Beanie level: Rooftop room dweller

TSLOMS, you were charmingly weird, and I will remember you fondly. But most of all, I thank you for no time skips, childhood connection, or miracle cure. Oh, and KYK’s tailor.

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While book mail is the best kind of mail, fiber mail is a good solid second. This pile was advertised as the makings of a sushi scarf, but I’m going to call a kimbap scarf instead. And I just now realized that this is a very fitting tribute to one of my favorite drama characters: Ajummha. So, my plan for the second half of this week is to wear slouchy clothes, hide in my house, stare at a computer, and knit this scarf.

P.S. I survived the Beanie meetup with @isthatacorner and @hotcocoagirl, and I would like to report that I basically sat back and watched a new buddy comedy show in the making. Well, a buddy comedy where they plot revenge, casting (or was it kidnapping) oppas, and what is the appropriate age gap for their future noona romances. In all seriousness, every meeting with new friends should include finger hearts, deep discussions about the secret identity of Truck of Doom, and what part of the serial killer uniform we would find uncomfortable. For the record, I think we all agreed the mask was not for us.

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    Masks aint so bad once you get used to them but I definitely recommend a more fabric one with a filter that actually fits you than a budget disposable one

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    Ah, I’m jealous. I hope to meet some of my online Asian drama family in person one day.

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    *claps loudly for the beauty that is fiber mail*

    Also, I feel personally offended by y’all’s level of awesomeness.

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    Will we ever know the true identity of ToD?

    I hope you have a supply of kimbap ingredients handy. You’ll need the nourishment to stay up all night plotting and knitting.

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      Many ToD theories were discussed, and we came to a couple possibilities.

      We might have even discussed what your secret identity is. (this statement may be true for all beanies)

      My cupboards are mostly bare. Where’s the nearest errand boy to bring me kimbap supplies?

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        My secret identity is fairly boring given that the highlight of my week was your Beanie meeting. We have a so many errand boys to choose from… I’m on my way.

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    I honestly can’t even fathom how awesome you three are together. Your suggestion to hop in my car and drive to Minneapolis would have been tempting if I hadn’t been working. But also I might’ve just gone into the same coffee shop and sat at another table and just observed.

    Except Coco knows what I look like so that wouldn’t have worked anyway. Crap.

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      Coco said you were intimidatingly cute, and given the epic cuteness of Coco, I’m not sure I could handle being with that much adorableness.

      But next year, when Coco has to come back for her yearly wedding in MN, you must join the fun. BTW, we decided it would be @isthatacorner‘s wedding (future spouse tbd), and she would have a Food Truck of Doom at the reception.

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        Me and the word “intimidating” in the same sentence is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen

        Coco was just being nice I’m the most boring person ever

        What would the Food Truck of Doom serve?

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Dear Beanies,

I\’m waiting at the coffee shop to meet up with isa and Coco. If you never hear from me again, well, don\’t do anything because I\’m sure they would have a good reason to disappear me.

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I always thought the title The Secret Life of My Secretary wasn\’t quite right for the show, but with the revelation of the vigilante secretaries it makes perfect sense now. Also, vigilante secretaries is a perfect punk band name, and if I were a musical sort I would start one. We would, of course, wear comfortable cardigans with our kick-ass boots, our logo would include a fish, and our touring van would be a white ToD.

Now I want the webtoon of this: Vigilante secretaries by day, punk band at night, and the cardigan wearing punk ajummhas in kick-ass boots hunting targets in their white truck.

Don’t mind me, I think I need more coffee.

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egads gently nudges you to pick up this novel because she realizes that last week she was a bit bossy with her edict to read a book.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a deep enduring affection for the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Elizabeth Gaskell. I have spent countless hours reading, rereading, studying, and writing about their works, and yet I always find some new nugget each time I open one of their books. I also adore watching and critiquing the film and television adaptations (*waves to the Mr. Thornton fan club), and have enjoyed the many conversations here about both the books and films. Korean dramas have a lot in common with my favorite 19th century fiction, but that is a whole other thesis waiting to be written.

What I want to talk about here is a modern day retelling of one of my favorites, Pride and Prejudice. There are a plethora of these retellings to be found in your local library. Some are good, some are not, but one thing is certain: If I stumble upon it, I will check it out. The more of them I read, the more I find that the most successful of these novels are the ones that use the source material not so much as blueprint for their story, but rather as inspiration. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are iconic characters and to try to shift their 19th century selves into the 21st century takes more than just replacing their pelisses and cravats with yoga gear and t-shirts.

This brings me to the book I’m nudging you to read: Pride by Ibi Zoboi. Not so much a faithful and exacting modern retelling of Austen’s novel, Pride, is better described, as the author does, as a remix.

This contemporary remix puts us in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York where we meet Zuri, a high school student. Zuri has a plan: graduate from high school, attend Howard University, and collect the “wisdoms found in old, dusty books written by wrinkled brown hands…and take them with me back home to sprinkle all over Bushwick like rain showers.” Boys? Boys are not in her plans.

Well, until the wealthy family of the cold (Remote? Aloof? Standoffish? Or is it rude?) Darius Darcy moves in across the street. In classic Austen fashion, they have the necessary prickly beginning to their relationship, but as always, this is what makes their inevitable coming together that much better.

Pride does at times, try a bit too hard to stay true to the source material by inserting characters and scenes, but I forgive it, because Zuri and Darius find their own selves without being constrained by the specters of Elizabeth and Darcy. I just plain liked these two kids struggling to define their place within their changing families, neighborhood, and the wider world. And while their romance centers the novel, what I found most compelling is the relationship between Zuri and her home.

Like Austen, Zoboi is able to conjure the particularities of place and time, but this place instead of being set within the bubble of Austenian England, is the changing, gentrifying Brooklyn. Zui and Darius are on the cusp of changing their lives as they move forward to adulthood, but so is the neighborhood changing as wealth begins to infiltrate and transform the streets Zuri loves.

I could go on, but would rather you read and meet the Benetiz family and their neighbors yourself. Additionally, I would like to start a conversation about your favorite modern retellings of classic novels. Why do you like them? What makes them work for you? And which ones fell completely flat?

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    Ooooh, that sounds interesting. I might have to check that out. Is this a YA or adult novel? Either way, never thought there’d be a Pride and Prejudice set in Bushwick 😂.

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      YA, but definitely worth the adult reader’s time just like most YA.

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        Ok, cool. I read YA too, so that doesn’t bother me. But I do like to know before I start reading, since it lets me know what to expect.

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          I didn’t mean to sound snarky. Sorry. I do think people dismiss YA too easily, but some really great writing is aimed at the young adult market, but that YA designation seems to be a brick wall that some readers won’t bother to scale. *steps down from soapbox*

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            I think the best new books over the last 10 years or so have been YA.

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            No worries 😉. I get it. People do really look down on certain genres like YA and fantasy, both of which have some literature. It’s a shame they get such a bad rap.

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            I’ve read some really good YA – not even knowing it was that kind of book.
            Is The Golden Compass series designated as YA? LOVED them.

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            @stpauligurl
            Yep, they are YA! I love that series as well.

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    Sounds great. I love Pride and Prejudice and adaptations of it 💕

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    This sounds really good! Pride and Prejudice is one of my favs and I was actually going to head to the bookshop today so I will be on the lookout for this one

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    I just finished a P&P adaptation two weeks ago (read it in 2 days) called Ayesha At Last a modern retelling that keeps the broad structure of the story while rearranging the archetypes of the secondary characters in a way that worked well in the setting. It was set in modern Toronto in the South Asian Muslim community, so I identified strongly with the story and the setting as a South Asian Muslim myself. But what surprised me the most was that despite being able to identify strongly with these characters, it also gave me insight to the parts of my community that I have had a hard time understanding as an American born and raised Muslim, despite strong ties to my South Asian roots and community. As someone who doesn’t cover her hair and whose parents aren’t going to be schilling her with a resume to all the available bachelors (UGHHHH) it was a way for me to understand how and why women who do participate in those traditions think and feel. But more than that, it was a great way to show western audiences that so much of what we experience is the same as them. We are not the other.

    In terms of writing, I will say the last act moves a bit quickly and feels a little rushed, but overall that wasn’t enough to ruin it. The book was published in Canada last year, and has already been optioned for TV or a movie (can’t remember) and just came out here in the US two weeks ago. I can’t recommend it enough.

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      You just tipped this from my wishlist to my cart. The familial and societal constructs in Pride and Prejudice seem to be ripe for adaptation from non-Western-centric cultures, and I am here for it. With the added benefit of a familiar story base it also provides a platform for an often resistant audience to stories outside of the so-called mainstream cultural experience. Hopefully, they then jump to works further broaden that reading experience.

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        Do it! I literally was counting the days until it was available here. I am kicking myself for not buying it when I was in Toronto last year just after it came out. I really look forward to what this writer has to offer in the future. Yes, she is a bit green in some parts, but it’s such a solid debut that shows so much promise for her future.

        The thing I loved best about this was that it was very clear that the writer never felt beholden to the original story. She kept the core in tact (man and woman hate-to-love and misunderstandings) but she changed certain things to make the story her own. I won’t give it away, but there is something that happens early on that is what shapes the story into something new, which makes it feel really fresh and stands out. I know there are other South Asian adaptations of the story, but this is the one that stood out the most for me. I think the lovely thing about Austen is that because her stories are so grounded in the middle class and in telling the stories of people she is ripe for adaptation across cultures and times.

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          I downloaded Ayesha at Last on my kindle app, and am halfway through already. I’m loving that we get Khalid’s pov because otherwise he would seem even stiffer and more foreboding than Darcy.

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            I really don’t think the story could work without his POV. His character growth is almost more important in this story than Ayesha’s. We know where she falls short and needs to improve, but with a character like Khalid who lives by a set of rules that is so foreign, that insight is necessary for us to see how radical (no pun intended) his growth is, and how he can change his views and yet keep his core values in tact.

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      Lol. I bought this as soon as it was available in the States…..and now it has sat unread in my library. Well I started it, just have to get back to it.

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      I have just ordered it from Amazon 😆 I need some right book for my after-surgery healing period next week 😉

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    I quite enjoyed Pride, Prejudice and Jasmine Field by Melissa Nathan. Though I read it many years ago.

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    Love the cover. Have seen such mixed reviews for thos one that I haven’t tried it yet. Recently bought Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin that is also a retelling. Though haven’t got to it yet.
    After I watched North and South years ago I haunted the local book store for a copy. I think I finally picked it up at B&N, and now it taunts me because I still haven’t read it.
    My goal for summer should be to finally read it, The Lies of Locke LaMora, and maybe a re read of Anne of Green Gables or Jane Eyre.

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      Read it – so good. I read it in two days. I also need to finish Locke Lamora (I read like 95% of it and just never had time to finish it – I even have the second book). I’m so behind on my reading goal this year. I’m finishing my reread of Good Omens right now so I can hopefully binge the series soon, and then I need to finish Sarah Dessen’s latest. I don’t know why, but I always read a lot when it’s summer. I did an Anne reread a few years ago and I forgot how much I loved that book, though Emily of New Moon always appealed to me more.

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    Thank you for this recommendation @egads I will certainly look this up and have also enjoyed remakes and retakes on all those authors.
    When I was in my 30’s newly divorced, going to school part-time to get my BA – I had a Women and Literature class. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I do love literature and reading. However I’d never read any of the ‘classics’ and so was hesitant when the professor said our homework was to read the first half of Pride and Prejudice – yawn…. I thought it would be so hard to read..

    I will never forget that first line of the book and read it in my car during lunch at work and could barely put it down to go back to my desk. I was HOOOKEDDDD!!!! Of course I read the whole book before the next class and then started to gobble up all the books by the books by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I’ve never looked back and honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice.

    Valley Girl is my favorite retelling of Emma…

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      My first Austen’s book was Northanger Abbey… and I laughed so much 😁😁 I could never understand why people found it boring. Austen has great sense of humour and I love her for that.

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        My Victorian lit professor made us read Northanger Abbey because she hated how underrated it is. It’s great how it plays with and pokes fun at gothic conventions and how silly yet sweet the heroine is. It really felt like Austen was having fun writing it.

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      Sometimes I wish I could read them all again for the first time. Isn’t it marvelous to find a new author to love when you least expect it?

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        Yes – it reminds me of reading Maya Angelou for the first time. My mom and I went through all her books. Finding new authors is always a joy…

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    Thanks for this recommendation! It sounds awesome, putting it on my list.

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I binged Good Omens, the series based on the Gaiman/Pratchett novel, and I think that was just the love story I was looking for.

Also I think I just needed a dose of snarky David Tennant.

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    Sold. I’ve been looking at it all weekend.

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    Been so busy I haven’t been able to get to it yet. Good to know it’s enjoyable! I have been super excited for this to come out. Loved the book and love Neil Gaiman. I believe Gaiman wrote the screenplay.

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      I never read the novel. I love Gaiman’s concepts but can’t ever seem to get into his writing style.

      Fun fact: Gaiman is a polite man who is nice to store clerks. He occasionally shopped at a store I worked in about 10 or more years ago.

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egads tells you to read a book: Post #2

Admittedly, I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. Likely the biggest blame for this lies with the glut and ease of streaming media. However, two other contenders have done their damage. First, returning to school to study literature, linguistics, and writing left me with little time for recreational reading. (And truthfully, it’s now difficult to turn off the analytic reading muscles and just enjoy the story.) Second, I got older, and when you get older your eyes get older, which means you might not be able to read in bed without your glasses like you used to, or worse, your progressive lenses mean you need to position the book just so in front of your face, which means you can’t lie comfortably and read like you had done since you could first hold a book on your own. I would tell you to not get older, but that doesn’t seem like a good recommendation.

So, in order to bring up my yearly completed books count, I’ve made an effort to be more mindful of the time I spend reading and to decrease the amount of time spent mindlessly watching shows that I’m not actively enjoying. This is not to say that I’m giving up dramas (yeah, no, that’s not happening), I’m just giving up watching the bad, the boring, and the rage inducing, while also trying to return to books. But truthfully, sometimes books can be bad, boring, and rage inducing, and I’m learning to let go of those too. By now, you all have either drifted away or are wondering if I’ll ever get to the book recommendation. I will. Here we go.

This week’s recommendation is the newest novel by Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women. I’ve been a fan of See’s work for years, but I think this is her most compelling novel in a while, and it appears that she has done some fairly deep historical digging in order to write about a particularly difficult period in Korean history.

The Island of Sea Women takes us to Jeju Island during the Japanese occupation, through World War II and the aftermath, and weaves in events during the year 2008. The haenyeo, the women divers, of Jeju Island harvest seafood to provide food and income for their families, and the novel gives us the first-person account of the diver Young-sook through her childhood, haenyeo training, marriage, and more.

As she does in most of her novels, See centers the novel on a friendship between two women. Here we have Young-sook and her childhood companion and friend Mi-ja. They learn to dive together, they go on lucrative assignments to the freezing waters Vladivostok, Russia together, and they marry and have their first children at nearly the same time. But just as colonial forces and war brutalize the Korean people and nation, so do they have lasting effects on the lives and relationship of the two women.

I don’t want to give spoilers, but if anyone has even a passing curiosity about Korea during the Japanese occupation and the aftermath of World War II, this book will reveal many of the day to day trials Korean citizens, especially the women, endured as they worked to keep their families fed and safe. I found the minutiae of the haenyeo craft fascinating, and learning the sheer physical and psychological toll this job entails, I’m even more boggled by their strength and courage. Add in the pressures of patriarchal cultural norms, subsistence living, war, and other challenges, and honestly, I’m floored.

One thing to note, this is not a light-hearted read. Not that it’s a dirge, but See does not romanticize the dangers the haenyeo face each time they dive, nor does she shy away from the cruel viciousness of occupation and war. (Warning: I was listening to the audio book in a public space when something particularly shocking and brutal happened, and I quite embarrassingly burst into tears.)

While not a perfect novel (I found the ending somewhat rushed and too emotionally “perfect.” Hmm, where have we seen that before?), I do think it’s one that should be read by those that do not understand the very deep scars embedding Korean society. Not only does See delve into the wounds caused by outside forces, but she also does not shy away from the corruption and violence Korea inflicted on its own people.

I also think, that you, as sophisticated drama watchers, will be able to see the cultural implications of the novel’s plot and characters that the average reader does not. Again, let me know what you think and if you have any recommendations of your own.

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    Well, I guess I got a bit wordy. Sorry.

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    I’ve been looking forward to your next recommendation! This sounds really interesting. I’ll have to see if my library has it.

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    OK. This is interesting. You exactly write about me who have forgotten how to read books because of drama. As same as you, l am trying to back to reading and I start with history since I like golden age of middle east history. I might digging in korean history as historical drama is my favourite.

    I am looking forward for your next recommendation.

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    I also have stopped reading more or less. Too much going on in my life. Dramas take so much less effort. But I don’t like that I’ve become more of a viewer than a reader. So thank you for this recommendation. I just ordered it from the library. I don’t promise to read it, but I’ll look it over and give it a try.

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      OK, I have it and I’ve read the beginning. I also peeked through the rest of the book. I like it. I like that it’s as much about strong women and women’s friendship as it is about the suffering that occurred under the Japanese occupation. Thanks, @egads.

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    Thank you for a good book review @egads. Like you I love to read, but I can’t read as long as I used to – old eyes…
    I’ve think that I’ve read other books by Lisa See, but when I looked up the list, I didn’t recognize any.
    With that, however I saw this book previously and have wanted to read it. Your recommendation seals it.
    “Daughters of the Dragon” by William Andrews is also REALLY good but it is a hard read. The story is about a Korean adoptee going to SK to search for her birth mother, and instead finding her grandmother who was a Comfort Woman in WWII.
    The author did a great deal of research and just so happens to have an adopted daughter from Korea.
    A good book is hard to put down and I’ll add your recommendation to my audible book list.
    thanks!

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      Thanks for the recommendation. Really the eyes have been the most annoying thing about getting old.

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        For me it’s too much looking at screens – on my phone, iPad and laptop… And my eyes get dry then blurry.
        When I try to sit and read a book I get sleepy.
        aging is certainly not for weaklings is it?

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      Daughters of the Dragon was only 99¢ for Kindle, so I have it downloaded and am gonna start it soon. Thanks

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        I think that’s what I paid. But it’s worth it. He has another book, but it isn’t 99 cents.

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    I’m loving your recs Egads! And I don’t think it was wordy at all:) I’ve been getting back to reading this year and hearing more audiobooks as well, so I always love a good recommendation since my library is not well stocked, but I can always get a book put on hold and sent over. I’m actually reading one of Lisa See’s books: Peony In Love. So far it is very interesting and I just want to read more about this time period in China and all the writing the ladies did during the transition in power. I still can’t with foot binding though, man, women always have it rough!

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      Peony in Love is probably my favorite Lisa See novel. The foot binding….man, she really evokes the reality of that and how it affected them physically for the rest of their lives.

      I think that’s why I like her books so much because these are the details of women’s lives we don’t get in the history books, and yet they have major cultural ramifications. This is also true of the haenyeo.

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      Audiobooks is what helps me get books read anymore. I listen to them while working in my garden. However when the book is good I get caught up in it and don’t stop working for hours and then can’t move my back for days.
      Peony in Love is on my shelf – but I can’t remember if I read it. Oh well….
      Like the rest of you beanies here I’m not reading as much as I used to – but I’ve always loved books about and by Asian authors. We should come up with a list.

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        I love audiobooks. That you can read and do all sorts of other things at the same time is great. Do you use Audible? I’ve also used some of my credits for a few of the Great Coursed they have, and have really enjoyed those too.

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          I do use Audible. In fact I was a member of Audible before they were acquired by Amazon and thank goodness I still have all the books I bought (which were plenty). Before that I checked out cassette tapes of books from the library. But when my sons gave me a iPod for my birthday everything changed.
          I used my latest credit to get Michelle Obama’s book but I haven’t started it yet.

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        I’m the cleaner of the house and I always have to be listening to something in order for the tasks to go faster. I was surprised when I got through an audiobook pretty quickly. Either I was engrossed in the book or I did way too much cleaning, hehe.

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          Back when I lived in MN – I cleaned empty apartments and apartment buildings to help with my rent. Because it usually took HOURS to do several buildings and apartments, I went through a LOT of very long books! However turning up the sound to listen over the vacuum caused me some hearing loss and tinitus.
          To this day I can’t get ready for a good clean anywhere without a good book on hand.
          I also listen in when working in my garden – which is fine until I realize I’ve been working for 3-4 hours straight and I’m exhausted. Just a wee problem…

          love love audio books.

          There was a time when I’d be reading a couple of hard books and listening to an audio book and would get confused about what story I was reading.

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            I clean and read too, and my ears have also suffered some damage.

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            So our generation is going to the ones with severe hearing loss and tinitus as we wobble around the assisted living places with cell phones in hand.
            haa

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            I always come out fine in my hearing tests, but my ears always hurt, like they are itchy so maybe its my allergies. I hate wearing earphones but its necessary in my house, so I play my book only just a little over the sound of water and then I pause it to vacuum. It’s really inconvenient when I get to a good part in a book. So I wait for the chapter to end which is probably why I take forever to clean haha😂

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            I had NO IDEA that turning up the ear buds to hear the book over the vacuum cleaner was damaging my ears.

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      A book that is also REALLY good – a memoir called “Wild Swans” and it’s actually banned in China. I loved it and gave several copies away.
      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0036QVOIW/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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    I just finished In “Order to Live” by Yeonmi Park and “The Island of Sea Women” is on my list after I finish “Barracoon” by Zora Neale Hurston. I’ve found myself taking a long time to read anything the last few years. I used to read several books a month.

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      You might also like Without You, There is No is No Us: Undercover Among the Son’s of North Korea’s Elite. The author, Suki Kim went undercover as an English teacher in North Korea, and it’s both fascinating and terrifying. There were portions that made my blood chill when considering the similarities between the personalities of leaders of NK and the US.

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        Maybe after the next election? (I’ll put it on my list.) I’m eying “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea”.

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        @egads – because of you I purchased more credits so that I could download “Without You There is No Us” – the narrator sounds really good from the sample. I’ll let you know after I listen to some of it while working in my garden or *shudder* cleaning my house! haha

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        hi there @egads– I got up early this morning and went out to work in the yard so i put in an audiobook. It is now mid afternoon and I just finished it.
        For some reason I thought it was the book you recommended on N Korea, but instead it is “A River in Darkness” – by Misaji Ishikawa.
        It his story of moving to NK from Japan (repatriated) in the 60s when he was a young boy with his parents and sisters. His father was South Korean and his mother Japanese.

        The reader is excellent but the story is heartbreaking. I was driving in the car with tears streaming down my cheeks.
        It is good, (only 6 hrs ) but heartbreaking as anything.

        Now I need to read/watch something cheerful and fluffy – oh wait I’ll turn my brain off and watch Arthdal!

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          I call that needing a brain cleanser. Light, fluffy, and no angst in sight is necessary after so much emotional involvement.

          *takes note of A River in Darkness

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    Thanks for the recommendation! This sounds like a great read. I’ll be picking up a copy from my local library later this week. I only started getting back into reading for fun last month. Grad school really sucked the fun out of reading for me but I’m finally starting to see the light again.

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RH? Is that you?

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You know that moment when you decide to reread that book that you just told everyone to read, so you pull it off the shelf and randomly think to yourself, “I wonder how old this edition is?” see the date of publication is 1926, and think “Wow, this book is almost 100 years old,” then think, “Wait, when was this titled first released?” and then go to the Google machine, and learn that the copy you have been schlepping around for decades is a first edition? You know, that moment you remove the candy wrapper you used as a bookmark the last time you read the book, and think about how that $2 book you bought at a dirty used book store a long, long time ago was read at the beach, on the bus, during dinner, while soaking in the bathtub, and when feeding babies, even the baby that often urped up her dinner regularly. I had that moment tonight.

Anyways, this plain little book is worth so much more than I thought. But you know what? I’m going to read it tonight, and probably use a receipt or a random scrap of paper for a bookmark because I think L.M. Montgomery would love that 93 years later, someone had a much loved copy of her work in their hands. I probably won’t read it in the bath anymore though.

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On Twitter this morning, @odilettante reminded me of one of my very favorite books. Many, if not most, of you are familiar with L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series that well deserves the enduring love of readers over the last century. However, one of her lesser known stand-alone novels is a book I read at least once a year. It is for me the literary equivalent of a cup of hot cocoa, or a warm loaf of bread that you tear into hot out of the oven.

I have lots of favorite books, and I think I’m going to start a weekly post recommending both old and new favorites because I know the reading impulse in strong in many Beanies. And also, because I’m a book pusher. I can’t help it. I want you to love the words I love. (You don’t really have to love them, but I do just want to nudge you to maybe try it.) Therefore, I’m going to use my fan wall to push books that have kdrama-esque plots, or are related to Korea in some way, or are just so dang good that I want you to know about them.

If you don’t like to read, that’s fine, just scroll on by. If you do like to read, hi friend, let’s talk. Please give me your recommendations and opinions, because as we all know, Beanies are an opinionated lot who are passionate about their entertainment.

Anyway, back to L.M. Montgomery. Like the dramas that we all go back to when we need a good uplifting tale that doesn’t have too much of an emotional rollercoaster ride, I also have a list of books that I return to time and time again for that familiar and comforting story that leaves you feeling good when you reach the last page. The one I return to most frequently, for a quick afternoon read, is The Blue Castle.

How is an early, 20th century, Canadian novel related to kdrama you ask? Well, we have the plain, unmarried, almost 30 (i.e. old maid), female lead who lives with her nagging mother, and is afflicted with a cruel gossipy extended family. Additionally, there’s the beautiful cousin who seems to have everything that a young woman should want, and is therefore always a reminder of exactly what Valancy does not, and will not have. While Valancy’s life is dull, colorless, and without any hope of getting even a smidgeon better, she weaves an imaginary fantasy life centered on a fairy-tale-like Blue Castle. But, as we all know, plain, unmarried heroines in our romantic novels always have an event that changes everything. Valancy also has her cataclysmic moment.

I won’t give you spoilers, but there is terminal illness, a mysterious, but intriguing man who lives outside of society’s norms, birth secrets, and a slow burning romance that will satisfy any kdrama fan. There is also humor, and just enough sarcasm to feed my bitter heart, as well as a pivotal dinner scene that will have you cheering out loud. Seriously, it is immensely satisfying.

So, if you’ve never read The Blue Castle, do. I promise you won’t regret it. Also, someone adapt this for the screen. Please.

P.S. it’s available on Project Gutenberg Australia. Here you go: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200951h.html

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    Downloaded! Book pushers never have to work very hard with me.

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    I loved the 1985 mini series “Anne of Green Gables” and it’s sequels with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie. Ah Gilbert Blythe… was sad when I read that Jonathan Crombie passed away in 2015.

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    Chaebols, trains of doom, mysterious rooms.

    Going back to that Anne girl it has been so very long since I’ve read her stories or watched the Ken Sullivan adaptation. One day I need to go to Prince Edward Island.
    That could make a different type of Rabbit watch, lol.

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    I saw that tweet this morning and thought “oh I’ve never read that!” and planned to add it to my reading list. And, hey, here it is again.

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    I have read The Blue Castle many times. 😍 The word that describes it best in my mind is whimsical. It is lovely.

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    Ooh I have a new book to read now thanks to you! I love this idea of recommending books. 😍

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      I spent a wonderful evening eating pizza while reading this book. The only thing that could have topped it was to have had the physical book in my hands. Thank you. 💝

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        Yay! I hope you are enjoying it. Can’t you just see it as a kdrama?

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          I… finished it. 🙈

          Oh definitely. Train of Doom, terminal illness, geeenius chaebol in disguise. 😂 There was even a tiny bit of noble idiocy towards the end, which thankfully only lasted a few pages. 😅

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            That noble idiocy really bothered me. I felt like it turned back the clock and changed the heroine back into a passive person willing to let life pass her by. I thought that was a real betrayal of the character by the author.

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    Thank you! I grew up reading the Anne series (a requirement for a Canadian childhood) but I’ve never read this. I look forward to it.

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      You’re welcome. Oh, how I would have loved to be required to read the Anne books for school instead of yet another male-centered hero’s journey. I love reading despite the fact that I quite hated literature classes in my childhood.

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    Thanks foe the recommendation!

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    Beanies Book Club – Love it! Bring on the recommendations!

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    How have I missed this book? Thanks dear!!
    Having loved Anne with an E and Gilbert – must go read!!
    You got me thinking though – about comfort reads.
    My go-to comfort read is Eddings, I think. Yeah I know – I’m a blood death and gore and magic kind of gal. 😂
    I read all types/kinds/genres of books – but after pondering and ruminating – I realised that when I just want to curl up with something familiar, I reach out for Eddings.

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      Oh, I have my blood, death, and gore books too. I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but I’ll put Eddings on the list to check out.

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        I forgot to mention Westerns and Adventure!!
        Isn’t it hard to pick just one favourite genre? Especially when reading is your favourite hobby? I go through phases when I would just binge read J.T. Edson (whose books are so difficult to find!), then Cussler, then Christie, Patterson and then make right turn to Riordan (😂 as it happens – I am currently finishing book 5 of the Percy Jackson series – again).

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          When people ask what my favorite book is, I know they aren’t a Reader with a capital R. How can you have just one favorite?

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    Anne Shirley is probably my favorite heroine of all time. (I lived and breathed the films as a child.) Definitely want to read this book now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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      Oh, you already found the fanwall, now my response to you elsewhere seems stupid. Oh well.

      Welcome. And Anne Shirley, and her scope for imagination, let me know that being different from all the other kids was okay. I will always love her.

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        Nah, I hadn’t quite figured it out yet. I’d looked at your profile and saw this post there. Didn’t realize the connection between the fanwall here and under the beanies header till after you explained where to find it, lol.

        I wanted to be Anne Shirley when I grew up. I always felt a strong kinship with her. We definitely would have been kindred spirits if she’d been a real person.

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    Thanks for the recommendation!

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    I’m in. Sucked in by the first paragraph.

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    I just ordered it. I also read too much online about L M Montgomery and now I’m sad.

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    @egads Thank you, it was a lovely read!…..

    On a very weird note, one of my favorite books is a novella by Colleen McCullough called The Ladies of Missalongi. I always have multiple copies on hand, and I’ve sent dozens out into the world (a consequence of owning a bookish Inn) It..is.. the.. same.. book..! The setting is moved to Australia, but otherwise, the plot and the characters are the same as The Blue Castle.
    Worth the read if you get a chance!

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      I believe McCullough quite flagrantly (though some say subconsciously) plagiarized The Blue Castle. I know I read it years and years ago.

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        @egads Whew, here I was afraid I was outing her, and yes, it is flagrant. Rather than plagiarism, I would prefer to call it flattery….Kinda like a kdrama remake of a jdrama?!

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I have a half hour to fill, so I decided to watch some My Fellow Citizen. Oh look, Viki has blocked it with Viki Pass Plus. Oh great, Kocowa won\’t load. Why do I pay for these services?

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I interrupt this binge of My Fellow Citizens to laugh that there is a very similar picture of me and my four older sisters. So, I love this so much.

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    I’m only child so I don’t have this kind but my cousins have it too. Is it something all parents with more than two kids do? 😂

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    Which nr sister are you? Gang boss nr 4? Keeping-her-head-down nr 3?

    I also like that Hoo Ja is standing there with her hands in her pockets.

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      In number order I’m Unni 5 of 6, but spiritually I relate to #4. Maybe it’s being the second to last sister that gives us the attitude.

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I don’t have any work left for today, it’s raining and a bit chilly, and I don’t have any social or family obligations, so that means I am going to plunk my behind on the couch and binge My Fellow Citizens. See you all on the other side.

So help me if this ends badly, @cloggie and @leetennant will be on my hitlist. I still haven’t forgiven those who sucked me back into the drama that shall not be named. I mean, we will always have Security Couple, but the rest of it traumatized my drama watching.

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Mr. Jo is gonna die, isn\’t he. No, don\’t tell me.

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Hey Beanies, if you\’re bored come join us and watch Coffee Prince. RIGHT NOW. https://www.rabb.it/s/rlyhrg

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So, I started My Fellow Citizens, and have thoroughly enjoyed the nine episodes (of the 30 minute kind) that I’ve seen. Why then do I keep pressing play on other random dramas. Like the Japanese one that is making me ragey, or the other Japanese one that is just kind of dumb. (Don’t ask which ones, I won’t tell you. First because I’m a bit embarrassed to be watching them? Second, well, I don’t know.)

Is it that I need to know that it sticks the landing? Am I afraid of another He’s Psychometric burn? (Still mad about that one btw. Poor Ji-soo. I hope you and Daenery’s are in fictional heaven discussing your utterly stupidly lame ends. You both deserved better.)

Anyway, I guess I’ll slink over to bad American television for the evening. Let me know next week of MFC holds it together in the end because if anything bad or dumb happens to my girl Park Hoo-ja someone’s gonna get kimchi slapped.

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    So far so good? I think MFC is worth it just because it hasn’t fallen into a heap – despite being at episode 16 of an 18 episode season. Sure, they could completely screw up the last two but that seems less and less likely. I say catch up and join us next week!

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    Lol, got to love a watch you are too embarrassed to talk about. Sometimes those are the best when overstressed or not feeling well.

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I see that many Beanies are feeling cheated by some of the director’s choices in today’s episode of Her Private Life. Meh, I’m fine with that. I have an imagination, so I’m okay with leaving them a bit of privacy.

On the other hand, the whole lost/found mother storyline? Not really caring now that my wild hope prediction did not come true. Speaking of Director Eom, there was decidedly much too little of her this week, and I’m feeling a little cheated by that. (I love Kim Sun-Young so much. Do you think her and Ahjumma would be my friend?)

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While watching The Secret Life of My Secretary I keep having this nagging feeling that Do Min-ik is really Jang Do-han playing a slightly goofy puppyish CEO in a long game con for his revenge. When will Key and Kim Seul-gi show up? Will Shin Dong-wook still be a priest, or has he found a new calling? Am I the only one? Probably. I’ll show myself out.

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Why are Chinese dramas doing this lately? The constant shift from a clear image to this fuzzy sun glare is very distracting.

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She\’s only been on my screen for a few minutes, but I think I might be in love.

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