WONDERING WHAT to do for your winter break? Surely there is nothing more pleasant and satisfying than snuggling into your warm blanket with an awesome book in your hands. Reading has always been one of those activities that are right at the top of our to-do lists but never quite done, partly because there are too many books to choose from. The Yonsei Annals has thus here prepared a list of book recommendations from fellow Yonseians. Check this out and who knows, this winter might be more inky and fun than you thought it would be!
Nam Gung-seok (Jr., School of Integrated Tech.): Blindness
After reading the book Blindness, I have come to realize the influence an individual can have in the world. This story deals with a single seeing man amidst a group of blind people, all of whom rely on him for survival. The man helps the rest gather food, escape dangers and find their way through. This storyline particularly made me think about the concept of justice, which is acutely manifested through the scene in which the blind people accuse and try to kill the sightseeing person when he prevents them from committing murder in the process of getting food. This manifested and made me contemplate upon the fact that sometimes taking the path of justice can be very lonely.
Lee Hoon-joon (Fresh., Dept. of Business Admin.): Teach for America: A Story of Education for Geniuses
My favorite book is called Teach for America: A Story of Education for Geniuses. I got acquainted with it while I was working as a volunteer at 'Teach for Korea,' an NGO affiliated with 'Teach for America' that strives to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor through education. Hence, the book was especially touching and meaningful as I could easily connect it with the volunteer work that I was doing. The idea that the best education is the process of learning that brings practical changes to life had a significant effect on how I came to think about education. Moreover, it also prompted me to seriously consider and contemplate upon the societal problems that currently exist. I think this book does a really good job in conveying the seriousness and predominance of educational inequality, a crucial and relevant issue to all individuals.
Lee Ha-young (Fresh., Dept. of Econ.): My Left Foot
One of the books that I found most inspiring was Christy Brown's autobiography, My Left Foot. The main theme of the book, motherly love, is beautifully expressed as the author manifests deep appreciation of his mother’s input in his life, especially through her steadfast faith in his worthiness as a human being despite his physical handicap and weakness. This book is recommendable in that the author's masterly vivid descriptions of the internal struggle that he experienced effectively reveal the inner world of the cripple, thereby allowing the readers to become aware of the seriousness of young Christy’s struggles when he all but succumbed to the desire to end his own miserable life.
For me, the story of his life has had an enormous change in my attitude to everyday life; it also has given me an opportunity to discern my own calling to live a life in aid of my fellow men by working in an NGO.
Kim Ji-seob (Fresh., Pre-Dent.): There is No Mountain We Cannot Climb
I personally have much respect towards the author of this book, who overcame many hardships in his life, as his family members suffered and eventually died from poverty and he became blind. At times he tried to commit suicide but eventually became an influential figure by working at the White House to promote the rights of the handicapped. This book shows his courage and his beliefs on what the concept of education should be. In his discussion of education, he asserts that there are three strengths that are necessary for learning: that of intelligence, physical, and mind. Among these, he emphasizes the power of mind and claims that learning is a process that transcends the boundaries of knowledge. I found it fascinating how he refused to limit the topic solely to the acquisition of knowledge but bestowed more significance to the human spirit while underlining the presence of a divine being and arguing that what truly changes the interiority of individuals is prayer. I thought this was inspiring in ways that the book projects learning and knowledge in the light of spirituality.
Kim Eunnie (Jr., Dept. of Pharmacy): The Kite Runner
One of my favorite books is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a stunning, moving, and highly memorable novel that tells a tale of childhood betrayal, sublimated guilt, and ultimate redemption between two best friends, Amir and Hassan. What especially struck me was the author's insight into the turbulent times of Afghanistan and the horrendous changes the country experienced. Moreover, on top of offering the heartwarming storyline, the author also offers readers with the opportunity to appreciate the country's rich culture and language.