Year End Quote


Never save the best for later
You don't know what tomorrow holds

--Paulo Coelho--

Happy New Year, everybody....!!!

Jakarta Maghrib


Director/Writer: Salman Aristo
Casts: Indra Birowo, Widi Mulia, Lukman Sardi,
Ringgo Agus Rahman, Reza Rahadian, Adinia Wirasti

I have read many positive comments about this movie on twitter. A couple days a go I found the DVD at Gunung Agung bookstore, bought it and couldn't wait to watch it.

The movie tries to capture Jakarta people at maghrib time. Maghrib is special since it is the transition from noon to evening. There are 5 different stories (Iman Cuma Ingin Nur, Adzan, Menunggu Aki, Jalan Pintas, Cerita Si Ivan). Telling about many kinds of people with their own different stories. Some stories are touching, others are funny and also some others are so-so.

The movie is closed by a story called Ba'da. It is the time when all characters in the movie has experienced his/her own maghrib moment. They will eventually meet each other with or without interaction. A unique movie. My favorite stories are Iman Cuma Ingin Nur and Jalan Pintas. Truly entertaining!

The Marriage Bureau For Rich People

Author: Farahad Zama
Translator: Rinurbad
Publisher: Penerbit Matahati
Publication Date: January 2010
Pages: 455

I bought this book in a bookstore nearby my home. They sold a lot of discount books there and this book was only sold for Rp 20.000,- a kind of cheap. I bought the book without expecting too much but it turned out to be very enjoyable.

The story takes place in India, the lead character here is Mr. Ali, a retired civil servant. He starts to build a marriage bureau in order to have something to do. To his surprise, the business becomes so successful that he needs to hire an assistant, Aruna, a poor but admirable girl. Here it goes the clients' stories and also stories about Mr. and Mrs. Ali, their son, Aruna and all the ups and downs of their life.

From the book description we will get a glimpse of modern India and how complicated they are in arranging a marriage. So many things to consider in the marriage such as: the religion, the caste and the socioeconomic status. To this day this marriage 'screening' is still going strong. One doesn't marry outside of his caste and one very rarely marries for love. Instead family members will prepare an appropriate match.

Along the way, the author will tell about many interesting Indian customs. I love the way the author put the readers inside life in India today. Little conversation between people in India. A sneak peek into Indian wedding ceremonies. Little visit with people seeking a husband or a wife. A funny, warm-hearted and delightful read.

I found out that there are the sequel of this book The Many Conditions of Love and The Wedding Wallah. Hope that Penerbit Matahati will translate all:))

Aleph

Aleph
By Paulo Coelho
HarperCollins Publishers
2011
300 pages


To live is to experience things
not to sit around pondering the meaning of life

In his newest book, this Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho tells about his most personal experience. It's all started when Coelho felt dissatisfaction in life and stagnation in spiritual growth. After discussing with his master, he finally decided to experience a journey of personal discovery. He then set off onto a journey starting from Africa, Europe and Asia via Trans-Siberian railway during March-July 2006.

Most of the novel describes Coelho's experiences during the train journey. Coelho is not alone in the journey. He is there with his publisher and a mysterious girl whom he meets in the journey. The girl insists to join the journey with Coelho. Later on Coelho finds out that she is Hilal whom he loved five hundred years a go in a different incarnation. Here it goes a very personal account where Coelho talks about relationship with Hilal in the previous incarnation.

As usual Coelho is awesome in naratting a story and provide some lessons at the end of his writing. I read the book slowly, digest it bit by bit then enjoy it as a food to my soul. Very inspiring.

It isn't what you did in the past that will affect the present.
It's what you do in present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.

Quote of the Day


You have a lifetime of work, but children are only young once
--Polish Proverb--

Macaroon on Weekend




I am sure almost all of you will fall in love to see this tempting-look cookies. Yes it's macaroon. After looking at so many pics of this cute macaroon, finally I decided to order it via Facebook. The macaroon packages had already arrived last Saturday. They accompanied me enjoying my weekend.

How's about the taste? Is it as tempting as its look? Well...not bad lah...People might have different taste. For me the taste of macaroon is just too sweet. Too much for my kampung tongue. Perhaps I'd rather go back to my original taste: martabak, getuk and gemblong :)

A Little Girl who Falls in Love with Fancy Cookies


My girl, Najla, is a huge fan of cemilan. She loves cookies and all kinds of pastries. Last week she suddenly told me that she desperately wanted to munch fancy cookies. I asked our usual baker, unfortunately she could not fulfill our request:(

I thought Najla already forgot about this sudden request. But..I was wrong. She continued saying that the urge to eat the cookies was so unbearable *drama* and asked me to please..please find other baker who has fancy cookies as she wish.

Thanks to the internet. As a mom who has poor cooking skill, all I can do are to open my laptop and browse here and there. Finally I found this blog. After e-mailing each other, the baker, mbak Ochie, promised me to send the cookies on Monday. Najla was super excited.

Last night the cookies arrived at 8 pm. Actually it's already Najla sleep time but she asked an exception, "Ma, aku boleh cobain kukisnya nggak? Satu aja?" Well...okay sweety, I know exactly how it feels to have a dream comes true. I also knew for sure that Najla slept with a big smile last night:)

Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul

Translated from: Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul
Authors: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Patricia Lorenz
Translator: Donna Widjajanto
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date
: 2011
Edition Description: First Edition
Pages: 245

Hidup seharusnya dinikmati: Disesap sedikit demi sedikit seperti layaknya minum teh (Anonim)

Enjoying a cup of tea is definitely my favorite part of the day. My hubby was the one who introduced me with tea about ten years a go. Since I don't drink coffee, I guess tea is the one that fits me.

Just like other Chicken Soup series, this book is also a compilation, this time the theme is all about tea. Therefore we'll find story about tea's ancient history, the many choices of tea available, the tips on buying, storing, preparing tea and even a few ideas on how to host a tea party.

For those not knowing what to give as a gift for the holiday season (or any other special occasion) perhaps this book is one of the good alternatives. This little book will please its readers with its inspirational true stories of the tea drinking experience and how tea has brought people together in fellowship and family.

Nothing soothes the soul like a cup of tea and a good book, so curl up and wash away the tensions and troubles of the day. Let's brew our tea now, shall we?

Sarah's Key


Translated from: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana De Rosnay
Translator: Lily Endang Joeliani
Publisher: PT Elex Media Komputindo
Publisher date: 2011
Pages: 339

A book with holocaust theme always leaves me with a mixed up feeling. Feeling blue for all the victims and feeling horrible to find out the detailed incidents. Sarah's Key is one of the book that haunting me for days. The author is extremely good in delivering a touching portrayal of one of the darkest incidents in French history.

In this book, the author creates two parallel stories which eventually intersect and each completes the other. One story takes place on July 1942, it's told from Sarah's tone, a ten-year-old girl. She, her mother and her father are brutally arrested by French Police and taken to the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup. Since her younger brother doesn't want to go, finally Sarah locks him up in a wardrobe in the family's apartment, slips the key to her pocket and promises him that she will be back within a few hours.

The second story takes place on May 2002 and concerns a modern-day journalist, Julia Jarmond who gets an assignment to write about Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary. Through her investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

This is one of the best book I've read in a while. A well told story that is based on actual incidents. It combines history, horror and drama. It will linger in your head for days. A must read.

This great book has already been adapted into a movie in 2010. Go check the movie here.







Arisan! 2

Producer: Kalyana Shira Film
Director: Nia Di Nata
Writer: Nia Di Nata
Casts: Cut Mini, Tora Sudiro, Surya Saputra, Aida Nurmala, Rachel Maryam

After 8 years, finally here it is, the sequel of Arisan the Movie. It's just like a reunion. The characters in the movie are getting older now, they are close to age of 40. Therefore they are more mature, wise, reflective but also talkative. It's still talking about the up and down of friendship, relationship among socialitas in Jakarta, the gay life, the botox and all the hypocrisy among them. Some parts of the movie remind me of Sex and the City with local content.

The scene is taken back and forth between a glamorous party in Jakarta and a quite Gili Trawangan where Meimei (Cut Mini) looks for peacefulness. The movie is almost complete, I enjoy not only the witty conversation but also the great places (Lombok, Borobudur) and the beautiful wardrobes. A light movie actually but it just hit me. It cheered me up.

This movie also give certain inspirations to me such as the scene on Waisak celebration at Borobudur Temple has made me promise myself that someday I have to go there and feel the solemn and peaceful atmosphere. The last I love in the movie is the batik blouses worn by Meimei (Cut Mini), almost all of them are beautiful, I heart them:)

Such A Perfect Day

Each end gives us the opportunity for a rebirth.
---Aleph, Paulo Coelho---

I got a special moment yesterday. A yummy lunch, a nice yet warm girls talk and closed by a great present, Paulo Coelho's latest book, Aleph. What a day! Thank you lovely Rina, you just made my day *hug*

Olive Kitteridge


Translated from: Olive Kitteridge
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Translator: Novieta Christina
Publisher: Penerbit ANDI, 2011
366 pages

What's the meaning of getting older? What life does seem in the eyes of old people? Is it still fascinating? Or nothing but suffering? The author delivered her empathy about the old people feeling, thoughts and their life in general in this well written book. It won 2009 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

This book is unique. It is a collection of stories that covers 13 connected short stories about a woman, a retired Math teacher, named Olive Kitteridge and her family and friends in a small town in Maine. Olive is not a 'nice' person in fact she's one of the miserable character in the book. She's sometimes mean, impatient, immature, cynical that leads her to many difficulties in building relationship with others. But somehow in a weird way you eventually start to like her. Just like that.

Since Olive had been living in the town for quite long time, she knew almost everyone there. Here it goes, we will read 13 different stories with different characters, problems and how they handle it. Each story either centers around or at least mentions Olive. Most of the characters are troubled, damaged and suffer in silence. The author does a great job intimating each character's struggle and pain. Some people might consider this book depressing. Whilst in my opinion this book has brought me a new perspective about how old people actually think about their kids, son-in-law/daughter-in-law, neighbours, ex-colleagues and what kinds of relationships they need. The author is a master of revealing the many onion-like layers of interpersonal relationships.

Like any other great book, this book slightly shifts the way in which I look at the world and other people -- particularly my parents and parents-in-law --and perhaps most importantly, myself. Never thought that old people world is not as simple as we thought. It's sometimes complicated, awkward, funny and it turns out that their love stories also as sweet as young people do.

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

There are plenty of others willing to call you a failure. A fool. A loser. Don't you ever say it of yourself. You send out the wrong signal, that is what people pick up. Don't you understand? You care about something, you fight for it. You hit a wall, you push through it. There's something you need to know about failure, Tintin. You can never let it defeat you.

(Captain Haddock
in Adventures of Tintin the movie)

Do you love Tintin? I am sure Tintin will be in everybody's heart. I grew up with his adventures and to date I am still and always be a huge fan of Tintin. The Adventures of Tintin was created in 1929 by Belgian Artist Georges Remi (1907-1983) who wrote under the pen name of Herge. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century with translation published in more than 80 languages.

When I heard that Steven Spielberg will adapt the comics into a movie, it's just a dream comes true. I can't hardly wait. The movie is just too engaging. A must watch. Enjoyable from the beginning until the end. One of the brilliant movie ever.

Suite Francaise


Translated from: Suite Francaise
Author: Irene Nevirovsky
Translator: Mimi Benetto & Lenah Susianty
Publisher: Penerbit Qanita
First Published: June 2011
631 pages

Whew...it's really a hard book to review. On one side the author tells about a unique look into the German occupation of France during World War II and I learned a lot about life in France in the early 1940s. But on the other hand as an unfinished book (it only consists of two parts of a projected five as a whole), it has no ending. Moreover the author wrote down so many characters in the books without any up-close-and-personal exploration. No wonder that I just could not connect with any of the characters and did not care what was happening to them. In fact I really struggled to finish the book and wished there was finally something awesome in this thick novel.

The idea of the novel is actually quite interesting. In the first section the author tells about the German invasion and the second part is focusing on the beginning of the occupation. But the execution of the book is disappointing. The pace is really slow and it is hard to get into the story since I could not emotionally connect with any of the characters in the book.

Then why is the novel so popular? I guess one of the reason is people curious about the author's life. Yes, the story about the author's life is much more interesting than the novel itself. Nemirovsky was writing this novel during the German occupation of France World War II and before she could finish it, she was captured by Nazis and died in a concentration camp in Auschwitz. Her handwritten manuscript remained undiscovered in a suitcase. At first her daughter thought it was a diary of her mother which would be too painful to read. In the late 1990s upon discovered what the manuscript was about, she finally published it in France and it became a bestseller in 2004 and has been translated into 38 languages.

If you are interested in reading France history perhaps this book is for you.





Pepustakaan Ajaib Bibbi Bokken

Translated from: Bibbi Bokkens magische Bibliothek
Author: Jostein Gaarder & Klaus Hagerup
Translator: Ridwana Saleh
Publisher: Penerbit Mizan
Gold Edition, 1st published on March 2011
282 pages

I am still exploring the magic works of Jostein Gaarder. This one is the best story talking about book and literal culture. As usual Gaarder tells the story from children point of view. The leading characters here are Berit and Nils, they are cousins that live in different areas. They keep in touch by sending letters. They call the letters a 'letter-book' which they send back and forth.

Once they met a strange woman who called herself Bibbi Bokken. One day Berit finds a letter that has fallen out of Bokken's handbag. The letter tells about a book she has which is to be released the following year. Berit and Nils are really curious to find out the writer of this strange letter. And the more they know about Bokken, the more mysterious she becomes. Berit and Nils realize that they are not only looking for a mysterious book but they also must try to find the magic library the book tells about. Their quest for the Bibbi Bokken magic library takes them on a journey of the world of books.

A comprehensive book that tells about detective story, mystery, treasure hunt, Astrid Lindgren, Dewey Decimal Classification, Winnie the Pooh, Anne Frank, love story, correspondence,writing theory, poems, book history, drama, conspiracy, and still more.

What I learned from this book is a huge love that Gaarder has through books. Only a person with this great love can write down this special story. The best book to date. A happy combination of suspense, humor and great wisdom. Definitely a must read.


Cecilia & malaikat Ariel



Translated from: Through a Glass, Darkly
Author: Jostein Gaarder
Translator: Andityas Prabantoro
Publisher: Penerbit Mizan, 2nd print, February 2009
210 pages

Having finished Gadis Jeruk, I suddenly feel for Jostein Gaarder's works. I am addicted to his words as well as how he changes the philosophy into something simple but still with powerful message. I plan to grab all his books and begin the reading. Here is the second book, a beautiful conversation between a sick girl and an angel.

What is more sad than having to celebrate your christmas in bed? That's what exactly happening to Cecilia. She just lies sick in her bed while her family is busy preparing for christmas. Suddenly an angel steps through her window. So begins a spirited and engaging series of conversation between Cecilia and her angel named Ariel. They talk about life and death, the differences between heaven and earth and also angels and human.

Cecilia is suffered from serious sickness and this christmas is possibly her last one. But from their intense talk finally Cecilia's feeling through life and death changes. From feeling anger and denial over her sickness, she reaches a calm acceptance of what will happen to her.

This sentimental and heart-warming story will definitely make us more grateful to who we are and what we have. We will ponder more on our bodies, health and all things we take for granted.

Gaarder again amazes me with his work. He talks about life, death, God and universe with wisdom and compassion. A must read. Don't forget to keep the tissue near you, the story is sad yet touching.

Sang Penari


Producer: Shanty Harmayn
Director: Ifa Isfansyah
Writers: Salman Aristo, Shanty Harmayn, Ifa Isfansyah
Casts: Nyoman Oka Antara, Prisia Nasution, Slamet Rahardjo, Landung Simatupang, Tio Pakusadewo, Lukman Sardi

Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk Trilogy is one of the best book ever. It's one of Ahmad Tohari's masterpiece. I read the book long time a go, back in 1980s. I still remembered that I was so amazed by the story and all the characters there.

Now here is the movie Sang Penari that is inspired by the book. It's not fair to compare those two different things. Book and movie are totally different media. Book can convey many detail element while movie must say its message within two hours. Moreover the director already said that the movie is not adapted from the novel, but only inspired. Therefore for those who read the book will find many different things in the movie although it's still fine.

The story was set back in 1953 in a small village, Dukuh Paruk. It's about Srintil and Rasus who had already known each other since they were kids. Later on love came between them. Things got complicated when Srintil felt that she had already been chosen as Ronggeng (not all women can be ronggeng) while Rasus disagreed. Upon his dissapointment, Rasus finally joined the army.

The story moved on to year 1965, the year of Communist uprising. At that time mass killing happened almost everywhere including in Dukuh Paruk. Srintil was also one of the victims and Rasus was in a query either to defend his corps or pursue his love story.

The book tells more on tragical moments over Srintil and Dukuh Paruk people whilst the movie focuses on the love story between Srintil and Rasus. Although the political issues also appear on the scene but still it's not as detail as in the book. Nevertheless I appreciate the people behind this movie. I thank them for giving me the chance to go to a theater and enjoy a good Indonesian movie among those setan-pocong-kuntilanak movies.

Steve Jobs

Translated from: Steve Jobs
Author: Walter Isaacson
Translator: Word++ Translation Service & Tim Bentang
Publisher: Penerbit Bentang, 2011
742 pages

A special biography of a special person.The one and only Steve Jobs, a visionary and a creative genius. Let's drown into a roller coaster life and a 'unique' personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection have revolutionized seven industries: personal computer, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, digital publishing and retail stores.

Jobs personal life was always be an enigma. But this special biography will reveal all. A very detail and comprehensive book. It took 2 years to finish and based on more than 4o times interviews with Jobs as well as more than 100 interviews with family members, best friends, adversaries, competitors and colleagues.

If people make biography for popularity but not for Jobs. The objective of this book is more on sharing. He asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. Jobs encouraged people he knew to speak honestly just like he did. Jobs spoke candidly and sometimes brutally about the people he worked with and competed against.

Be ready to get stunned to find out Jobs negative's character. It was described very comprehensive in the book. He could be petulant and very rough to people around him. It seems to me that he was driven by demon, he could drive those around him to fury and despair. Although all of these was driven by his passion and pursuit of perfection. Moreover he's a person who loved artistry and technology.

A very inspiring biography. There are a lot to learn from Jobs' phase of life. It was started from his famous adoption story to the start of Apple computer then to NeXT, Pixar, continued with his love life, the development of his iconic products and closed with his health condition. From the book also I knew that Jobs was an extreme vegan and fruitarian since he was young (hence the name Apple).

I finished the book within a week and at last felt melancholy. The biography actually made me feel like I knew him. Highly recommended.

Shiny Happy Girls




My girls and I went to Kidzania last Saturday. This is the third visit for Najla and the first for Zea. Najla was super excited. She wanted to try all and worked at every available place for her. On the other hand Zea was excited and curious at first but after working at four factories, she said she was tired, needed a little break and had an early lunch. Perhaps working at factories was just too hard for a 4- year-old girl *excuse* :)

Sang Penerjemah

Translated from: The Translator
Author: Leila Aboulela
Translator: Rahmani Astuti
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, October 2011
272 pages

A stunningly beautiful novel written by a Sudanese writer, Leila Aboulela. A story about a young Sudanese widow, Sammar who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland as an Arabic Translator in a Scottish University. Since the sudden death of her husband and her only son lives with her family in Khartoum, Sudan, Sammar is all alone, mournful and lonely in the cold and grey Aberdeen, Scotland.

But things change bit by bit. It is all begun when Sammar acts as a translator for Ray Isles, an Islamic Researcher from Scotland. From strong friendship, it blossoms into a romantic thing. When they begin to fall in love, Sammar realizes it won't be easy. As a muslim, Sammar thought she can't have a romantic relationship without a marriage nor she can have a marriage without Rae's conversion to muslim.

This delicate conflict brings Sammar back to Khartoum, Sudan where she contemplates about her life all over again. A mixture of love story between mankind and his God which is very complex yet touching. A story about a brave woman who stays true to her belief, herself and her love.

Reading Aboulela's story reminds me of Indian writers, i.e. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Jhumpa Lahiri. Not completely similar but they can convey their stories in a detail and delicate way. Fascinating.

This book is nominated for the Orange Prize and was chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times in 2006.

When God Was a Rabbit

Translator: Rini Nurul Badariah
Publisher: Penerbit Bentang
First Published on August 2011
398 pages

A debut novel written by Sarah Winman. A story about a family. The book is divided into two parts, the first part is about Elly's childhood in England during mid 1970s and the last part telling on her current life in New York.

Let's meet Elly and her brother Joe. Despite their eccentric family, they have a special relationship on each other. One day Elly got a rabbit and her brother suggested her to name it, God. Elly's life changed since then. This is not a common family story. I am amazed to find many 'strange' characters and moments here such as: the gay people, an alcoholic mother, a friend who is a victim of child abuse, a kidnapping and many more. But beside the bitter stories, I also enjoyed their childhood experiences in a great big home surrounded by green forest where they can easily go to the river for swimming, boating and fishing. Some experiences are so dull and they keep me laugh out loud. This first part of the book is my favorite.

The second part of the book is a bit serious. Elly has already been grown up now and live in New York. Life is not too engaging anymore. It is more like routine. Her life was turned upside down when she found out that her brother Joe was one of the victim of that cruel incident. Does the story end here? Of course not, keep reading and be prepared to find surprise things on every page of the book.

All in all this is a very unusual and totally original story. It is beautifully written and captivating. A story about family and in particular the bond between a brother and sister. Highly recommended.

Nguping Jakarta

Editor: Isman H. Suryaman & Primadonna A.
Publisher:
Penerbit B First

First published on August 2011
221 pages


Inspired by Overheard in New York, finally on September 4, 2008 Nguping Jakarta was born. A place where every reader can share his/her overheard experience.

If you are looking for a light book to accompany you sipping your cup of coffee, I guess this book is the one. Grab this book and you will be entertained by reading the absurd dialogue overheard by people all over Jakarta. Happy laughing:)

Gadis Jeruk

Translated from: The Orange Girl
Author: Jostein Gaarder
Translator: Yuliani Liputo
Publisher: Penerbit Mizan
Gold Edition, July 2011
252 pages

This is actually not a new book, first published on 2003 and Penerbit Mizan also had translated and published it on March 2005. But I just happened to read it a few days a go and suddenly felt in love with Jostein Gaarder's works.

Remember Sophie's World? It is a very phenomenal book that has been translated into fifty-three languages. This book has put Gaarder as one of the best author in the world. Gadis Jeruk also one of Gaarder's best book.

If most people think that learning philosophy is just complicated perhaps their opinion will be changed after they read Gaarder's books. Just like this book, a simple book with unique theme. A 15-year-old Georg Roed receives a letter from his dead father. It turn out that his father had written the letter before he died but Georg just got it after 11 years. Here the philosophy and the life lesson begin by telling about his father love story with an Orange Girl, we will be taken to a beautiful journey. Let's explore the world and all the magic things there. No worries. Life is just too rich and we are lucky to be part of it. Never thought that learning about life could be so fun.

Love the book from the first page until the end. A must read.


Dongeng Sekolah Tebing


Author: Clara Ng
Illustrator: Ella Elviana
Publisher: Penerbit Buah Hati
1st published on August 2011
226 pages

The newest children story book written by Clara Ng. A big book with great stories and beautiful illustration. You will find 52 different stories about a blue building located at the edge of a windy cliff. This building has two functions, as a school for 13 students and at night it changes into a rest area for a cow.

The book divides the story into 52 weeks which means you will know what going on there in Sekolah Tebing within a year. Here we go, let's start our adventure. The stories are not only telling about the 13 students and their teacher but also about all living things in the surrounding, such as: the butterflies, the cow, the rat, the flowers, the baby, and many more. Moreover there are also lovely songs and poems. I guess this book is one of the best children book ever. Love it.

I read two stories every night before Najla & Zea go to bed, now we are still in the 15th week story and we enjoy it a lot, we just can't hardly wait to finish all the 52 stories very soon:)

The Smurfs


There is a place.
A place that knows no sadness, when even feeling blue is a happy thing.
A place inhabited by little blue beings three apples high.

La la la la la la... sing a happy song
La la la la la la ....smurf the whole day long

Look at this little blue creature, the Smurf. I am a huge fan of Smurf. I read and kept all their comic strip when I was still in my elementary school. This comic strip was drawn by Peyo, a Belgian comic artist. Beside Smurf, I also love other Peyo's work which was Johan and Peewit (Indonesian version was Johan & Pirlouit). I remembered at that time (during 80s) all Peyo's works were translated and published by Penerbit Aya Media Pustaka. I still keep some of the comics though:)

Now we can see these cute smurfs in a 3D movie. This time the smurfs are being chased out of their village by the evil wizard Gargamel. They run away and finally stumble upon New York City.

I watched the movie last weekend with my little girls. For me it's just adorable to see my childhood favorite character in the movie. While Najla tried to learn the character, Zea seemed not too enthusiastic, I guess for her, Barbie is still the best :D

Air Mata Sang Jerapah


Translated from:
Tears of the Giraffe
Published by BENTANG, April 2006
369 pages
Thanks to Ferina for swapping this book:)

Lately I feel that detective books are not my cup of tea anymore therefore I stop reading that kind of books for quite sometime but this thought has suddenly been changed the minute I read the series written by Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Let's meet Mma. Ramotswe, our detective. Just like other detective book, it is also a case to be solved by Mma. Ramotswe. In this book is about a mother who has lost his son for the past 10 years. It's going to be a hard job to do but nothing is impossible for our detective. By using her intuition and intelligence she finally knew what has happened to that missing son.

But the most interesting part of this book is not about the criminal case. There are a lot of elements to ponder, such as: The setting, in Botswana, you'll find a different Africa here, no war nor famine, in fact you'll learn their rich culture and characters. Even from Mma. Ramotswe's everyday life, her love story, her smart secretary and people she meets along the way definitely may bring new insight for us.

I am also amazed to find out that the writer is a Scottish Law professor who has already written various kinds of books such as the medical law, criminal law, philosophy, children books and novels. I guess these detective stories are one of the 'fun' kind of books he wrote.

A humorous yet heart-warming book.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society


This is a debut novel written by the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, Annie Barrows. A special novel that I am sure will warm everybody's heart. Don't get confused with the long and 'unique' title. This story is much simpler than the title:)

The setting was London in 1946, when it just recovered from second world war and writer, Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Out of the blue she received a letter from a guy she never met, Dawsey Adam, a native of the island of Guernsey. Dawsey found Juliet's name in one of her books.

This letter was a start of their beautiful relationship. They exchanged stories and Dawsey told her about his book club with his friends in Guernsey island, it's called The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. Why on earth did they have that kind of queer name for the book club? It's a long story, we have to get back to world war II when the German occupying their island. Soon Juliet started the correspondence with other society members. Through the letters, she learned about their lives, their islands and their taste in books.

Due to her curiosity, Juliet finally visited the island and felt in love with all things there. The story is told in letters form. Letters are spread here, from Juliet to the island people, her friends in London, her publishers and vice versa. At first we will get a bit confused since there are many characters and names to remember, but soon you're familiar with all the characters, you'll fall in love with their story and can't put the book down. I even check the location of the Guernsey island and suddenly want to pack my things and go directly there.

It's really a special book. The story about the celebration of hope, friendship and the life itself. Hopefully this book will be translated in bahasa very soon since it is highly recommended.

Life Traveler



Konon, bumi ini milik mereka
yang mau berhenti sejenak untuk melihat-lihat,
lalu meneruskan perjalanan

-anonymous

You can learn from anything, anywhere, anyhow. From this travelogue, the author Windy Ariestanty shares what she learned so far along her traveling. Started from Hanoi, continued to Frankfurt, Prague, Paris and also her experience in US.

The special thing to note is how the author observed and interacted with the surrounding and the people at every stop she made. Therefore you will find not only the traveling story here but also the 'feel' of every place the author visited. It turns out that there are a lot to learn. If you stop for a while and look carefully to your surrounding, even the silence can teach you something. At least it brings you the peacefulness and (hopefully) at last the gratefulness of being who you are now.

After finishing the book, I am sure you'll be tempted to pack and plan your trip. A very recommended travelogue. A different one. Beside the traveling tips, there are also the great pictures and quotes at every chapter and what I love most are the beautiful illustrations made by Diani.

Butterflies in My Stomach



No, they're not circus members nor athletes. They're just my daughters who recently have a new hobby. This new hobby has made their mom shaking but it does not stop them. It seems that this activity is too tempting. They do it almost everyday. After arriving home from school, they change their clothes and run away to our yard and jump to the swing. No more peaceful swing. Girls, I feel there are butterflies in my stomach... *praying*

Ibu-ibu Anda



KETIKA TUHAN MERAJUTMU

Ketika Tuhan merajutmu,
tentulah Ia memasukkan banyak warna tawa
juga bermeter-meter benang ketangguhan
Pasti dirajut Nya pula helai-helai sutra kepekaan
diantara kokohnya jalinan kecerdasan dan aneka ragam corak kebaikan

Alangkah dahsyatnya Sang Pencipta
kau terbentuk sebagai mahakarya
tak tertandingi
tak terbandingi
karena tidak seorangpun yang menyamaimu
Dan aku bangga menerima 'rajutan' terindah buah tangan-Nya

A bond between a mother and her daughter is always be a special thing. Alexandra Silitonga, the author of this book is lucky since she was raised by three different wonderful mothers. The first mom was her biological mother, her Mami, but unfortunately the author only had a very short tome with her. Due to cancer disease, her Mami passed away when the author was only 4 years old.

She then was raised by her step mom, she called her Mama, and the last one is the author's baptized mom, Ma Ani. These three mothers have enriched the author's life. Each of them has different characteristic. The first mom was a business woman who run a successful garment business. From her, the author learned the value of strength.

While the second Mama was a housewife who dedicated her life for her family . The author got the gifts of warm from her. Finally the last one, Ma Ani, who influenced her with her gift of value. Ma Ani who introduced the author how to speak English when she was still at kindergarten and also influenced the author to love the books. The last chapter is closed with the story about the author herself and her 2 kids. Touching.

An inspiring book. Every chapter is presented with a beautiful poem (like I quoted above) and cute illustration. Published by Penerbit Buah Hati on June 2011. A perfect book for a mom.

A Good Book is the Best of Friends

Buku adalah napas.
Membaca adalah menarik napas untuk mendapatkan udara ke paru-paru dan
menulis adalah menghembuskan napas keluar dalam bentuk buah karya tulisan.

------Dewi 'Dee' Lestari berfilosofi dalam Seri Rumah Ide, Home Library-----

Queen of Dreams


Another great work of one of my favorite authors, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, it's just been translated by PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama on August 2011. As usual the author writes about something she knows best about the world of Indian immigrant living in America. A story about Rakhi, a divorced mother of one. Rakhi is an artist and an owner of a coffeehouse called The Chai House. She's trying to deal with her life as a single mom and the most important part is to understand her own mother who is able to interpret dreams.

All this time Rakhi always feels that her mom keeps certain distance from her. She never knows about her mom's past time in India and her mom also always avoids in telling this. Until one day her mom got killed in a car accident and Rakhi found her mom's dream journals. Through her mom journal entries Rakhi finally gets a clearer understanding about her as the dreams interpreter.

The book tells about Rakhi's current life and continued with her mom dreams journal, back and forth. The dreams journal's told in a poetic way, filled with symbolism and folklore that reveal an image of India, not the physical aspect but the cultural beliefs, the myths and the legends. It definitely will enrich our horizon and give new insights.

One amazing tale from Divakaruni.

99 Cahaya di Langit Eropa

Another traveling book written by Hanum Salsabiela Rais. Don't worry this is not ordinary traveling books that spread all over bookshops in Jakarta. This book is different. You will not only find information about places to go and what to eat with limited budget, this book gives you more.

Fasten your seat belt, let's start the journey around Europe. It's begun when the author lived in Vienna, Austria for 3 years. She was there to accompany her husband who got scholarship to continue his doctoral degree. If people always associate Europe with 'only' Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, luxurious palaces, and the like, not for the author. For her, Europe means a million mysteries about a very high civilization, yes it's Islam greatest civilization.

The author continued her journey in searching for the relation between Islam and Europe. This journey will bring us back to Islam history in Europe long long time a go and at last we will feel amazed to find out many shocking facts about Islam in Europe.

A very inspiring book. A book of enlightenment. This book will give you new insights about a peaceful Islam and make us proud to be moslem. The author delivers her story in a simple yet detail way. We will be curious to know the ending of every journey she took from Vienna, Paris and Istanbul.

My favorite part of the book (actually I have many) but the most unique one is a halal restaurant, Der Wiener Deewan, located in Schotentor, Viena. The most special thing about this place is its sensational tagline: All You Can Eat. Pay As You Wish (Makan sepuasnya, bayar seikhlasnya). Yes, you don't read it wrong, the place is unbelievable, you can eat as many as you want and pay as much as you wish. The owner of this place, Natalie Deewan, believed the concept of ikhlas take and give and the most beautiful part of human being is their generosity. She proved it. Her restaurant has been opened since 2003 and instead of going bankrupt, it stays there in the center of Vienna. Amazing.

There are still many mesmerizing facts delivered in the book. A small book that tells about big things. Highly recommended.

Wuthering Heights


This classic novel was written by Emily Bronte from the Bronte sisters. It has been quite long in my wish list. I have read many reviews about it and most of them said that it is not an easy novel to read. Even when it was first published in 1847 there were many mixed reviews about it. The pros and cons are still on up till now.

Wuthering Heights is a farmhouse name in Yorkshare, England. Wuthering is also a Yorkshare word for 'turbulents weather'. The story itself tells about love story between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.

This is not a common love story. There are no 'bed and roses' here. On the other hand almost all characters appear here are a strange group of people. Therefore certain readers feel shocked, disgusted and almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity and the most diabolical hate and vengeance that spread almost on every page of the novel.

After reading the author's background I found out why she could tell a very dark story vividly. It seems that some of the stories were based on her true life story. She faced hard time since she was just a little girl. Her mom was passed away when she was only 3 years old. Her 2 sisters were sent to school and got abused there while the author never got a formal education and enough attention. Perhaps that one of the reason why she was very sensitive, shy and introvert. She expressed her secret thoughts of her tortured soul in this Wuthering Heights, her only novel. Just like her other sisters, the author also died young at the age of 30 due to health condition.

Although it received mixed reviews but this novel has brought Emily Bronte as one of the respected authors in the England literature. The novel also had been adapted into films, radio, ballet, opera and a song by Kate Bush.

This novel has been translated by PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama on April 2011 with very good translation by Lulu Wijaya , but just now I also found that Penerbit Qanita also has translated this novel with a more eye- catching cover (they used the Wuthering Heights movie cover).

I have finished the novel since couple weeks a go but I am still very much haunted by it. Imagining how the author wrote this very dark story really made me scary but I also felt sympathy for her and her life. Moreover I consider the author as a genius since not every author can write a dark novel with gloomy atmosphere like this one. And I am always sure every book will give us something to learn. One thing I note from this novel is how to raise your child. Love, affection and surrounding are the ultimate aspects in bringing up the children. Definitely a worth to read novel.

Happy Eid Mubarak 1432 H

Ah...it's only passed a few days but I already missed the lebaran day and all its icons: ketupat, nastar, new dresses, mudik, traffic jam, halalbihalal, angpaw for the kids, no 'si mbak', uncontrolable eating and ended by getting more weight *sigh*

The following conversation between my hubby and I took place on our way back from Bakauheni to Merak:

Hubby: Ini ferry udah sampe Merak belum?
Me: Udah tapi dermaga penuh jadi belum bisa parkir
Hubby: Kenapa ga coba valet parking sih?
Me: Ide bagus... *samagilanya* :D

Jia, Sebuah Kisah dari Korea Utara


As we know that North Korea is one of the most mysterious countries in the world. Not many books tell about it. This is the first book about North Korea to be published in English. Written by Hyejin Kim based on her work with North Korean refugees living in villages along the Korean-Chinese border.

A story about Jia, a little girl who spent her childhood in a gulag with her grandparents and sister. Later on she escaped and began her dangerous voyage started from an orphanage in Pyongyang then continued to a dancer school that brought her dancing before the foreign visitors and the Great Leader himself.

This story is a cry to the world to recognize what is going on in China-North Korea border. I had little knowledge of North Korea and this book was a great introduction. It's worth a read. Beside that after finishing this book, I guarantee that you will at last realize what a blessed life you lived.

Already translated by PT Elex Media Komputindo on 2011.

Yes, We're on Ramadhan Bazaar


After celebrating Batik Najlazea online shop 1st birthday last month, I guess its time for it to move forward and do something different. Finally I decided to try our luck on Ramadhan Bazaar. We'll be joining the bazaar tomorrow, Thursday-Friday, August 18-19, 2011 from 9 am- 4.30 pm at Gedung Dhanapala, Dept. Keuangan, Lapangan Banteng, Jakarta. Please do come and visit us, we'll be on booth no. 92.

Yay...It's blooming



Our mangosteen tree (Garcinia Mangostana) at the front yard is finally blooming. Since it is a slow growing tree, we are very happy to welcome the fruits. There are around 10 flowers there, hopefully all will turn into fruits. Can't hardly wait for its harvest time.

Lampuki


Not many authors tell about Aceh, my place of birth and one of the provinces in Indonesia. Arafat Nur tried to tell a story about his own place, his own people, Aceh. The setting is Aceh during the riot after the falling down of Soeharto era.

From the author narration we could learn how a rebellion can happen. What the reasons behind it and how actually people think about it. As usual the conflict between the government and the rebels cause nothing but long suffering for innocent people. Reading this book is like exploring a history book. Many new facts are revealed and I guess those are mostly factual narration since the author himself lives there, in one of the conflict area.

What I learn so far, the root of all problems there is simply justice. Just like in other conflict areas, e.g. Papua now. Aceh people know that their area is very rich with natural gas and many more but they feel that government has used them up. Instead of enjoying high welfare, they just feel that their lives are getting more and more miserable. Giving justice for all is absolutely not an easy thing to do. Whew.. it seems that my review is getting more serious here.

To wrap it up, this is a different genre of novel. Even the writing style is not common. It has more narration than dialogue. You need patience to digest it. This novel has been awarded by Dewan Kesenian Jakarta 2010 as the winner of novel writing contest.

Happy Birthday, Ayah

Dear hubby,

You're the one who has made me laugh, wiped my tears, hugged me tight, saved my life, watched me succeed, seen me fail, cheered me on, kept me going strong, put up with my mood swings, has said everything will be alright when things get tough and keeps me sane

You're a promise from God that I'll have a friend forever

Happy birthday, dear Ayah...

Ramadhan in the Eyes of Kids


This Ramadhan is special since it is going to be the first time for my 6-year-old daughter, Najla, learning how to do fasting. On the first day, she was fasting until 1.30 pm but on the next day she made it, she could finish until Maghrib, way to go girl.

I thought that it's going to be very hard for her moreover she also needs to go to school. But I guess mommy has too much worries because she is just fine. She enjoys the fasting. In fact everytime she arrives home from school, she looks even more cheerful.

So the conclusion is just let the kids do fasting as long as they want it. No force at all. Last but not least especially for mommies let's leave our worries behind and trust our kids wholehartedly. They can make it. Hakuna matata!!!

This conversation between Najla and Zea (4 yr old) happened yesterday on a critical hour (5 pm):

Zea: Kak, aku tadi ngabisin nata decoco yang ada di kulkas
Najla:
Hah? Kok kamu bilang2 ke aku sih? Aku kan jadi kepingin..

Zea:
Kepingin itu apa sih kak?
*muka lempeng*
Najla: *speechless*

Have a blessed and peaceful Ramadhan, everybody:)

Yoga, Je t'aime





Last Friday my yoga club, Padma Yoga, visited Bandung to have a yoga practice at Yoga Leaf, a yoga studio owned by international yoga master, Pujiastuti Sindhu. We had a two-hour yoga practice. A tiring yet very inspiring practice. We got a lot. Not only the yoga movement accuracy but also its high philosophy. This practice made me love yoga even more.