Days ago, I found out that a local publishing office called Kimchi Press by Summit Books released the English translation of popular Korean novels that were adapted into drama series or movies. Their very first work was My Name is Kim Sam Soon. It’s a drama that is so dear to my heart for three reasons: 1. Kim Sun Ah, 2. Hyun Bin, and 3. Finally, a story where the average girl gets the perfect guy. I’m just so sick and tired of stories where the perfect girl ends up with the perfect guy. Of course, she’s perfect so I see no reason why the perfect guy wouldn’t like her. She’s got that slender body, that gorgeous face, the money, a good family background and a kind personality to top it all off. She’s got everything so it’s not a mystery why the perfect guy fell for her. It’s so predictable. But what if the girl has a plump body and short legs, who doesn’t have that killer look, who doesn’t come from a rich family, who is not as poised as the other girls? What made the perfect guy like her? What did he see in her? I think that’s more intriguing than the perfect-girl x perfect-guy story.
Anyway, back to the topic.
They also published the English version of Nine, A Werewolf Boy and the latest addition to their collection, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. I’ve been wanting to get a copy of My Name is Kim Sam Soon and The 1st of Coffee Prince but it’s so hard to find it here in our city. There’s still no decent bookstores around, just school supplies stores. But I was able to get a copy of The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince through the help of my friend who has a friend who went for a quick trip to Cebu.
Here’s some details about the novel:
Title: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
Author: Sun Mi Lee
Translator: Martin S.W. Yang
Illustrator: Sabrina Lajara
First off, I love the cover. It’s so cute and well, I like mint (or teal, whatever you call it). The illustration is very nice but I hope they added some muscles on Han Gyul’s body because Gong Yoo (the actor who played the role of Han Gyul) was buff and he had a really good physique and that’s how I picture Han Gyul, a guy with a really great body. *wiggles my eyebrows* Okay, I sound like a pervert. Haha!
As for the translation, I’m seriously considering buying the Korean version of this novel as well just so I could check some lines because I feel like some parts were translated awkwardly and literally so it doesn’t sound very natural in English. I don’t know. I just had that feeling while reading the book. It’s the same feeling I get when I translate Korean articles to English. I don’t know how to explain that feeling but I’ll give it a try. It’s like this. Whenever I read a very emotional letter written in Korean, it sounds so beautiful and even moves me to tears but when translated to English, it fails to make me feel the emotions that I felt when I first read it in Korean. I think I failed to get my point across but at least you get the idea of what that feeling is. Anyway, there were some typos and there were parts where the names got mixed up. For example:
Park Do Hoon came in between the two. “Hey, what are you doing? We were waiting for you inside. Everybody thought you left already.”
“What are you doing in that dark room? It’s stuffy. Tell them to come out,” YOO JOO said.
“Should ten move out just because of you?”
“Hello! Don’t you see me?”
Do Hoon pretended to be surprised at Yoo Joo’s words. “Oh, wow! Is that you? I thought this guy was scoring. What happened to you? You’ve become more beautiful. I really thought you were a fairy.”
It should be Han Gyul’s name written there, not Yoo Joo. Lol!
This book caught my attention but it kinda failed to hold my interest. I don’t know if I just have a lot on my mind because I’m stressed or maybe I’m simply not in the mood to read or maybe because I already know the plot so I’m not as excited anymore but this is not one of those I’ll-stay-up-late-if-I-have-to-and-I-won’t-put-it-down-until-I-read-the-last-page kind of book. Maybe it’s the storytelling or maybe it’s the way it was translated. (I’m not blaming the translator. I think he really did a wonderful job. It’s just inevitable that there really are things that get lost in translation.) I can’t really tell but it’s probably just me. Halfway through the book, I decided to stop reading it for now and read it again when my mind and schedule is less cluttered than it is now because I feel like it’s one of the reasons why I fail to fully appreciate and enjoy this book. Surely you do know how it feels to be guilty about reading a book for pleasure when you’ve got other more important and urgent things to do.
I’ll try to write a more in-depth review of this book when I finish reading it. This is just my first impression of the book. For those who don’t live in the Philippines but wants a copy of this novel, I can try and help you get a copy but you’ll have to pay for the shipping fee and stuff.