Awesome… and Naughty


I analyzed the books I’ve read so far this year using Yes24 and Kyobo.

빨간 머리 앤 (만화) [1-2학년]

내 이름은 삐삐 롱스타킹 [3-4학년]
꼬 마 백만 장자 삐삐 [3-4학년]
삐 삐는 어른이 되기 싫어 [3-4학년]

이솝 이야기 [2학년]
비밀의 화원 (만화) [3-4학년]
비밀의 화원 [5-6학년]
안데르센 동화 [3-4학년]

동생을 바꾸고 짚어 [5-6학년]

I’m a third-fourth grader in my Korean reading skills (fiction). I was pretty down about that, until Diana pointed out that fourth graders know a lot. She has a point. I have been studying Korean for three and a half years, this month. I’ve never taken a class. Most people would’ve given up three years ago, but I haven’t (even though I’ve had lulls in my progress and studies). That’s something to be proud of!

I ran the rest of my books through and almost all of them left are 5-6학년, so soon enough I’ll have to be a fifth-sixth grader.


One of my co-workers has a daughter my age. Her daughter volunteers at the library, and one day she thought a book looked like it might be Korean. She couldn’t identify the alphabet but found that the book was published in Korea. She passed it on to her mother, who passed it on to me.

Now she can identify Korean. Every Korean discard book she comes across ends up in my hands. I have children’s picture books, young adult novels, fiction and non-fiction. I have books on diverse subjects such growing plants, playing baduk, and exercising.

I show up to school and find books in my mailbox, books in plastic grocery bags hanging on my door, books on my desk. She’s filling up my bookshelf! I’m not complaining! I’ve written the daughter (whom I’ve never met) a thank you note, but soon I’ll have to buy her some sort of Korean treat (Peppero sticks, maybe?).

Last week I received a really fascinating-looking book called 어느 날 내가 죽었습니다, The Day I Died. I’ve been reading books in translation and I’d like to read a Korean-language book by a Korean author before the end of the year. This book is competing with 소나기 to be the first Korean-Korean book I read. (I’ll feel like I’ve really reached a point in the language when I can read a book written by a native speaker, for a native speaker.)

Yesterday I came home with a new stack. Good Man flipped through them. “Novel, novel, novel, novel, novel, horror novel… This,” he said, holding up a book with a somewhat abstract line drawing of a woman’s body, “this is naughty book!”

It’s my new indicator of fluency: being able to understand naughty books.