While I’ve swallowed countless Korean textbooks I actually cannot believe that it would take me this long to finish my first real book written entirely in Korean. I’ve wanted to for such a long time and I’ve even started reading Korean books only to feel discouraged with the slow pace and the many unknown words. However, when I was in Korea last month I bought a ton of books and decided that now was the time for me to not only start but actually finish a book in Korean.

One of the books I bought was the Korean version of the book called “In order to live” (in Korean: 내가 본 것을 당신이 알게 됐으면). This book is the agonizing story of the 23-year-old North Korean defector Park Yeon Mi and her experiences as a child in the land of darkness followed by  her escape to China where she at 13 years old was sold as a slave in order to avoid being sent back to North Korea by the Chinese authorities. She tells her story plainly and calmly, but while reading it you can feel the chill of the North Korean winters in your very bones.

The book is 330 pages long and it took me about a month to finish it by reading some 10 pages every morning. To anyone who is curious about North Korea or just in general about how much hardship the human mind is able to overcome, I strongly recommend reading this book. It’s orginally published in English and has been translated into several languages. I’ve even seen a Danish version in my local bookstore.

The cover in Korean


  1. I bought the English version as a Christmas present to myself however I didn’t start reading until 2 days ago. 🙂
    And yes the slow pace is definitely what bothers me the most too. I’m really glad I started out with 어린왕자, since the pages are never full of text and the sentences are never super long. Had I started out with 크리스마스 캐럴, I would probably have given up quite fast. It took me 3 weeks to read it and I do not even want to think about how many hours i spent!
    Someday Sofie.. Someday we will read them in a faster pace! Hehe. ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read a whole book yet but I read a few short stories from “엘리베이터에 낀 그 남자는 어떻게 되었나?” which were pretty good. You may be interested.

    The book you read looks interesting, I am going to check it out. Thanks!


  3. I am quite impressed by how much you read a day! I am reading 엄마를 부탁해 right now and it’s a struggle to even finish one page. I can usually only finish 1-2 pages a day in 1-2hrs. Sometimes while reading I’ll have 4 postits on the pages facing me w/ two on each page (it reached 5 postits at one point…lol). Anyway any tips for reading?


    • I haven’t read that one, but I know it’s a quite advanced text. It can be frustrating when it takes that long to finish a page. Maybe you should try with something a little lighter? In any case it’s super important not to lose motivation! 🙂


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