I’ve been receiving quite a lot of emails/comments etc asking if I can recommend Korean articles/books to read for their respective levels. I know a lot of learners are relying on Korean textbooks as their main reading practice and wondering when they are “ready” to step out of that comfort zone to read “real materials”. There is no such thing as being “ready to read real materials”. You will never be ready. Because the ability to be able to read in Korean relies on you ACTUALLY doing it. Do I make sense?
In any case, just do it.
There are tons of materials online, and I’m the kind that buys difficult books, realize that they are really above my level, but still try to read them anyway, and then succeed at doing so. (like 전우치 and my history books)
One important note. Reading in a foreign language is always challenging and at times, frustrating. We are all used to be able to speed read in our languages, and the fact that we can’t understand a foreign language book can be upsetting. You will continue to be frustrated until you reached advanced level (5 years for me) and then you will be able to start reading leisurely. ㅋㅋㅋ
JUST DO IT. We all have to start somewhere.
But to give you a push, I’ll be recommending a few articles / books here. Based on my own experiences etc. Will turn this into a page soon when I find more stuff.. XD
Beginner (~1 year into Korean)
Entertainment news are the easiest to read. And they are free. And you get to know all about the latest dramas/movies/kpop happenings. First hand news 😀 They always use the same few vocabulary and the sentences are pretty short. Unlike more serious news where sentences seem to go on forever and ever.
Try these few:
Low intermediate – mid intermediate
Get a real Korean book. Non-fiction is easier. Trust me.
- 세상에 너를 소리쳐 (big bang autobiography) – no I’m not being biased!!
You will be tempted to get translated fiction books. Like Korean Twilight, Harry Potter or what not. Unless you are a huge fan, NO. No point getting translated stuff. If you are that scared that you can’t read Korean without knowing the English translation, you will never get out of that comfort zone.
Continue reading news articles. Start going for longer articles.
Try these few:
High Intermediate (TOPIK 4)
You can actually read a lot of stuff already. Most news articles won’t be too difficult for you, so just go according to your hobbies and preferences.
For books, most non-fiction books should be kinda readable. So choose whatever you want.
You can start going into fiction books too. Teen novels are the most readable.
- 몽실언니 (a bit higher level than the one below) – FYI I’m reading this now and it’s easy for me
- 우리들의 행복한 시간
- 엄마를 부탁해
You can start reading all those drama novels too!
Hello if you are at this stage, just read anything. Why do you need my recommendations? hahahaha.
This is just a short list that I clobbered together in 15 min hahaha. So yup I’ll try to expand it soon ok. If you end up reading the recommended articles, tell me how you find them k! ^^
The list is also just a starting point. Don’t feel that you can’t attempt a Korean novel just because you are at the “intermediate” stage only. Nonsense. Challenge yourself. Go for it.
(if you guys ever wondered why I can reach a supposedly high level in a supposedly short(er) period of time, it’s because I’m constantly challenging myself and going for materials that are “seemingly not my level”)
Remember. It’s normal to find the articles challenging and hard. That’s the point anyway.