Currently reading: Chinese, Korean and Japanese novels

I recently started a Chinese novel, and I am now currently reading novels in my three target languages at the same time. It is rather a rare occurrence, so I thought I’d write a post about my current reads.


Japanese is by far the easiest language to me, and when reading crime fiction, I rarely come across novels that I find difficult to read. There are exceptions of course like the ukiyo-e trilogy by Katsuhiko Takahashi (the difficulty came from the content and the lack of furigana), or 不連続殺人事件 by Ango Sakaguchi (the author style and the dialogues made me struggle a bit), but I never started a book that was so difficult to read that I had to give up. I somehow even managed to go through 無惨 by Ruiko Kuroiwa.

The book I’m reading at the moment is the contrary: one of the easiest novels I have read. Before reading 点と線, I didn’t know that Seicho Matsumoto would be so easy to read. ゼロの焦点 is even easier if possible, because the plot does not use the train motif that is centre to 点と線. The novel is almost entirely based on dialogues, there are a lot of repetitions, the plot is relatively simple compared to 点と線 which incorporated many tricks and puzzles to solve.

I started reading in Japanese with Keigo Higashino, and I’ve always considered this author to be one of the easiest to read in Japanese (when it comes to crime fiction), but now I regret not starting with Seicho Matsumoto instead. I would say that both 点と線 and ゼロの焦点 are easier to read than the Kyoichiro Kaga series for example, and it would have made sense to start exploring Japanese detective fiction with Seicho Matsumoto.

I’ve almost finished it, but the end is getting so repetitive that it slowed down my reading quite a lot!


Korean should be the language I am the most comfortable with after Japanese, but reading in Korean remains a real struggle. Even though I think that I made progress over the last two years (when I started to read regularly in Korean), it is still difficult compared to Japanese or even Chinese! Contrary to Japanese, there are books in Korean that I give up because they are too difficult to read. It happened recently with a novel called 백만 유튜버 죽이기 by 박힘찬, I really had a hard time going through the first pages, and I decided to set it aside because I didn’t have the courage to continue.

Thankfully, the novel I am reading now is much easier to read. It is the novelisation of a YouTube horror story by 숫노루TV, and even though they have uploaded hundreds of horror stories on their channels, I believe that 복행 마을 생활 수칙 is their first publication. I am only at page 64, but this novel is perfect for my level, and even though the beginning felt a bit slow, once the protagonist arrives at the village, things get suddenly more interesting.

Even with an easy book, opening the pages and seeing all that hangeul still feels discouraging. I think people usually have that feeling when seeing a page full of Chinese characters, but to me it is really the hangeul that gives this impression. Even though the novel is easy to understand and even though I don’t need to look up words, reading in hangeul is tiring to me. Rather than saying that reading in Korean is hard, I think it is more correct to say that I get tired more quickly and so I really need an engrossing book to find the motivation to continue reading.


And finally Chinese is the language I am the least comfortable with, but Zijin Chen’s books are so easy to read! I know that my Chinese level is not high, and when I read my first novel in Chinese, I had to skim through passages that were too difficult to me, and even though I managed to follow what was going on, there was also a lot that I could not understand. Yet, I feel like I understand everything in 坏小孩. I look up words now and then, but for the most part, I can guess the meaning of unknown words, and I look up words mostly to check out their pronunciation.

It’s funny because my reading speed is very low in Chinese, but I don’t find it tiring like Korean. If I am tired and want to relax, I will always pick the Chinese book over the Korean one.

I am at page 70 right now, I was hoping that I could finish it this month, but there are still 300 pages to go. Let’s make it a challenge for April!