What Was Your First Korean Novel?

I’ve been learning Korean (very slowly) and hope to start reading novels by the end of the year.

But as I know nothing about Korean books, I was wondering what everyone’s first novel was in Korean.

So what was your first (or even second)? What was it about? How easy/difficult was it? Did you like it?


It depends on what you mean by novel.

The Darakwon graded reader series is great for a first foray into long form content. You can start your way up from the easiest one (A1) and then move up. The stories are generally pretty nice and enjoyable. The voice acting especially is really impressive, which makes reading and listening along to them even better.

Other than that, 엄마, 받아쓰기 해 봤어? | L18 is technically the first novel I finished I guess. But it’s also a children’s book, so again, I’m not sure what you mean by novel. This one is pretty basic, but for me it was a rather quick and easy read. Story isn’t sensational, but it’s not bad either and it’s intended for pretty young children anyways, so it’s really about what you could expect for a book like this.

Currently, I’m also reading several novels (but again, most fall under the category of children’s books). I’d recommend the current bookclub pick 이상한 과자 가게 전천당 | L24, or 마녀를 잡아라 | L22?? (aka The witches by Roald Dahl) which has slightly easier vocab imo. Both have been translated in Korean though, and not originally written in the language.


As @HopeWaterfall says, it depends on what you consider a novel.

I think https://learnnatively.com/book/2409d87430/ was the first children’s novel I read, and 너의 유니버스 | L24 the first YA short story, but I’ve yet to finish a novel aimed at adults.

These are some lists that might be helpful if you’re looking for recommendations:


By novel I mean any long form story that you felt was your first novel. Wheather that means a graded reader, children’s book, YA or adult novel.

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I read all the graded readers I could find at the start, then lapsed into blogs and lighthearted news for a while until I built some vocab. First native book I read was 명탐정 셜록 홈즈 1 | L26. It was a challenge but do-able at that point. Beyond the unknown vocab I had to get used to lots of common things in prose writing that I wasn’t used to seeing in subtitles or news. As it was 3 short-form stories and they were familiar to me I was never too lost which helped a lot.


My first novel was 어느 날 색깔이 사라졌다. It’s a translated book, which I think made it a little easier to understand. Honestly it might be too hard for a first book, but I didn’t like graded readers (not that there really were any when I started learning). Once I got about 50 pages in, it became much easier though! I also read some webtoons and blogs throughout this time. I found nonfiction blogs so much easier to understand, and it helped me read more quickly too. Oh, I also read 그림 에세이 books (picture essay books). They are short, include pictures, but are aimed at adults and have some meaning to them.

I would recommend 어느 날 색깔이 사라졌다 or 페인트 as a first novel (of the books I’ve read so far). They are probably aimed at 5th grade aged Koreans for reference. But starting with webtoons, blogs, graded readers, or children’s books would probably be good before tackling the novels I referenced.


The first book I read in Korean was 나나 | L31??. I started it around the time I was working with TOPIK 3-4 materials and I remember it being insanely hard, but I somehow made it to the end.

After that I spent some time reading books I had previously read in Japanese and remembered being easy such as 보라색 치마를 입은 여자 | L27??, and it was quite helpful for my reading ability. Knowing the storyline + being familiar with the Japanese vocabulary that showed up as 한자어 gave me a comprehension boost and I was able to learn lots of vocabulary.

I also dabbled in web novels on RIDI for a while before jumping into Korean books that weren’t translations. A lot of web novels have simple language and repetitive plots, so they can be good for learners. There are also so many of them so you are sure to find something that interests you!

I then moved onto non-translated books at some point and read 완득이 | L29, which was still somewhat difficult because it had some specialized vocabulary. Weirdly, the first book I read that felt “easy” to me was 일의 기쁨과 슬픔 | L32??, even though the level is higher. It had a bunch of short stories about work life and the characters were around my age, so it was very engaging and full of great vocabulary that I could apply to my own life.