Graphic Novel Review: Cimarronin

Cimarronin, by Neal Stephenson, Charles C. Mann, and others. 3.5 stars out of 5; I was hoping for a comic that’d draw on the breadth of historical information and pithy observations about historical characters I found in Mann’s 1493. Instead… well, it’s more of a Neal Stephenson story, and I’m just not a fan of his stuff. I spent most of the story along with Kitazume (our samurai protagonist) wondering what the rogue Jesuit Luis is up to, why did you drag me across an entire ocean after a Manchu princess, and just what the heck is going on? We never really get answers to most of that, and it’s highly frustrating. Continue reading

Book Review: Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea

Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea: Economy and Society, edited by Michael D. Shin. I would rate this collection of essays by the Organization of Korean Historians as a solid 4.5 of 5 stars. With the caveat that if you’re not interested in this specific time period, this may not have anything of note for you. On the other hand, if you’re intrigued at the idea of seeing the entire schedule of a premodern agricultural year laid out, or takes on salt-making, trade guilds, and tax evasion, this will have interesting nuggets of info even if you couldn’t care less about Joseon or fantasy/historical dramas set there. Continue reading