It has been quite a while since I posted anything to this blog. I am unclear what exactly happened to make me quit posting. I think it must be a combination of things as it is unfair to blame just one thing. I actually have continued to write stories, but instead of finishing them I get a great new idea and get caught up in writing the new idea, until again I hit some kind of roadblock and think of yet a new idea. Oh well.
Two years ago I was very committed to the internet, Facebook, Goodreads, various websites that I checked daily to feel like I was part of the world at large. If I have to name one major thing, I guess it would have to be the 2016 presidential race. I have never been more disheartened by the world we are living in than when having to live through that event. I started avoiding Facebook because of it. I also avoided writing anything for this blog because I refused to contribute to the madness, but I had a hard time thinking about anything else. Facebook did not improve (it actually got worse) after the elections. I determined to not be a part of it, so here is what I did instead.
I tried to find as many books as I could that were written before 1930 and read them exclusively instead of spending time on Facebook. This worked and I found a sense of peace and contentment that I hadn’t had since I was a child, just by taking myself out of the rat-race that is the current human condition. The reason I decided to write this post is because maybe some other person out there is tired of the modern world and needs a break from it. So here are my suggestions.
I found several authors that I like. I won’t mention them all, but I started out reading all of Georgette Heyer’s books. She wasn’t new to me, but I hadn’t read all of her books. I also re-read the ones I had previously read. I solidified in my own mind that she is my favorite author of all times, she never disappoints. After I read everything I could of hers, I branched out and even started reading Penny Parker books, which are good, by the way. I read authors like Basil Thomson, Annie Haynes, Robin Forsythe and Burton Stevenson. All of these authors are good, by the way, and it is so refreshing to read the older stories set in a less complicated world.
Of the above I will single out just one author, Burton Stevenson. He wrote novels set just before WWI and I was so impressed by his take on things that I actually subscribed to newspapers.com just so that I could read news from that era. I found that time and mindset, to be fascinating. As do all of the above authors, Burton Stevenson has his recurring characters and it is not easy to figure out the order in which to read his series. I finally figured it out after reading them out of order. Although it is not necessary to read them in order, the relationships do build up so I believe it is more enjoyable to read them in the following order.
Published in 1903, The Holladay Case A Tale is undoubtedly the first in the series.
Published in 1907, That Affair at Elizabeth is actually the second book in regards to storytelling.
Published in 1904, The Marathon Mystery (A Story of Manhattan) (Jim Godfrey Book 2) is the third book, although published before the second book.
Published in 1911, The Mystery of the Boule Cabinet A Detective Story is the fourth book.
Published in 1920, The Gloved Hand is the fifth and last book in the series.
Burton Stevenson has a couple of other novels that are worth reading that are not part of his mystery series. The Destroyer (I recommend reading this after The Mystery of the Boule Cabinet A Detective Story) and The Girl from Alsace are both excellent. One very interesting thing that I discovered by reading Burton Stevenson, is just how much the world, and the mindset, changed due to WWI. He writes before WWI, before prohibition and before feminism took hold. I wish to live in his world and not ours any day of the week. It was definitely a different world in many, many ways.
Now to change the subject, just slightly.
For years I have been disappointed by Hollywood, however I continued to watch certain shows that sounded good, but were in fact just made in order to brainwash the masses. Sick of it, I finally tried watching a Korean drama called Chicago Typewriter, which was recommended by someone who writes a blog. I started watching it with no expectations, but I was soon caught up in the story. I cannot recommend this drama too much. It is great. However, this drama was still being released weekly, so after watching a few episodes I was left hanging in anticipation.While waiting for more episodes, I decided to give a few other dramas a try such as My Secret Romance and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. As these were also in the midst of being released, I decided to try Noble, My Love which has the same actor, Sung Hoon, as My Secret Romance. The stories are similar (both are worth watching), but I prefer the actress/lead-female-character in My Secret Romance.
Disclaimer: I just remembered that although the main stories in both My Secret Romance and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon were good and worth watching, I did end up fast-forwarding through several scenes. In Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, it was any scene with the construction workers. In My Secret Romance it was the scenes with the mother of the lead female character.
After watching several Korean dramas I finally understand why my son is so addicted to Anime. Asians know how to tell a story, by actually telling the story, without trying to brainwash a person, and without any hidden agendas. My son has tried several times to get me watching Anime and I have given it the old college try by watching Full Metal Alchemist, Clannad and Kimi no Na wa, which were all good (I recommend), but not quite my thing. I never had tried Korean dramas before, but I now realize they definitely are my thing.
Getting back to Chicago Typewriter, and now that I finished watching all 16 episodes, I have to say it is really, really good. The second lead, Ko Gyung Pyo, gives credence to the “second lead syndrome”, you can also see him in Flower Boy Next Door. He will play the lead character finally in Strongest Deliveryman coming out in August 2017.
The main actor in Chicago Typewriter is Yoo Ah In …and while I was waiting for more episodes, I read somewhere that his best role was in a drama called Six Flying Dragons. That he was awesome in that drama, so I decided to check it out. I have to say that I think Yoo Ah In is a great actor, maybe the best Korean actor. I have now seen him in several shows and I believe he can portray any character he wishes.
My next post is about Six Flying Dragons and everything you need to know before you watch it, hopefully without spoilers.
Just a few more thoughts on Korean dramas, though. Most, if not all, are rated PG or PG-13. There is no sex shown and there is barely any kissing. Most Korean dramas have some sort of romance, even if bittersweet, and have a mixture of sad and comedy that balances it out. Korean dramas are well-known for taking the viewer’s emotions on a roller coaster ride.
The music in Korean dramas is really good. It is amazing how many Korean actors can also sing and many times sing one or more of the drama ost (original soundtrack). So far, I have added 33 songs to my playlist (listening to it as I write) and I am sure that I will be adding more as I watch more dramas. I really like listening to them and remembering the dramas and particular scenes the songs are from.
I won’t post the videos that contain spoilers, so instead I will just post the ones that have the lyrics.
The lead couple in My Secret Romance sing this one.
Bonus: Here is another version of this song, it does not contain spoilers because the scene is not from Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. Just because Park Hyung Sik is such a cutie.
So, you might wish to know where to watch Korean dramas. There are free sites out there, but I am not going to put them here as I fear they will disappear. The main two subscription (paid) sites are viki.com and dramafever.com. They are about the same, Viki might have a bigger selection, but I am not sure. I chose to pay for the annual membership on Drama Fever. I like their site better, but also it is cheaper. It only costs $18 dollars for the annual Premium membership (less than one trip to the movies) on Drama Fever. Whereas it costs $50 dollars for the annual membership on Viki.