the way things were done which may have been missing if it actually was written in 1905. How the servants would spend their days cleaning their master's portraits with cucumbers dipped in vinegar, for instance.

And then there's the countless, and ultimately pointless, layers upon layers of clothing that the women in nobility had to struggle into and out of, several times a day. If this was published today with a decent cover and without any mention that it was a novelisation to people who are unaware that it was ever a TV series, it could find its way onto today's bestseller lists. You just never know.

Now, while I'm almost certain it is unknown in Korea, I also feel pretty confident that a golden age in U.K. television was roughly 1970-1985, in particular on the BBC. I know that 'cos that's what I watched, it makes up a big part of what was beamed into my home as I grew up in New Zealand. Whatever samples from this era you may come across, even those that do not hold up well by today's production standards, have some indefinable attraction to them. Frequently it is because the appalling badness in special effects is in turns breathtaking and absorbing.

The Goodies was a popular surreal Britcom in the seventies. The outrageously tacky special effects were part of the appeal. Anyone can tell you, let alone those who were there at the time, that the much more serious pioneering science fiction/horror/fantasy(etc) TV series Doctor Who had effects which were scarcely more convincing. However, the barriers to the imagination were few. And you did need good imagination to convince yourself that yes, that is an alien, not just some guy in a jumpsuit. And that zip is just some kind of...bodily organ that you need when you're an alien. The youngsters of today with their Matrix and other Hollywoodly fare just wouldn't understand.

Doctor Who, since its inception in 1963, was always exciting in principle, even when it got boring. It is still being made, and that really is not much of a surprise. It's not as though you could run out of ideas. You have the mysterious Doctor, a man who can neatly change his appearance to explain any change in actor, can also travel the universe in a time machine with a hundreds of rooms more on the inside than its tiny police box exterior would lead you to believe (a police box was a policeman's phone booth). You have one story set in the swinging seventies, replete with flares and afros and the requisite psychedelia, then next we are on some distant god-forsaken world, and in the next it is Conan Doyle's London, with its fog and its hansom cabs, and now we're in the distant future - the year 2000 - where the people are flicking switches and twiddling knobs on their hourly telepress sets.

Doctor Who continues publication today in book form, and there are now apparently over 400 novels in this series. Verdigris is technically neither a novelisation nor written in the 1970s, though it does seem like it. And it is nice to reaquaint oneself with that delicious brew of horror, humour and arrant weirdness. My favourite bit is where the policeman, just a simple and long-suffering copper, after a long day of countless incidents of horror at a haunted house, is reassured by the Doctor's young friend that no more weird stuff would happen. And then a double-decker bus, which is actually a time machine belonging to one of the Doctor's acquaintances, materialises out of thin air in front of them. "...But you promised!" wailed the distraught policeman. Ah yes, stuff that would put Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to shame, perhaps.

Surely it is only a matter of time before some bigwig in the industry will stumble across these two books in the ten-cent barrel and think what great film and television they would make.

J.D. Newman
this writing first appeared in Update no. 29 September 20, 2004

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

WHAT IS THE ADOXIST SOCIETY?

WHAT DOES 'ADOXIST' MEAN?

It's kind of latin. Kind of, in the sense that its roots are latin, but most latin speakers ancient or modern will not have heard the word. Someone who is an Adoxist is open minded.

Of course, members are most welcome to be of firm belief and opinion (just as they are allowed to be vague or wishy-washy). However, ultimately, an adoxist ought to consider self-education and open discussion as being over and above the beliefs and opinions (the 'dox', that which is established, a root found in words such as 'orthodox' or 'paradox') of any individual or group.

ABOUT THE SOCIETY

In reaction to recent inquiries such as that in the title of this page, we're having a go at describing the Adoxist Society. It began in December 2003, growing out of a reading group. That reading group itself no longer exists. However, reading groups are in the process of being created.

Now, the Adoxist Society can be described as a group of individuals in Daegu, mainly foreigners but we like to include Koreans as well, whose objectives are several-fold. Our main event is holding a monthly bookswap in downtown Daegu, at Seattle's Best Coffee Shop, the last Saturday of each month (except December, which is a different day). Hundreds of books are available for exchange on a one-for-one basis. Quality either of the book itself or its appearance is no object. So long as it is complete.

We have several objectives, which are mostly ideal rather than in practice at this stage. We're a literary and cultural society, a gathering point for readers, and also for writers; established and budding, English-speaking or otherwise. We aim also to be a suppository of information, an institutional memory of and provider of services and events for the foreign community. As if that isn't enough we hope to be a conduit between Korean and non-Korean members of the community, a way for English-speaking Koreans to get involved with the foreign community. Dialogue, as implied in the description above of the word 'adoxist', is important, as is meeting people, sometimes away from venues such the internet, as well as making connections with others.

We hope to be in a position to resurrect our newspaper The Update in order to accomodate part of these objectives, at some stage.

We are interested in books and finding out stuff. We have acquired a large collection of books through donation, which is ever expanding, and which has been recently arranged into a monthly book exchange. We have found that this is becoming a useful and increasingly popular service for internationals in Taegu; since their sojourn in Korea is not always a long one, and it spares them having to buy books and then face the issue of whether to lug them away as they move on.

The society is always in need of new people. The society is an association, with a board and with a constitution, and is looking into acquiring charitable status.

CHAPTERS / READING GROUPS

Groups (or chapters as they are properly called), in particular reading groups, are affiliated into the adoxist society and each one has a leader. Each group is numbered according to the chronological order of formation (but a group can always give itself a catchier name).

The group's leader communicates with the secretary of the society. The leader decides the rules and procedures of the group, or at least how the rules and procedures will be decided; that is, how democratic it is or isn't. So the leader has the final say. The leader (or somehow democratically the group) decides and passes onto the secretary information such as:

*The meeting dates and times
*Which books or which chapters of which books must be read for those dates
*Any consequences or, yes, punishments for failures to do so (fine punishments that is, nothing physical).
*Any 'door fees' which members or those in attendance will be required to pay.

The secretary arranges the publication of this information in our newspaper The Update (whose publication is currently suspended, but will be resurrected eventually) and on our site.

We can also put that info onto other, more widely accessed, websites such as Koreabridge. We could also make eye-catching "Advertising" messages and put them on these sites.

MANAGEMENT OF THE SOCIETY / BUSINESS OF THE SOCIETY

The Adoxist society has a board. The board meets occasionally to discuss and decide on things like ways for the society to raise funds, ways to spend it, general policy, and generally, cool or daft ideas we may have.

The board also elects new board members and appoints/creates the executive. Constitutionally, the society is not democratic; rather, it could be described as a self-selecting autocracy. This is largely because normally, everyone who expresses interest is invited to join, such numbers being quite small.

This kind of structure is necessary for any long-term possibility of building up things like assets, income flows, memberships, etc., and also for stability and succession.

The board currently has about eight members, about half of whom are ex-parte Daegu: some have even gone home for good!

Current Board: Robert D. Smith, Mark W.R. Seeley, Jason D. Newman, Benjamin Schwartz, Maebh Long, Darrell Monkman, Jackie Cameron.

The executive is as follows:

CHAIR, Bob Smith
TREASURER, Ben Schwartz
SECRETARY, Jason Newman
KEEPER AND AFFIXER OF THE SEAL, who performs that almighty act the title describes. Oddly, he is also responsible for acquisitioning (that is buying stuff) and is also responsible for publishing. Mark Seeley, the current incumbent, merged all of these responsibilities into one office. He lives in Canada now, so probably ought to be replaced!
MASTER OF THE KEYS, responsible for the society's property, including books. Knows where everything the society owns is or who holds it. This is necessary because we have no buildings so any stuff we have needs to be stowed somewhere, and somebody needs to know where, and how to get it. He is also responsible for the Society's library (which has sort of transmogrified into the book exchange). Jason Newman also hold this position.
EVENTS CO-ORDINATOR, Ben Schwartz again. We had some big schemes at one point, which is why this post was created, but they were taken over by another organisation which Ben is part of; the book swaps are our main event really, such as they are.
ASSOCIATE EVENTS CO-ORDINATOR, Helps the events co-ordinator. Currently Jason Newman. This is why Schwartz and Newman are the face of the book exchange.

When we devised the Adoxist society from the end of 2003 onward, we tooled it for expansion, hence all this specialisation. Over the past year, owing to a combination of busy-ness and laziness, contraction has been a feature. And the high rotation of foreigners doesn't help much. Oddly, given their enthusiasm for helping foreigners, it is hard to find Koreans who are willing to come on board. Of course, it is fair to say that we haven't been all that active in advertising ourselves or recruiting. Things are running low-key for the moment.

We have a website (or strictly speaking, a blogsite) where we can write up or link any interesting stuff we find or hear about. If you find or see or know anything, let us know!

PREVIOUSLY published edition of this message:
WHAT IS THE ADOXIST SOCIETY?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

SOME OF OUR CURRENT BOOKS ON "LIBRARYTHINGS": An Adoxist Virtual Library

HAVE a look here for a selection of books that are, or have at some stage been, amongst our books:
http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=adoxist

A MAN WHO TRAVELS THROUGH TIME

It's true...it was on the internet!
JOHN TITOR'S STORY

If you like BOOKS...

WHAT AN EVENT!

The Adoxist Society is holding its monthly book swap-meet on Saturday, March 25th, 2PM at Seattle's Best coffee shop downtown.

This monthly book swap gives English speakers in Daegu a chance to exchange books, and talk about literature and other stuff, as well as meet new people.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

Bring any old books you no longer need or want to read!

Straight-swap them for ones you want--ONE-FOR-ONE. Or buy your way in with redeemable Adoxist vouchers, ONE-FOR-ONE.

HUNDREDS of titles are available!

THE ORGANISER...

The Adoxist society is a literary society made up of foreigners in Daegu who like books and don't mind people.

The Adoxist Society is NOT a religious organisation.

The swap-meets are held last Saturday of every month, but normally much earlier in the month of December.

Come and check it out Saturday February 25th from 2PM to 3:30PM.

THE ADOXIST SOCIETY

Sunday, February 05, 2006

TALES FROM THE HIDDEN ROOKERY

A rookery of Penguins from the ‘50s-odd lies hidden in a dusty corner of the Kyoungpook Central Library: some of those titles are looked into here…

Nicholas Monsarrat struck gold when, six years after the end of World War II, The Cruel Sea, one of literature's most realistic and harrowing portrayals of warfare, was published and instantly topped the bestseller lists. The novel graphically intersperses a myriad of elements - monotony, fear, horror and the juxtapostion of heroic behaviour with the unheroic are the most obvious in painting a picture of life on-board a pair of Royal Navy corvettes charged with escorting Allied ships across the frigid and tempestuous North Atlantic. Monsarrat's work, while a novel, is based on reality.

The Cruel Sea is a masterpiece, not, perhaps, in the sense of character development, but in the way he conjures up horrific imagery. For example, I don't imagine there is a reader familiar with this novel who will never get the image of oil-coated sailors, survivors of a U-boat torpedo, treading water and having their pleas for rescue drowned out by the decision made by the corvette's skipper to drop depth charges in their midst in an effort, the all-important and morally defensible effort, to sink a German submarine suspected of suspending beneath them.

Hardcore stuff that will leave you with a world of respect, if you don't already have it, for men who serve their country in times of war.

Drinkers of Darkness by Irish writer Gerald Hanley is a real find. I believe this neglected gem, about world-weariness among a group of British expatriates living in a malarial backwater of West Africa, is out of print; a search of the internet returned scant information about either the novel or its author. Imagine, if you will, and this is not meant to cast aspersions on Hanley's originality, a blend of Joseph Conrad's genius for bringing geography to life and Graham Greene's penchant for cynical characterisations. Highly recommended.

Adventure writing doesn't get much better than The White South. Bestselling author Hammond Innes has a way, like all writers worth their salt, of transporting his readers into their world. I could almost smell, in this novel about whaling, murder and survival on the ice-floes of Antarctica, the kerosene, the sweat, the blood and the blubber of the whaling-ship.

Good moments abound in The White South. The whale hunt, the treks across frozen wastes, the killer whale circling the ice-floe, the threatening sea-leopard. And I am confident this novel would make a great film; however, if The White South was adapted to the screen, some of its more powerful moments would be eliminated due to political correctness. All the more reason to read the book, I guess.

M.W.R. Seeley
this writing first appeared in Update no. 28 September 13, 2004

ADOXIST SOCIETY LINKS

THIS SITE
CONTENT GUIDE

THE DAEGU GUIDE
For info in and around Daegu
http://www.thedaeguguide.com/main.htm

KOREA BRIDGE DISCUSSION FORUMS
See here for discussions centred either in Daegu or across the nation
http://koreabridge.com/

A SELECTION OF OUR CURRENT BOOKS ON "LIBRARYTHINGS"
Adoxist books virtual cover display
http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=adoxist

PHOTO PAGE
details soon

OTHER COOL STUFF:

FREE TV:
LIKE TELEVISION
for Flash Gordon and assorted other weird goodies
http://www.liketelevision.com/

FREE BOOKS:
THE FREE LIBRARY
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/

WHAT WAS THE NUMBER ONE HIT ON THE DAY YOU WERE BORN?:
EVERYHIT.COM
http://www.everyhit.com/dates/

ABOUT BOOKS:
THE READER MAGAZINE (UNI. OF LIVERPOOL)
They think old books are cool, too, not just new ones!
http://www.thereader.co.uk/

NEW ZEALAND LISTENER
Books... and other stuff, from the corner of the earth
http://www.listener.co.nz/

BOOK WORLD
One woman's attempt to read what's worth reading and say something about it along the way.
http://bookworld.typepad.com/book_world/

TELEPORT CITY READING ROOM
B graders, amongst other things.
http://www.teleport-city.com/reading/blog/

BOOK CROSSING
Tracing the journeys of books that you once owned
http://www.bookcrossing.com/

ABOUT ECONOMICS:
NBER
http://www.nber.org/

ABOUT EVERYTHING:
ARTS AND LETTERS DAILY
http://aldaily.com/

A SELECTION OF BLOGS