Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth

Around Christmas time, the word ‘shepherd’ would always remind you of the shepherds whom the Angels first announced the birth of Christ. But the shepherd in this story is far from it. The shepherd in aviation refers to the rescue aircraft which would lead another plane which is in trouble back to a safe landing, flying wing tip to wing tip.

On a Christmas Eve of 1957, a pilot of British Royal Air Force jet fighter was flying home to England from Germany. It is a clear frosty night, and Christmas spirit is already in the air. Everything has been well planned, and our pilot is supposed to celebrate Christmas with his family very soon. However, ten minutes after take off, he finds several instruments inside the aircraft do not work properly. Nothing to be panicked, he would contact the nearest air control. However, now he also finds that his radio doesn’t work either. Fine, he would do his best using his eyes to locate his destination and finally land safely.

But, this Christmas seems not in favour of our pilot, or does it? Because he soon realizes that a thick fog is on his way, so he could not see a thing. With these troubles at night and with fuel which is enough only for the next several minutes, our pilot desperately thinks that that night would be his last on earth. Nevertheless, he takes a final attempt to raise attention of nearest RAF (Royal Air Force station), who he hopes would send their shepherd to guide him through the fog to land safely on their runway; while at the same time doing what he has not been for a long time: praying to God!

Just as he finishes this last action, our pilot sees the shadow of another aircraft; the shepherd finally comes! The shepherd’s pilot guides him to leave the fog and descent slowly, until our pilot could see a row of runway lights, and finally…..he could finally land safely, just in time with his near empty fuel. However, to his surprise, he has landed on an abandoned RAF which could not possibly have seen his SOS action, let alone sending a shepherd. Who, then, is his shepherd? And who has sent him?

Until now you might be thinking, where is the Christmas theme in this story, then, other than that it’s happening on Christmas Eve? Well, you won’t find it before you finish the book. Only then, you would realize why Forsyth has written this novella for a Christmas gift to his wife right on Christmas day 1975, which was published the year after. This is not a mystery, so it would be useless to seek reasonable explanation behind the ending. Anyway, isn’t Christmas itself always a mystery, how God could be born as a human? So, if God could send a Savior for all human being twenty thousand years ago, He could certainly do another impossible things for any man who needs Him. Although there is not any Christmas theme here, I enjoyed reading it, as it sent the warmth of God’s Love to us. It is another proof that He always listens to our prayers, especially in the one Holy night like Christmas Eve…

Four stars for The Shepherd; and half more for the black and white illustrations, which add the solitary nuance to the story, and to the (real) Christmas Eve.

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I read Bantam illustrated edition paperback, for:



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishful Wednesday (23)

Ada buku asyik yang baru saja terbit, dan aku langsung bertekad harus memiliki dan membacanya. Terima kasih pada Pak Ketum BBI, Helvry, yang sudah mengimin-imingiku sejak buku ini masih belum lahir. Awas kalau dia gak baca buku ini juga… #eh. Kebetulan sekali Wishful Wednesday minggu ini jatuh tepat pada hari Natal, yang aku imani sebagai salah satu hari penuh berkat. Jadi aku berharap semoga buku ini segera dapat menjadi milikku, dengan satu dan lain cara!

Perempuan Bernama Arjuna
By Remy Sylado



Buku ini merupakan fiksi rasa filsafat, boleh dibilang Dunia Sophie-nya Indonesia. Dan yang menulis adalah salah satu penulis lokal yang bagiku ‘jaminan mutu’: Remy Sylado. Bikin penasaran kan? Ini sedikit teasernya, berhubung sinopsisnya belum muncul di Goodreads (saat aku menulis post ini). Karena buku ini baru terbit, aku belum menemukan linknya di tobuk online, tapi kayaknya bakal beredar minggu ini di tobuk offline.

Semoga om random kali ini berpihak padaku… *lalu menebar mantra*




  • Silakan follow blog Books To Share – atau tambahkan di blogroll/link blogmu =)
  • Buat posting mengenai buku-buku (boleh lebih dari 1) yang jadi inceran kalian minggu ini, mulai dari yang bakal segera dibeli, sampai yang paling mustahil dan hanya sebatas mimpi. Oya, sertakan juga alasan kenapa buku itu masuk dalam wishlist kalian ya!
  • Tinggalkan link postingan Wishful Wednesday kalian di Mr. Linky (klik saja tombol Mr. Linky di bagian bawah post). Kalau mau, silakan tambahkan button Wishful Wednesday di posting kalian.
  • Mari saling berkunjung ke sesama blogger yang sudah ikut share wishlistnya di hari Rabu =)


Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Reading Challenges Wrap Up (Part 2)

Following my Part 1 of 2013 reading challenges wrap up, these are more reading challenges that I have been completed :

2013 TBR Pile Challenge by Adam (Roof Beam Reader)


Challenge: read 12 books + 2 alternates
Plan: to read 12 books + alternate
Result: read 14 books

This has been a very useful challenge, for without it I would have let those books in my TBR covered with dust (or even forgotten) in the shelf for years. Sometimes you need to make commitment to force you to do something. It turns out that those books are mostly good books. I didn’t quite succeed with Matilda and The Sea, but the rest are quite a treat. My updated master post is here.

Books I have read:

The Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Portrait of A Lady – Henry James
The Confession – John Grisham
Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Charles Dickens
The Masterpiece – Emile Zola
La Bete Humaine – Emile Zola
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Laurie R. King
The Orange Girl – Jostein Gaarder (translated edition: Gadis Jeruk)
Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho
The Sea – John Banville
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Matilda - Roald Dahl 


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Back To The Classics 2013 by Sarah (Sarah Reads Too Much)


Challenge: read 6 books from required categories + 5 from optional categories
Plan: to read 6 + 5 books
Result: read 11 books

I have been joining this challenge from 2012, and since I have decided to read as many classics as I can, it’s been both useful and fun to explore new classics through these categories.

Books I have read:

 The Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila - St. Teresa of Avila
Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
Moby Dick - Herman Melville


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What's In a Name Reading Challenge 2013 by Ren (Ren’s Little Corner)


Level 4 : Crazy About Name (read 20 or more books with character’s name in the title)
Plan: to read 23 books
Result: read 22 books

This is originally my challenge which I hosted back in 2012, so thanks to Ren for adopting it!

Books I have read:


King Lear – William Shakespeare
Richard III – William Shakespeare
Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
The Mystery of Edwin Drood – Charles Dickens
Candide - Voltaire
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl
Veronika Decides To Die – Paulo Coelho
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Matilda - Roald Dahl
Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
Saint Joan – George Bernard Shaw
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Friday, December 20, 2013

#BBI’s Secret Santa 2013: Riddle


Sempat absen dari Secret Santa tahun kemarin, tahun ini aku excited banget. Seperti tradisi yang sudah dimulai tahun lalu, para member BBI (Blogger Book Indonesia) pada akhir tahun akan bertukar kado—yang tentu saja berupa buku. Selain itu, agar ada sesuatu yang unik, dan untuk mengakrabkan antar anggota, setiap kado harus disertai riddle. Riddle ini berupa clue (petunjuk) yang mengungkapkan jatidiri sang secret santa yang sebenarnya. Ya, jadi, pada akhirnya si santa gak akan lagi menjadi secret, karena kita akan diminta menebak siapa sang secret santa kita. Dan sehari setelah kita memposting tebakan kita, sang santa yang sebenarnya akan unjuk diri….jreng jreng… :D

Sekarang waktunya pamer hadiah buku dan riddle yang kudapat dari Secret Santaku yang baik hati…


Beginilah penampakan paket dari Secret Santa, bikin penasaran kan, hadiahnya buku tapi kok bentuknya mirip guling? Dan empuk lagi….. :D Setelah dibuka dengan paksa, ternyata isinya adalah….



Ahhh….jelas saja bentuknya mirip guling, karena ternyata Secret Santaku memang sungguh murah hati. Tak hanya mengirimiku buku—dan bukunya adalah buku incaranku dari salah satu penulis kesayanganku: John Grisham!—Santa juga mengirimi kado berupa syal rajutan. Ah…rupanya Santa sangat mengenalku dengan baik, tahu saja dia kalau aku yang sering terserang radang tenggorokan ini membutuhkan syal hangat kalau sedang sakit. Makasih Santa atas perhatianmu….hiks…terharu.. T_T

*numpang narsis* Aku langsung nyobain syal-mu lho Santa.... 



Udah ah narsisnya.... :P Sekarang riddle-nya, yang tertulis di atas secarik kertas….



Isinya begini (karena gambarnya kurang jelas):

Dear x
Jika kamu tahu nama panjangku ini akan memudahkanmu.
Namaku terdiri dari tiga kata,
* Salah satunya merujuk pada bulan lahirku.
* Yang lainnya merupakan nama seorang putri dari Kaisar Rusia.
* Sedang yang terakhir akan banyak kamu temui di hiasan pohon Natal.

Nah…..kira-kira ada yang bisa menebak siapa Secret Santaku ini? Aku sih sudah bisa menebak, dan kayaknya gak mungkin salah. ;) Eh, kalo ada yang bisa menebak, jangan rame-rame yaa…. ^_^  Identitas sang Santa akan kubuka pada 31 Januari 2014 bersamaan dengan review buku The Racketeer, hadiah dari sang Santa.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Personal Readathon #2: Christmas Holiday

Last month, when I had one-day holiday (a national holiday of my country), I decided to have a quiet personal readathon. I mentioned my intention on twitter before leaving office the day before, and… got reply from Astrid that she’d be very pleased to join my readathon. So, we ended up having our each personal readathon at home, both reading different books. Nonetheless, we had good time together, while we were exchanging short messages twice or thrice during the 24 hours readathon, talking about what we were reading and our progresses. Then the next day we posted our fun personal readathon, and voila…. many of our friends seemed to be interested in joining the next readathon we’d be planning!

And, what was intended to be a quiet, silence personal readathon, now becomes a small group readathon (blame it to the power of social media!). However, since thinking that there are several persons out there are reading books at the very moment is really encouraging, Astrid and I decided to do another (still) quite personal readathon while minimizing the social interaction. So, here is our plan:

My Personal Readathon #2

  1. The concept is still having a quiet personal readathon, each with his/her own book, at his/her own pace. So, we are having a personal readathon of our own, but simultaneously with the others.
  2. It would be 36 hours readathon, but you may join in less/more than that.
  3. The readathon starts at 8:00 AM (GMT+7) on Monday, December 30th, 2013 and ends at 8:00 PM (GMT+7) on Tuesday.
  4. We would have 2 (two) break-points during the readathon; 1st is at 8:00 PM on Monday evening, 2nd is at 8:00 AM on Tuesday morning.
  5. You may opt to socialize a bit with the others to know their progresses (or just to have a little chit-chat about the readathon), or you may just continue your reading quietly.
  6. The break-points will be held in Twitter only, using hashtag #MyReadathon2 (please minimize mentioning too many people, as we don’t want to spam our followers).
  7. We can decide our own choices of book(s).
  8. We can have our own pace; you can stop reading to do what you must do, as the main purpose is to encourage you to read as many pages/books as you can.
  9. To participate? Just grab your book, and read with us, you don’t need to register or something… :)
  10. If you want, you can post your wrap up/report/just share about your readathon after it’s finished, but it’s not obligatory.
  11. If you have any questions, you can mention me @Fanda_A or Astrid @pippopu using the hashtag #MyReadathon2.

See you on the 30th! ;)


Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Reading Challenges Wrap Up (Part 1)

OK, so this is one of the consequences of joining too many reading challenges in a year: you must post a lot of wrap ups during December! As I’ll be busy with Book Kaleidoscope—will you join too?—I will post my wrap up in two parts. This is the first one.

Narrative Poem Reading Challenge by Listra (Half-Filled Attic)


Level: Homer (read < 4 narrative poems)
Plan: to read 3 narrative poems
Result: read 2 narrative poems

I passed this challenge but have only finished two narrative poems, instead of three as I intended to at the beginning. I picked Dante for this challenge, and managed to read Inferno and struggling a bit through Purgatorio, but I totally failed with Paradiso. I have tried to read few chapters, but I didn’t understand it a bit, although I have read the analysis too. I guess Paradiso is much too theological for me, and it’s far from fun. But at least, this challenge has encouraged me to read narrative poems, and more importantly, to finally read Dante! I especially like Inferno, because Purgatorio is already theological in the last chapters. Thanks to Listra for hosting this challenge!


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New Authors Reading Challenge 2013 by Ren (Ren’s Little Corner)


Level: Middle (read 12-20 books)
Plan: to read 12 books
Result: read 13 books

I still have one more book for this challenge, and I think I would be able to finish it before end of the year (will update later). But at least I have exceeded the target of 12 books. I’m glad I can finally read books of these new authors. Several of them become my new favorites: Herman Melville, George Bernard Shaw, Laurie R. King and Henry James. And of course, it was delighted to get to know the famous Dante. Thanks to Ren for hosting it, and for spoiling us with giveaways along the year!

Books I've read:


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Level: Beaucoup (read 6 books)
Plan: to read 6 books
Result: read 6 books

This one is perhaps the most successful reading challenge I am joining this year as, not only that I reached the target, I could also stick with the book choices, just as what I intended from the beginning. Thanks to Words and Peace for hosting it, France is always dear to my heart, and even my most favorite author is a French: Emile Zola!

Books I've read:
1. Candide by Voltaire
2. The Masterpiece by Emile Zola
3. La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola
4. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (re-read)
5. Cinta Sejati (translated short stories collections) by Guy de Maupassant
6. Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw


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2013 TBRR Pile Mystery Reading Challenge by Maria @ HobbyBuku’s Mystery Stories


Challenge: read 12 books
Result: read 7 books

Actually I was not sure I’m going to complete this challenge as I don’t read many popular books now. However, I still enjoy reading them sometimes, and I ended up reading seven books for the whole years. Laurie R. King with her Mary Russell’s series becomes my new favorite, and I plan to read more from her. And of course, the biggest surprise is that J.K. Rowling wrote a detective series! As expected, I love it very much. Thanks for Maria for hosting it, I’m sorry I couldn’t be more productive….

Books I've read:
1. The Confession – John Grisham
2. The Mystery of Edwin Drood - Charles Dickens
3. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
4. The Dante Club - Matthew Pearl
5. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Laurie R. King
6. The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
7. The Accused: Theodore Boone #3 - John Grisham


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This one is not a challenge, it’s a fun event to read children literatures. I ended up reading 5 books. Three of them are my rereading of Harry Potter (I only included 3 early series, the next 4 are not for children—in my opinion). There’s nothing special with the children books I have read, maybe I’m never a big fan of children literature anyway… Thanks to Bzee and Maria for hosting it!

Books I've read:
4. Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson
5. Matilda - Roald Dahl

To be continued to part 2….


Monday, December 2, 2013

Laurie R. King Readalong on January: A Mystery Book Club



Read Along atau Baca Bersama ini merupakan bagian dari klub buku misteri yang di-host oleh Maria (Hobby Buku’s Mystery Stories): 2014 Mystery’s Book Club. Untuk lebih jelasnya mengenai klub buku misteri ini, silakan meluncur ke link tersebut.

Salah satu kegiatan klub buku misteri ini adalah baca bareng (readalong) buku-buku dari para pengarang kisah misteri. Kebetulan untuk bulan Januari ini—sekaligus membuka rangkaian readalong sepanjang tahun 2014—blog ini kebagian meng-host Laurie R. King Readalong. Untuk yang ingin mengenal lebih dekat penulis misteri asal Amerika ini bisa mengunjungi blog beliau.

Untuk readalong-nya, aku memilih mengambil karya Laurie R. King yang paling terkenal, dan baru-baru ini menjadi favoritku, yaitu seri Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes. Eh…Sherlock Holmes? Betul, anda tak salah baca. Jadi ceritanya, King mengisahkan ketika Holmes sudah pensiun dari praktek detektifnya dan kini menyepi ke desa sambil beternak lebah. Nah, suatu hari Holmes bertemu seorang cewek tomboy berotak jenius bernama Mary Russell. Holmes pun akhirnya mengambil Mary sebagai muridnya (apprentice), dan dimulailah petualangan mereka menguak misteri demi misteri. Total seri Mary Russell ini ada 12 buku, dan hingga hari ini sudah ada 3 judul yang diterjemahkan oleh Penerbit Qanita (dan kabarnya buku ke-4 akan terbit tahun 2014).

Judul-judul lengkap ke-12 seri Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes untuk readalong kita, beserta link ke Goodreads:

(Qanita belum memasukkan edisi terjemahannya ke Goodreads) 
#4. The Moor 

Syarat untuk berpartisipasi:


  1. Follow blog ini DAN blog Hobby Buku’s Mystery Stories.
  2. Mendaftar di KOLOM KOMENTAR blog Hobby Buku’s Mystery Stories dengan format: Nama | URL blog/FB/Goodreads | e-mail | twitter (kalau punya). Secara otomatis anda juga mendaftar sebagai anggota klub dan bisa mengikuti event-event lainnya sepanjang tahun.
  3. Tinggalkan KOMENTAR di post ini juga, supaya kita semua tahu bakal readalong dengan siapa saja. ^^
  4. Pasang button Mystery’s Book Club di atas.
  5. Kalau anda mau, silakan pasang button Laurie R. King Readalong ini juga (tidak wajib).
  6. Selama bulan Januari (tgl 1 s/d 31) baca 1 atau lebih buku-buku dari seri Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes, boleh terjemahan atau versi aslinya.
  7. Buat reviewnya dan masukkan link review tsb di linky dibawah ini (akan terbit 1 Januari 2014). Linky ditutup pada 10 Februari 2014.

Jadi…tunggu apalagi? Yuk sama-sama kenalan dengan Mary Russell, dan bersamanya kita bisa reuni-an dengan Om (dia udah om-om lho disini :P) Sherlock Holmes! Happy reading :)

P.S. Kalo mau diskusi/tanya-tanya tentang readalong ini, bisa via komentar atau twitter @Fanda_A dengan hashtag #MaryRussellRAL.



Thursday, November 28, 2013

2014 TBR Pile Challenge

I’m so glad that Adam continues to host this challenge next year, 2014! It helped me so much to force encourage me to read those neglected books over this year. Like many of you, I believe, I am often tempted by books I newly purchase. And sometimes, it’s quite boring to see a certain book again and again for few years, there in my bookcase, that I am reluctant to read it. And whose fault was it? Mine, of course….

This year I have been successfully conquering not less than 13 books of my TBR pile, and am right now on the second half of the 14th book. Yep! I intend to read all the 14 books (12 originals in the list and 2 alternates) by the end of 2013. So, I’ve been waiting for Adam’s announcement for 2014 challenge, because I have been, these few weeks in fact, creating a new list to be conquered.

Here’s the twelve books I’ll be reading during 2014, along with two alternates (which I hope I’ll read too before the end of 2014). The years behind each book are the publishing year, as the rule is to read books published before January 2013.

  1. The Professor and the Mad Man - Simon Winchester ~ 2006 [Indonesian translation]
  2. The Help – Kathryn Stockett ~ May 2010 [Indonesian translation]
  3. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes ~ May 1997
  4. Angel’s Cake – Gaile Parkin ~ 2010 [Indonesian translation]
  5. Contact – Carl Sagan ~ Dec 1997 [Indonesian translation]
  6. The Debacle - Emile Zola ~ 1973
  7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou ~ Apr 2009
  8. Terre des Homes (Wind, Sand and Stars) – Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~ Dec 2011 [Indonesian translation]
  9. By The RiverPiedra I Sat Down and Wept – Paulo Coelho ~ 2007 [Indonesian translation]
  10. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder ~ Jan 2007
  11. The Kill – Emile Zola ~ Sep 2008
  12. Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy – John Le Carré ~ Aug 2011

Alternates:
  1. Foucault's Pendulum – Umberto Eco ~ Nov 2010 [Indonesian translation]
  2. Greyfriars Bobby – Eleanor Atkinson ~ Aug 2010 [Indonesian translation]

By the way, I have only realized just now that more than half of the list is Indonesian translation. Well, I have a fondness of reading English books lately, and neglecting my Indonesian translation books. Oh my...that's why, again, I must thank Adam for hosting this challenge. Now...let's conquer the heap!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Sea by John Banville

Max Morden, who has just lost her wife, came to a small town where he used to go for summer holiday with his parent when he was a child. In his mourning, Max decided to retrace his memories during the past fifty years, in his effort to get through his grief. This story is half a journal and half a stream of consciousness, written as a beautiful prose. Running simultaneously, Banville takes us to follow three phases of Max’s life: his teenage memories with Grace family; his life with his wife Anna—especially around her illness and her death; and his present visit to Cedars cottage—where the Graces used to stay during summer holidays.

Max came from a poor family, and during summer they often stayed in a small summer house in Ballyless. Being poor, the 11 years old Max was always fascinated to middle-class lifestyle; he liked to watch how the riches spent their holidays in the beautiful cottages, one of them was Cedars cottage. Here he got acquainted with the Graces. He became their intimate friend, and more and more involved in their lives, that the memories stuck forever in him.

The second phase of Max’s life was when his wife Anna was diagnosed for a deadly disease. Max was bewildered, and from then on, until Anna’s death, seemed to be in some kind of hallucination.

The third phase is the present time, when Max, to cure his grief, decided to return to Ballyless, and particularly to the Cedars cottage, which remained a memorable place for him. The cottage was now managed by a Miss Vavasour, who seemed to be pleased to receive Max.

All these three phases jumbled together in Max’s memory, and he told each of it randomly as some events would remind him to some other events. It looks like confusing pieces of a puzzle, and the more we approach the end, the puzzle begins to show its vague shape. And at the end, every mystery would be revealed, and then….the puzzle would be completed, and you will know the whole mysteries; and only then that you can really see inside Max’s deepest soul.

The Sea should be read as literary work; it’s not at all entertaining—except for the beautiful description of the town and the sea—and so, if you read it as merely fiction, you will be disappointed. I can see why Banville won the 2005 Man Booker Prize for this book, as his prose is very deep and intent. I was often amazed at how Max could remember small details from his childhood memories. But I think, it is because he himself captured those moments deep in his soul with his own amazement; that it stayed safely there to be retrieved later, when he needs something to fill or to replace the hollowness left by Anna. When you want to capture a golden moment of your life, just turn on all your senses on your surroundings; the sensation itself would remind you of most of the whole moment later on.

I must admit, that although this is a beautiful prose, I could not enjoy it as I have expected. While I expected a more touching story about a widower’s grief, what I got was a story of a group of problematic people; while I thought it would offer beauty, what I found was uncomfortable scenes. So, at the end, I think three and a half stars were more than decent for The Sea (maybe 21st literary is just not for me anyway…).

~~~~~~~~

I read Indonesian translated edition by Bentang Pustaka

*This book is counted as:*


6th book for Baca Bareng BBI – Oktober theme: Man Booker Prize

Friday, October 18, 2013

A to Z (Bookish) Survey

I forget now where I first saw this survey-meme, first created by Perpetual Page Turner , but nevertheless I have copy-pasted the questions, so this is it….



Author you’ve read the most books from:
Agatha Christie—I’ve been reading her books since my junior high school.

Best Sequel Ever:

Currently Reading:
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)—and I enjoy it very much!

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Water or hot chocolate, hmmm…. :)

E-reader or Physical Book?
Both—e-reader is very helpful when reading books with difficult words, Shakespeare, for instance :D.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
It’s a tough question, because I have certainly changed a lot now, but maybe D’Artagnan would have been interesting for ‘me in High School’….

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw. I first thought it would be flat and rather boring, but on the contrary, it’s interesting and sometimes witty.

Hidden Gem Book:
Winnetou by Karl May, I don’t think many readers know about this, or they might have heard about it without knowing how inspiring and touching it is.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Joining The Classics Club; since then on I’ve been learning more and more about classics literature; discussing them with the members; enjoying the readathon; and tons of other fun of reading classics.

Just Finished:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith). It’s quite entertaining although sometimes quite boring too.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Romance, horror, popular fantasy, and books that are attacking (in any ways) my faith. 

Longest Book You’ve Read:
I think War and Peace is the longest so far.

Major book hangover because of:
L’Assommoir—it’s shocking, and I needed a few days before moving on to next book.  

Number of Bookcases You Own:
Only two….. *smile humbly*

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Can Tintin be called book? If not, perhaps Agatha Christie’s Curtain or And Then There Were None (I really forget how many times I’ve read them).

Preferred Place To Read:
Any place provides me silence and privacy.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
“If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other?” ~To Kill A Mockingbird.

Reading Regret:
That I didn't read classics literature earlier. So now, I want to catch up by reading as much as I can. 

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
The Rougon-Macquart series by Emile Zola, so far I read only several of them, randomly. I plan to read all of it, and maybe someday I will re-read all in proper order, to get the big idea Zola wants to tell us.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Germinal, To Kill A Mockingbird, Curtain.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Emile Zola! He’s genius, great story teller, and can always bring me on the edge of my emotion.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
The Sycamore Row by John Grisham. Although I don’t remember anything about A Time To Kill, anything from Grisham always tempt me to read!

Worst Bookish Habit:
Keep buying books though I know my mom would be complaining because there seem to be books in every room at our house… errr….except bathroom of course :D

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
I picked this from my ‘temporary-shelf’ at my office (LOL!), and the 27th is Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky; one of my most anticipated books!

Your latest book purchase:
Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late)
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I read it two years ago, and during those days I often regretted in the morning that I must go to work, LOL!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Tiger Rising

This is the second book I read from Kate DiCamillo, and, like the first one: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tiger Rising also made me weeping. But unlike Edward Tulane, which is more childish, The Tiger Rising appeared to be much deeper. In fact, the conflict is very relevant to our (adult) problems too. That’s why I love this book, because in the simple story lays a deeper value in humanity.

Rob Horton is a boy who has just lost his mother. He keeps all the memories regarding his mother tightly in ‘a-locked-up-suitcase’ deep in his heart, in his effort to press his sorrow and sadness. It only makes him a gloomy, lonely little boy who becomes an easy target for bullying at school. He lives in a motel with his father who works as a cleaning service there. Like Rob, his father also hides his sadness for his late wife deep in heart, that the two ‘men’ lives together almost without the warm of love.

On that special day, two things happened to Rob, two events that would change his life forever. First, he found a tiger—yes, tiger!—caged lonely in a small wood behind the motel. The tiger overwhelmed him, it felt like an enchantment for him. He kept thinking about the mysterious tiger, and these thoughts made him stronger. So, when another troubled kid like Rob—a new girl in school—was bullied, it was Rob, the little skinny Rob, who bravely tried to stop it.

Like Rob, Sistine—yes, the girl was named after the famous chapel!—has also lost her father through a divorce, and was forced to live with her mom, whom she didn’t like. But unlike Rob, Sistine has a ‘bursting’ and impulsive character. They were both disliked by their friends, and found comfort in each other’s presence. And now Sistine insisted to Rob that they must, somehow, let the caged tiger free from its confinement. So, what do you think Rob will do when the owner of the tiger gave him the cage keys? Would he let it free? And what had the tiger has to do with Rob’s problem? In what way will it cure him? You must read the book yourself to get to the bottom of the idea.

One thing’s for sure, this book teaches us to always live the truth, no matter good or bad it is. Yes, it seems a cliché, but let’s admit it, we often tend to run away from the truth in many ways. Sometimes the truth is so hard to face, but we must believe that, not only time, love can also heal—either taken or given.  

Five stars for The Tiger Rising, as although the story is quite simple, it keeps a much deeper reflection. I also love the magical and shrine air of the story (in the tiger, and in the name of ‘Sistine’).


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Random Number Survey

I first saw this challenge in Ruth’s blog, and I decided to participate in the survey originally created by Harley Bear Book Blog.  



How to participate:

1. Pick a number.  (I picked two, as it is always my favorite number—my birthday is in February)

2. Go to your bookshelf and count that many books until you reach your number.  Answer the first question with that book.

3. Count the same number of books from where you left off and answer the next question.

4. Repeat until you finish the survey
(If you land on a book you haven't read yet pick the closest book to the left that you have read and then count on from there for the next question.) 

Here are the questions and my answers:

1. What do you think of the cover?

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald



There are so many edition of The Great Gatsby, but I picked this one (Penguin Classics edition—hardback) because of its cover, I love it! Its ivory colour and bronze motif are so ‘Gatsby’ (if you know what I mean!)

2.  Write a review in 140 characters or less.

Skipping Christmas
by John Grisham

A family skipped Christmas feeling that it gets too hedonistic, only to find that the real Christmas is about the spirit, not the attributes.

3.  How or where did you get this book?

The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

I bought this copy from The Book Depository

4.  Who's your favorite character in this book, and why?

Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

Jerry Baker, Black Beauty best master. He is a man with principles, always regards others (human and animals) as his equals on earth, and so, always does what he can to protect and serve them. And Black Beauty loves him too! 

5.  Recommend this book to a fellow blogger you think would like it.

La Bête Humaine
by Émile Zola

I think I’ll recommend this, one of my favorite books from my favorite author, to Bzee. She said she always love to read ‘unusual’ books and seems to love deep penetrating stories. I believe La Bête Humaine will mesmerize her as much as it did me!

6.  How long ago did you read this book?

The Masterpiece
by Émile Zola

I read this book for my own event: Zoladdiction, back in April, so it’s already six months ago.

7.  Name a favorite scene from this book (no spoilers).

The Man in the Iron Mask
by Alexandre Dumas

I have read this more than a year ago, but one scene that is still fresh in my mind is when Louis XIV was scolding D’Artagnan with a renewed confidence and dignity (something that he lacked before). I love his speech (you can find it here). D’Artagnan was so surprised by this change, and—quoted from the book—“(He) remained lost in mute bewilderment, and, for the first time in his life, was unable to come to a decision. He had at last found an adversary worthy of his steel. He recognized that this was no longer cunning, but the calculated foresight of a master mind; no longer violence, but strength; in place of petulance and empty boasting, he found determination and method.”

8.  Open to page 87 of this book and pick a random quote to share (no spoilers).

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
by Charles Dickens

“Look here, dear old boy. Ask Mr. Landless to dinner on Christmas Eve (the better the day the better the deed), and let there be only we three, and let us shake hands all round there and then, and say no more about it.” – It’s part of Edwin Drood’s letter to his uncle Jack, and that Christmas Eve would be the last time we’d see him, at least until the end of this unfinished book by Dickens. And the mystery remains a mystery….

9.  How did you hear about or discover this book?

The Old Curiosity Shop
by Charles Dickens

When I was not yet Dickens’ fan, my knowledge about his books was just on his few masterpieces. I knew this one from Astrid, who was reading it for a Dickens event I was hosting back then (more than 2 years ago) together with Melisa. I thought the title was unique and it tickled my curiosity immediately. So, I borrowed the book from Astrid, and found it really enjoyable. I think this book was the pinpoint where I became a Dickensian!

10.  If you could redesign this cover, what would you do?

Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens



This book is one of Penguin English Library editions, and so was designed to be minimalist. But I think the motif could contain at least two objects instead of only the chandelier. The chandelier represents Miss Havisham, but what about Pip? Maybe a hat or a cane would be good for representing a gentleman? So, I’d perhaps combine the chandelier and a hat if I’d be the cover designer. 

11.  Name your least favorite character in this book, and why.

Little Dorrit
by Charles Dickens

Mr. William Dorrit (Little Dorrit’s father), because he is so selfish and hypocrite, always pretending to be humble and proud of his poverty, while in fact he hates it. The way he is beging money from Arthur Clennam is just disgusting. William Dorrit is not a gentleman. He’s just a pathetic man trying to look as a gentleman. 

12.  If you like (fill in the blank) then you should try (your book).

Beloved
By Toni Morrison

If you like social injustice (especially combined with racism), you should try this book. Or if you like books about women’s struggle under men’s domination, this book also covers that theme. But in general, if you are looking for an extraordinary book that can deeply shake your soul, this'll be the one! 

13.  Name one cool thing about this book.

The Mill on the Floss
By George Elliot

Hmm…overall I don’t find this book ‘cool’, but I think the description of the nature (especially the floss) is quite cool.

14.  Where is it set, and would you ever want to visit that world or place?

Vivaldi’s Virgins
by Barbara Quick

In Venice, Italy, the most romantic city in Italy (so people say), and yes, of course I would love to go there! If I could only visit two cities in Italy, it would be Rome and Venice.

15.  Who is it dedicated to?

The Confession
by John Grisham

Unfortunately Grisham didn’t dedicate this book to anyone.