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5 Historic Sights to Visit in Korea

Can't I Go InsteadBy Athena Palmer:

One of the beautiful things about books is that they give you the ability to travel places you might never have a chance to see in real life… but sometimes that isn’t quite enough to satisfy your wanderlust. In her newest novel Can’t I Go Instead, Lee Geum-yi writes about the history of early 20th-century Korea in an emotionally compelling way that will leave you wanting to dig in even further. If you happen to find yourself in Korea, here are 5 historic sights to visit that will help satisfy your thirst for knowledge.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Review of Gyeongbokgung Palace | Seoul, South Korea - AFAR

Despite being destroyed and rebuilt multiple times, Gyeongbokgung Palace holds an immense amount of historical significance. It began as the primary royal residence of the Joseon dynasty, and now stands as an example of resilience and reconstruction in a post-war Korea. If you visit between 10 AM and 3 PM, you might be able to watch the iconic changing of the guards ceremony!

Heungdeoksa Temple Early Printing Museum

Heungdeoksa Temple Site, Cheongju — Google Arts & Culture

This one is for my fellow bibliophiles! The Early Printing Museum is located on the site of the printing of Jikji, the oldest existing book printed using movable metal type. The museum is home to many artifacts and exhibits related to the art of book printing through the ages!

Songnisan National Park

Songnisan National Park - Wikipedia

Songnisan is a National Park located along the border between Gyeongsangbuk-do and Chungcheongbuk-do, the province where the author of Can’t I Go Instead, Lee Geum-yi, was born! Songnisan National Park features some especially picturesque hikes, hundreds of species of flora and fauna, and 17 known temples, including the temple that houses the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world. 

Changgyeonggung Palace

Changgyeonggung Palace in Seoul - history, photo, ticket price

Similar to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace has undergone significant changes since it was originally built during the Joseon dynasty. The palace was often used to house queens and their concubines before being turned into a park by occupying Japanese forces. Restoration efforts have been in effect since the 1980’s in an attempt to return Changgyeonggung Palace to its original state, but the palace is open and ready for visitation!

House of Sharing Museum

The House of Sharing (The Museum of Sexual Slavery by Japanese Military) (Gwangju) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

The House of Sharing Museum of Sexual Slavery by the Japanese Military is an incredibly emotionally intense visit, yet a relevant and necessary one nonetheless. As Lee Geum-yi writes about in both Can’t I Go Instead and The Picture Bride, hundreds of Korean women were forced into the role of ‘Comfort Women’ before and during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Although it might not be the most lighthearted museum visit, it’s important that what these women went through isn’t lost to history. 

Click below to order your copy of Can’t I Go Instead, available now!

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Every Forge Book Coming Fall 2021

Fall is almost upon us, which means we have a new season of books coming your way! Don your flannel shirts, grab your spiced drinks, and take a look at what Forge has to offer this fall.

September 7th

Image Placeholder of - 40An Irish Country Welcome by Patrick Taylor

In the close-knit Northern Irish village of Ballybucklebo, it’s said that a new baby brings its own welcome. Young doctor Barry Laverty and his wife Sue are anxiously awaiting their first child, but as the community itself prepares to welcome a new decade, the closing months of the 1960s bring more than a televised moon landing to Barry, his friends, his neighbors, and his patients, including a number of sticky questions.

A fledgling doctor joins the practice as a trainee, but will the very upper-class Sebastian Carson be a good fit for the rough and tumble of Irish country life? And as sectarian tensions rise elsewhere in Ulster, can a Protestant man marry the Catholic woman he dearly loves, despite his father’s opposition? And who exactly is going to win the award for the best dandelion wine at this year’s Harvest Festival?

But while Barry and Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly and their fellow physicians deal with everything from brain surgery to a tractor accident to a difficult pregnancy, there’s still time to share the comforting joys and pleasures of this very special place: fly-fishing, boat races, and even the town’s very first talent competition!

Now available in paperback!

September 14th

Image Place holder  of - 79Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret. Her own.

Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?

Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.

How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?

October 12th

Place holder  of - 9An Irish Country Yuletide by Patrick Taylor

December 1965. ‘Tis the season once again in the cozy Irish village of Ballybucklebo, which means that Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, his young colleague Barry Laverty, and their assorted friends, neighbors, and patients are enjoying all their favorite holiday traditions: caroling, trimming the tree, finding the perfect gifts for their near and dear ones, and anticipating a proper Yuletide feast complete with roast turkey and chestnut stuffing. There’s even the promise of snow in the air, raising the prospect of a white Christmas.

Not that trouble has entirely taken a holiday as the season brings its fair share of challenges as well, including a black-sheep brother hoping to reconcile with his estranged family before it’s too late, a worrisome outbreak of chickenpox, and a sick little girl whose faith in Christmas is in danger of being crushed in the worst way.

As roaring fireplaces combat the brisk December chill, it’s up to O’Reilly to play Santa, both literally and figuratively, to make sure that Ballybucklebo has a Christmas it will never forget!

October 19th

Poster Placeholder of - 53It’s a Wonderful Woof by Spencer Quinn

Holiday time in the Valley, and in the holiday spirit—despite the dismal shape of the finances at the Little Detective Agency—Bernie refers a potential client to Victor Klovsky, a fellow private eye. It’s also true that the case—promising lots of online research but little action—doesn’t appeal to Bernie, while it seems perfect for Victor, who is not cut out for rough stuff. But Victor disappears in a rough-stuff way, and when he doesn’t show up at his mom’s to light the Hanukkah candles, she hires Chet and Bernie to find him.

They soon discover that Victor’s client has also vanished. The trail leads to the ruins of a mission called Nuestra Señora de los Saguaros, dating back to the earliest Spanish explorers. Some very dangerous people are interested in the old mission. Does some dusty archive hold the secret of a previously unknown art treasure, possibly buried for centuries? What does the Flight into Egypt—when Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus fled Herod—have to do with saguaros, the Sonoran desert cactus?

No one is better than Chet at nosing out buried secrets, but before he can, he and Bernie are forced to take flight themselves, chased through a Christmas Eve blizzard by a murderous foe who loves art all too much.

November 2nd

Placeholder of  -82I Will Not Die Alone by Dera White, illustrated by Joe Bennett

Dera White’s I Will Not Die Alone is a hilarious, feel-good story about the end of the world. Featuring illustrations by Joe Bennett, it is a story full of realistic self-love affirmations for all of us who are just trying to get by, until we die.

November 16th

A Bathroom Book for People Not Pooping or Peeing but Using the Bathroom as an Escape by Joe Pera, illustrated by Joe Bennett

Joe Pera goes to the bathroom a lot. And his friend, Joe Bennett, does too. They both have small bladders but more often it’s just to get a moment of quiet, a break from work, or because it’s the only way they know how to politely end conversations.

So they created a functional meditative guide to help people who suffer from social anxiety and deal with it in this very particular way. Although it’s a comedic book, the goal is to help these readers:

Rejoin the world outside of the bathroom

It’s also fun entertainment for people simply hiding in the bathroom to avoid doing work.

A Secret Never Told by Shelley Noble

Philomena Amesbury, expatriate Countess of Dunbridge, is bored. Coney Island in the sweltering summer of 1908 offers no shortage of diversions for a young woman of means, but sea bathing, horse racing, and even amusement parks can’t hold a candle to uncovering dastardly plots and chasing villains. Lady Dunbridge hadn’t had a big challenge in months.

Fate obliges when Phil is called upon to host a dinner party in honor of a visiting Austrian psychologist whose revolutionary theories may be of interest to the War Department, not to mention various foreign powers, and who may have already survived one attempt on his life. The guest list includes a wealthy industrialist, various rival scientists and academics, a party hypnotist, a flamboyant party-crasher, and a damaged beauty whose cloudy psyche is lost in a world of its own. Before the night is out, one of the guests is dead with a bullet between the eyes and Phil finds herself with another mystery on her hands, even if it’s unclear who exactly the intended victim was meant to be.

Worse yet, the police’s prime suspect is a mystery man who Phil happens to be rather intimately acquainted with. Now it’s up to Lady Dunbridge, with the invaluable assistance of her intrepid butler and lady’s maid, to find the real culprit before the police nab the wrong one . . .

Law of the Land by Elmer Kelton

Sixteen stories, where good meets bad, and everything inbetween, from the legendary author of the west, Elmer Kelton.

Law of the Land chronicles some of his most exciting and dangerous tales of the old west, collected together for the first time–including the exciting first publication of a never-before published Kelton story, Biscuits for Bandit.


5 International Thrillers to Read this Summer

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By Lizzy Hosty

From Istanbul to Central Europe, Paris to China, come travel across the world with us and these thrilling spy mysteries, including The Kobalt Dossier by Eric Van Lustbader, the newest installment in the Evan Ryder series.




Image Place holder  of - 31Assassin’s Dawn by Ward Larsen

Travel to Central Europe with David Slaton!

Straight out of college, Slaton is eager to excel in his assassin training so that he can go after the man who killed the two people he held closest to him. On an operation in Central Europe, the chance to steal information from the killer’s brother presents itself. However, when the operation goes wrong, and Slaton has to fall back, Slaton is informed that the killer himself, Ramzi, might soon appear. And Slaton vows to take this chance to solidify his place as an assassin.

Place holder  of - 92Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury

Visit an alternate Paris, where Europe has long been under control of the Ottoman Empire with Kamal Arslan Agha!

In 1683, Mehmed IV, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, started his assault on Europe to claim it all for the empire, when a mysterious visitor, naked and covered in tattoos, delivered a world-changing message. Over 300 years later in the conquered Paris, in 2017, Kamal Arslan Agha is a feted officer in the sultan’s secret police that is starting to question his orders – and everything – when he meets a mysterious stranger, naked and covered in tattoos, that reveals a secret the Sultan would do anything to prevent from coming to light.

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Go to Istanbul, Ukraine, and Romania with secret agent Evan Ryder!

After completing her mission and thwarting Nemesis, a fascist syndicate, Evan returns home to Washington D.C. to find that the secret division of DOD she works for has been shut down and her dead sister’s children are now missing. Evan now has to team up with her former boss, Ben Butler and search through the Middle East and Eastern Europe to find the truth, all while on the run from their enemies, including the American billionaires who supported Nemesis.

Poster Placeholder of - 77Shadow by James Swallow

Race against time through Europe and the Middle East with Marc Dane! Marc Dane and his partner, Lucy Keyes, are frantic to stop the evil organization that plans to release a deadly virus that could kill millions across Europe and the Middle East. In their rush to discover the truth, they learn that a mysterious bio-scientist with a terrible secret has been abducted and a ruthless far-right terrorist has broken out of captivity. It will take every trick in the book – and then some – for Dane and Keyes to stop a global catastrophe.

Shadow of the Dragon by Marc Cameron

Fly to China with John Clark and President Jack Ryan!

When the brilliant scientist Liu Wangshu disappears and a high-level Chinese mole known as Surveyor has managed to infiltrate American Intelligence, Jack Ryan realizes there’s only one choice to be made. He has to send John Clark deep into China to find a former graduate student of Professor Liu Wangshu who may know where he is. It’s a risky mission, but finding Liu and learning China’s knowledge of aerospace and naval technology is too great an opportunity to pass up.


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