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Leer es Viajar – to Read is to Travel

If you’ve been following me on Instragram you probably already know that this summer I moved to Spain! Today is

The post Leer es Viajar – to Read is to Travel appeared first on ELSEwHERE.

Know Before You Go

Reading for pleasure has never been a consistent thing for me. In fact, it usually takes a lot to get me to pick up a book, and then quite a bit more to finish it. But, while preparing for my solo trip to Cambodia, I kept coming across a few titles that people were recommending. So I thought, ‘What the heck. I’ll bite.’

Where to Buy English Books in Korea

Winter is coming in Korea and it’s a great time to snuggle up with a few new books. This past January I made a goal to read 35 books in 2014, and I can finally see the finish line! I’ve read 26 books so far, so that leaves 9 more to go in under 2 months. That’s a lot of reading, so I decided to order some new books to motivate me to reach my goal.

I ordered them from What the Book, the popular used book store in the Itaewon neighborhood of Seoul. Many of you have probably heard of or visited the store, but you may not know that you can also order books from their online store and have them delivered to you anywhere in Korea! Even if you’re looking for a specific book they don’t have, What the Book can order it for you online and send it to you.

Book Giveaway: Korea The Impossible Country by Daniel Tudor

This is the Kimchi Queen's first book giveaway! The folks at Tuttle Press have a score of books on Korea and in this sweepstakes will be giving two copies of Korea: The Impossible Country to readers of this blog.

For The Bookworms

For me, one of the hardest things about being in Korea is all the excellent reading I feel I’m missing out on.  Back at Hibriten, we were so lucky to have access to a great school library (and great school librarians), so I had almost anything I wanted to read for free.  It was a luxury whose full value I did not realize until we moved here to Korea.

Obviously, two years’ worth of reading material is not one of those things you can justify packing in the two suitcases allotted for Trans-Pacific travel.  Ric and I did what most expats do and sprung for e-readers (we chose Kindles), hoping they would provide a smaller, lighter way to meet our literary needs.  

My Bookshelf

My ideal library

I fell in love after seeing this mini quiz on Nova's blog and had to do it myself. I've been wanting to talk about all of the books I love for a long time, so this seemed like a good place to start. So thanks Nova for having an awesome taste in books and inspiring me to do my own!

Author you’ve read the most books from:
It probably has to be Kelley Armstrong with her Otherworld series. I remember many a long commute to York and back to Sheffield being lost in the books about everything supernatural and spooky. They are a somewhat bizarre mix between fantasy and cheese that I can't help but read.

Book Street, Nampodong

By Emma O’Flynn

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Nestled in the narrow little streets just beyond Gukje Markets, is the cute and quaint, and adeptly named Book Street.  This place is all about the books.  Tiny little stores are stacked from floor to ceiling with books and magazines of every shape and size. Though the selection of English books available is pretty limited, it’s more about the ambience, then any serious book shopping!   The odd coffee shop and vintage store are also thrown in the mix.

Home to If I Had A Minute To Spare Towers

I kid because I love. But in this case I’m not kidding. I do live in a tower, a twenty storey high tower pitched between what seems like a thousand other twenty storey high towers. Although mine is made from concrete, steel, and glass, not ivory. This may or may not be a good thing.


After a long summer away in Ireland, myself, Herself, and +1 have returned to our perch overlooking the ever present traffic which persists along that big long avenue that runs through Yeongtong-dong which I have no idea of the name.

Thoughts Before Departure

People love creating metaphors about life, especially involving books. Those metaphors are really misleading.

I’ve been referring to my upcoming sojourn in Korea as “a new chapter” in my life. With that comes the expectation of a blank page, a clean slate.  A lot of expectation, actually. And I’ve fallen through this rabbithole before.

Nice New Review Of Teakettle Mountain


Teakettle Mountain is a wonderful and humorous portrayal of life in South Korea. The detail is amazing – of the people, the place and the culture, as well as the pace and structure of life – absolutely fascinating. I feel like I’ve boarded a plane and physically visited the country.

Ian James’ grip and use of language is a joy to read. I didn’t curl up with the book, Teakettle Mountain curled up with me, and didn’t let me out of its embrace until I had read the last word. It is so full of wonderfully original descriptions it was difficult to find a favourite, and after much deliberation I’ve chosen: ‘Ms Yoon, who spoke American English as though she were a textbook that had been electrified and, Frankenstein-like, bought to life.’

Excerpt From Teakettle Mountain

“Heem!” the nurse screamed, climbing back on top of my wife’s belly and pounding it for all she was worth. “Heem!” Like a punching bag. “Heem!” As though giving CPR. “Heem!”

Ian James never thought he would come to South Korea. Fleeing the economic collapse in the West, he arrived weeks after graduating from college and discovered a country of infinite strangeness, where strippers dance on the street in front of electronics’ stores and children shove their fingers inside the rectums of terrified English teachers. In the beginning he despised the place, but before the end of his first year he was not only in love with Korea, but crazy about a woman named Gold Silver Jade, the Calypso who tore him away from his native New England and planted him so firmly into the soil of his adopted homeland that he was both unable—and unwilling—to escape.

Buy this book on here.

Queer Links from the Week

Daejeon Access Book Traders

 Daejeon Access Book Traders was created to assist with getting something new to read while eliminating the middleman (used book stores).

I’m A Winner!

… and not just because my Mom says I’m a winner, although she does.

Tomorrow is the last day of National Novel Writing Month and I am not worried because thanks to yesterday’s marathon writing, I am finished!! On the 28th I wrote just shy of 5,000 words and crossed the line into 50,000 word territory!  The novel isn’t finished by any means, but it’s hopefully a good chunk of the way there.  This month really has taught me a lot about writing a novel and even gave me ideas about future novels.

Hitting the Wall

Here it is.  9 days left in my marathon that is the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a 50,000 word novel.  The way things look right now, I think I’ve hit the wall.  It’s funny how hitting the proverbial wall makes me want to hit a real wall.  9 DAYS! That seems like zero time at all right now.  I feel like it’s going to be more like 9 hours instead. This is the first time since I started where I’m not entirely sure I’m going to be able to finish on time.

Make Math a Subject in the Classroom With These Books for Sale

More cleaning out goodness going on over here. Before I started teaching math at my school two years ago I bought these books to get a sense of how to do it. They were really helpful in understanding how young learners take in Math and also helped me see ways to turn it around into English learning. Therefore they were incredibly useful books and I think would be great for your collection.

If you don't teach Math in your class then these might inspire you to do so, as they have lots of ideas. Also many games and activities are included, which you could easily put in the classroom.


Simple Scene, Sensational Shot by Simon Bond

Images courtesy of Simon Bond

Intercontinental Bookclub

I'm excited at the moment as a friend from home and I have decided to start our own bookclub. When I was back in the UK we always used to share books we'd read and love, so it's great that we can carry it on here.

Even better than that is the fact that he loved one of my all time favourite books, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon, so we have decided to start with the follow up book to that, Angel's Game. I'm having to play catch up at the moment though as he loved the first one so much he raced straight into the second one.

The Difference Engine

The Difference Engine

Little Prince Illustrated by Kim Min Ji

This week while I was hanging around the bookstore I came across an amazing table of beautifully illustrated classic children’s stories!! Red Haired Ann, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Little Prince 어린왕자 ~ Of course!! Oh Korea, you always show Little Prince so much love~ Lets take a look at some of the illustrations in the book♥

Style, And Korean And Burmese Days

In case you didn’t know, I am trying to write a good book about a Westerner’s experiences abroad; the story is very long, but the sentences are even longer (thoroughly un-slick, thoroughly un-Gladwellian), and there are far too many words; but then, in case you weren’t aware, a far greater writer already wrote a far better book about the subject, one I am re-reading right now: Burmese Days, by George Orwell.

The Games start soon!

Tomorrow night, my son and I will be watching Olympic swimming, and probably other sports and events.  I’m excited to see what the swimmers can do but also am envious of my son’s idealistic view of The Games.

If I were to write down my own version of an Athlete’s Credo, it would describe wanting to do my best but also wanting the same for my competitors.  I would prefer to win or lose and be secure in my belief that the outcome was correct.  If I were to win, I would want my opponent to say something like, “I did my best and you were better” rather than “If I’d had a better start…”.

Of course, I won’t be there competing and perhaps people who have put enough effort into getting there have different priorities.

From Morning Calm to the Rising Sun

In a little less than a week I will be in JAPAN!!  I'm really excited, and I devoted a big chunk of this past weekend getting ready and cleaning and making lots of lists.  I have also been doing some of my favorite things to do before a trip.

Books: Not only am I pouring over the guidebooks I've borrowed from friends (right now I have 2 Japan travel books and one Tokyo book),  but I've also decided what book to bring to read on the trip itself.  There's an awesome used English bookstore in my neighborhood called "Fully Booked" which is absolutely great (I'll devote a whole post to them later), but they had a few Murakami books on the shelves so I decided to be super nerdy and read "Kafka on the Shore" while traveling through Japan.  It was the first Murakami book I had ever read and one that I had passed on to other friends to read,  so I bought another copy and it worked out really well.  When I think of riding the trains through Japan, I think of Murakami.

What’s in My Bookcase?

This is a permanent collection. There’s a lot going on here. A lot of history. Not that many history books mind you.These shelves contain a few stories in the own right, and plenty of memories of friends who have left Korea among other stories.

The most significant feature in my apartment is probably the bookshelf. It’s a tall double-rowed case five bays high, but we’ve pushed it down on its side and it functions now as a room longth mantle piece where our television and family pictures now sit. Each of the book shelf bays is full, although not completely with books.

Sunday Reading Posts

In this new section in the Sajin, I am going to review the vast library of ebooks that I have collected over the past few years. I feel that these are a great way to spend a sunday evening after a great weekend. Typically, I read everything that I can on the different subjects that will promote my craft and give me the tools to be a better photographer. Now, these won’t always be directly on the topic of photography but they will be on topics that will help you get your name out, improve your blog and handle your business.

The purpose of this new section to The Sajin is to address the growing demand in Korea for english-language materials to aid in helping with the above topics and to showcase the ever-growing electronic library of excellent material that talented photographers, bloggers, and other smart people have been creating.

Kid Lit

Some certain media outlets would have you believe that as a teacher I am pushing my own agenda onto my students.  And they're right.

It is my mission this year to push my personal agenda of great books!

Thankfully my school is the perfect place for this.  We are stocked with a GIANT library of English story books.  We are so lucky to have such a have a huge selection.  There is everything from Curious George and Dr. Seuss classics to "How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight" which is a book I bought for my cousin's son this past Christmas.

I teach a weekly current events Kindergarten class called "Current Issue," which has turned into "Jenna-teacher-gets-to-pick-her-favorite-books-to-read-at-story-time", and so far the response from the kiddos has been great.

First Brush With Literary Fame

The response to one of my posts here, which was republished on asiapundits, was obscenely, overwhelmingly negative, although at the same time the owner of asiapundits has informed me that the article has gotten over a thousand views, which means that far more people than ever before are being exposed to my writing—even if that writing definitely isn’t my best.

Where the Wild Things Are

I love the book Where the Wild Things Are, I have since I was little.  I remember when my Kindergarten teacher read the book to the class, I also remember that I was convinced that it was a book written by her husband since both their last names were Sendak. 

To honor and remember the awesomeness that was Maurice Sendak's literary legacy, I decided yesterday's Current Issue class would be a great way to introduce some of Mr. Sendak's Wild Things to some of my Wild Things.

My Life in 10 Objects

I do this kind of regularly…not as regularly as I like to talk about myself, which I’m going to do a lot about in this post.

I see a blog post that someone else has written and then change the contents and talk about myself. I think you call it a meme. The more I read blogs, what with the whole blogging that I do myself, the more I’m inclined to copy other people’s posts and give my own take on a particular topic. There were a few about Korea and particular articles that were poorly drafted and spoke poorly of the land of the morning calm (heaven forbid). The thing is, I’ve no idea how I managed to ever get into this because I hardly read any blogs about Korea, at least not intentionally (a few links pop up on twitter and give them an ould click and my five minutes, but only every so often, and I won’t go into why I don’t do this now)

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