Anonymous whispered: Hey there! I've read your reviews on the books you read and I was just wondering... How do you go about writing them? I'm supposed to hand one up to my teacher and I'm going to use 'The Interestings' :) (I can see from your posts you love that book) And ye.. So are there any thugs or formats to follow when writing a book review? I'm sorry if this sounded like a stupid question XP But I really don't know what's appropriate to him cos I'm sure he wouldn't want a page full of 'fangirling' XD

hey!  haha it’s funny you ask me this because i feel like that’s what i do — fangirl.

if i were to try writing a proper review, though … there’s usually a theme or idea or character or something in a book that sticks with me, so i like to start from there and build the review around that.  i’d also try to summarize the book in one paragraph early on, so there’s context for the reader (always assuming that he/she hasn’t read the book), and then go on to discuss the characters, the writing itself, and the story overall — as well as whether or not the author was successful in telling the story he/she wanted to tell.

especially with a book like the interestings where i feel like there are a few really big themes that wolitzer set out to write about — i’d explore how she went about presenting them and the different ways she explored them and whether or not she did so effectively.

or something like that.  but i’m obsessed with the ways wolitzer talks about talent/potential and envy and friendship.  sorry, i feel like this was massively unhelpful.  ):

but yey the interestings!


atomicfartz replied to your post:
Do you like jazz then?
no, i don’t.  not even a little, to be honest.
Anonymous whispered: Hey! I really love your posts, they're awesome. As I read them, I was wondering whether you listen to music when you read books? If you do, what kind of music? (Because for me, I really like to listen to music that fits the particular part of the book that I'm reading. It helps to bring out the atmosphere.) or you think listening to music when reading a book is a big no no? I'm just pretty curious :)

hey, thanks for the lovely message/Q!  (:

i’m a huge music listener and am pretty much always listening to music, even when i’m writing, which i feel is sort of unusual?  idk, i know more people who want/need silence when writing, or maybe that’s just my pool of peers.

when i’m reading, i listen to whatever i’m in the mood for personally, not necessarily something that fits the book i’m reading, but the volume gets turned down when i’m really into a book.  i listen to a lot of korean artists — nell’s my favourite band, and other favourites are eaeon, mot, monni, jaurim, dear cloud, and 3rd line butterfly — and i like rock/indie in general (i love the sound of guitars).  my favourite singer-songwriter is a lovely woman named vienna teng, and i’m always excited for more from metric and missy higgins and radiohead.  i admit there aren’t very many bands/artists i’m super crazy into anymore, other than nell maybe, and i have phases — like, two weeks ago, it was coldplay, specifically “paradise,” but, right now, i’m obsessed with hillsong’s “oceans,” though maybe i guess i shouldn’t say “right now” because i’ve been floating back towards nell since yesterday …  anyway, generally, i like music that has atmosphere and tone and puts me in good, floaty headspace when i’m reading/writing.

when i’m writing, i definitely look for music that fits the mood of whatever i’m writing — i like making up soundtracks, which also means that i listen to a fair number of film soundtracks (joe hisaishi, clint mansell, dario marianelli are favs), and sometimes i’ll actually pick up some music from movie trailers because trailer music is all about tension and mood and emotion.  i also listen to my fair share of classical music — i default towards beethoven, brahms, mozart, rachmaninoff, elgar, dvorak, chopin, debussy, some holst and tchaikovsky — with a preference for full orchestral/choral or piano pieces.

so i guess i tend to gravitate towards rock/indie and classical?  and boa.  boa will always be my pop bias.  :D  haha maybe one day i’ll make a mix of music i find myself going back to when reading/writing.

skyscope replied to your photo: i’ve been in a really bad funk the last week or…

what decisions did you make? :0

i’m still seeing how they’ll pan out or if i’ll be following up on them, but, once i do fully 150% commit, i’ll probably/definitely post more!  :3  thanks for asking!

imageyoudrewmecartoons replied to your post: 3 things:

there’s a place cheaper than shake shack? my belgian mind cannot fathom this…

yes!  in california, there’s in-n-out, where a cheeseburger is $2.20!  and the combo that includes fries and a drink is $5.15!

at shake shack, a cheeseburger is $4.60 and fries are an additional $2.70, which is still very cheap, but i prefer in-n-out.  i find myself craving it more often, probably because there’s nostalgia attached to it and, also, because in-n-out fries well-done are my favourite.

viamars replied to your post:

Congrats!!! :))) ugh editing sucks i can’t deal with it right now. This is me, procrastinating lol.

thank you!  :3  good luck to you in the editing process; don’t procrastinate — you can do it!  :D

retronoisette replied to your post:

how do you manage to stay motivated during the editing process? I write a lot and by far my least favorite activity is rereading what I’ve written.

i might be biased here because i’ve actually come to love editing — i didn’t always because i think editing is so much more tiring than writing, but i just love seeing all the drafts in my folders and how much my stories have grown from first draft to final.  i think that’s my main motivation — seeing the fruits of my labour and feeling that swelling of pride … X:

i always have to give myself space between writing and editing because it’s hard for me to reread something i’ve just written.  i’ve found that reading my work out loud helps, though, once i’ve let the story sit for a few days, because the act of speaking the words puts a little distance between me and my writing, so i do read all my work out loud constantly throughout the editing process.

other than that, i’m a very visual person, so i like editing by hand on paper because i personally love the sight of a marked up manuscript.  that visual mainly keeps me motivated during the editing process; it’s just so satisfying, especially because it’s a very physical way to see progress and, because i can see the story changing and improving in front of me, that feeds me incentive to keep at it.

tofuforlunch replied to your photo: one of my favourite places in the city: we got a…

do you live in nyc???

i do, indeed!

xx-rapunzel-xx whispered: Hey, I read your post about The Revisionist talkback. I have a question: did you come up with the meaning of "I don't care" in the play or was that discussed during the talkback? Also, apparently the phone rang at the end in the very first preview night, and it also rang at my performance, about a week before it opened. Just letting you know - wondering why it didn't ring at yours!

oh … uhm, i might have forgotten that detail the first time i saw it … sorry.  i got so excited about everything else that that detail probably eluded me … X:

it’s my own interpretation of the use of the phrase in the play — i guess, as someone who uses that phrase a lot but not necessarily in negative ways, it stood out to me and how easily david said it but how negatively maria understood it — or, at least, that’s how i interpreted it.  (:

Anonymous whispered: can you suggest some great modern (or xx century) korean writers? or books?

ah, i apologise for taking so long to reply to this; i wanted to reply to it sooner and started writing a reply a month ago; but the truth is that my knowledge of modern korean literature is so limited and i wanted to read up more on it first. (unfortunately, that didn’t happen.)

as it goes, i’ve only read two korean authors thus far (and in translation, it must be noted), and i’d recommend them both — kim young-ha (i have the right to destroy myself and your republic is calling you) and shin kyung-sook (please look after mom) (i believe shin has another book being published by knopf this spring, i’ll be right there, and another novel by kim was published last year, black flower).

for kim, on a narrative level, i’d say that your republic is calling you is more accessible, whereas i have the right to destroy myself is more interesting tonally and conceptually. when i read i have the right to destroy myself, i was reminded a lot about haruki murakami actually, but any similar tonal qualities disappeared in your republic is calling you. of the two, i think i personally enjoyed i have the right to destroy myself better because it has a quality that kind of sticks to you, but i don’t think it necessarily achieves all its potential. it was kim’s debut novel, after all.

for shin, i loved please look after mom — i talked about it briefly in my 2012 recap — and i think shin does a stellar job at capturing and portraying post-war korea and, specifically, post-war korean motherhood. i didn’t really care for the ending, though, but the ending wasn’t bad or lackluster enough to reduce my enthusiasm for the novel, but i also admit that please look after mom resonated with me very strongly on a personal level because the character of the mother is very much my paternal grandmother. the discussion around the novel is interesting, too.

as for other great modern korean literature, i’m still very new to it myself. i found this fabulous post (“what to start reading in translated korean literature”), so i’d recommend starting with that. i’m sorry i can’t make any more suggestions from my own personal reading at the moment, but i will definitely be reading more korean lit and posting quotes from books i read as well as my thoughts about them! i just picked up hwang sok-young, who i am super stoked to read!

again, my apologies for the super slow reply. i hope you haven’t disappeared and given up on me ever getting back to you … T_T

(i feel like i should also note here that i might be really slow at replying, but, if you ask me anything about books, i will always reply. i love talking books! it just … might take me a bit.)

(also, i believe gong ji-young’s our happy time has been picked up to be published in english in spring 2014!)