Late December-February Book Haul

It’s been a while since I posted about my most recent book-binge. It seems that I spend a lot in books, but I consider it investment. This time around, it’s mainly books related to TOPIK II. I also decided to push back the date I will take TOPIK II because I’m still at loss with the writing part (Btw, I got 46 points in reading and 40 in listening while doing a previous test, but I need to pull myself together for the writing lol).

So without further ado~

Part I. Korean Books in General:


I bought Ewha 3-2 books as soon as I finished the first part (I’m almost halfway through them as well). There isn’t much to say about these except that I love the series and when I tried to change to the Seoul/ Yonsei/ Sogang Uni books, it feels like I’m going back (with half of the grammar of the level already covered in lower levels of Ewha books).

The next book is the Dictionary of Korean Idioms.


I love this one! It’s quite clear in explaining how the proverbs and idiomatic expressions came to be, a possible equivalent of it in English, a literal translation, what it actually means, how can be used and explained in both Korean and English. I believe this book is a must-have for serious Korean learners or those curious about how the expressions came to be (plus lots of vocab acquisition as well).


This book is a graded Korean reader I found while I was looking at some books in the Books about Korea section at Kyobo. It contains 5 Korean folk stories with CDs. I think this is pretty recent because there are no other levels available. You can see them below:

I went to visit the Lee Hyo Seok Memorial Hall in Bongpyeong, Pyeonchang (I live in Pyeongchang although in a different city) when a friend of mine came to stay with me for a couple of days. In case you don’t know who he is click here. Did you know that by buying one of the versions of the books, you are both helping his descendants and the museum.


I bought two copies, the white one just contains one story translated into 5 other languages (English, Spanish, French, Japanese and Chinese) and the original in Korean. The other one is a child graded reader (for Elementary and Middle school students) and it contains other stories as well and it has some notes on archaic words.


I bought the Korean version of the Japanese manga どれだけ甘いシナリオだって. I bought it because I loved the cover, but I do find the story funny. I finished reading it so I’m actually awaiting the second volume (it hasn’t come out yet in Korea ;A;)


Part II. TOPIK Books:

I’m not a fan of buying study guides because for me they’re not worth it. However, when I bought the HOT TOPIK 읽기, I liked how they went into detail for each type of question and tips on how to solve them on your own (plus lots of practice). After that, I give them the benefit of doubt. I must confess that I was at a loss with the writing section (and nearly no books like the 읽기 had come out) and I spent 2 weeks trying to get an idea, but all I could figure out was what word should I use in the short questions. I realized I lacked vocabulary so I bought a vocabulary book.

Right now, I’m using the 쏙쏙 토픽 중급 어휘 and I like it. It gives you two sample sentences so you know the context and the translation in English, Chinese and Japanese. I just use it to make flashcards using the Leigtner’s Calendar System so I’m already half-through it.

I bought 토픽 II 쓰기 but I soon realized that it was not what I needed. I don’t need practice, what I need is to understand the nature of the questions before I tackle writing. I was sorely disappointed, but it still remains a good book if you’re in the advanced level and just need practice. It gives some tip on why the answer is such, but no more than that.

I kept looking for other books and made a list to check in Kyobo, at the end I was going to buy just one more book, but HOT TOPIK released a book about 쓰기! I was like which one I’m going to buy, but because I couldn’t decide I bought them both hehe.

I bought TOPIK II 쓰기, 이 책으로 끝! It’s quite a title but I believe it lives to what it says. The book breaks down each type of question, then makes you practice the relevant grammar structures, makes you break down each part and then you finally start practicing sample questions. Also, it has a lot of tips on how to write (like spacing, oral speech vs. written, and other things) and gives you some practice on it. It also makes you review a bit on basic particles and then quiz you on them. I think this book is fantastic and well planned.

HOT TOPIK 쓰기 is heavenly-sent. This book goes first to make you take a diagnostic test so you can see where you fail. After that it goes into details about each type of questions. First, it breaks it down and the kind of subjects it’s usually about. Then it gives you (at least for the short questions) different grammar patterns according to the nature of the question (계획, 금지, 부탁 and so on). It has a ‘mistakes clinic’ section so you can know about common mistakes , tips and practice. Then it gives you visual tips on where to look to guide your answers. Finally, you practice the type of question. Like  TOPIK II 쓰기, 이 책으로 끝!, it covers different rules for writing.

The major difference between HOT TOPIK and   TOPIK II 쓰기, 이 책으로 끝 is their approach. HOT TOPIK covers thoroughly how to answer while the other one makes sure you write properly. Also, in TOPIK II 쓰기, 이 책으로 끝 they make sure you practice a little bit the relevant grammar. I believe both books complement each other and you have nothing to lose if you buy just one of them. I’m glad I bought both of them and hopefully I will be able to review them thoroughly once I finish with them.

That’s it!

Until next time~