Reading this didn't feel like reading a book, it felt like reading columns in book-format. Judging by Raether's afterword, in which he says some of th...moreReading this didn't feel like reading a book, it felt like reading columns in book-format. Judging by Raether's afterword, in which he says some of the main character's thoughts were inspired by columns he himself had written before, seems to confirm this thought. In all honesty, the plot of the book is paper-thin, lacks a build-up to such an extent that it's absolutely impossible to care for the character's journey, and the characters themselves aren't fleshed out in the slightest. The main point of this book is the musings of the main character.
Now, if you like Till Raether's columns, there's a good chance you'll like this book. If you're an avid reader of Raether's columns, you might encounter themes he's written about before, but you'll probably still enjoy this book. I was unfamiliar with Raether's work, but I think I could like his columns, if read sporadically. I didn't like the book much on the whole, but there are some thoughts I really liked, and the first chapter was hysterical. I was kind of disappointed that the rest of the book didn't live up to that first chapter, but what can you do. Maybe it's my fault. I don't say without reason that I'd only read his columns sporadically: even at just reading one chapter a day Raether's style bored me quite quickly, because it turns out that this genre isn't really my thing.
But, what really surprised me, is two certain musings from the main character that could literally be describing me. It's the first time I met a character that so clearly described my way of life and of music lessons, and it amused me. Moral of that story? Even if you don't like a book, there's always some things to enjoy. Anyway, next time someone asks me about my view on life, I'll know what to say. Thanks, Herr Raether.
"Ich lebte in ständiger Sorge um mein Karma. Karma bedeutete im hinduistischen und buddhistischen Weltverständnis ja eigentlich, dass einem jede gute oder schlechte Tat im nächsten Leben entsprechend vergolten wurde. Mein Problem war: Ich glaubte zwar an Karma, aber nicht an ein nächstes Leben. Das hieß, ich kriegte die Vergeltung noch in diesem Leben reingedrückt."
(I was constantly concerned about my karma. In the hindu and buddhist religion karma meant that each and every good or bad deed would be repaid in the next life. My problem was this: I did believe in karma, but not in reincarnation. That meant that the retaliation would take place in this life.) *
"Wenn mich (...) jemand gefragt hätte, was er mit seinem Leben anfangen sollte, ich hätte geantwortet: Lern ein absurdes Instrument. Je später, desto besser. Übe nie. Du wirst sehen, wie irre befreiend es ist."
(If someone had asked me what he should do with his life, I would have said: Learn how to play a ridiculous instrument. The later, the better. Don't practice - ever. You will see how strangely liberating it is.) *
* Poor translations by yours truly for the sake of this review.(less)
Maybe rating this book 5 stars is slightly excessive, but I can't help it. It's just that much fun, even if it's a non-fiction book, it doesn't just d...moreMaybe rating this book 5 stars is slightly excessive, but I can't help it. It's just that much fun, even if it's a non-fiction book, it doesn't just deal with facts. At its most basic, the bare bones of the book consists of facts about Korean dramas (in South-Korea the word is used in a broader sense, for every acted television series) and interesting aspects in their production, plots and mise-en-scène.
In short: this book is not interesting at all if you're not interested in dramas, and even if you'd like to start watching, it probably doesn't really serve as a proper introduction. The book however is great when you already have some knowledge of dramas, even if it's basic. Javabeans and Girlfriday are both well versed in the world of dramas and are able to explain some occurences culturally as well. Even if you already know most of the information in the book... I'd say it's still interesting, because these women are just fantastic writers.
The book basically explains a few key themes and issues in dramas, that might get lost in translation for Western viewers. It's a quick guide, so the entries aren't too long, and there aren't too many examples of dramas mentioned (on a personal note, I really liked that they mentioned some of my favourite dramas, such as High Kick! 3, Queen In Hyun's Man and Rooftop Prince). However, just the range of dramas used as an example in this relatively short book should convince the reader of the fact that these women really know their stuff.
Should you be in doubt whether or not you'd like the book, you should probably check out the articles on their blog: Dramabeans.com. You will see that both Javabeans and Girlfriday have succeeded in creating a writing style that's informative, to the point and hilarious. I can really only recommend this eBook to fellow drama-lovers, and am personally very pleased there will be other volumes released.(less)