My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

Category: Books


Mr Gwon is finally sorted into a Hogwarts house. Watch the video below to see which one.

We all love Harry Potter in my family. I really love fantasy novels (as does my father and one of my brothers), but Harry Potter was what got our whole family obsessed. Well, except my mother who watched the movies but didn’t read the books I think. On the way to the cinema to see one of the last movies as a family, my mother had asked, “Okay, what do I need to know?” to which my smartarse sister replied, “Well you see, Harry… he is a wizard…” haha.

We read the books over the years, waiting for the next one to come out. They fueled many animated discussions in our family and sometimes fights, especially when a new book had just been released and we only had 1 copy and we got sneaky in our ways to steal the book from each other. There were definitely times where someone was reading at a table, and got up to get a cup of tea, and came back to find the book vanished.

So Harry Potter is not only a great series, but is something that holds many memories for me. Mr Gwon had just casually watched the movies and is not as invested in the Harry Potter world as I am. So it was time for him to be sorted. Now I’m not sure it was such a good idea…


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Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

Sorry, this is not a funny one, just an appreciating my husband one. Have you ever been in a relationship where there are so many warning signs but you are so infatuated that you don’t see them (or ignore them)? This guy I very briefly dated saw that I had an ‘Anne of Green Gables’ book in my room, among other books he also considered too “girly”. I had not even suggested doing anything related to that and did not expect him to like a favourite childhood book of mine, but that type of response should have been a warning sign. I don’t want to be really negative about this guy and I hope he is happy now, but it’s interesting seeing things in hindsight and seeing the contrast to how my husband responds to things. My husband is never worried about his masculinity being threatened and is so open to things whether they are considered “girly” or not.

I do really like Anne of Green Gables, I’ve reread it so many times, but I didn’t realise he even knew of it. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say that he likes it and in particular likes some of the quotes from it. We then had a lovely chat about being positive and using your imagination and dreaming about the future.

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When I first joined Pottermore… (The Harry Potter website).

And then later…

I went back on Pottermore again last night. I still fail at potions. Have you seen the inside of the Slytherin common room? I haven’t. How am I supposed to make the Polyjuice potion? It’s so hard!

As much a J.K. Rowling says stuff like “It’s not that Hufflepuffs are dumb, they are just as smart, it’s just they don’t boast about their achievements.” Well, whatever she said…. It doesn’t stop other people from making fun!

Where are all the Hufflepuffs? I have cookies, let’s go eat our feelings.

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Beginner Korean Book Reviews

This is just a quick review of two Beginner Korean books I have.

Read and Speak Korean for Beginners

This books teaches very basic vocabulary and things that would be beneficial for someone moving to Korea who hasn’t had much time to learn Korean. An effort has been made with this book to make things more interesting and fun as it has pictures and flash cards. It contains a lot of things needed for someone who immediately needs to use Korean but doesn’t exactly explain much grammar.

It also doesn’t explain how to read hangul and relies too much on romanisation. This is probably because they want learners to know instantly how to say something but unfortunately Korean never translates properly. Reliance on romanisation of Korean words can be damaging to your Korean skills as well. It is also unnecessary as hangul is relatively easy to learn – you can learn how to read and write and basic pronunciation within a week. When I first started learning Korean my teacher told us to ignore any romanisation in text books because it doesn’t help. The sooner you learn to read Korean the better.

This book is not bad though. It contains a lot of activities and comes with a CD. Combined with a more in-depth book that explains more about reading and writing Korean it is beneficial.


Easy Korean for Foreigners

This contains English, Japanese and Chinese translations. Now if you are thinking that’s a lot to put in a book, wouldn’t it get messy? Yes… yes it does.

When you are learning another language you really want to focus only on that language. You don’t want to be flicking through pages and your brain getting distracted by other languages. This book does however, explain about hangul and how the sounds are made, but only briefly. It has a lot of pictures of things but no translation of what they are. So if you guess wrongly (for example: does the picture of the legs mean legs, shoes or knees?) you really have learned the wrong thing.

Some of the translations into English are not quite correct. Perhaps there was not a native English speaker involved in writing this book. The book also jumps into sentences without really explaining sentence structure- which is very different to English. The book has a lot of pictures, which is why I bought it, but it really does not explain them well. Nor does it really explain much grammar. There are short grammar lessons at the back but in my experience a beginner needs more examples than what is given. It comes with a CD but I haven’t listened to it as I am too put off by the messy formatting and mix of languages.

This book may be easy to use for Japanese or Chinese learners, but I can definitely say for English speakers- don’t waste your money.

So what books do I use for learning Korean? I’ll review those in another post sometime.

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Book Review – Waiting for Mummy

Waiting for Mummy by Tae-Jun Lee

This is a famous children’s book that has only been published in English somewhat recently. It was written in 1938 by author Tae-Jun Lee who wrote many famous stories and was well loved in Korea. In this edition the illustrations are by Dong-Sung Kim and they are painted on traditional Korean paper (han-ji) and use traditional Chinese ink line techniques (muck-sun).

I saw this book in an Australian book store and noticed the Korean names on it. It was only after I bought it and did some research that I realised how special this book is.

It is a simple but heart-wrenching story of a young boy waiting for his mother at a tram stop. The first time I read it I thought there was no conclusion or indication of whether the little boy’s mother returns or not. I actually cried. I realised later that the ending is shown on the very last illustration but you have to look carefully.

Though simply written, the story is incredibly moving – particularly when you know Korea’s history and that this was written during the Japanese occupation – and it really stuck in my mind for days. The illustrations are beautiful. Some are quite simple but they convey so much. And the little boy is so adorable but looks so small and insignificant. What is even more poignant is that the author Tang-Jun Lee was actually an orphan himself. He was a war correspondent during The Korean War but settled in North Korea afterwards and disappeared in 1956…

I have seen some comments online by parent’s that think the book is too sad and they wouldn’t read it to their children but I disagree. It is such a beautiful and moving book that I will be reading it to my future children- in both English and Korean.


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