I Spy: “A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls” in “You Came From The Stars 별에서 온 그대”

Ever since “Edward Tulane” showed up in Korean drama “You Came From The Stars 별에서 온 그대” (a.k.a. “My Love From Another Star”), I’ve been on the lookout for what else our Handsome Bibliophile Alien Next Door has been reading. Look at what I spied in Episode 10:

The Alien has been reading about vampires...

It’s “A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls”, a companion book to the popular TV series “The Vampire Diaries”. The Alien has been reading about vampires! I can still remember Song Yi’s “If you’re an alien then I’m a vampire!” moment. And I suppose this is more interesting than seeing Min Joon reading about aliens in popular culture, although that would have been amusingly meta. 😛

mfThe Vampire Diaries, the television series based on the iconic books by L.J. Smith, has already managed to captivate millions of viewers with its unique mix of immortal romance and very human drama.

In A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls, YA authors—led by Red and Vee of premier Vampire Diaries resource Vampire-Diaries.net—take a closer look at Mystic Falls: its residents (both alive and undead) and its rich, inescapable history.

  • Claudia Gray delves into the events of 1864 and how they’ve shaped not just Mystic Falls but the success of the show itself
  • Sarah Rees Brennan tells us what it takes for a girl to hold her own against a vampire boyfriend (or two), placing Elena squarely between fellow vampire-daters Buffy and Bella
  • Jennifer Lynn Barnes takes Mystic Falls to task for poor treatment of Caroline Forbes
  • Jon Skovron examines the male-female vampire dynamic, in history and in The Vampire Diaries
  • Plus a guide to the book series for tv fans looking to visit The Vampire Diaries’ literary inspiration, and more

Min Joon might just learn a thing or two after reading Sarah Rees Brennan’s contribution.

Advertisements

I Spy: “The Happy Prince” in “I Hear Your Voice 너의 목소리가 들려”

I only noticed this last week, during my…ummm…nth re-watch of “I Hear Your Voice”, a.k.a. My Favorite Korean Drama as of this moment (why? that’s something for another post).

ihyv300

In episode 11, Park Soo-ha (Lee Jong-suk) meets up with his classmates, Sung-bin and Choong-ki. Choong-ki returns the things he found in Soo-ha’s locker the year before after some rather…let’s just say exciting things went down.

Aside from Soo-ha’s journal, headset, and some papers, a copy of the Korean edition of “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde was also found in his locker.

vlcsnap-2014-01-21-21h42m02s250

happyIn a town where a lot of poor people suffer, a swallow who was left behind after his flock flew off to Egypt for the winter meets the statue of the late “Happy Prince”, who in reality has never experienced true happiness. Viewing various scenes of people suffering in poverty from his tall monument, the Happy Prince asks the swallow to take the ruby from his hilt, the sapphires from his eyes, and the golden leaf covering his body to give to the poor. As the winter comes and the Happy Prince is stripped of all of his beauty, his lead heart breaks when the swallow dies as a result of his selfless deeds. The statue is then torn down and melted leaving behind the broken heart and the dead swallow which are taken up to heaven by an angel that has deemed them the two most precious things in the city by God, so they may live forever in his city of gold and garden of paradise. (Wikipedia)

The book was probably part of their literature curriculum, although it’s not far-fetched that Soo-ha could have been reading this just for fun.

Maybe the writer wanted this to symbolize something about the characters or the story; she likes that device. Certainly, the prince giving the poor people around him the jewels and gold that were inlaid on his body and the deeds of the swallow are reminiscent of the thread of sacrifice that runs through the drama–of people losing their lives, their innocence, their memories, and even actual body parts–to either protect or avenge their loved ones.

Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this; maybe it was the only book anyone had on set, so it was commandeered as a prop. 😛

I Spy: “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” in “You Came From The Stars / My Love From The Stars 별에서 온 그대”

EDITED ON 2014.05.10 – My blog stats show that so many people have somehow found this post, likely looking for more information on the book after watching “You Came From The Stars / My Love From The Stars”. After posting this back in January when the drama was airing in Korea, I later managed to find a copy of the book. It’s heartwarming, and in many ways, Edward’s story is reminiscent of Min Joon’s. The rabbit’s journey and experiences with each of the people who manage to find and care for him feels like the many lifetimes Min Joon has had to live since he came to Earth. They both loved and lost and loved again, and eventually, managed to find their way back home.

I’ve added an excerpt from the book below, which is the part Min Joon was reading in the drama.

~゜・_・゜~ ☆ ~゜・_・゜~ ☆ ~゜・_・゜~

Soompi ran a story on how the book sold some 30,000 copies (in Korea, I assume) after this episode of the drama “You Came From The Stars 별에서 온 그대” (a.k.a. “My Love From Another Star”) aired.

tumblr_mzal5sAp381r5lrn1o1_500

In the drama, Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun) is an alien who has been living on Earth for several centuries. Just like any self-respecting immortal, he has amassed enough riches to maintain a swanky apartment with an awesome hidden library.

In one scene, he is seen reading Kate DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”, an illustrated (by Bagram Ibatoulline) children’s book.

37186“Someone will come for you, but first you must open your heart. . . .”

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.

And then, one day, he was lost.

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes’ camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

Here is the excerpt which Min Joon was reading in that scene. I’ve quoted a few more additional lines to give it some context:

“Once there was a princess who was very beautiful. She shone as bright as the stars on a moonlit night. But what difference did it make that she was beautiful? None. No difference.”

“Why did it make no difference?” asked Abilene.

“Because,” said Pelligrina, “she was a princess who loved no one and cared nothing for love, even though there were many who loved her.”

☆彡 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane — Chapter Four

I’m not sure why the writer picked this part to highlight in the episode, but I feel like the description of the princess somehow reflects what Min Joon thought of Song Yi at this point in the story.

When Soompi wrote that the book was published in 2009 and that it didn’t generate any interest then, they are referring to the Korean edition; the English first edition was published in 2006, and within a span of 2 or so years, it was nominated for and won several awards.

The publishing industry exec that was interviewed made an interesting point: “…that the bestselling status of a work can be influenced by a single broadcast is very bittersweet, reflecting the fragile state of the Korean literary market.” The appearance of the book was about as effective as most product placements in Korean dramas (i.e. very effective)!

I’m no publishing guru, and I have no idea what the literary market there is like, but it’s obvious that this cross-media thing is happening everywhere. Many publishers, especially American ones, know that social networks, movies, television, fandom (just go on Tumblr) and other non-traditional book marketing increase awareness and sales, and exploit those. Those are part of why the Young Adult demographic is alive and kicking…and hey, those are also part of how a K-pop album can sell a million copies.

I write about books and give away books not only because I enjoy it but also, in my own small way, I want to try to make people more interested in reading. Personally, while I think it is disheartening that it has to take a drama to get people interested in reading a certain book, I am nevertheless happy that it got people reading in the first place. I appreciate that the writer used such a public platform to introduce a book that she liked.

Next move for the publisher: invite Kate DiCamillo to do a book signing in Korea and make sure Kim Soo Hyun attends. 😛 (Kidding.) (Or maybe not.)

I Spy: “Catching Fire” in “Wild Romance 난폭한 로맨스”

This is the result of me being unable to start on my review of “The Rithmatist” because I have to finish writing my story on Sungha Jung’s concert for publication. 😀 It’s been difficult to even start writing it because:

74d907522f3d9324fb332fab85ad830b

Now that I have my alibi, let’s get down to business. So here’s what I Spied recently:

Screenshot from the Korean drama "Wild Romance 난폭한 로맨스"

Screenshot from Episode 9 of the Korean drama “Wild Romance 난폭한 로맨스”: “Catching Fire” (Korean Edition)

Or to be more accurate, that’s what my friend Rainecaphriel spied recently. (Thanks, Lea!) 😉 She said the book didn’t play a particularly significant role, it was just among the things that one of the characters (a guy who is suspected to be the main male character’s stalker) had. Well, what do you know? Suspected Stalker-types read YA books! Kidding. 😛

“Wild Romance 난폭한 로맨스” was shown during the first cycle of dramas in Korea last year (January-March). It’s a romantic comedy/suspense drama that explores the relationship between a star pro baseball player (Lee Dong-wook) and his lady bodyguard (Lee Si-young). It didn’t fare too well in the ratings there because it was up against the juggernaut that was “The Moon That Embraces The Sun 해를 품은 달”, but apparently the drama had a small, loyal following.

I Spy: “Harry Potter” in “Princess Hours”

I am unable to write a long entry today, so following “Scoring the Book”, I decided to start another feature here called “I Spy”, where I post screenshots of books that I have spotted in TV shows that I am watching.

"Harry Potter" in Korean drama "Princess Hours"

Various “Harry Potter” books in Korean drama “Princess Hours”

 
I will cheat today, though, because I haven’t seen this drama myself. Fellow Korean drama enthusiast Rainecaphriel shared this screenshot she took of various “Harry Potter” books seen in episode 7 of “Princess Hours” a.k.a. “Goong (궁)”, a 2006 drama which starred one of my favorite ladies, Yoon Eun-hye. In this scene, Prince Yul (Kim Jeong-hoon) was reading the books. It’s interesting to note that these are the English Bloomsbury editions. 🙂

I chose this as my first entry for this feature because it’s my friend Leia’s favorite K-drama (and the only one she would gush about, LOL), and it’s her birthday today! Happy Birthday, dude!