So a while back, I stumbled upon a used bookstore in Daejeon called Aladin. It’s a pretty big chain, and they have multiple stores within the city, and I’m sure there are lots all around Korea, as well. The store also has a site where you can purchase new books, but their used bookstores can’t be beat.
I’d had trouble finding a wide selection of books in English at other stores in Korea, and I found them to be way too expensive, so finding Aladin was a huge relief. They sell all kinds of books and magazines in many different languages, including Korean, English, and Japanese. I also poked around their website and found out that I can order Japanese books and manga from their website, which is a great perk.
My husband and I wandered into the store one night and ended up buying a ton of books. He bought about four books, and I got fourteen. Some are in English and many of them are in Korean. I plan on using the Korean books as reading practice, so they are mostly children’s books. Most of them were in the $2-4 range, and I was amazed by what I found. I also went to Japan recently for summer vacation and bought two novels and a continuation of a manga series I like. And just a few days ago I got Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the mail, and I received the book we are reading for the book club I’m in, which is The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
I found Sherlock Holmes in Korean! Admittedly, I’ve never read much of Sherlock Holmes in English, but I thought this could be a good way to improve my reading skills, along with all the other Korean books I bought.
This book looked so interesting. It’s called Women are Strong (여자는 힘이 세다 세계편) and covers the stories of women like Jane Goodall, Amelia Earhart, and so on.
This is the Korean version (한국편) of the book above, and it focuses on famous Korean women. I haven’t learned much about specific women in Korean history, so this book will hopefully be a great resource for me.
This is a book about the famous Kim Hong Do, a painter in the Joseon Era. I learned about him a while back when I had to teach his artwork to my kindergartners.
I honestly have no idea what this book is about, but it’s a story book with pictures and the Korean isn’t too difficult, so I’m assuming it’s a kid’s book. The title is 안경 할머니와 초콜릿 마을 which roughly means The Grandma with Glasses and the Chocolate Village. Sounds pretty interesting to me.
I have no idea what this is about either, but I’d seen it in cafes before finding it in the used bookstore, and the title is ‘Star’ which caught my eye. I think it’s a collection of translated pieces from a French novelist named Alphonse Daudet. I’d never heard of him before, and the prose is still too complicated for me to read in Korean, so I might not get around to this one for a while.
From what I can tell, this is the book Through my Eyes by Ruby Bridges, or a version of it anyway. The Korean title is 까만 얼굴의 루비 which means Black-faced Ruby… Not a title I would have chosen to introduce African-American culture to Koreans, but I was so surprised to find this type of book in Korean that I picked it up.
This is the Korean translation of The Husband’s Secret, which is a book I have on my Kindle. I haven’t read it yet, but I read Big Little Lies, which is by the same author, Liane Moriarty. I enjoyed that book, so I’m sure I’ll like this one, and eventually, when my Korean reading skills are more advanced, I’d like to take a whack at reading novels.
James and the Giant Peach was one of my favorite movies growing up. I remember watching it over and over again at my grandma’s house. I never got sick of it. I’m pretty certain I read this in school, along with The BFG, but I can’t remember exactly. Even if we did read it in school, my teacher mostly read it aloud, so I’ll read this again on my own.
I thought the movie version of this was pretty cute, so I’d love to see if the novel is better.
I can’t remember why I picked this up… probably because I saw it and it was in English and around $2. Nevertheless, it looks good!
This is どんぐり姉妹 (The Acorn Sisters) by よしもとばなな (Yoshimoto Banana). I started reading it in the store and thought it seemed pretty interesting. A few years ago, I read Kitchen by the same author. I think my Japanese level was decent at the time, but the overall story bored me and I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on. I hope I can ease myself back into reading Japanese in order to keep up my language skills.
When I was in Japan last week, I got two novels and two volumes of a manga series called Orange. Orange is a unique story about a girl who gets a letter from her future self telling her to change what she does in order to save the boy she has a crush on. I first read it in a manga magazine in 2011 or so, and I was instantly hooked. I bought the first volume when it came out, but the series went on hiatus for a while. It eventually got picked up by another publisher and now five volumes are out. I already had a few but wasn’t sure if I’d purchased #4 or not, so I bought that, along with #5. I ended up coming home to find out that I did own #4 so now I have two copies. I think the series is still being published, so #5 might not be the last one, but now I know I can buy it online from Aladin. It was also made into a film, but I’d like to read through volume 5 before I see it.
I also saw a book that looked cute called ケーキ王子の名推理（スペシャリテ）which sort of means The Prince of Cake’s Speciality. It’s about a girl who is heartbroken and learns to make sweets and falls in love with a pastry chef. Sounds sweet and there is a lot of dialogue, so I’m pretty sure I can read this without many problems.
The last book I bought in Japan is called 世界から猫が消えたなら (If Cats Disappeared from the World). It’s apparently sold over a million copies, and they also made a movie out of this book. The main character in the movie is portrayed by Sato Takeru, who is one of my favorite Japanese actors, though I haven’t kept up with him in a while. I’ll try to read this book before I watch the movie.
So that’s it for my book haul! I’m hoping to read a lot more now that I’m no longer a graduate school student (and don’t have to read so many textbooks). I’m hoping to challenge myself with more Korean and Japanese books, but I have so many unread books that it may be a while before I get around to them. I wish someone would pay me to read all day. That would be the life.