A Great Source of Information

Introduction to the Sallim Knowledge Series


The Sallim Knowledge Series in the stacks at Naver Library
Photo: Da Eun Jung

When I entered university, two problems made my studies more difficult. First, because I wasn’t equipped with the background information I needed to understand important points in many of my lectures, too much information was given in a short time. Next, the books I needed to read for my major caused me feelings of despair. They were so thick that I thought I might be able to stop bullets with them. Additionally, they were written in a way that was very hard to understand. In order to read higher level books like the ones for my major, I had to find easier (and thinner!) books that would contain only the information I needed.

If you’re in the same boat, I’d like to introduce the Sallim Knowledge Series 『살림지식총서』.  There are many reasons to check this series out.

First, the books are very thin and short, one book containing 150-200 pages. Each book focuses on a specific topic, and it’s relatively easy to focus on reading in a short time. At the same time, the tiny size of the books gives the reader less psychological pressure. Second, it is a good source of background information that university students need to make their studies richer and more interesting. Despite their size, the books are quite scholarly. Third, there is a wide range of topics divided into eight categories: science, practical topics, social studies, history, art, religion, literature, and philosophy. So, you can get advanced knowledge related to your area of interest and even get a taste of new areas you’re curious about. Finally, they are easy to get. The publisher has an e-book app (AndroidiOS), so you can read many of the books on your smartphone. Each book is around 2,000 won, so they’re easy on the wallet.

However, the writing style is not always easy. Based on my experience, the books use numerous literary expressions and a high level of vocabulary. Therefore, reading the series can be challenging for those who have only recently learned Korean. Still, there is no harm in giving it a try. It will be a good chance to enhance your Korean reading skills while exploring intriguing topics.

If you want to try this series, I recommend the Story of Tea 『홍차이야기』 which introduces the history of tea and explains its role in the modern world. For me, majoring in global studies, it was a great chance to connect some new knowledge to other disciplines like history and culture, broadening my perspective of the world.

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