Category Archives: Books

The 6th Book Combo

I’m in the middle of reading these two books. Both are the 6th also the last book of the two series I’ve been following.

6th

It took more than a year to wait for the translated version of these books to be published. So once they came out, I don’t wait too long to grab them from the book store. Well, I actually bought them online, like most book purchasing I did in the last few years, so I click the button right away to bought them both (not at the same time though).

“Terminal”, from the Tunnels Series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, were available first. I just start reading it when I bought the second book, “City of Heavenly Fire” from The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. I’m not the type of reader who would read two or more books at one time. I would usually finish one book before start to read another one. Then one day, I left “Terminal” at the office…

I work on flexible hours, which means I only have to go to the office three days a week. The day when I left my precious book is the day before my schedule to work at home for two days. So, what happen next in the underground? And what am I going to do for two days?? (beside of working of course :p).

There is when “City of Heavenly Fire” saved my life ;p

Now that I’m back to the office, both books were reunited. I do have a strong feeling which one I’m going to finish first. Feel free to guess, just to make it a bit more interesting ;D

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Books I Read in 2014

It’s crazy how the time passed isn’t it? I can’t believe the first month of 2015 is coming to an end and the last time I post anything on this blog was May 2014 -_-”

There were so many things happened last year, a life changing ones.

Well, this is my first post this year. Hopefully an opener to more posts and updates.

Apparently, I also read less book on 2014, like 9 books less than 2013.

I don’t know if I could read more this year, since one of so called life-changing-event I might going to tell you in another post, but I will keep updating it on the “Book List” page. And I will try my best to create more post.

Well, this is my 2014 book list:

[To continue what I did here, this page is now will make a note of the books I finished reading on 2014. Feel free to share your own list or your recommendation of books worth reading on the comment below. Enjoy your reading! :)]

books 2014
Oh, the joy of reading…

Books I read in 2014:

>> January:
1. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
2. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
3. Siomay Pink: Sebuah Perjalanan untuk Menemukan Cinta – Nidya Febriani Utami
4. Otobiografi Malcolm X: Sang Negro yang Merevolusi Dunia Islam dan Kemanusiaan – Malcolm X & Alex Haley

>> February:
5. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
6. Please Look After Mom – Kyung-sook Shin
7. The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
8. The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
9. Pulang – Leila S. Chudori
10. Gadis Jeruk – Jostein Gaarder

>> March:
11. Cahaya, Cinta, dan Canda M. Quraish Shihab: 70 Tahun Membumikan al-Qur’an – Mauluddin Anwar, Latief Siregar, Hadi Mustofa Djuraid
12. Cinderella in Paris – Sari Musdar
13. Berguru kepada Sang Mahaguru: Catatan Kecil [Seorang Murid] tentang Karya-karya dan Pemikiran M. Quraish Shihab – Muchlis M. Hanafi
14. Catatan Indah untuk Tuhan – Saptuari Sugiharto
15. Six Suspects – Vikas Swarup
16. Ibrahim Bapak Semua Agama: Sebuah Rekontruksi Sejarah Kenabian Ibrahim AS. Sebagaimana tertuang dalam Taurat, Injil dan Al-Qur’an – Iqbal Harahap (penyadur)
17. The Chronicles of Ghazi #1 – Sayf Muhammad Isa & Felix Y. Siauw
18. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznick
19. The Homecoming – Shashi Warrier
20. The Jilbab Traveler – Asma Nadia, dkk
21. Sepuluh Anak Negro (And Then There Were None) – Agatha Christie
22. One Amazing Thing – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
23. Mirror Image – Sandra Brown

>> April:
24. Always the Bridesmaid – Sarah Webb
25. Kau, Aku, dan Sepucuk Angpau Merah – Tere Liye
26. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
27. The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling
28. Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time – Karen Armstrong
29. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
30. Antologi Rasa – Ika Natassa
31. Kisah-kisah Tengah Malam – Edgar Allan Poe
32. Birrul Walidain: Wawasan al-Qur’an tentang Bakti kepada Ibu Bapak – M. Quraish Shihab

>> Mei:
33. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
34. The Miracle of Enzyme – Hiromi Shinya, MD
35. The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
36. Creative Writing – A.S. Laksana

>> Juni:
37. Leafie: Ayam Buruk Rupa dan Itik Kesayangannya – Hwan sun-mi
38. The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
39. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
40. Melunasi Janji Kemerdekaan – Muhammad Husnil

>> Juli:
41. Divergent – Veronica Roth
42. Insurgent – Veronica Roth
43. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
44. Run, Dear, Run – Corrine Morgan-Thomas, Gary Brozek

>> August:
45. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo
46. My Life As: Film Director – Haqi Achmad
47. Cecilia dan Malaikat Ariel – Jostein Gaarder
48. Financial Stories: Kisah Inspiratif Pengelolaan Uang, Utang, dan Usaha – Erlina Juwita, dkk

>> September:
49. Mari Lari – Ninit Yunita
50. Sabtu Bersama Bapak – Adhitya Mulya
51. The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud
52. The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Golem’s Eye – Jonathan Stroud

>> Oktober:
53. The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Ptolemy’s Gate – Jonathan Stroud
54. Beautiful Liar – Dyah Rinni
55. Menjadi Djo – Dyah Rinni

>> November:
56. I Will Always Love You – Jo Chang-in

>> December:
57. The Story Girl – Lucy M. Montgomery

[] >> I think I’ll keep the opener as it was just for the sake of nostalgia ;D

Please Look After Mom

Can you hold your tears up while thinking about your mother, all the love she’s been giving you through every little things she does? I think most people can’t. I know I’m one of those people.

The story begins when a wife was separated with her husband in Seoul train station. A few stations after, the husband realized that his wife wasn’t following him into the train and rushed back to pick her up, but never found her.

The entire family, the husband and their children, were looking after her. Day after day, week after week, month after month…

“You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone” could be used to describe this story. Only after their mother (and wife) were gone, they started to remember everything about her. How she took a very good care of them. How she sacrificed lots of things, done things that they can’t even imagine doing half of.

Please Look After Mom (goodreads)Of course they always love her, but they were almost too busy with their own lives to really think about how much she meant in each of their lives. While looking for her, they were thinking about her as a person, about her life and dreams. They were asking themselves if she was happy, hoping that she’s okay, wishing that they have done better things for her.

The writer, Kyung-sook Shin,  were using different point of views to write each chapter of the book (the first person, the second person, and the third person point of view all together). It’s pretty confusing at first,  but I kind of enjoy it after a while. I think it helps me to see through the characters eyes better and relate to the story even more.

Back to the first sentence of this post, the answer to that is exactly why I wet my eyes more than once while reading this book. While each character were bringing up memories about their mother, I’m thinking about mine.

When it comes to mothers, what they’ve done for us seems never ending while what we’ve done for her feels like never enough. Still, we tend to take it for granted from time to time, forget to appreciate it as well as we should.

The highest gratitude for all mothers in this world, especially for my own mother. Reading the book, I ended said to myself and pray to God to, “Please Look After Mom”.

Malcolm X

The original title was “The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley”. I read the translated version.

I heard his name for quite a long time but know very little about him. He’s an African American, he’s a moslem, and the Indonesian version title said that he “revolutionized the world of Islam and humanity”. That’s what made me interested to know more about this man.

Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) were born in the time when racism was in a horrific condition. His entire life was basically influenced by it and was then dedicated against it.

Before Malcolm was born, his family had to move out of their house because the threat of the Ku Klux Klan, since Malcolm’s father was an activist of UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association).

Malcolm X

His father was killed when he was six, his mother was placed in a mental hospital seven years after. In his teenage years, he started to spent most of his life on the street, get involve with alcohol, drugs, became a thief and trafficker, until he got into jail.

As he grew, he watched and experienced how the black people were treated differently by the white people. Not always in a ruthless way, but even the nicest white people (sometimes maybe without realizing that it was some form of racism) doesn’t seems to see black people equally as human being. Yet, not until heard about Elijah Muhammad and his teachings, he realized how terrible racism has and still destroying black people.

I learn from this book how oppression and negligence could grow inferiority in someone. That when a human being treated less than he should be all his life, he would be eventually think less of himself. He would started to believe that he deserved it.

In this case, racism had led the African American to forget who they really are. The oppression and in equal treatment they got since the first time they arrived at the country as slaves had effecting them mentally, spiritually, socially, and economically. It was led them into low self esteem, the helpless feeling, and self destructive attitude. They got to believe that they were lower than the white people and the only way they could succeed was by their mercy or by following their way. The worst part of it is that most of them didn’t even realize this.

MAlcolm X Quote

This self esteem and the pride of being black men was what Elijah Muhammad with his Nation of Islam tried to revived. The movement want black people stand on their own feet and began to fight for their success. Malcolm who was born as Malcolm Little changed his last name into X like the other member of the religious movement. He became National Representative of the Nation of Islam, second in rank after Elijah, before he found the real Islam, that gave a new perspective in his fight for the rights of blacks and about racism itself.

Trough his speech and his own journey to find the truth, Malcolm woke a lot of people, black or white, about the racism problem in America and how it was the roots of lots of problem in the country.

Malcolm was stating the truth that was making people, white or black, uncomfortable. His passion and frankness might also made some people feel threaten. But I think that’s also how he inspires even more people across races in different countries, even long after he died as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.

Books I Read in 2013

>> Since 2013 was over, I moved the contain of the page into a new post. So I could use the page for the list of books I read in 2014 while still be able to review the 2013 book list. Let’s keep reading, folks! :) <<

Just like I wrote on this post, this page contain the list of the books that I’ve finished reading in 2013. Some books I might already start reading on previous year. If you decided to make this kind of page too, please put the link of your page/ post on the comment column below to share what you have read. Hopefully, we could motivate each other to read more books. It will be fun! ;D

Let’s read them all! ;)

Books I read in 2013:

>> January:
1. Berani Mengubah – Pandji Pragiwaksono.
2. Filosofi Kopi – Dewi “Dee” Lestari.
3. Dream Catcher – Alanda Kariza.
4. Waktu Aku Sama Mika – Indi

>> February:
5. Life Without Limits – Nick Vujicic
6. My Life As: Actor – Haqi Achmad
7. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan
8. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth – Rick Riordan
9. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Last Olympian – Rick Riordan

>> March:
10. Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson
11. 2 – Donny Dhirgantoro
12. Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi dan Kembali – Helvy Tiana Rosa
13.Sebelas Patriot – Andrea Hirata

>> April:
14. Brand Gardener – Handoko Hendroyono
15. The Naked Traveler – Trinity
16. Rindu – Sefryana Khairil

>> May:
17. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
18. Angels and Demons – Dan Brown
19. Digital Fortress – Dan Brown
20. Belajar Hidup Kaya dari Si Miskin – Matahari Timoer

>> June:
21. My Life As: Writer – Haqi Achmad and Ribka Anastasia
22. Notes from Qatar – Muhammad Assad
23. Kastana Taklukkan Jakarta – Soleh Solihun

>> July:
24. The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
25. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
26. Marginalia – Dyah Rinni
27. Divortiare – Ika Natassa

>> September:
28. Unfriend You – Dyah Rinni
29. Honeymoon with My Brother – Franz Wisner
30. Rantau 1 Muara – A. Fuadi
31. Food Combining di Bulan Ramadan – Erikar Lebang
32. Hitam Putih – Budi Satrio

>> October:
33. Pencerah Nusantara: Best Practices untuk Mencapai MDGs – Tim Redaksi
34. I Can (Not) Hear – Feby Indirani and San C. Wirakusuma
35. Red Riding Hood – Blakley-Cartwright/Johnson
36. The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes – Jennifer Cruise, Eileen Dreyer, Anne Stuart
37. Nge-Blog dengan Hati – Ndoro Kakung
38. More About Nothing – Wimar Witoelar
39. How to Be a Pirate – Cressida Cowell
40. How to Speak Dragonese – Cressida Cowell
41. How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse – Cressida Cowell
42. Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata
43. Detektif Imai dan Rahasia Pesan Api – Dyah P. Rinni
44. Magical Seira #1: Seira and The Legend of Madriva – Sitta Karina
45. Magical Seira #2: Seira and Abel’s Secret – Sitta Karina

>> November:
46. Magical Seira #2.5: Sand Castle – Sitta Karina
47. 100% Wolf – Jayne Lyons
48. How to Train Your Dragon – Cressida Cowell
49. How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale – Cressida Cowell
50. Annie Sang Manusia Kalkulator (Calculator Annie) – Alexander McCall Smith
51. Bukan Bid’ah – Prof. DR. Ali Jum’ah
52. Tunnels – Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
53. Deeper – Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
54. Freefall – Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
55. Closer – Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
56. Spiral – Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams

>> December:
57. Ayahku (Bukan) Pembohong – Tere Liye
58. Tangisan Langit – Imam Sibawaih El-Hasany & Yunan Askaruzzaman Ahmad
59. Pohon Permen Karet (The Bubblegum Tree) – Alexander McCall Smith
60. Sila ke-6: Kreatif Sampai Mati – Wahyu Aditya
61. Inferno – Dan Brown
62. Muhammad Al-Fatih 1453 – Felix Y. Siauw
63. Food Combining Itu Gampang – Erikar Lebang
64. Manusia Setengah Salmon – Raditya Dika
65. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
66. Pena Beracun (The Moving Finger) – Agatha Christie

Brand Gardener, The Naked Traveler, Rindu

Ok. For some effectiveness reason, I’m going to review three books in one post this time.

1. Brand Gardener

Brand GardenerA book by Handoko Hendroyono, an advertising practitioner, about how everyone that works with brand need to change their paradigm and attitude to communicate in the world that change even faster than it used to.

Consumers today are well informed. They not easily believe in commercial or falls right away to a bombastic advertising. The pond has changed, so the fish has to adapt and transform to survive. In this book, Handoko is offering one concept to deal with all those changes. He thinks that everybody should be  a brand gardener.

Being a creative storyteller, as he called himself, Handoko share his thoughts through more than 30 stories in the book.

He keeps each of the story short and simple, so it’s easy to comprehend even if you are not in advertising or marketing business.

To be a brand gardener means that you need to really understand what a brand is represents. What is the idea behind it and what is the purpose of the product. Than you could choose the right medium and ways to communicate the brand to the consumer. Creativity is of course needed here. But a passionate heart, a sincere will to share, and the ability to connect rather than just to build awareness is the most important.

The book describes what the world society has change into, specially in its way to communicate. How the information travels, how everything become more personal than ever, and how to understand that creates more challenge yet also more opportunities to grow your brand. How interesting.

2. The Naked Traveler

TNT 4This is the fourth book of The Naked Traveler Series by Trinity. It’s always interesting to read Trinity’s  traveling stories. Not just about some monuments or spot worth visit in a country, but also about the people there, the habit and culture, and some specific experience that you can not find only by browsing about the place (except perhaps you read her blog :p).

In this book, Trinity puts one chapter about Indonesia. Like before, she mentions how beautiful Indonesia is, how many place that you can visit, and how we, as Indonesian, should start with Indonesia when it comes to traveling. This chapter reassures that.

She also shares some tips to travel and shows that what you need to start traveling is a strong will. She was able to backpacking to Europe when she was still a college student, with her own money. So, what are we waiting for? 😀

I don’t travel a lot myself  (I actually never really going anywhere). The entire series of The Naked Traveler encourage me to travel more. Go out there, see the world. Information, inspiration, insights. That’s what this book offers.

3. Rindu
RinduThis novel is about lost and how it could shock someone’s life so greatly it affects all aspects of it. The death of their only son changes everything in Krisna’s and Zahra’s life.

For me it’s a pretty nice novel. I think the writer, Sefryana Khairil, did a good job in describing the pain of loosing someone close to your heart, of missing (rindu) the one who’s gone and the life you have when he still around.

Reading through the pain and the healing process of the characters in this novel, I learn that everyone could have experience this kind of lost at least once in their life. It’s nice to share the feeling and see it from other people eyes. :)

Sebelas Patriot

It’s Andrea Hirata‘s seventh novel, and his fifth book I read after his famous tetralogy “Laskar Pelangi” (The Rainbow Troops).

Overall, I pretty enjoy reading the tetralogy. The story was set in Belitung, an island in Indonesia. My parents are from Bangka, an island next to Belitung. Both island are in the same province called Bangka-Belitung now, and both island use similar language. That might be one thing that make the book interesting for me. The next book in the series is keep getting better than the earlier. So one day I stumble upon this one, and decided to read it, see if it’s as interesting.

Sebelas Patriot

Well, I have to say that it’s kinda not. Haha.

It’s not all bad. I just don’t get that excited feeling. Maybe because I’m not that into soccer which is what the novel is about. Maybe because the way Andrea tells it. Whatever it might be, I find it kind of boring.

I appreciate what he’s trying to say through this novel though. How soccer could mean a lot to someone. How it was once symbolized a fight against colonialism, and until now could still brought up a patriotic feeling in someone.

As you can see in the title, “Sebelas Patriot” (Eleven Patriots), the novel put the eleven player in a soccer team as a patriot, who is fighting in the name of their country.

Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi dan Kembali

“Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi” (When Mas Gagah’s Gone) was a short story written by Helvy Tiana Rosa. It was first published on 1993 in a magazine named Annida. It’s been published as an anthology by two publishers on 1997 and 2000 before it was published by Asmanadia Publishing House on 2011. This time, the short story combined with another one called “Lelaki Tak Bernama” (A Man with No Name), becoming a novelette. That’s why the anthology then titled “Ketika Mas Gagah Pergi dan Kembali” (When Mas Gagah’s Gone and Return).

There are 14 other short stories in the book. Since all of the stories in the book were published in Annida first, and I use to read the magazine a lot, this is not the first time I read them all. It doesn’t bored me though. I like it then, and I like it now. Every single one of them.

KMGP

Each story inside the book touches me. Some even manage to put some tears in my eyes. The stories are simple, yet has somewhat meaningful message in them. They make me think about life. What it’s all about, what’s really matter.

It’s nice to read those stories again all at once. Reminds me of good values of life in a beautiful way.

I love this one note from Mas Gagah to his sister on her birthday. For me, it’s not only the soul of the novelette, but also the spirit of the entire book.

“…Dan jadilah muslimah sejati (…And be a true muslimah)
yang selalu mengedepankan nurani (who always puts concience first/ listen to her concience)
Agar Allah selalu besertamu (So Allah always be with you)
Ingat Islam itu indah… (Remember that Islam is beatiful…)
Islam itu cinta… (Islam is love…)
Kalau kau tak setuju pada suatu kebaikan, (If you don’t agree in one kindness)
yang mungkin belum kau pahami, (that you might not yet understand)
kau selalu bisa menghargainya…” (you can always appreciate it…)

2

Again, this is a book that tells about dream. After his first novel “5 cm.” that was featuring mountain climbing, this time Donny Dhirgantoro used badminton as the vessel of the story.

The title of the book is “2”, which represent how everything is created two times. First in your imagination and then in reality.

The main character named Gusni Annisa Puspita. Her dream is to become a badminton athlete, win championships and make her parents happy. That is not easy to realized, especially with her condition. A genetic disease make it almost impossible for her to reach her dream but at the same time give her more reason to keep going. This is her fight to win, for herself, her family, and her country.

2

Just like before, Donny shows the love for Indonesia in his novel. Through badminton, a sport that has its own place and history in the heart of Indonesian, he grows the spirit of fighting for your dream, in the name of Indonesia. He shows how sport, in this case badminton, could bring the whole country together. That when an athlete wins, it also means the victory of the country. And Indonesia, should never loses hope of itself.

The story is likable. I like how it describes the struggle of every role in the story. How love gives strength and courage to each and all of the character to face anything they have to face, to never give up, to protect and support people they love, to fulfill their responsibilities and accomplish their missions. As parents to their children, children to their parents, as friends, best friends, sisters, lovers, and of course Indonesian.

I think it could use a good editor though. First, for a better use of punctuation mark. There are also some inconsistency in some facts of the story, like for example about Gusni’s weight that said stays at 125 kg, while at one point of the story were 130 kg. I found few confusing sentences or that could be better rephrased and would rather cut some paragraphs that contains too much of what might be intended to be motivational or inspirational statements.

I found those things pretty annoying, but I’m  glad that I decided to give it a chance and finished the entire novel for it gave me a quick reminder to believe in my dreams and work harder to achieve them.

One quote I love from the novel is:

“Jangan pernah meremehkan kekuatan seorang manusia, karena Tuhan sedikitpun tidak pernah!”

(Do not ever underestimate the power of a human being, because God Himself never does, not even a little)

Steve Jobs

After more than a month, I finally finished reading another book. Yes, it called “Steve Jobs”, an authorized biography of the man himself by Walter Isaacson.

Despite of the length of time I need, I actually glad I get to read it.

It’s really nice to be able to get to know Steve Jobs from different sides other than just someone who found Apple Inc.

The book lets me know that he was just a human being, the one with problems and imperfections, even mistakes that cause some pain in his and other people’s life. He didn’t have the best attitude or personality. He didn’t always make best choices either. But even then, he was still an amazing man whose passion and enthusiasm creates a great contribution and legacy to mankind.

Steve Jobs

Jobs was someone who loves art and technology and know exactly how to combine those two aspects in everything that he created. His ability to focus, his vision, and his attention to details brought him further ahead. He was a genius and his so called reality distortion field, even though in some cases evoke problems, was helping him and his company (Apple and Pixar) to reach most of the impossible.

I read the Indonesian version of the book. I have to say that I don’t enjoy some of the translation. But most of all it’s still a good book. Isaacson manage to cover most part of Jobs live, from his personal journey to his life as a great innovator. What an inspiration. What a lost.

One small-maybe-not-significant thing, how come I don’t found the date Jobs passed away? Well, here goes.. RIP Steven Paul Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011.