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.
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Writer Questions: Fill It Out!

So I stumbled across this post and inspired to do the same thing. Questions are taken from the same blog (which was also taken from other site as you could read yourself), so the only different things here is only my answers. It’s indeed fun, and you could also try this out to kill some time ;) Reblog this!

The Questions

  1. What is your favorite word in the English language?
    ‘Really’ and ‘indeed,’ I suppose, for I’ve been using those two words quite frequently. Don’t know why but those two words keep appearing every time I try to write a conversation.
  2. Do you prefer writing poems or stories?
    Stories. Definitely stories. I enjoy poem but I definitely enjoy stories better.
  3. Where do you get your inspiration?
    Erm, well… games, movies, other novels I read, and definitely reality.
  4. What is you least favorite word?
    Hmmm, can’t think of any right now, but I don’t think there’s any at all. I will update this later if I could think of any, though.
  5. When and where do you like to write?
    Ideally, I’d picture myself writing in a coffee shop (while drinking cups of coffees), but I think I shouldn’t wait to be in that place to be able to write something. When I got the idea for a story (mostly short–really short–stories these days), I would look for anything: cell phone, pencil, pen, papers, notes that would allow me to write the ideas before I lost them.
  6. What do you think makes a good writer?
    The great concept they have. I don’t know whether this is the appropriate answer, but I always adore those writers who have these concept of the world of their story, the characters as well as the traits of each characters and such–their concept as a whole. I always miss this and got chunks of concepts instead of a whole complete nice concept. (Did I make myself clear?)
  7. Do you, according to the criteria you just described, think of yourself as a good writer?
    Nah. Not yet, but I wish I would be someday.
  8. What is one thing you hate about writing?
    To have the incomplete concept. To fill in the gaps and such. Most of the time I have these ideas how I should start and how I should end the story, as well as how the conflicts, climax and anticlimax would be, but I’m always confused what to write to fill in the gaps. Damn. Any suggestion, writer fellas?
  9. Why do you write?
    Because I love writing. I love putting and arranging words nicely, and to be able to express myself in a way that I’m unable to do in reality. Some people are better with words, you know. (Or is it just me?)
  10. Who do you write for?
    Myself. And perhaps some other close friends out there, who share the same passion and interests.
  11.  What is the best book you have ever read?
    Wow, this is tough. I would have to choose between Jostein Gaarder’s The Castle In The Pyrenees and Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, but in terms of concept, I think I have to say that I’m in awe with the latter.

  12. Who do you look up to?
    In terms of authors, I would definitely say Jostein Gaarder. I love all his novels. (All that I’ve read, of course.)

    Jostein Gaarder

  13. What do you think makes you able to write?
    These ideas and conversations and scenes that won’t stop playing in my head; and I know that I just have to write them down before I lose them.
  14. Do you ever get writer’s block?
    Whoa. Often. Especially when I’m running out of ideas of what to write to fill in the gaps. Or when I reread my writings and think it’s not good enough. I had scrapped plenty of my writings already :( And perhaps when I’m afraid to write. Damn.
  15. What is the next thing you are going to write?
    Hmmm, I got this story already, I’m thinking a story of a mother and a daughter, who got something like a… broken relationships, and I plan to make it an open-ending, perhaps. And the story, sadly, would be most likely written in Indonesian, but like I said, I’m still figuring out how to fill in the gaps between the climax, anti-climax, and ending. Urrghh, I feel like I’m a bad writer already.

via Writer Questions: Fill It Out!.

Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

This is a poem which turns out to be an inspiration for the title of Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;

Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;

Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:

The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.

*

Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,

And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

*

Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,

And all thy heart lies open unto me.

*

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves

A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

*

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,

And slips into the bosom of the lake:

So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip

Into my bosom and be lost in me.

A Little Bit on ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ – Michel Faber

I’ve been reading The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber for a couple of days, and I made a reaaaaally slow progress because I got so easily distracted.

And, God, I miss blogging.

Anyways, I love Michel Faber. I mean, I never even heard his name before I read this (or perhaps I have heard? And it’s only my poor memory made me forgot that I’ve even heard his name or read his other masterpieces?), and the first time I opened the book (after I bought the book looooong-long time ago), read the first page, the first sentence struck me already:

Watch your step.

That’s it. That’s all. That’s exactly the very first sentence that I quote from the book. At first, I thought, “What kind of opening is this, seriously?” It seems like a bad joke to me. But after I continued reading, it struck me more and more.

I love the way he played with words. Really.

I’m not an expert in literature, nor that I’m a literature addict. I juz love reading and I love to read how words can be combined with other words beautifully. It’s just like decorating your own house or your room–or anything that you like most!

After I move on to Part 2, I began to like him even more. I haven’t able to figure out where this story would lead to, but some opinions he put inside the book through the character really made me laugh.

Ironic. Sarcasm. Yet so true to me and real. And wonderfully arranged in sentences which would never seem enough for me to quote them here.

What would God, or the Force of Nature, or whatever is supposed to be holding the Universe together, possibly have in mind, by making it so difficult to be clean inside? What, in the grand scheme of things, is so uniquely precious about piss, shit or the makings of another pompous little man, that it should be permitted to cling to her innards so tenaciously?

‘God damn God,’ she whispers, tensing and untensing her pelvic muscles, ‘and all His horrible filthy creation.’

–Sugar, p. 133-134

‘Well,’ she sigh, ‘If only it could be resolved once and for all where we come from: from Adam, or from Mr. Darwin’s apes.’ — Mrs. Fox, p. 192

‘…”I know all about it, miss,” they say. “We’re to choose who was our grandparents: two monkeys or two naked innocents in the garden.” And they laugh, for both strike them as equally ridiculous.’ — Mrs. Fox, p. 192

Maybe I’m exaggerating. As soon as I finished reading the book someday (and I dunno when will that’ someday’ come), perhaps I’d regret posting this, and feelin how ridiculous I have been.

But let’s put those thoughts aside for now.

Let’s assume that I’m so into Michel Faber’s words right now.

Let’s assume how I become so in love with the way Michel Faber arranged the words and the sentences.

Oops, I forgot another part that I love. One of my fave one:

Sugar leans her chins against the knuckles of the hand that holds the pen. Glistening on the page between her silk-shrouded elbows lies an unfinished sentence. The heroine of her novel has just slashed the throat of a man. The problem is how, precisely, the blood will flow. Flow is too gentle a word; spill implies carelessness; spurt is out of the question because she has used the word already, in another context, a few lines earlier. Pour out implies that the man has some control over the matter, which he most emphatically doesn’t; leak is too feeble for the savagery of the injury she has inflicted upon him. …

Spew, she writes, having finally been given, by tardy Providence, the needful word. …

Only a word! A single word; where one of the lead character, a prostitute named Sugar, who turns out to be intelligent, and was writing a novel, was trying to pick the right word! Michel Faber put it in a quite long 2-3 paragraphs.

Maybe I was exaggerating.

But seriously, I love it.