As far as guidebooks go, Daniel Tudor’s A Geek In Korea: Discovering Asian’s New Kingdom of Cool is probably one of the most interesting, insightful books a Korean-phile, or random tourist, could read, filled with information about South Korea’s culture, history, food, music, and more.
The book mixes glossy photos with paragraphs upon paragraphs of information. Tudor, who has lived in South Korea for several years, gives his own personal opinion about the best points of Korea and veers into commentary about Korean society from a foreigner’s perspective.
Some things are worth taking with a grain of salt as it is the author’s opinion, but Tudor has real insight on Korean culture. He doesn’t only highlight what is popular, but includes additional information, even an entire section, about what he personally would suggest seeing in Korea. As someone who has spent an extended period of time in Korea, he definitely offers a unique perspective.
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There are a lot of tidbits for anybody interested in Korean culture, ranging from information about dating culture to the history of Korea and how it ended up the way it is. By breaking the culture and country down into several informative chapters, A Geek In Korea touches on many different facets of society, including K-pop, the gaming industry, business, and daily life in general.
Tudor’s personal stories are entertaining and give a really good taste of what it is like living in South Korea as a foreigner. He calls a spade a spade, and includes some odd, slightly negative aspects of South Korea, but A Geek In Korea definitely balances out the bad with the overwhelmingly good aspects of Korea.
Quasi-information guide, quasi-tour book, Tudor also provides shopping advice and information about Seoul and the rest of South Korea without coming across as didactic as the average guide book tends to do. Tudor’s writing style comes across as both entertaining and informative, and is a pleasure to read. In fact, A Geek In Korea doesn’t even really read like a guidebook; as I was reading it, I had a hard time putting it down.
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There were a few things that seemed a little bit extraneous, and some factual information was wrong (some photos were mislabeled, including one particular one naming a K-pop idol by the wrong name,) but overall A Geek In Korea provides exactly what it promises, a self-proclaimed geek’s guide to South Korea.
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