Reading Volume 2 of Ms.Kim's series
I'm almost done with Volume 2 of Janice Kim's Learn to Play Go series. I very much enjoyed the structure of Volume 1. It reminded me of the progressive teaching method used in an old classic, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, which, in my opinion, is one of the best beginners' books for that game. In the progressive teaching method, the reader is slowly advanced into, and tested against, increasing levels of tactics and strategy.
Criticisms of her series are really focused on only one shortcoming which, in my opinion, is the natural flip-side of this teaching method. You need more page space to give the student systematic and gradual training. It's been said that all the material in the first three volumes of the Learn to Play Go series (a total cost of $45 at full retail) can be found in a single copy of Go For Beginners ($12 at full retail). That's probably true, but speaking for myself, I find that I better understand and retain the material when using Ms.Kim's books.
People have different learning abilities and styles. I think Ms.Kim's series fills the needs of a good many of us, even if it costs $33 more. For some people that I had talked to before I made the serious plunge into this game, her books made Go more accessible and enjoyable.
Janice Kim has the unique distinction of being the only lady, US-born professional and of having studied with the Korean Baduk Association (also known as the Hankook Kiwon). It's my understanding that her books use translated materials from the association. I believe that her current rank is 3p.
When I've reached a certain milestone in my training, I hope to reward myself with a Deluxe Traditional Home Set from her online store, Samarkand.