Guest Reviewer: Stacy A. ; Cook Korean!

COOK KOREAN! by Robin Ha
January 28, 2017

A Comic Book with Recipes
I loved Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley, which came out a few years ago, but never really expected to find another graphic novel with recipes. I was wrong. Apparently graphic novel cookbooks are now a thing.

There was a really interesting article on eater.com about it, Why Cookbooks are Looking More Like Comicbooks. They point out:

But comic cookbooks can do something for home cooks, too — make recipes less daunting and easier to follow. Cookbooks are still in demand, but many — with their overly aspirational food photography — wind up as coffee-table books for the kitchen.

An interesting point, for sure. And click through to an older article, The Golden Era of Food Comics is Happening Right Now. Also interesting.

When I heard about Cook Korean!, I knew I had to take a look at it. I don’t know a lot about Korean food. Korean BBQ restaurants are around, and kimchi is hugely popular pretty much everywhere now, so it seemed like a good time to learn. And learn I did.

Table of Contents:

Introduction
Kimchi and Pickles
Vegetable Side Dishes
Meat and Poultry
Seafood
Soups and Stews
Porridges
Noodles and Rice Cakes
Snacks and Street Foods
Cocktails and Anju
Korean Fusion

I included the introduction because it’s not your typical “here’s why I wrote this cookbook page.” Instead, it’s 20 pages or so of ingredients used in Korean cooking, the Korean refrigerator, the Korean pantry, Korean meal guide, Bap: Cooked Rice, Rice and its delicious by-products, Korea’s regions and foods and finally Dengki’s dress. In other words, lots of super useful information. With illustrations.

All the chapters are heavily illustrated, thus the graphic novel genre. I mean if you just picked it up without knowing it was a cookbook, it probably wouldn’t occur to you as you glanced through it. No, it’s not a novel, it’s cookbook/memoir and nonfiction while we usually call fiction books novels. But what I called comic books as a kid are now called graphic novels, regardless of whether or not the books contain fiction or nonfiction. My library shelves them in the nonfiction. I have noticed that some graphic novel memoirs are shelved in biographies, and I’m not sure who is making that distinction (Library of Congress? The Online Computer Library Center, better known as OCLC?) or why that distinction is being made. Congressman John Lewis just won a bunch of awards for the third book of his graphic novel trilogy memoir, March: Book Three (congrats!) which is shelved in biography. But I digress.

Other things I noticed when looking at the table of contents. I admitted up front I am pretty ignorant about Korean food. I didn’t know there were stews or porridges, for instance. Now I do. Kimchi Stew, for starters. And a Spicy Fish Stew. I learned that pine nuts are not just for pesto and are used in Pine Nut Porridge.

So kimchi. There is a little gastro pub near my house that makes killer kimchi. And by killer I mean they warn you if you try and order it that it is very hot, so I haven’t tried it. A kimchi loving friend (hi Dave!) has had it and really enjoys it. So everything I know about kimchi is that historically, it was made from cabbage in clay jars and buried in the dirt. The smell was supposedly horrific. And is very, very spicy. But after reading this book, I learned that my suppositions were correct, but there are ways to make it much more palatable for my delicate American taste. Use less Korean chili, for starters. I also learned that kimchi can be made from a variety of vegetables, not just cabbage – radish, cucumber and green onion, just to name a few. I feel kimchi educated now.

Noodles are big in Asian cooking and Korean food is no exception. The recipe for Handmade Knife Noodles is about as close to pasta as you can get. Rice cakes are called Tteok and there are dozens of different kinds, mostly eaten as snacks or dessert.

The cocktails chapter includes a lesson in Korean Drinking Culture, including the admonishment to “always pour your elder’s drink with both your hands,” to never refuse a drink from your elders and “always refill drinks for others and never refill your own drink. You must wait for others to fill it up for you.”

The recipes are all explained and illustrated so that even someone as ignorant of Korean food and customs as I am, could successfully prepare anything in this book. I loved the watercolor type paintings that illustrate each chapter title page, and the drawings throughout the book really added to my understanding of technique. It’s funny, I never really cared for illustrations in cookbooks, for instance the beloved Silver Palate Cookbook, as I much prefer photographs. But for some reason, I love the illustrations here and didn’t miss the photos at all.

Finally, I was trying to figure out how many recipes there are but it was difficult as so many have variations included. The author does mention in her acknowledgements that her mother helped with 64 of the recipes though. Always nice to acknowledge your mom!

If you are curious about Korean cuisine and culture or you love Korean food and want to try making some yourself, this is the book for you.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

See more reviews from Stacy at BookBitch.com.

COOK KOREAN! by Robin Ha. Ten Speed Press (July 5, 2016). ISBN 978-1607748878. 176p.

Drawn to Manga February 2017

case study of vanitas

The Case Study of Vanitas, Volume 1
By Mochizuki, Jun
2016-12 – Yen Press

Check Our Catalog

Rumors revolving around The Book of Vanitas, a clockwork grimoire of dubious reputation, draw Noe, a young vampire in search of a friend’s salvation, to Paris. What awaits him in the City of Flowers, however, is not long hours treading the pavement or rifling through dusty bookshops in search of the tome. Instead, his quarry comes to him…in the arms of a man claiming to be a vampire doctor Thrust into a conflict that threatens the peace between humans and vampires, will Noe cast in his lot with the curious and slightly unbalanced Vanitas and his quest to save vampirekind?”

 

The Demon Prince of Momochi House

The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Volume 1
By Shouoto, Aya
2015-07 – Viz Media

Check Our Catalog

On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she’s never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house, and one seems to have already taken over her role.

 

Hatsune Miku Mikubon

Hatsune Miku: Mikubon
By Ontama
2016-10 – Dark Horse Manga

Check Our Catalog

Hatsune Miku and her friends Rin, Len, and Luka are not only back in manga…they’re back to school, enrolling at the St. Diva Academy for Vocaloids They’re going to give it their best at St. Diva, as a wonderland of friendship, determination, and even love unfolds But can they stay out of trouble, especially when the mad professor of the Hachune Miku Research Lab is nearby…?

Previously, Dark Horse Comics’ Unofficial Hatsune Mix, landed at #1 on the New York Times Manga Top 10 list and sold out of bookstores across the nation

Hot Facts: Over 170,000 music videos have been uploaded to YouTube using Miku as the singer. This popular Vocaloid (a singing voice synthesizer) has appeared in ads from Toyota USA, Domino’s, the Late Show with David Letterman and even opened for Lady Gaga

 

Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai

Nekogahara: Stray Cat Samurai 1
By Takei, Hiroyuki
2016-10 – Kodansha Comics

Check Our Catalog

In medieval Japan, it’s a hard life for a stray cat. Every day is filled with struggles and prejudice, from oppression by fellow cats working for cruel masters to extortion by catnip druglords. But being a stray also means incredible pride and independence. The wandering samurai Norachiyo has no master, though he still wears the telltale bell of a cat who has a “person.” This rogue warrior travels across Japan, protecting the weak and cutting down those who have forgotten the virtues of being a stray – all with unrivaled swordsmanship. Although Norachiyo leaves little trace but his fearsome reputation, this enigmatic warrior has made plenty of enemies who are more than willing to get their claws on his head. Will Norachiyo’s past catch up with him, or can he spend his nine lives in freedom?

 

Tohyo Game

Tohyo Game, Volume 1: One Black Ballot to You
By G. O./Chihiro
2016-10 – Yen Press

Check Our Catalog

The class popularity contest was supposed to be for fun…but now the unpopular ones are dying grisly deaths. The classroom has become a horrific struggle for survival. Someone is keeping the game going, but who? Can anyone survive the game and expose the truth?

 

Drawn to Manga December 2016

In celebration of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opening this weekend, we have a special Star Wars edition of Drawn to Manga!

A New Hope Manga

Star Wars: A New Hope: Manga Volume 1
[illustrations by] Hisao Tamaki ; [adapted from an original script by George Lucas ; edited by David Land]
1998 – Dark Horse Comics

Check Our Catalog

The complete screenplay of the original movie adapted as a manga!

 

The Empire Strikes Back

Star wars: the empire strikes back
[illustration by] Toshiki Kudo ; [based on an original story by George Lucas ; adapted from a screenplay by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan]
1999 – Dark Horse Comics

Check Our Catalog

A manga adaptation of the movie “Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back”.

 

Return of the Jedi

Star wars: Return of the Jedi
[based on an original script by George Lucas ; adapted from an original screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas ; illustration by Shin-Ichi Hiromoto.]
1999 – Dark Horse Comics

Check Our Catalog

A manga adaptation of the movie “Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi”.

 

Check out our catalog for more Star Wars titles.

Manga Best Sellers 12/4/16

These are the New York Times Manga Best Sellers for the week of December 4, 2016. As always, the links will take you to the Palm Beach County Library System web catalog.

1
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LEGENDARY EDITION, VOL. 1, by Akira Himekawa. (VIZ Media) The beginning of the adaptation to Nintendo’s 1998 video game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, is collected here.

2
MY HERO ACADEMIA, VOL. 6, by Kohei Horikoshi. (VIZ Media) In the aftermath of the sports festival, the students of Hero Academy begin their internships.

3
ONE–PUNCH MAN, VOL. 9, by ONE and Yusuke Murata. (VIZ Media) The Hero Association is under attack, and Saitama receives an unexpected visitor at his apartment.

4
ONE PIECE, VOL. 80, by Eiichiro Oda. (VIZ Media) Now that the people of Dressrosa have been freed from Doflamingo’s tyrannical grip, the Straw Hats must find a way off the Island.

5
TOKYO GHOUL, VOL. 1, by Sui Ishida. (VIZ Media) Ken Kaneki is attacked by a monster, but survives the encounter and becomes the first half-human, half-ghoul hybrid.

6
TOKYO GHOUL, VOL. 9, by Sui Ishida. (VIZ Media) The search by Kaneki and his colleagues for Rize’s true identity brings them face to face with the mysterious Madame A.

7
ONE-PUNCH MAN, VOL. 1, by ONE and Yusuke Murata. (VIZ Media) This series, originally a web comic, features a hero named Saitama, who can defeat any monster or villain with just one punch.

8
ATTACK ON TITAN, VOL. 1, by Hajime Isayama. (Kodansha Comics) A group of survivors must go into hiding to escape the giant humanoids known as the Titans.

9
ONE-PUNCH MAN, VOL. 8, by ONE and Yusuke Murata. (VIZ Media) The truth about King, the strongest hero on Earth, is revealed.

10
TOKYO GHOUL, VOL. 8, by Sui Ishida. (VIZ Media) Kaneki unleashes his ghoulish self in order to save his friend Touka.

Drawn to Manga October 2016

Drawn to Manga presents October’s Horror List:

Dragon Head

Dragon Head. Vol. 1
Minetaro Mochizuki
2006-01 – TokyoPop

Check Our Catalog

Imagine waking up in a pitch-black train wreck filled with broken glass and bodies. No one answers when you call for help-and as you begin to orient yourself, you realize that this might be because everyone around you is dead. Mochizuki opens this story with the wide, terror-struck eyes of schoolboy Aoki Teru as he wakes up into just such a nightmare, and from there, the suspense never lets up. Not that this is a particularly fast-paced book-instead of frenzied action, we get fine gradations of panic and exhaustion. Each new piece of information deepens a growing sense of dread: not only has the train crashed, it’s also been sealed in by falling rocks. Aoki is not entirely alone, but of the two other companions he finds, one is unconscious and the other is going crazy. And then there’s the strange, stifling heat. Mochizuki’s narrative pacing is so deft, and his drawings so effective at communicating nuances of emotion that the story unfolds for us with the same urgency and immediacy as it does for Aoki and his companions. The result is an emotionally and psychologically compelling drama that promises to be an unforgettable journey into darkness with future volumes. (Publisher’s Weekly)

 

Goth Light Novel

Goth (Light Novel)
Otsuichi
2015-08 – Haikasoru

Check Our Catalog

Morino is the strangest girl in school how could she not be, given her obsession with brutal murders? And there are plenty of murders to grow obsessed with, as the town in which she lives is a magnet for serial killers. She and her schoolmate will go to any length to investigate the murders, even putting their own bodies on the line. And they don’t want to stop the killers Morino and her friend simply want to understand them.

 

Uzumaki

Uzumaki: Volume 1
Junji Ito
2007-10 – Viz Media

Check Our Catalog

Kurozu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: “uzumaki,” the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in small ways: seashells, ferns, whirlpools in water, whirlwinds in air. And in large ways: the spiral marks on people’s bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi’s father, the voice from the cochlea in your inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho are pulled ever deeper, as if into a whirlpool from which there is no return.

 

Battle Royale Angels Border

Battle Royale: Angel’s Border
Koshun Takami
2014-06 – Viz Media

Check Our Catalog

The Program is a brutal military experiment that pits junior high students against each other every year in a brutal battle to the death. Most of the students from Shiroiwa Junior High scatter as soon as they reach the remote island where they must participate in the latest round of the Program. But Yukie Utsumi and five of her friends lock themselves in the lighthouse, clinging to a desperate hope of survival. They all trust each other, but they also know that only one can survive the Battle Royale A graphic novel side story of the bestselling novel Battle Royale.

 

Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors

Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors vol. 1
Matsuri Akino
2008 – Tokyopop

Check Our Catalog

It’s been several years since the bizarre Chinese count known only as D left L.A’s Chinatown. In that time, life has returned to normal in the world, and the nightmares associated with Count D’s pet shop of horrors have ceased. But across the Pacific, amidst the bright lights of Tokyo, a mysterious Chinese man has been spotted, and he seems to be opening a new shop.

 

Check the PBCLS catalog for more horror manga!

Drawn to Manga: May 2016

This special edition of Drawn to Manga will focus on a relatively new category of books for our library system: Light Novels.

What is a light novel? They are Japanese novels that may (but not always) include illustrations and tend to be geared toward young adults (but again, not always). Many light novels have been adapted to anime and/or manga like the Sword Art Online series and All You Need Is Kill.

A Certain Magical Index

A Certain Magical Index, Vol. 1
By Kamachi, Kazuma
Illustrator Haimura, Kiyotaka
2014-11 – Yen on

Check Our Catalog

 Touma Kamijou has the worst luck imaginable… Sure he’s a citizen of Academy City, a scientific marvel of the modern world where superhuman abilities are artificially cultivated and commonplace, but when it comes to paranormal talent, Kamijou’s been classified a Level Zero-a loser, basically. Oh, he does have one trick up his sleeve (literally), but even that’s more trouble than it’s worth.

When Kamijou encounters a delusional young girl convinced she’s a nun and raving about being chased by evil sorcerers, he’s eager to send her on her way and get back to failing his studies. Fate, it would seem though, has other ideas, and he suddenly finds himself caught up in a supernatural intrigue with a girl named “Index” at the center.

Science and magic collide in this first volume of one of the most popular light novel series ever penned.

 

Attack on Titan Before the Fall

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall (Novel)
By Suzukaze, Ryo
Illustrator Shibamoto, Thores
2014-09 – Vertical

Check Our Catalog

 Before the fall, and before the trials of “the Titan’s son” Kyklo, a young smith by the name of Angel Aaltonen grappled with the giants as only a craftsman could.

The first of the three-part “Before the Fall” light novels, whose second and third installments have been adapted into a manga of the same name, this prequel of prequels details the origins of the devices that humanity developed to take on the mysterious Titans.

 

Battle Royale

Battle Royale: The Novel
By Takami, Koushun
Translator Oniki, Yuji
2009-11 – Viz Media

Check Our Catalog

 In an alternative future Japan, junior high students are forced to fight to the death L to R (Western Style). Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan–where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller–“Battle Royale” is a “Lord of the Flies” for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, “Battle Royale” is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.

A group of high school students are taken to small isolated island and forced to fight each other until only one remains alive If they break the rules a special collar blows their heads off.

Koushun Takami’s brutal, high-octane thriller is told in breathless. blow-by-blow fashion. “Battle Royale” is a contemporary Japanese pulp classic now available for the first time in English.

 

This may sound familiar! They made it into a movie called Battle Royale.
Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime

Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime, Volume 1
By Nomura, Mizuki
2010-07 – Yen Press

Check Our Catalog

 For self-styled “book girl,” third-year high school student Tohko Amano, being the head of the literary club is more than just an extracurricular activity with minor perks. It’s her bread and butter… literally! Tohko is actually a literature-gobbling demon, and instead of the less palatable option of water-soaked bread, she opts to munch on torn out pages from all kinds of stories. But for Tohko, the real delicacies are handwritten stories. And to satisfy her gourmet tastes, she’s employed (aka. browbeaten) one Konoha Inoue, an underclassman who has retreated from writing novels after his experiences with getting published at an early age. So day in and day out, Konoha scribbles away to satisfy Tohko’s appetite. But when, one day, another student comes knocking on the literary club door to seek advice on writing love letters, will Tohko discover a new kind of delicacy to whet her voracious appetite?

 

All You Need is Kill

All You Need Is Kill
By Sakurazaka, Hiroshi
Translator Smith, Alexander O.
2009-07 – Viz Media

Check Our Catalog

 When the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally–the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?

 

This may sound familiar! They made it into a movie called The Edge of Tomorrow.
Check out more Light Novels in our collection or at your local library!

Dark Metro

dark metroWhat is Dark Metro? Dark Metro by Tokyo Calen is a two part manga series that consists of short stories regarding the paranormal.  The title (and cover image) gives away where most of these stories are set. Each story is separate and brings their own spine tingling elements.

When I was reading the series for the first time, I could not get the feeling of being terrified. Reading it in the dark is the best way to feel the aura of what the author is trying to convey. If you are interested in this type of genre, I recommend this title and I guarantee that you cannot pass this manga up. What are you waiting for? Check out your local library or click here to grab a copy.