Breaking the « boring » myth: where to start with Classics?

Whether it’s due to school, taunting parents or society pressures, classics seem to be the go-to « real literature » one must discover in one’s life. Well, I don’t intend to force you to read one, but I’d like to tell about the ones which break the stereotypes of being a) boring, b) freaking too long (when you’re paid by line written, you’ll write a 60-volumes-long book too!), c) too complicated.

Thorn Birds by Colleen Mc Cullough.

Meggie, a little girl with a very unavailable mum, relies on and finds company in a priest. Growing up, this relationship gets complicated, as well as the poverty her family is facing in the heart of Australia. We follow her as she evolves and changes, while life throws at her obstacles after obstacles. A beautiful coming-of-age book, that depicts a harsh portrait of 20th century agricultural Australia and a tragic love story.
You can also reward yourself with the long adaptation, very faithful to Mc Cullough’s work!

Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare (of course).

I know we’re all bored of hearing of him everywhere but! his works is actually super accessible (if you’ve an annotated edition) and timeless so… I had to include him! This title is not my fave of him but it’s definitely one of the easiest and quickest to read. The whole story deals with the slandering of a young woman at the dawn of her marriage while following another couple constant bickering. Funny, sweet and quick, you can reward yourself with Branagh’s adaptation of it, starring the wonderful Emma Thompson… If that’s not a treat, really!!

The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.

I plan on writing a few posts about French literature, my favourite ones and where to start but for now I’ll talk about this one. A short book, dealing with an investigation for an attempt of murder on a young woman. The whole mystery revolves around the fact that, despite the whole building being locked, the criminal was still able to escape. Hence, we follow the investigation and the brainteaser it is!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

I think I talked about the brilliant adaptation done in 2014 of this book, a mini-series of 3 episodes and that perfectly transmitted the claustrophobic atmosphere of the book. 10 guests are urged to join their penpal on a remote island, going there, they’re only welcomed by a couple of servants and quickly, everything turns into a tragedy as one by one, they are murdered, according to a terrible nursery rhyme. Who’s behind all of this? How is that even possible? 

If you’ve loved this, please read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd!

I’m usually not one to recommend poetry. I don’t really feel comfortable talking about that literary genre as I’ve read so little of it. Arthur Rimbaud is actually the only poet I’ve actively read. In high school, I became obsessed with his words and it was so accessible! (Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but most of it went over my high-school-me head, it’s not accessible). 
This is the poem I discovered him with, it’s called Le Dormeur du Val:

It’s a green hollow, where a river is singing
Crazily hanging on the grasses rags
Of silver; where the sun, from the proud mountain,
Is shinning: it’s a little valley bubbling with sunlight.

A young soldier, his mouth open, his head bare,
And the nape of his neck bathing in cool blue watercress,
Is sleeping; he is stretched out on the grass, under the skies,
Pale in his green bed where the light falls like rain.

Feet in the gladiolas, he is sleeping. Smiling like
A sick child would smile, he takes a nap:
Nature, rock him warmly: he is cold.

Fragrances do not make his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, hand on the breast,
Peacefully. He has two red holes in his right side.

So, let’s forget about what’s supposed to be cool, entertaining or « real literature » and just enjoy reading, yeah? Happy reading! xx
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Recommending stuff on Netflix FR

If I was not satisfied enough to keep my subscription, I still noticed a few titles that I had loved and need to urge other people to watch them aha! Asian dramas wise especially, there are a few on Netflix FR that you might enjoy!

My favourite one! Healer, which is the most Western-like kdrama I’ve seen yet. Ji Chang Wook is a babe, Park Min Young in a red dress makes you speechless and they’re cute, cute, cute. The story is heartbreaking and funny. The ahjumma who helps Ji Chang Wook character is so funny. And if you like night time hero but teddy bear kind of vibe, this show is for you! Indeed, Healer is the story of a night messenger people uses by giving him missions, using his email address to send their request. In his tasks, he is helped by a hacker, a woman (who will be called « ahjumma », it’s « ahjussi » for men), who is the one keeping him up updated with his missions for the day, she’s also the one providing him with technologies to help the missions and erasing camera’s footage etc. The story unfolds when he’s commissioned to find about a young woman’s genealogy and our loner of a hero gets a little bit too interested in her. The drama also focuses on him getting revenge for his dad and the wrongdoings he was the victim of.

If you want more of an innocent romance, you’ll love A Love So Beautiful, a Chinese drama with a cute female lead and a passive cold boy! Very good for a cosy giddy night. It’s hard to find Chinese drama in which not one scene irritates you. Feminism and healthy relationship do not have the same meaning here that they have there. I’ve watched a lot of Asian dramas and Chinese and Japanese ones are the ones I struggle the most with, comparing to Korean ones (which still have some problems, don’t get me wrong). But this one, except for the love triangle, managed to not irritate me as much! We follow a young girl, hopelessly fascinated by her neighbour who’s putting a cold front up when it comes to her and we see their high school years, their relationship changing, their struggle to find their own path and then their struggles as a couple. It’s nice to see a drama in which the couple is actually together during some episodes, since they usually end when the pair gets together. I especially love the last episodes, I’d say it is one of the most feminist Chinese drama I’ve seen so far, since she actually stands up for herself and does not « deal with it/suck it up » when something is wrong in her eyes in their relationship. I also think that, among all the cold-front-type male characters Chinese dramas have, this one actually shows little cracks along the way that makes him actually likeable and I was able to root for him. And, not important I know, but the actress is the cutest thing in the world? I love her wardrobe in this movie and her little bob haircut suits her so much. Of course, the male lead is a cutie too, but when are they not!

I also recommend to check out Trot Lovers, which deals with the dream of a girl of becoming a singer, a Trot singer (which is a type of singing) and how she gets entangled with an arrogant star of the music industry. This meeting changes their lives. The drama is sweet, inspiring and the main actress, Eun-Ji, is my ultimate crush, she is a member of the popular female Kpop group named APink, she dances, she sings, she plays in a lot of dramas (Reply 1997, Sassy go go!) and she’s just way too cute for this world. I also recommend checking out the male lead’s filmography, his starring in Queen In Hyun’s Man is the cutest and funniest, cosy time you’ll have!

If you love love love Korean language and don’t mind overused cuteness and Idol worship in dramas (the male lead is part of a popular kpop group), you might want to check out Hi School Love on. It deals with a girl, ex kind of grim reaper, she’s turned into a human after saving one. She ends up sticking to him for dear life and it’s cute, she’s a little bit confused by her human body and it also portrays high school and introduces the themes of bullying (on a light tone though). Everything gets messed up when jealousy and love triangle occurs of course!

Now, if you want to die from laughter, you must watch Oh My Venus! It deals with a woman in her late twenties, early thirties, facing « obesity » (Korea has a different vision on weight, so… she’s a size 12 at most, I’d say). She’s a lawyer and she’s getting dumped by her forever boyfriend, for her ex-best friend. She decides to get her life back on track when she crosses paths with a famous undercover fitness coach who turns her life upside down. Min Ah (who was the cutest in My Girlfriend is a Guminho) is the most gorgeous actress in the world and Ji Sub (The Master’s Sun!!!!) is so cute, please go watch it!

But if you love to have your heart broken… You have to watch Uncontrollably Fond. Firstly because how dare you not watch all of Kim Woo Bin whole filmography? Please, please, please get better (he’s been diagnosed with cancer after this drama, ironic right?). If you haven’t seen him in School 2013, you have to, it’s so good! And his pairing with Suzy works so well!! In this drama, the heartbreak is real, love failure, pushing people away, side effects of stardom and obviously, the terrible secret the male lead is hiding from the female lead which makes their love story impossible. Beautiful scenery, beautifully narrated, heartwrenching, make sure to have tissues!

As this post becomes way too long, would you like me to write one about my favourite Asian dramas? Or at least, keep you updated on what I watched lately? I already do it on twitter but not everybody follows me there, so let me know! As always, I wish you a good discovery and a happy reading! xx

I tried Netflix.

I know my last post was about series and recommendations but here we go again? I gave in. Back when I was in my apartment, with a fast internet connection, how could I resist watching series in HD?

I watched a few shows but there are not much! I don’t know if it’s because of me living in France? I was kinda expecting to find a great choice of shows. I was hoping to find Buffy, Charmed to re-binge for example, as well as their original content -which made me really excited!
I’ve watched a few things before closing my account, too dissatisfied, so I thought I’d give you mini-reviews.


Series
| The Royals.

I adored it! It was funny, their accents were music to my ears, the plot twists were good, there are so many despicable characters… and the soundtrack was really good. Until it left me on a cliff-hanger by the end of season four and I learnt that the director Mark Shawn was a piece of garbage, that is. And I’m a big fan of One Tree Hill, so learning about what he had done to the actresses that I admired all my high school years, infuriates me!

T.V. Show | The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes.

I watched two episodes and despite the beautiful accents of the hosts, the show is kinda repetitive, in the sense that all the houses look pretty much the same to me and « modernism » in term of architecture? Not my thing (or at least, not to that extent).

Kdrama | Stranger.

Hajar, from the booktube channel Hajarread (videos in French), was taunting me to watch this one (I’m usually the one taunting her, so we’re even now). I must say it was a treat. The cast was good, the plot twists were endless but not laughable and you never know who to trust. I adored the main female character who is just so so so kind. I need a new season and a new investigation!

Series | Poldark.

You won’t see me sing about Outlander-o-great-I-beat-up-my-wife-with-a-belt-because-she-deserves-it-and-oops-I-had-a-husband-in-another-time-period-but-who-cares but it does not mean that I do not love historical fiction/romances… Just not shitty characters (even worse when written by a woman yeah?). So I thought I’d give Poldark a go and while it’s not a mind-blowing series, it’s really cosy and the Cornwall scenery sure is beautiful. I like the main characters and the storylines are interesting and not over-the-top, which I enjoy. Lovely accents, too! Cannot wait to see what the 5th season brings! Some events happened with which I was very pleased!

Have you read the novels? Are they good?

T.V. Show | Queer Eye.

Everyone is raving about it, about how it makes them tear up… So I had to give it a go! And honestly I love makeover shows, whether they are home makeover or fashion makeover, I love them! The five fabs are absolutely lovely and funny and their « clients » are diverse, their stories touching and the whole thing is just a treat, really.

T.V. Show | The End of The F*cking World.

The title is intriguing… Their accents are beautiful. Their difference… quite appealing! And the whole thing? Unique, weird, innovative, thought-provoking, unapologetic. Loved the rhythm, loved the soundtrack, adored the characters, and holy moly what is it with that ending? I need a season 2!

Next time, I’ll tell you about the ones I recommend if you have Netflix FR!

xx

5 old school series for cozy time

I’m not trying to make you discover new series here, the ones I’m writing on are very well-known but they still have my heart. I hate this time of the year, gloomy, rainy, freezing weather… Well, it’s not exactly freezing here, compared to Northern countries but I’m a Southerner at heart, I love my sun and the heat. So I’ll be talking all about the series that warm my heart and make me feel like home watching them.

Charmed by Constance M. Burge (1998). It’s crazy to think that some kids will only know the remake of this amazing series. I have trouble with nowadays series, too much sensationalism, too much designers clothings, unsufferably bitchy snobbish characters (Riverdale? Pretty Little Liars? What? Why?). Piper, Phoebe and Paige will always be in my heart. (Yeah, I had issue with Prue’s personality) The sisterhood, the uplifting of women! Of course, I love Leo. I love the cringiness you feel when watching those terrible special effects and the costumes of the monsters… It’s just so funny! And the house, oh, the house, so lovely! I really love this series. And please, admit the music at the opening credits is stuck in your head everytime (I use to sing it when I did not know one thing about English, my poor mum’s ears ahah).

Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas (2004). Oh, how my heart was devastated when this series was cancelled! A heroine who had guts, who was so incredibly sassy, a loner who fiercely defended the ones she thought belonged to her. Veronica was my role model, me, the little shy secondary school student. The soundtrack is still my favourite thing after all those years and… Logan… But really every character of this series feels like family! The movie was great, I still have to read the books and yes, of course, I fully intend to rewatch the whole thing before the new season is broadcasted!

One Tree Hill by Mark Schwahn (2003). Writing this post, I’m realising that these last two series were the only ones my brother and I shared (we don’t and we never have spend much time together, too different). But yeah, just as for Veronica Mars, we grew up with this series being broadcasted just after school and bus commute and then, when our parents finally gave in and let go of the VHS player for the DVD one, we bought them and binged them! I’m a hard Naley fan, the soundtrack of that series is everything I love in terms of music and I’m really glad my high school years were not that crazy! Learning what Mark Schwahn did to the actresses broke my heart and I’m so disheartened. Fyi, in France the series title is the translated version of « The Scott Brothers ».

Gilmore Girls by Amy Sherman. I mean, who do you think I am? Coffee, grumpy shy supportive crush Luke, hilarious crazy bestfriend Sookie, adorable dog, addition to books and movies, cute beginners actors and Lorelei! I mean, come on! Stars Hollow is Christmas and all its annoying inhabitants are so cute. Emily, the snobbish grandma, can even sometimes steal my heart… Yes, she can! Well, and that revival and the Wild Loreilei quest? Loved it!

Heartland by Lauren Brooke (2007) I don’t know if I ever mentioned it on here but when I was in my last year off high school, the stress from the big exam we have to pass to graduate (the baccalauréat) paralysed me. I could not get out of bed. I was fainting from stress every time I got up, I could not eat anything, I couldn’t do anything except lying in bed. It was like that for a month. And Heartland was what I would watch. I still love it. This ranch, this family-centered plots and the stories of all those horses, the bond Amy creates with them. It’s so cozy and full of hope. But I must admit, damn that cow-boy accent, they do not articulate and in high school it was not as easy as it is for me now!!

These series have something in common and it’s that they are not afraid to deal with heavy stuff, they show that life is not always easy and sometimes it takes a climb but the path teaches you a lot about the world and your own strength. Loss, depression, abandon, divorce, what it means to be a good parent, work ethic, family values. I’m, however, acknowledging that the fact that these series are pretty dated now, means they are whitey-white and very very heteronormative, which breaks my heart when we watch amazing show such as Scandal or How To Get Away With Murder, in which the acting is just breathtaking (Viola Davis and Kerry Washington are phenomenal!) So if you guys have suggestions of good contemporary series, please do tell!

Have a good bank holiday weekend! xx