Question: which was the first Korean book you read?

Hi everyone

I was wondering about something. Well, it’s in the title of the post; which was the first Korean book you read? or which ones have you tried to read? or maybe you’re in the process of reading one now?

I thought that maybe it’s easier to read something I have read already in another language, so I have bought the first Harry Potter book in Korean, but it is still almost untouched since it’s still too difficult for me. I just had to own it hehe. Maybe it will be my summer project…

I think the beginner-lower intermediate stages of language learning are difficult when it comes to reading. Finding something which is at an “appropriate level” but still interesting. How soon did you start to read something that wasn’t regular study material?

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15 thoughts on “Question: which was the first Korean book you read?

  1. alodia

    I bought the novel “My Name is Kim Sam Soon” (where the drama was adapted from) last 2007 when I was just in the early beginner stage because “I just had to” 🙂 – both as a fan and as a Korean learner. When I got it, it was so beyond my level and the only things I can understand were the conversations inside the quotation marks. But I read it in between work breaks and during commute time to practice my “Hanguel reading” Since then, the book has been a constant motivation for me to improve on my Korean so that one day I can read it (and compare it with the drama – the main reason why I bought it in the first place). Yes, i still haven’t finished the book and haven’t gotten past Chapter 1 (I finished the prologue though. XD) since (gasps!) 6 years ago! It’s a good tracker though for my progress in Korean. I often open it and try reading it. I was so happy when I finally can understand the first 2 sentences some years back, then I can understand a paragraph, then a chapter (prologue). Don’t let the 6 years thing discourage you. That was just me being lazy. Part of my 2013 resolution is to finish reading it!
    I got sidetracked on some books too. I got the novel version of the drama “I Do I Do” when the drama was just starting. I decided to read it and finish it before the drama ends so that I’ll get to know the ending earlier. Quickly finished chapter one and laziness struck me again. The drama was done and all and I still haven’t finished the novel. Makes me jealous of my Korean friends who got the same book and finished it in one sitting!
    Third novel I’m attempting is the novel version of “A Gentleman’s Dignity” that I got for free (as an android app). Since I can only access it from my tab, I read it during bedtime. Still on chapter 1. Got sidetracked when I found an ebook version of Diary of a Whimpy Kid. XD
    Then a friend got me Michael Ende’s “Momo” in Korean. I’ve read the English version. I have yet to find out if it will make reading easier because of that. But I don’t want to get the book from my friend until I finish one of the novels I have. There are so many novels I want to buy (the novel where Alice in Cheongdamdong was adapted from, and Korean versions of Anne of Green Gables and Harry Potter too (at least book 1), but I’m stopping myself and vowed not the buy another one unless I managed to finish 1 or 2 novels. 🙂 Need to stop being so lazy!

    Reply
    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Wow, that’s a lot of books 🙂 buying books that dramas are based on sounds like a good idea. Even if the screen adaptation is a little different, you know the story and the characters. Am I mistaken or don’t you also have drama scripts? Actual scripts? How did you find those? I also love buying books – sometimes more than I have time to read so I also need to restrain myself whenever I get within a 50m radius of a bookshop 😀

      Reply
      1. alodia

        I have drama scripts downloaded here and there. Usually tv networks have the soft copies (hwp format) up for sale for a few hundred wons on the drama’s official website. Then some fans would buy it and then share it, thus the circulation of free scripts floating around. I also haven’t finished reading any of them, but has better progress with scripts than novels. Another goal for the year – finish reading the script of Kim Sam Soon. 🙂
        Books are ♥. I also refrained myself from entering bookstores in Korea because I think I’ll just end up spending all my money on books.

  2. Autonomous Korean

    I read 아틀라스 한국사 (Korean History Atlas), which was great because I learned about Korean history, and it was divided into nice 2-page-spread sections with lots of visuals, but texts as well. I also read some Korean travel magazines. I think that’s the best way to get started with reading authentic Korean – start with something divided into small articles, so you don’t get lost and give up. If one article / story is a bit difficult, you can move onto the next one and start afresh.
    I still haven’t finished a full-sized novel. I haven’t tried in a long time ’til now. I just started The Hobbit, and it’s definitely easier having read it in English a couple of times, but I’m a little cautious about doing it this way, since I feel the Korean isn’t as natural, and that it reflects English phrases/structure more than a written-in-Korean novel would.

    Reply
    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Cool! That’s a great way to combine learning about the country as well as the language. I will definitely keep the history atlas in mind.
      I followed the “magazine strategy” back in the days when I was studying French, but I still have not managed to find a Korean magazine in Denmark. If lucky the stores have a Japanese one, but that doesn’t really help. Which magazines did you read? Maybe they have some articles online 🙂
      The Hobbit sounds like quite a project! I loved it when I was little and my parents gave me a beautifully illustrated version. Translators can really make or break a book. Sometimes the translation can have an awkward feel to it and other times it can be great if the translator accepts that not everything can be translated literally.

      Reply
      1. Autonomous Korean

        I can’t remember the name of the magazines I read…maybe 여행스케치?…mostly travel magazines, which are quite common in Korea. I also read the KTX magazine back when I had to take the train regularly, which is mostly travel articles.
        Unfortunately, I don’t think translators are paid much, and in turn the standards aren’t too high, so in most cases they just churn out translations without giving too much reflection.

      2. koreanlearner Post author

        I will look for it 🙂
        Hmm… It a bit sad if that is the case – after all it’s what they do for a living so it’s a pitty if the standard is low because of the money. The translations are more expensive where I live so if I can spell my way through the original I buy that.

  3. Pingback: Children’s Book in Korean: 착한 연이 “Kind Yeon-i” | Blue Hanbok

  4. seoulinme

    I am still reading Big Bangs autobiography book (세상에 너를 소리쳐!) its a fun book and really really inspirational and something that I am still reading in my spare time (or when I don’t feel like doing my homework) its the Secret Garden drama books that can be bought on for iPad I am on volume 5 so far and its so cool so many words and all 😀 makes me feel like I am reliving SG fever 😀

    And actually I bought the 응답하라 1997 novel about 30 minutes ago so I can challenge myself with different Korean dialects 😀 I can’t wait for that one to arrive ^^ kekeke!!!!

    Reply
    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Nice! 🙂 Sounds like you get to read a lot then. Some of the drama books can be bought for iPad? I had no idea!
      응답하라 1997, good choice 😉 when I am going to venture into dialects this could definitely be an option. Please let me know if it’s very different to read compared to “standard Korean” when you get it 🙂

      Reply
      1. seoulinme

        Yea. I try to read a lot since my vocab is weak 😀 and yeah you can buy a lot of them I think I have only bought the Secret Garden ones but I’m sure there is more out there keke!!! and yeah I watch 응답하라 1997 a few days ago only and loved the drama and found the dialect hard to understand so though having it in written form will be good lol and sure no problem when I get it and start reading I will tell you how hard it is (because I know it will be difficult for me :D)

      2. koreanlearner Post author

        Please do! 🙂 I also watched a bit of it (read the rest as recaps to save my internet connection) and I also found the dialect difficult.
        I will start “researching” what is out there and then I’ll probably buy myself a birthday present 😀

  5. Korean Vitamin

    My first book was a bilingual “Alice in Wonderland” from TTMIK’s store. It was a small book and only cost 6 dollars. Finished it in 9 days, 1 chapter a day. I was so proud of myself. ^^

    Reply

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