For The Bookworms

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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.  

And they are definitely better than nothing.  Though both of us miss traditional books, we do most of our reading on our Kindles, and they go with us basically everywhere.  However, both of us balk at how expensive new release books can be to download.  As a lifelong library lover, I am appalled by the idea of paying $12 for a virtual copy of a title I’m not sure I’ll adore. Nor am I willing to pay top dollar for bookstore paperbacks we will eventually have to leave in Korea.  Bottom line:  we’re cheapskates, and because of this, we don’t get to read as much as we’d like.  

We’ve been coping with this literary deficit in a variety of ways.  We watch sales on Amazon like hawks, swooping down on cheap downloads like little old ladies at Saturday morning yard sales.  We horde our birthday and holiday Amazon gift cards, waiting for the perfect purchase to justify parting with our precious store credits.  We read classics, which are mostly free to download, but not always the kind of light reading you want to do on short daily bus and subway commutes.  Ric, who reads much more quickly than I, forces himself to re-read a book on his Kindle before he will allow himself to buy a new one.  

We went on this way for the first six months or so in Korea.  Then our first winter came, and we found ourselves stir-crazy by February.  That’s when we found Fully Booked, an English language used bookstore in the KSU area.  We cannot sing the praises of this establishment loudly enough.  When our hagwon decided to clear off its bookshelves after one of them collapsed under the combined weight of years of English language learning materials, we took the small collection of books in English to Fully Booked.  (We had, of course,already read them in our earlier desperate source for literary sustenance.)  We traded these and a couple of titles we brought with us in for store credit and have been happily living off the trade credit for a while now.  While not as enormous and all-encompassing as Seoul’s What the Book, Fully Booked is perfectly equipped to serve as a reader’s library for the indiscriminate expat bookworm.  There’s a good mix of standard and more unusual titles, and I can always find something I’m excited about reading.  

In addition to serving as a used bookstore, Fully Booked also offers a small food menu and an eclectic array of beverage options.  It’s got a chill, coffee-shop vibe, and the employees there are always super-nice. In short, you should definitely check it out.  For more information, visit their Busan Haps page here or their Facebook page.  

Happy reading!  

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: books, Busan, Fully Booked, Korea, reading, Things to Do


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