WRITING DIARY: what I’ve been reading, researching (Joseon Korean history!) and thinking about this week!

Here is a little random collection of thoughts, books, research from the past week or so! 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading it!

Finished a cool historical kdrama: THE GRAND PRINCE

I recently finished THE GRAND PRINCE, and really loved it!⁠
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Though … literally the ONLY thing I didn’t love about this kdrama was the small amount of very fake beard hair that was glued onto the otherwise very handsome Yoon Si Yoon’s face! ⁠
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Why was it there? What was going on? Who did this?⁠
I have no idea, I was far too distracted by the small beard hair to even pay attention!⁠
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Well that isn’t completely true, haha. The beard was definitely a bit of a weird beard, but I still loved this show, and loved Yoon Si Yoon’s performance in it. He is so great (even with a mad fake beard!). ⁠
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Also, this kdrama stars Jin Se Yeon, who I just adore, and I have been having fun following her around kdramaland and watching all her historical shows! This was actually my third one of hers in a row! I watched QUEEN: LOVE AND WAR and then the 50 episode (!) sageuk FLOWER IN PRISON, which was just the best!

CAPTION: Still from the Korean historical drama THE GRAND PRINCE, inspired by true history and starring Yoon Si Yoon and Jin Se Yeon.

Learning about Korean History via podcasts!

CAPTION: Map of the invasion routes taken by the Japanese armies during the Imjin War, from a book titled KOREAN HISTORY IN MAPS.

I really love listening to podcasts. I also spend a HUGE chunk of my life creating podcasts too, but in my spare time I mostly listen to writing / publishing podcasts … and also a few history podcasts too, when I find the time.⁠
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For the last six months, I have been neck deep into researching the Imjin War (for my manuscript AN ODE TO HUNGRY GHOSTS), which occurred in the late 1500s in Joseon Korea. ⁠
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This picture is from a book I own called ‘Korean History in Maps‘ (which is an excellent book!) and the image is a recreated illustration (because no one actually knows for certain what they looked like!) of the famous turtle ships that Korean hero Admiral Yi used during the Imjin war.⁠
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Even if you don’t feel particularly obsessed by Korean history, or history in general, I really think that the story of this war, and the incredible feats of the hero Admiral Yi, are very very cool to learn about!⁠
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So … if you are interested, I HIGHLY RECCOMEND a podcast episode called CONFLICTED: THE TIGER AND THE TURTLE.⁠
It is honestly so good. The creators of the podcast have presented the history in such a wonderful, easy to process and exciting way! ⁠
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‘Conflicted: The Tiger and the Turtle’ is available to listen to on spotify or Apple, and I think it is basically everywhere. I guess just search for that title on your favourite podcast platform, if you are interested.⁠
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I really believe the above podcast episode is such a brilliant introduction to a fascinating and incredible story, that I think will interest anyone, even if you think this probably isn’t your thing. The story is just an amazing one, and the podcast tells it in such an easy to understand way. I got sucked right in!⁠
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Please do let me know if you listen to it and like it, I LOVED it!!!!!!!!

CAPTION: Photo of a Korean history book, showing an illustration of what one of the Korean war hero, Admiral Yi’s, famous turtle ships may have looked like.

A historical fiction book set in Singapore I have been reading!

This is my current fiction read, and I am really into it so far. It is a historical fiction murder mystery of the cozy variety, set in colonial Singapore of the 1930s.

CAPTION: Historical fiction mystery set in 1930s Singapore. THE FRANGIPANI TREE MYSTERY by author Ovidia Yu.

I really like the narration and the writing, and the main character’s comments and observations about the world around her are endlessly amusing! ⁠ The book’s heroine is a young Chinese girl, who has been educated at a western school for girls and is looking for a job. She gets sent to be the housekeeper for the chief of police (or whatever this dude is! Haha, I can’t remember!) but gets embroiled in a murder case instead.⁠ Her dream is to be a lady journalist, so Su Lin begins to investigate! ⁠ .

It is a really fun book, and I love reading about Singapore back in the 30s – the intense divide between the local people and the colonial Europeans, and all the different cultures and languages on the island. Very interesting! ⁠

Also … it got me wondering … what is it that makes a mystery cozy? I haven’t really read any before? Is it just the narration is rather amusing and witty? Because the murder still seems very dark, but just it doesn’t feel emotional or depressing.

Is that why this genre is called cozy? I am very interested!

I think that is it for my random collection of thoughts this week! 🙂


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