41 In Korean learning journey (:

I FINISHED A KOREAN NOVEL!!

OMG I’M SO HAPPY NOW.

Okay, to backtrack a little. I didn’t exactly finish the whole novel, seeing how it’s THREE BOOKS. But I’ve finished the entire book 1 (350 pages), and it’s about the length of a full novel too.

And it’s not just any modern novel.

It’s a historical novel, or history-based fiction novel. Whatever you call a 역사소설 in English.

SO DAMN HAPPY.

on to book 2!! 고고!!

I own several novels and I haven’t finish one before, to be honest. ><;; But 전우치 is sooo captivating that I just had to keep on reading it! I’ll be talking more about it in detail and doing a preliminary book review in another post!

But now, I just want to rejoice in the fact that I finished one entire novel. I read the last 100 pages just in one day 😛 😛

When I first bought the novels, everyone was giving me the skeptical look.

“Can you actually read this? It’s pretty tough, not that easy for a Korean too…”, said a Korean friend.

I’m so glad I persevered through and now I can proudly announce that, yes, not only have I finished book 1, I can understand the plot perfectly, up to 97% (3% for the historical facts that I’m not familiar with).

It was tough at first. The preface had me going ?????? at all the historical names in hanja, the historical facts and all the long, never-ending sentences. I had to read a sentence, pause, re-read again and check all the new words in the dictionary. I even had to google for the historical facts to fully understand what I was reading.

The first chapter was not easy too. Set in the Joseon Dynasty, the book is full of words and speech styles from that era and even though I love love love sageuk speak, I had only heard it before in 해품달 HAHA. But somehow it just made sense to me and after a few pages, I felt really (strangely) comfortable with the sentence endings, speech styles etc. I highlighted quite a number of words in the earlier chapters, and as some of you might know, I did 2 readings. First reading is for the content, and 2nd reading to really search up words I was unsure of.

At first, the book was definitely a little out of my comfort zone. It took me pretty long to get through a page and I had to re-read some sentences again. But it never occurred to me to give up or think that I should come back to it again when my Korean is better. Or think that I would not be able to read it.Somehow I (strangely) always believe that I can do anything when it comes to Korean o.O

And I’m glad I believed in myself. By the middle of the book, I was getting used to all the new words and when they are repeatedly used in the novel, I became familiar with them. And the story was getting soooooooo damn exciting that I stopped doing the second reading halfway through and I even read 100 pages in a day. HAHAHA. And understood everything just fine, save for the new words which I kinda could guess the meanings. Anyway it didn’t hinder my reading and wow, the book was so.damn.awesome. 

I’m rambling too much *excited*

Bottom line? 

Rewards will only come to those who put in the effort. Always believe in yourself and challenge harder materials! 

Can’t wait to get on to the 2nd book!!! 😀 😀 😀

————-

And this is random but here’s a photo of the major part of my collection ^^

Looking at the books make me soooooooooooooooooo damn happy. ♥♥♥♥

Won’t it be nice to have a walk-in library? 😀

 

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41 Comments

  • Reply
    Elley
    27 November, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Congratz Shanna!! Is this book really this interesting? You make me wanna buy it too… lol!! But I wont be able to understand 93% of it, since i’m not even at Intermediate level yet!

    *Gonna put you as a person that inspired me to study harder :P*

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      27 November, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      yes it’s SUPER GOOD!!! 😀 I haven’t read too many korean novels yet, but i really love his writing style and content. it’s like watching a drama, you can literally imagine the scene unfolding ^^

      • Reply
        Elley
        28 November, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        Alright, even though I won’t be able to understand, I might just buy and put it in my bookshelve until 1 day I could read it…

  • Reply
    Katharine (수정)
    27 November, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    so proud of you Shanna! 🙂 I wanna read this too or any interesting novel in Korean 🙂

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      27 November, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      try this!!! 100% recommended!

  • Reply
    Felicia
    27 November, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Yay to you !!! Hope I can get my hands on this novel as well; seems like a nice read ! I’ve been wanting to read 역사소설 for quite a while 😀 Have fun reading the second book !! ^^

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      27 November, 2012 at 11:35 PM

      yes go buy it! 😀 😀 super awesomeee! (: I bought another set from this author, can’t wait to read it!

  • Reply
    Dusky
    28 November, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    That is super exciting! I’m a bit of a bookworm so I always get this little sense of excitement after I finish a book. I can’t imagine what that excitement would be like when read in another language. I want to work harder on my Korean now. 😀 I’m glad that all your efforts are paying off! I hope one day I will be able to read a book in Korean. 🙂

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      28 November, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      i always feel super happy in a bookstore/library! 😀 That day will come, keep learning! ^^

  • Reply
    skrwitch
    28 November, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    This post is so motivational! Congrats on finishing this novel. You’ve inspired me to work harder at my Korean. ^^

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      28 November, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      thanks!! 😀 😀

  • Reply
    Karla
    28 November, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    This is a such an inspiring post! Knowing how difficult Korean history books are you succeed in finishing that book.C0ngrats!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      28 November, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      yay thanks! come to think about it, i was a little over excited ^^;

  • Reply
    Jeannie
    28 November, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    That was fast! It took me ages to finish 해를 품은 달 and I even skipped some stuff!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      28 November, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      ahhh are there a lot of dialogues in it too? I loveeee it when the whole book is full of sageuk speak dialogues 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  • Reply
    reflectia
    28 November, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Haha this marks a new milestone for you 🙂 I was really excited when I saw this post because the korean books that I ordered from gmarket arrived today! Umm although mine isn’t comparable to yours since those are catered more to beginner-intermediate learners…but I reckon I’ll be jumping with joy if I finish it.

    It’s kind of intimidating to see a whole length of text with many words that I’ve never seen before but I guess it helps to step out of the comfort zone!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      28 November, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      ooo which books did you order? 😀 It’s kind of brain-taxing at first but you will get used to it!

      • Reply
        reflectia
        29 November, 2012 at 1:50 AM

        I totally had no idea what kind of books are suitable so I just chose a random books with pictures in them haha. Only realised you had a couple of book reviews after I bought them – will get them during my next gmarket haul ^^

        One of the books I bought is “어린 왕자” and although it has english-korean translations side by side, I still found it slightly hard to catch -.- Hopefully I’ll get used to it. I like how this book called “생각이 나서” contains short diary entries, with pretty background and photos throughout the book. Hehe not sure if the content is good though since I’ve yet to read it. The last one I bought is called “바보 빅터”.

  • Reply
    alodia
    28 November, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Wow! Congrats!!! I can’t wait to finish reading an entire novel in Korean too! Someday I will make it my goal to finish my 3 novels. O.o

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      28 November, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      thanks!! 😀 😀 which novels do you have?

      • Reply
        alodia
        29 November, 2012 at 9:27 PM

        The first novel I bought (3 years ago?) was 내 이름은 김삼순 (before it was adapted to television). A friend gave me 아이두 아이두 (screenplay adapted to a novel) last summer. And another friend got me the Korean translation of Michael Ende’s 모모. I was so tempted to get a couple more when I was in Korea because books are amazingly cheap there (compared to prices of books here), but I told myself I must finish first these 3 novels first.

        • Reply
          hangukdrama
          30 November, 2012 at 9:18 AM

          모모!!! omg i loved the english novel. Michael Ende’s Neverending Story is also one of my all time fav! 😀 Books are really affordable there! I guess it’s so because it’s all locally produced. Most books we have in singapore are all imported!

  • Reply
    Sojin
    28 November, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Wow, so inspired.
    /Looking at bookshelf with 7 Korean novels, none of which I’ve read through, and the parts I’ve read I only get about 20% at best xD
    It will be a pleasent surprise when I get to your level I think. But for now I just have to keep chugging along~

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 November, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      keep going! 😀 😀

  • Reply
    Lucie D
    28 November, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Congratulations. I think it must be one of the most rewarding feelings to read a book in a language that a couple of years ago was a mystery. I wonder when that day will come for me in Japanese and Korean. Hopefully I’ll finish 아프니까 청춘이다 by 2014 XD And I remembered you today and your blog post when the ENT doctor stuck me in the sound proof box. Thank goodness Big Bang and other K-pop music hasn’t damaged my hearing.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 November, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      yes, I can’t believe that Korean now makes sense to me. >< Maybe 6 years ago, I don't even know how the Hangeul looks like. ohhh is 아프니까 청춘이다 a famous book? Feels like I've heard the title somewhere before ><;; hehe thank goodness your hearing is intact! XD

      • Reply
        Lucie D
        3 December, 2012 at 2:23 AM

        Yup, it’s a quite a famous book. I got it from my penfriend, who originally suggested (and also promised to send me) 엄마를부탁해…. but then he changed his mind and said that this might be a better book for me to start of with and that he thinks I’ll like it. Feels really rewarding to understand some words and basic phrases. Trying to learn most by using the language.

  • Reply
    Keisha
    29 November, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    More motivation! T^T

    It takes so much time, work, and dedication to finish a novel in another language, a language textbook, or to fill up a language notebook, but when you get to the end, it’s like, “YES! I did it! Cue the Rocky theme music as I run up these stairs with my hands in the air!”

    I’m going to remember this post for when I start picking up novels to read. It’s so inspiring especially since your friend said that it’s hard for a Korean to read. If you can do it, I can do it too! One step at a time (even if they’re slow steps).

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 November, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      yes!! you can definitely do it too!! 😀 😀

  • Reply
    weixin
    30 November, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    congrats! ^^ haha every time you say walk-in library i think of joo won’s one in secret garden :p i’m trying to finish the books i have now too, coz i just ordered a bunch from gmarket! woohoo~ ^^

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 November, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      yeahh i lovee the library he has! omg. if that was my reading room I’ll die of happiness 😛 ooo what did you order? 😀 😀 i must avoid gmarket until next year OTL

  • Reply
    blackbrich
    30 November, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Im about like you were, lotta half read books. I was almost finished with kne but then I got sucked into another that I’m finding more interesting not to mention the loads of 漫画 I read in between.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      2 December, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      as long as you are reading often i guess it doesn’t matter, since you are picking new stuff everyday XD

  • Reply
    orbiter
    1 December, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    I live 30m away from this place: http://dadoc.or.kr/583

    Ahhh….

    On another note, I’m reading 화차, just cos someone left it behind in my 고시원. Pretty easy and addictive read. My aim is to one day read the original, which is in Japanese. Whoa. Maybe it’ll be easier to fly to the moon…

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      2 December, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      mad.jealous. it looks like a really pretty bookstore too! When you mentioned it the other time, I thought it was one of those 2nd hand bookstore cramped full of books.

      isn’t 화차 a movie title? is it the same? hahaha I think reading the original is easier 😛 😛

  • Reply
    pegapocalypse
    2 December, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    It’s sounds really interesting!
    I’d say 역사소설 is historical fiction, that seems right to me.
    I was wondering if you could give me a little more information on it, because now I want to order and read it, but I can’t seem to find it online where I’ve looked.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      2 December, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      i bought mine on gmarket, if that helps (: if you can find it, give it a try! It’s really awesome

      • Reply
        pegapocalypse
        2 December, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        Thanks I’ll check it out, I didn’t think of looking there! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sahr
    21 February, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    I think translated foreign novels are a great start. I’m reading my third Korean language novel from a German author. It’s 370 pages long, I follow the context, and I’m barely an intermediate learner. Just use naver dictionary or touch type dictionary or table to reach your goal. Don’t waste time studying the words, just jot them down.

    • Reply
      Hangukdrama
      22 February, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      nice! But sometimes I find the language in translated novels a little stilted ><

      • Reply
        Sahr
        22 February, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        In fact, that’s what makes them charming. Before I can immerse myself into and appreciate authentic Korean works, I can get accustomed to stock phrases of the translator. It’s mechanical at best. But the translator’s job isn’t the role of a writer.

        After basking through thousands of pages of Korean idioms and Korean/Chinese four syllables, then I can return to real Korean literature. For now, I’m content with modest works can I follow with a trusty reference dictionary.

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