Reading Survey

Found this reading survey here, and I thought this is not a bad idea to kill time and share some books that I’ve read.

  1. Favorite childhood book?
    Eeeerrrrrr, is manga included? Because my answer would probably be the Dragon Ball series. If no then I guess it would be Enid Blyton’s books.
  2. What are you reading right now?
    Country of Origin by E. du Perron. Borrowed the book from my office, which would mean the book belongs to my boss. I blame the title, the cover design, and the summary for making me curious to read this.
  3. What books do you have on request at the library?
    Eeerrrr, I’m not really a member of any public library right now, but a friend of mine generously sending me books from her office’s library (which is opened for public) and I’d request any books available from my reading list if there’s any. Last time, I requested a book by Lisa See, titled Peony in Love.
  4. Bad book habit?
    Hmmm, taking too much time to finish a book? Is that a bad habit? Or smelling the paper (unless the book is very dirty), or feeling the paper especially when it comes to new books? Eeerrrr, underlining words or sentences that I like (doesn’t apply if the books are borrowed) ? Reading before sleeping and then shove the book away somewhere on my bed?
  5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
    From my friend’s office’s library? Schindler’s List by Thomas Kennealy and Peony in Love by Lisa See. From my office’s library: Country of Origin by E. du Perron. From my other friends and families’ private library: A huge pile of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s works.
  6. Do you have an e-reader?
    Not specifically an e-reader, I suppose. E-books that I read would be from my Galaxy Tab II and my iPhone. But no, I’d prefer read books to ebooks.
  7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
    One book at a time. The idea of having a book unfinished would bother me a lot. I’d leave a book unfinished if I think it’s really, really boring or I found it too difficult to understand. If it’s the latter I’d usually get back to the book someday soon.
  8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
    Hmmm, not really.
  9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)?
    Coelho’s By The River of Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. An utter disappointment.
  10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
    Eeerrr, wow, this is tricky. Maybe I’d pick the one I consider the most entertaining: Planet Word by J. P. Davidson. Quite a light reading, but not too light.
  11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
    My comfort zone being those genres I like? Hmmm, quite often, I guess. Books that I pick for myself (and buy) are usually those with genres I like, but I’d usually read anything any of my friends recommend me to read. That should explain why my reading list got expanded pretty fast.
  12. What is your reading comfort zone?
    Hmmmm, regarding the genres I like: anything related to philosophy (such as Gaarder’s work), historical fiction or non-fiction, debate between religion vs atheism, pantheism, agnosticism, and such, and life struggles. And maybe the works of those authors who are highly skilled to play with words (and I’d include Michel Faber here).
  13. Can you read on the bus?
    I can read everywhere, as long as I don’t have a headache or dizziness, and as long as I have enough light to read the printed words. This habit always irritates my mom.
  14. Favorite place to read?
    My room. Coffee shop. Cafés.
  15. What is your policy on book lending?
    Take good care of them. Do not fold any pages, not even the cover unless it’s already folded before borrowed. And do not lose them.
  16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
    NO. Especially with borrowed books. I used to do this in the past a few times whenever I’m lacking any bookmarks, though. But now I’d rather use anything that I could use as a bookmark when I don’t bring any rather than folding its pages.
  17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
    Nope. I know some friends who do, though.
  18. Not even with text books?
    Well, they are two different kinds of books. So yeah, I do that with textbooks sometimes.
  19. What is your favourite language to read in?
    Eeerrr, this is tough. I speak English and Bahasa Indonesia, and with authors such as Pramoedya or Ahmad Tohari (Bahasa Indonesia) and Faber, or Stieg Larsson, I can’t decide. I love reading in both languages if the authors narrate the words beautifully.
  20. What makes you love a book?
    Errrm, the language style (definitely Faber), the theme and genre (I’d probably refer to Gaarder most of the times, but Jonathan Franzen and Stieg Larsson also never ceases to amaze me).
  21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
    How infatuated I was with the book, or how inspired I was with the story (again–I hope you’re not bored yet, I never tire myself recommending Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, or Gaarder’s The Castle in the Pyrenees, as well as Vita Brevis, also Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy).
  22. Favorite genre?
    Oh well, I discussed the genre already in no. 12 (which means that no. 12 definitely didn’t refer to the genre–but I can’t think of anything regarding the reading comfort zone other than the genre).
  23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)?
    Eeerrrr, politics? Law? (These two are my grandad’s favorites.)
  24. Favourite biography?
    Wow, erm, I can’t think of anything. I don’t remember reading so much biography, really. I usually read information about someone famous via Wikipedia rather than through books.
  25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
    Does Personality Plus by Florence Littauer considered a self-help book?
  26. Favourite cookbook?
    Okay, why is this question included? Moi and the kitchen? Not compatible.
  27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
    Aaarrrggghh, this year? Inspiring? Hmmm, Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley, I guess (and I answered this only after I retraced my steps through my reading list, again).
  28. Favorite reading snack?
    Aaawww, Amanda Scott’s Scottish historical romance!
  29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
    Eerrr, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho. As for me, I really think Coelho’s overrated.
  30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
    Not very often, really. But I sometimes check out reviews from the internet to get me another perspective of the book. In case I miss something, I guess.
  31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
    Quite bad, actually, especially if the book is a friend’s favorite. I’d usually argue with my friend if this happens.
  32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
    French. And Norway. It’d be super to be able to read Gaarder’s works in his native language.
  33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
    That I’ve ever read? Hmmm, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera, and perhaps The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuściński.
  34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
    Dicken’s classics. And the Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave. Read the introduction (which is actually a verse from the bible, geez!), and I thought to myself, “No. I’m not ready to read this. No way.”
  35. Favorite Poet?
    Hmmm, I’m not really into poet, to be frank. I do have the Selected Works of Henry Lawson in my room, though. Still trying to read it.
  36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
    From my friend’s office’s library? As much as my bag could hold. They told me that I could borrow as many books as I want (devil smirk). From my office’s library? 1. From families and friends’ libraries? As much as they allow me to, huahahaha.
  37. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
    Almost never these days. This is why I usually prefer to borrow from libraries where they allow me to borrow books as long as I want to, because if not then I wouldn’t have enough time to finish the book. I used to do return books unread during my high school days, though, since they only allow me to borrow the books for a certain amount of period of time.
  38. Romola Garai portraying Sugar

    Favorite fictional character?
    Lisbeth Salander (from Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy), Sugar (the smart whore from Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White), and Flora Aemilia (from Gaarder’s Vita Brevis).

  39. Favourite fictional villain?
    Villain? Bad guys? Rigaud/Blandois from Dickens’ Little Dorrit. Played very brilliantly in the TV series by Andy Serkis.
  40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
    Hmmmm, I usually bring anything that I’m reading at that moment of the holiday period, so… no particular book.
  41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
    Okay, I really don’t remember this one.
  42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
    The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuściński, and I’d nominate C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series.
  43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
    My Macbook and my iPhone for sure, hahaha.
  44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
    Honestly, I never really like film adaption, unless I watch the movie first before I read the book, because if I read the book first I’d usually be disappointed. Hmmm, I guess my favorite though, would be…. The Millennium Trilogy and… The Lord of the Rings. And if I could nominate a TV series, I’d go with Little Dorrit (a 2008 BBC series).
  45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
    Definitely Harry Potter (sorry Potter fans, but to me, none of the movies really satisfied me. Watching the very last HP movie instead make me miss the book even more, but DIDN’T make me want to watch the movie again and again).
  46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
    150-190 thousand-something Rupiah. I know for sure I wouldn’t spend more than 200 thousand Rupiah for just a book, no matter how much I love the book–unless the book is really good, or something that I reaally, really, really want.
  47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
    Do it all the time before I start to read a book, or buy a book.
  48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
    If the plot’s too boring or too complicated for me to understand (at the moment of reading). If it’s the latter, I’d usually give it another try.
  49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
    Yes. I have a bookshelf in my room, and I always laminate my books (and often, my friends’ books as well), before I start reading them.
  50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
    Keep books. A friend of mine told me that I ought to sell those books one day, and I simply told her I’d give it a thought, but not now. I’m not ready to let go of my “babies.”
  51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
    Yes. Goosebumps. I avoid anything horror. Including movies and TV series. Never watch The Ring, Ju-On, and Jelangkung.
  52. Name a book that made you angry.
    Because it turns out to be a complete disappointment and completely time-wasting? By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Coelho.
  53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
    Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. I wasn’t so much captured by her previous work Eat, Pray, Love, so I didn’t really expect to actually like this one. But it turned out I did. As well as Lamott’s Bird by Bird.
  54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
    By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Coelho. That’s why it’s such an utter disappointment.
  55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
    Hahaha, romance, though I don’t read all kind of romance (and I usually read them only to criticize them later). Historical romance would definitely caught my eyes. And sometimes I read chick lit, too, although usually it would revolve around Meg Cabot’s or Sophie Kinsella’s works, hahaha.

2012 Book Resolution

I’m currently in Bali, and I’ve been telling myself to start blogging about my days in Bali, yet have also been procrastinating so far, so I thought I’ll just write something in between.

So earlier today, my mom’s friends and I have been relaxing in the hotel, as we’ve occupied ourselves in the previous days with heaps and heaps of activities. So today’s theme is definitely relaxing. Then later today, finally we went out shopping (well, most of us) in Kuta Square, and so my mum and I went inside Matahari in Kuta Square only to draw some cash from the ATM machine. Apparently, as we strolled along, we passed Times.

Oh the stupid nerd, geek, silly old me.

Just in case you have no idea what is Times or what ‘Times‘ I’m talking about, Times is a bookstore.


A bookstore selling only imported books, and most of them are English.

UH-OH with big letters.

So why it mattered?

Because that’s where my mum had to suffer and stuck with me for a while as I spent hours browsing with hungry eyes, the books and novels.

Lord sweet Lord, they have Coelho’s By The River of Piedra I Sat Down and Wept!

My mum left me for a while to do some window shopping, and by the time she got back, I still haven’t finished.

Oh, seriously, like she doesn’t know me at all.

So as she waited impatiently, I finally ended up buying Coelho’s and boy, they have Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro too!

I swear I was jumping in excitement–literally–in Times.

* * *

Now I’m taking a short break in The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf near Matahari, and while I was browsing the internet, opening facebook, resuming my downloads, I also remembered that earlier in Times I saw a novel that seemed interesting. Yet, because I’ve never heard of the title, nor the author alone, I decided it would be quite risky to buy it. I’d probably get disappointed–especially because the book is quite expensive, considering I already had two books in my hand, and I had not the slightest intention to let them go.

So, if I should make any New Year’s resolution, the only resolution that I would make is probably a new reading list. It’s the least I can do, considering I’m an excellent procrastinator. I can tell myself that I’d definitely stop scratching my pimples, or stop cutting my hair, but I don’t even have the faith in myself. With books and novels, it’s different. At least, out of–let’s say… 10 books, I could at least make 7 by the end of next year. So here goes my list for books that I want to have, or at least read:

  • Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw

    This is the book that I saw earlier in Times, and then browsed in the internet for the review. The review and summary quite interest me, so I thought I’d give it a try. Maybe next time I go to Times. Or I could always find the ebook. Perhaps anyone who’d ever read this can confirm how good this book is?
  • Any book by Jostein Gaarder
    He’s definitely my favorite author, and I would love any of his book. ANY.
  •  The Year Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch

    Watched the movie, and now getting curious of the  novel.
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

    A friend told me about this book after a vivid conversation about books that we like. Apparently we have something in common: we both like similar themes about cross-cultural understanding. And then she gave me this title.
  •  Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

    As I wrote my Bird by Bird journal, a blogger friend recommended this book to me. As I’m making it a habit to read things that are recommended and offered to me, this book is definitely on my list.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

    I thought this one is also by Lamott, but as I googled it, apparently Natalie Goldberg wrote it instead. My Safari’s still loading while I’m gathering information about this book, but similar to Traveling Mercies, this was also recommended by a fellow blogger when she read my Bird by Bird journal.
  • Daughters of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

    I was considering this book before I finally bought Ugly by Constance Briscoe. This one seems interesting, and this is also related with the cross-cultural theme that I’m into, so I’m not crossing this out yet.
  • Room by Emma Donoghue

    This too, was into the consideration before I bought Ugly. I saw this one as well earlier in Times, but oh well, Coelho won. I just need to save some more money to buy this one later. Perhaps someone could give me more teaser about this book?
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene

    Another recommendation by a friend. She saw me reading Monkey Bridge by Lan Cao, followed by a conversation, ended up with me telling her that I want to get my hands on Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley (got the book already now, thanks to Danielle), and then she told me about this book. Still on my list!
  • Juktaposisi: Cerita tuhan mati by Calvin Michel Sidjaja

    A recommendation from a friend as well. As soon as he found out that I’m also interested in themes revolving in religion/agnosticism/atheism (which should explains why I love Gaarder’s The Castle in the Pyrenees so much), he told me about this philosophical book.
  • 170.8 FM Radio Negeri Biru by F. X. Rudy Gunawan

    Recommended by the same friend who told me about Juktaposisi. Reading the review, I suppose this one is also philosophical. About God. About life. Not crossing this one out.
  •  Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

    Reading the plot summary in Wikipedia (didn’t finish reading, though), this seems like a heartbreaking story. And a tearjerker as well. I usually love stories with intense emotions. But I usually avoid tearjerker as well. Not that I hate it, it’s just… I’d usually prefer to avoid it. As a proof, even after several months possessing Flags of Our Fathers, the book that I’ve been dreading and dreading for months, I still haven’t touched it. Because I know my eyes would swell just like when I was watching the movie Iris. By the end of the movie, you could see a huge pile of tissue next to my bed, and ON my bed as well. I’d probably read this after I read the other books.

I think that would be all. I’d probably update it once I got another recommendation. But whew! Now that I finished the list, I finally realized how long it actually is! Not to mention I still want to collect Phillipa Gregory’s books. Now how the hell should I actually accomplish this resolution?

Holiday Project

First of all, I think I ought to explain about the holiday since I once read a post in WordPress that August is a no-holiday month in the States. Here, the no-holiday month is the cruel July. But this year in August, we have this national holiday to celebrate Islamic big day, called Idul Fitri, or Lebaran.

Wikipedia explains that Idul Fitri “is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm).” So exactly a month before this Idul Fitri, moslem people would start fasting for a whole month, and by Idul Fitri, they finally break their fast. Idul Fitri happens on a different times every year, so next year, Idul Fitri might not happen in August anymore.

Normally in Indonesia, during Idul Fitri, people gather with their family, and this has created quite a chaos in the traffic for years, since in order to gather with their family, people who go to another city would return back to their hometown, hence creating traffic jam–sorry, I mean massive traffic jam. This year, the traffic jam is no different. Normally–or usually, traffic jam in Indonesia only occur in big cities, such as Jakarta, Surabaya, or Bandung, but on Idul Fitri–or  a couple days before Idul Fitri, the traffic jam happens everywhere. And the only city left with no traffic jam is, in fact, Jakarta.

Everybody is so anxious to get back home to see their family that they get very impatient while driving. It’s not rare to see multiple cases of accidents on the road, and even train hijacking.

Long story made short, it’s annoying.

But anyway, I made it back to my hometown, safe and sound, and now I got approximately 4 days to be with my mum with nothing to do, really. It’s my 2nd day at home, and so far, my mom has been trying to make me acne-free and fatter by feeding me foods as long as I’m awake. I don’t know whether it would make any difference, though. All these time, I always eat and eat and eat, and I even have late-night snacks many, many times, yet people keep telling me I’m getting skinnier and skinnier.

Other than hunting for new local coffee shops, and trying to get a wi-fi connection every day so I could access the internet, open, and read sarticles in order to make some money even during the holiday, I don’t really have many choices other than browsing the internet and idling at home.

So yesterday, I managed to persuade my mom to visit our old house in the city, where my novels and knitting yarns and needles are stored. I was also successful in convincing her that I didn’t bring too many novels with me and that I would finish them as soon as possible while I’m at home. So here’s my holiday-to-do-list for now, in my hometown:


  1.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (currently reading),
    I have actually watched the movies–The Millenium Trilogy–but I happened to watch the third part without reading the novel yet because at that time, I already moved to another city for work, so now that I got time to read it, I’m so relieved that I watched the movie before I read the novel. Apparently some parts in the movie are very different than the ones in the book, and if I had read the book at that time, I would doubtless not able to enjoy the movie. But since I read the book after I watched the movie, I am a fan of both the movie and the novel.
  2. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad,
  3. And The Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave,
  4. The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski,
  5. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier,
  6. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling,
  7. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux,
  8. A compilation stories of Sherlock Holmes.


  • Border Wedding by Amanda Scott

Knit a scarf (the white yarn) and redo the old one (the blue one).

The novels are those who I own from long time ago (bought them, given or lent by a friend) yet I haven’t got the time to read them all, and the blue scarf is the one that is still halfway finished, and I plan to redo it since I think it’s a bit too wide. After I finished that one, I’m going to make a white scarf. I usually sell the scarves after I made them, but if no one’s interested, I’d definitely make them my private collection. I think it’s kinda cool to own scarves that I made myself, don’t you think?