Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A survey based on Austenesque Reviews

An ardent admirer's self-interview

The first Austenesque novel I ever read was: Edmund Bertram's Diary by Amanda Grange.

The most recent Austenesque novel I read was: Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris.

My favourite Jane Austen heroine is: Elizabeth Bennet.

My favourite Jane Austen hero is: Fitzwilliam Darcy.

My favourite original Austenesque character is: Robyn Love in A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly.  

My favourite Pride and Prejudice variation is: Darcy's Voyage by Kara Louise.

My favourite Austenesque sequel is: A Match For Mary Bennet by Eucharista Ward.

My favourite Austenesque modern adaptation is: Love, Lies and Lizzie by Rosie Rushton.

My favourite Austenesque cover is: Definitely Not Mr Darcy by Karen Doornebos.

One of my favourite Austenesque authors is: Kara Louise.

One of the Austenesque novels currently on my wishlist is: Pemberley Celebrations - The First Year by Kara Louise.

One of my favourite scenes from an Austenesque novel is: both Colonel Fitzwilliam and Darcy standing up to Lady Catherine in Darcy's Voyage.

The Austenesque character I would like as a best friend is: Elizabeth Bennet's maid assigned to her by Darcy in Only Mr Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise.

The Austenesque character I would not like as a best friend is: Lady Grace in Definitely Not Mr Darcy by Karen Doornebos.

The thing I love most about Austenesque novels is: the varied storylines.

If I could live in any Austenesque novel, I would choose: A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly.

The Austenesque character I would like to trade places with is: Amanda Price in Lost In Austen. I know it is a film and not a novel, but I have always wished her time-travel adventure would happen to me.

The Austenesque character I would not like to trade places with is: Courtney who finds herself in Jane Mansfield's body and experiences leeching in Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family's Honour

I first heard of this Korean drama from a friend who felt I would like it. She mentioned that the Korean culture and food are part of it. Besides, the actor I like is in it. I was rather skeptical and took a long time to actually watch the episodes.

She was right. I do like it :) Again, certain aspects of it have made a strong impression on me.

I like the idea of the couple falling in love for real when they were only putting up a show to give her other suitor the wrong idea. They pretend to be a couple and do things that couples do. When the charade ends, they don't tell each other their true feelings and suffer in tearful silence. I love their restraint and silent tears when they try to forget each other. Of course, they get together in the end.

They have to overcome more obstacles before they have a happy married life. The guy's parents object to her at first because she is a widow and her two brothers are divorcees. The mother especially does not give her consent to their marriage. They decide to break up as a result and he decides to leave for America. They finally get his mother's consent due to his threat. They get into life-threatening situations and the girl exchanges his life for their relationship. All these result in more tears but his mother finally accepts the girl wholeheartedly, and they do get married. Again, their chemistry is a drawing factor too.

Their marriage is really fun and the ideal kind of marriage I would like to have. They banter and play with each other. The girl has to nurture the guy who suddenly becomes a crybaby. At the same time, she is there for him to run back to when things get difficult. So is he there for her. The good thing too is that they wait till after they are married, before they sleep together. Remaining chaste for one's future husband and modest behaviour, purity in marriage through simple wedding bands and post-marital sex, giving birth to help increase the country's dwindling population - all these are values I agree with.

The fashion does not make much of an impact on me but the court shoes in a kitten heel style are what I already like. It is the Korean traditional costume that attracts my attention. The colours and cutting of the hanbok seem so appealing and comfortable at the same time. I have fallen in love with Korean food too. As a result, I have borrowed books on it and plan to cook some dishes from them. I have eaten dishes like Blimbap and Kimchi. It is healthy with a lot of vegetables, as Korean food is known to be. Beef and pork are also part of Korean cuisine. I love the other side dishes like spinach and bean sprouts, and appetizers like Pumpkin Congee too.

I think this Korean drama is more worth watching than Prosecutor Princess, primarily for the storyline, the values advocated and the culture promoted.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre

This period drama is based on a martial arts novel written by Louis Cha. Over the decades, it has been shown on television but each time acted by different casts. My favourite actor to portray Zhang Wuji, the hero, had always been Tony Liang Chao Wei who did so in 1986. Despite the many other actors to portray this character, no one had surpassed his portrayal, till Deng Chao in 2009.

The difference between these two portrayals is that the former portrayed the hero as an indecisive lover who smacked of innocence at the same time, while the latter portrayed the hero as a romantic lover. I guess the different eras also contributed to the ways the hero portrayed his love expressions. There was more boldness in his gestures when Deng Chao acted as the hero. He had more bodily contact with the actress who acted as his lover. With Tony Liang, the relationship was based more on tender smiles.

I stumbled upon the earlier version on a website and as I viewed the episodes, I realised that Tony Liang's portrayal did not appeal to me anymore. A new actor had taken over the throne of Zhang Wuji's portrayal in my mind.

Another form of comparison occurs pertaining to this drama too. The actresses portraying the four ladies in love with the hero also differ in terms of casts. I think the prettiest Xiao Zhao is the actress from the 2009 version, the prettiest Yin Li is the actress from the same version, the prettiest Zhao Min is the actress from the same version and the prettiest Zhou Zhiruo is the actress from the 1986 version. Therefore, it is apparent that I think the 2009 version is the best version of this drama.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The power of Prosecutor Princess

It is a Korean drama, with Park Shi Hoo and Kim So Yeon in the lead roles. Seo In Woo, a boy whose father was framed for murder and subsequently died in prison, resolves to seek revenge on the man who caused his family so much pain. He works on the man's daughter Ma Hye Ri, who has just become a prosecutor, by getting close to her and attempting to gain her trust. His hope is that she will prosecute her own father. What he does not expect is that he ends up falling in love with her. She too, realises that she loves him, when she actually starts off liking her senior in the law firm she works in. However, her father objects to their relationship once he discovers who Seo is. Eventually, his love for her causes him to give up his plan of revenge and instead, they work together to prove her father's accidental killing of the victim and his father's innocence. The happy ending comes about when her father allows them to be together and they do become a couple.

The journey of Ma towards her niche as a prosecutor is inspiring for me. She is a rich and vain girl who likes to have fun in life, but has to eventually learn to work hard in her job. She learns how to be independent when she moves out to stay on her own. If she, a spoilt and pampered brat, can do it, so can I, as I prepare to embark on my new career path!

The love story of Seo and Ma is one after my own heart. They start off as friends and slowly become a couple, albeit his initial intention to use her. Due to strict Korean censorship, the love scenes stop at mouth-to-mouth kissing as the maximum. The hugging and holding, as well as the tender looks and touches they give each other appeal more to me. It is a purer and more innocent type of love than the sleazy sex scenes that are associated with love in other dramas. I hope to have this type of love story in my life too, though not with the utilitarianism involved. I get touched by the pained looks and expressions of tears each one shows away from the other, knowing that they love each other but can't show it. These actually make me cry too. The love scenes are made more intense by the carefully chosen tracks accompanying them, a feature of Korean dramas.

I really like the chemistry the leads share; they are really good in their craft. They know how to make their characters come alive such that it resonates with the viewers; their characters become so real. The love they portray as part of the script is so genuine that it seems as if they are a couple in reality. Park Shi Hoo has a knack for bringing out the best in his female leads, so that the love they portray in the drama is very real. He has the ability to put himself in the shoes of his character and accurately express the emotions felt in the various situations.

In fact, I am obsessed with this show! I have rewatched the scenes I like umpteen times and have even bought the DVD. I have also looked for the OST and saved its fanmade videos on Youtube. I have looked for the biographies on the lead actor and actress too. Youtube recommends other videos based on my history of seen videos, and I have access to Park Shi Hoo in other Korean dramas. I have also saved videos that show how the scenes were filmed and that are on the leads. However, it goes deeper than all these.

I have fallen in love with Korean food and fashion. I like the mild version of Korean Ramen and even bought a packet to try. I also tried a healthy version of Korean food, with lots of vegetables, Chicken Teriyaki, soup and rice with Green Sesame sauce. The sauce was yummy, and I loved the vegetables and chicken. However, I am not used to the taste of Kimchi, which is sour and spicy. I like to eat the BBQ meat from Seoul Garden too. It is the marinade which appeals to me.

Korean fashion has appealed to me tremendously since my mid-20s. At that time, I did not know that what I like has a name to it. It has elements of lace, pastel colours, flowers, pearls and bows/ribbons, but is elegant at the same time, contrary to the Lolita fashion of Japan which is ultra-sweet. I love certain outfits and accessories worn by Ma. As a result, I have a stronger liking for Korean fashion and have bought tops, accessories and shoes with this influence. My Pinterest board on Korean fashion has images based on her style too. I am also contemplating two hairstyles with this influence.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Book club questions from Home for the Holidays

1)  Do you usually spend the holidays with your family or friends? What is your favourite holiday memory?
Yes. Sitting down in front of the Christmas tree and opening presents, putting up the Christmas tree and then letting my mum give her approval of it.

2) Have you ever gone on a trip with a friend? Did you get along the whole time?
Yep, more than once, and with different ones. Definitely!

3) Has anyone close to you ever lose his or her job? How did that feel? How did you help them deal with it?
Yes. It felt unfair. I practised empathy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Joanna's Result: Jane Bennet
on quiz: Which Jane Austen Secondary Heroine Are You?

You are Jane Bennet of Pride and Prejudice! Sweet, loving and compassionate almost to a fault, you have great difficulty in seeing anything but the best in people. You are quite five times as pretty as any of your sisters and most definitely your mother's favorite. You want to marry for love and not money, but somehow you manage to catch the eye of the richest bachelor in the neighborhood. How on earth did that happen? :)
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