Top Ten Favorite Books in 2008

The new year’s spirit already spread all over us, well it’s time for me to choose my top ten favorite books. It turned out that it is a bit difficult to choose only the best 10 books since this year I read many good books.

The show must go on, finally here are my top ten favorite books in 2008, enjoy….

1. “Three Cups of Tea”, Greg Mortenson
2. “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert
3. “The Witch of Portobello”, Paulo Coelho
4. “Kafka on the Shore”, Haruki Murakami
5. “Honeymoon with My Brother”, Franz Wisner
6. “Unaccustomed Earth”, Jhumpa Lahiri
7. “Q & A”, Vikas Swarup
8. “The Curious Incident in the Night Time”, Mark Haddon
9. “Maryamah Karpov”, Andrea Hirata
10. “Recto Verso”, Dewi ‘Dee’ Lestari

Honeymoon with My Brother

What will you do if your fiancee dump you in the altar? The wedding party’s already been settled, all invitations have already been sent and half of the guests are already on their way to the wedding place?

This is a memoir of Franz Wisner. His life seemed to get broken down at the time his fiancee, who already been together for the past 10 years dumped him just one week before their wedding day. Having ready for wedding party and honeymoon; there were two options for him: cancel all programs or proceed it without the bride. Supported by his younger brother, Kurt Wisner and all his best friends, Franz who was in despair took second option.

The honeymoon turned out to be a great experience for both of them. Franz and Kurt who were been apart and felt allied with each other, finally found their sense of brotherhood. Eventually, Franz and Kurt decided to continue their journey. They quit their jobs, sold their houses, threw out their cell phones into trash and went together around the globe.

After two years on the road, visiting more than 53 countries, including Indonesia, they became closer to each other and found a new meaning of life. The journey changed their way of enjoying life. From Central America to North Europe and Middle East, from Africa to South East Asia, including Australia and New Zealand, every new adventure took them to unique and interesting place and turned out to be great experiences.

Funny, touching and entertaining. This book will inspire you to start your own journey. Following the Wisners’ step to leave our routine activities behind and live as free as a bird.

This great book will be adapted into a movie very soon and the Wisners now is trying to prepare the sequel of this successful book.

The Valkyries

Valkyries: The nymphs at Wotan’s palace. Messengers of the Gods, they led heroes to their death - and then to paradise.

This time Paulo Coelho brings us on a forty-day quest into the starkly beautiful and sometimes dangerous Mojave Desert, Paulo and his wife, Cristina encounter the Valkyries, strange warrior women who travel the desert on motorcycles.

In this book, Paulo reveals details from his personal life. Paulo tells in a poignant way how his wife, Cristina, facing him as a husband. It tells here that Paulo like to quit working (a mania for leaving everything behind), busy with his own thoughts and Cristina had never gotten used to his life, taking off suddenly, looking for sacred pathways, swords, conversing with angels, doing everything possible to move further along the path to magic (“I should have married an engineer instead”, she said to herself). Never thought it could be quite difficult to marry Coelho.

As usual, Coelho’s writing is so rich. Wise word spread all over this book. Make me hold my breath for a while, so stunning with the power of his words.

I excerpt some quotes here:

“God is love, generosity and forgiveness; if we believe in this, we will never allow our weaknesses to paralyze us.”

“We are not alone. The world is changing and we are a part of the transformation. The angels guide us and protect us. Despite all the injustice in the world and despite the things that happen to us that we feel we don’t deserve and despite the fact that we sometimes feel incapable of changing what is wrong with people and with the world, love is even stronger and it will help us to grow. Only then will we be able to understand the stars and miracles.”

Taxi Driver

Rain fell all night long and it’s still drizzling until this morning. A perfect moment to stay in bed and forget about office stuff. But my mind still worked well and suddenly instructed me to get up, it’s not holiday yet, in fact it’s Tuesday and a lot of works was waiting for me. Okay…I reluctantly left my comfortable zone. At first, I planned to take train to the office, but seeing the non-stop raining really made me losing my good mood #excuse#. Finally, I decided to ring Blue Bird pool and ordered a taxi.

At 6 a.m. sharp, the taxi arrived, at the moment I opened the taxi door, I was a bit shocked to see the taxi driver, she was a middle-aged woman who welcomed me with her friendly big smile. Later on, I found out that there are actually 5 women taxi driver in her pool.

So this morning I had different experiences. Despite feeling stressful with terrible traffic jam, we had a long and nice chit-chat. Ms. Wuri, the driver, is a mother of two. She used to be a house wive but since her hubby was cheated by his business partner and felt depressed, she decided to find a job and forget their misfortune. She said that at first her children objected her choice to be the taxi driver, they were afraid that their mom would be murdered. Ms. Wuri said that their children watched Buser too often.

She’s very polite and a skillful driver as well (she was an instructor for a driving course many years a go and she loves driving very much).

I admire her. She’s a good example for all of us. Her spirit really influenced me. We could learn a lot from her. Thanks to Ms. Wuri who already brighten my day and give me a nice thing to ponder today, thank you.

Quote of the Day

“God sends children to enlarge our hearts and make us unselfish and full of kindly sympathies and affections” (Mary Howitt)

In the Miso Soup

After reading several books written by Japanese authors, e.g. Haruki Murakami (“Norwegian Wood”, “Kafka on the Shore”), Natsuo Kirino (“Out”) and now Ryu Murakami (“69”), I come to a conclusion that their stories are so…..bizarre, eerie and beyond my imagination. Well, Japanese always amaze me.

This book is ’very dark’. Ryu Murakami, the author succeeds in presenting this most sadistic thriller. The story is about 3 days journey of Kenji a 20-year-old-guy and Frank, a middle-aged-American-guy. Frank agrees to hire Kenji for three days. He wants to explore night life in Tokyo.

Since the first day of their journey, Kenji feels that something wrong about Frank. He doesn’t know what but his queer attitude put Kenji in a prejudice that his client could be a cruel murderer that recently wandering and terrorizing the town.

Beside the sadistic stories, this novel also elaborate many touching things, such as: the alienation, the identity lost, culture and moral corruption that spread all over Japanese people.

If you are a thriller freak, this book is really a good choice to grab.

Maryamah Karpov


Ku beri tahu satu rahasia padamu, kawan
Buah paling manis dari berani bermimpi
Adalah kejadian-kejadian menakjubkan
Dalam perjalanan menggapainya

The book that I’ve been waiting for impatiently. Finally, it’s here. Yup, it’s the fourth and the last book of Laskar Pelangi. At the time I received it, I directly read it and not able to stop it. The story is still the same. Fascinating, as always.

The story is about Ikal’s experiences when he goes back to his hometown in Belitong after finishing his master degree in France. He meets his old friends, Laskar Pelangi members and begins his journey to find his dream lady, A Ling.

As the final book, it wraps up all. All important characters from the previous books appear and take part here. A lot of hilarious stories of Belitong people are told in detail. Andrea Hirata and his magic words still fascinate me. Make me speechless and at last feel sad since I have to say farewell to this great stories. I feel like losing a good friend. That’s the magic of a great book.

One word for Andrea: Amazing!