from the bookshelves of a rented house

The house my sister rented has a fabulous fiction collection. You walk up the stairs lined with (among others) Jean M. Auel, come upon Tracy Chevalier, Rosamund Pilcher at the top, with Dorothy L. Sayers, Jodi Picoult, Donna Tartt, Mark Haddon, Yann Martel etc. etc.

Its like my plane ticket was a 3 for 1 – family, oxford and literary haven. I would post a picture but I don’t think the owner would appreciate her library on some stranger’s online scribblings.


so i put a fake one instead

Most marvellous for me, was all the childhood books I used to love; some of which I can never find in bookstores. There are complete old editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Little Women, Hornblower, Hans Christien Anderson, the entire Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers and Faraway Tree series, Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes and best of all, Continue reading

Snow Queen

If Hong Gil Dong was unappealing because of its cover, Snow Queen had the opposite effect. There are mountains! Snow! Icicles! People in in fur coats! A Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale I really liked! Aaaand mathematics!

(2 friends assured me I would like this because the main character was a math genius.)

Title: Snow Queen/눈의 여왕 / Noon Eui Yeo Wang

Genre: Drama/16 episodes

Plot: Han Tae Woong (Hyun Bin) is an economically deprived genius in mathematics. He wins a scholarship to a top middle school whose niche area is in mathematics and the sciences where he meets Kim Jeong Kyu (Lee Sun Ho), a bright, competitive, economically advantaged boy who has been lauded for his achievements in mathematics since young. After a sticky start, the two became very good friends (I refuse to use the term ‘best friends’ here for reasons I will explain later.). Unfortunately, Jeong Kyu couldn’t deal with the embarassment of losing in a Math Olympiad and killed himself. Tae Woong, who did win, felt so guilty over winning that he decided to drop out of school and become a boxer, using the name Han Deuk Gu in honour of his friend’s favourite boxer. 8 years later, he encountered his dead friend’s sister, Kim Bo-ra (Sung Yu-ri), who was equally highly-strung and had a serious disease – myasthenia (hey, at least its not cancer.) She has a cold streak that supposedly hid a soft heart. Will Tae Woong melt the icy facade of his Snow Queen, wash out the shards of glass in her heart and live happily ever after?

From the tone of this synopsis, I think you can guess Continue reading

Star Swap 2: You’re Beautiful (by Bubbleteatalk’s Bubbly Sister)

The thing about my sister is she’s not very good at promoting ANY show. I used to think that maybe she was not the type to rave about anything anyway, but, here was a show she was raving about. Yet, from her description, it made me think it was a ho-hum teeny-bopper show with a fantastically good-looking guy in it (who, from the cover of the DVD, seemed more girly to me than good-looking).  Sorry, Adik, but there it was. So, I bargained to watch ONE episode…I mean, how hard can it be to sit through one hour of Korean drama?

[front cover where I was unsure which was the girl.]

One hour led to two and three episodes later, I conceeded defeat. You’re Beautiful was addictive. *hangs head in shame* Continue reading

Star Swap 1: Brothers Bloom

My sister has always been a great fan of Adrien Brody. She watched practically all his shows and even The Village where he had a supporting role. I watched The Village too but Brody capering about in a red cloak didn’t really show him to his best advantage, so, my sister made me gave me a choice between Brothers Bloom and The Pianist. I chose the former. It seemed less emotionally draining.

Trailer for the Movie.

Synopsis of Movie: Bloom (Adrien Brody) and his brother Stephen (Mark Ruffulo) are con-artists; they are artists because there is nothing common about their cons. Each one was crafted by Stephen to give the ‘mark’ something that he or she wants while being done out of a lot of money. Bloom was the front man, the one who approaches the’ mark’, while Stephen worked out the intricate plots behind the scenes. Tired of conning people for a decade, Bloom wants to quit but his brother drew him in through one last con – to give isolated, eccentric rich Penelope (Rachel Weisz) a romantic adventure while cheating her of millions.

Best line: “My brother once told me – there is no unwritten lives. Only badly written ones.”

The Non-Fan Evaluation Continue reading

Star Swap

There are a lot of differences in the celebrities my sisters and I find attractive. Lets compare 1 Hollywood star, 1 Asian star and 1 soccer player for each of us.

People my elder sister finds attractive: (from left: Joaquin Phoenix, Shah Rukh Khan and Michael Ballack)

People my younger sister finds attractive: (from left: Adrien Brody, Shahid Kapoor and Ryan Giggs.)

People I find attractive: (from left: Jude Law, Jang Geun Suk and Roque Santa Cruz)

Therefore, my younger sister proposed a trade – she would watch the first episode of You’re Beautiful and review it here if I watch Brothers Bloom and review to see the appeal of Adrien Brody.

Jang Geun Suk versus Adrien Brody..hmm…

Postscript: Since its just us reading this blog, the votes will be quite evenly split, I imagine. 🙂

Beautiful Days

One of my ex-students wrote  – You know k-pop is not the place to be when your mum is watching it too.

For me, its like the reverse – I watch k-dramas more because my family and friends are. The fun is in the sharing; talking about the show and the characters with others. The reason I got into Beautiful Days which was the first ever K-drama I watched was my sister telling me that she stumbled on a surprisingly good show on the now-defunct Mediaworks Channel i.  She was drawn in by a scene where a girl with garish orange hair saw an acquaintance’s parked motorcycle outside the place she worked and concluded that he had a crush on her and was waiting for her. Whereas he was inside the office building chasing her black-haired, demure sister.

It wasn’t fascination with the eternal love triangle that drew us in. It was the complete unabashed self-delusion of orange-haired girl that we recognized and were intrigued by. Anyway, the story wasn’t a love triangle; it was more like intersecting diagonals of a quadrilateral but more of that later.

Title: Beautiful Days/ Areumdaun naldeul (2001)

Genre: Drama



Plot: Lee Min-Chul/Minzhe (acted by someone we called hunk-o-rama whom I later found out was Lee Byung Hun) is the managing director of Victory Records. His father, the company’s owner had killed his rival accidentally, 20 years ago. To make amends, he married the guy’s wife and raised the son, Sunjae (Ryu Si Won) as his own. He treated Sunjae so much like his own that his two children Min-Chul and Minzhi thought that he was the illegitimate result of an affair and hated Sunjae and his mother as a result. Sunjae is a medical student who wants to be a songwriter. Into the tension-filled family came orphaned Kim Yeon Soo (Choi Ji Woo) who was manipulated into becoming governess for the ungovernable Minzhi in exchange for a shot at music stardom for her perpetually shrieking, orange-haired sister-at-heart, Kim Se Na (Lee Jung Hyun). Of course, both brothers fell in love with Yeon Soo. Before the happy resolution, there were suicides, a bout of cancer and a whole lot of separations and break-ups.


(check out the MV for a feel of the show)

Continue reading