Little Bee

Author: Chris Cleave
Translator: ?
Editor: Samira
Publisher: GagasMedia
Published Date: 2011
Pages: 390

Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.

Sarah Summers is enjoying a holiday with her husband on a Nigerian beach when a young girl named Little Bee crashes irrevocably into her life. It's a horrifying moment that no reader will ever forget.

After that terrifying scene Sarah and Little Bee might expect haven't to see each other again. But it turns out that Little Bee finds Sarah's husband wallet in the sand. Later on she smuggles herself on board a cargo vessel with his address in mind. She spent two years in a detention in England before making her way to Sarah's life.

The book becomes more interesting since chapter by chapter is alternated by Little Bee's voice and Sarah's. The author caringly portrays these two very different women trying to cope with events they'd never imagined.

This is a touching story. It brings important issues from refugee policy, politics, greedy oil company, violence, intimidation and all horrible things that will make you more grateful about your current life.

The author says its best: It's an uplifting, thrilling, universal human story and I just want to keep it simple. One brave African girl; one brave Western woman, what if one just turned up on the other's doorstep one misty morning and asked, Can you help? And what if that help wasn't just a one-way street?

Highly recommended. A must read.

Klub Film

Author: David Gilmour
P. Herdian Cahya Khrisna
PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Published Date:
Pages: 275

.....sebagaimana yang sering dialami orangtua dan anak-anaknya. Kita beranggapan kitalah yang paling mengenal mereka, setelah bertahun-tahun naik turun tangga untuk menidurkan mereka, merasa sedih, gembira, lega, cemas--tetapi ternyata tidak. Ternyata mereka selalu saja punya sesuatu dalam diri mereka yang belum pernah kita bayangkan.

We learn from everything. School is not the only place to learn. Even movies can teach us life.

David Gilmour is definitely not a conventional father. When he found out that his fifteen-year-old boy, Jesse, was leaving school, getting in trouble and finally failing at school, he suddenly came out with an unusual arrangement between a father and a son. There are two rules in the arrangement: no drugs involved and the obligation to watch three movies a week of his father's choice. Yes, Jesse does not have to go to school anymore but he will learn from the movies he watched.

Over the next three years, Gilmour and his son watched and discussed films as wide-ranging from Breakfast at Tifanny's to Clint Eatswood movies. As a film critic, Gilmour is a perfect person in analyzing the movies.

But this book is not a catalog of film recommendations. In fact the author uses the films to explore and to understand each of them. Looking at Gilmour's decision and Jesse's actions, it's obvious how both of them grow. The growth in their relationship and the love they share for each other. Although life does not always turn up the way they plan but they can make it.

When this story was started, Gilmour was out of work. With his age at that time, it's difficult to get a new job. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Gilmour focused on his son and cared very much about what happened to him. Take an example when his son had troubles with girls, drinking and drugs, Gilmour never put the blame on him. He deals with all that hard stuffs. No wonder he finally becomes the hero for his son. The best father ever.

This memoir has been translated into 24 languages. Beside its great stories, it also leaves me with a list of movies to watch. Gilmour made me curious to see some movies I didn't know but mentioned beautifully in the memoir. A must read especially for parents. Unconventional life, some interesting choices.

Midnight in Paris

Director/Writer: Woody Allen
Casts: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody

I love almost all of Woody Allen's works. He almost always fascinates me with his fantastic movies. Midnight in Paris is definitely one of them.

The movie is opened with a view of peaceful Paris in 1920s. The cafes, the streets, the people, the rain, all beautiful spots. Then let's meet the protagonist here, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a Hollywood screenwriter and his fiancee, Inez (Rachel McAdams). Gil is struggling to finish his first novel. He actually dreams to quit writing the movie screen, move to Paris and finish his novel there. While his fiancee, Inez, considers his plan as a daydreaming since she wants to live in Malibu after they get married.

Gil falls in love with Paris and the 'Golden Age', the 1920s. One night Gil gets drunks and wanders along the streets of Paris. At midnight an antique car pulls up and the passengers --dressed in 1920s clothing-- urge Gil to join them. They go to a bar, where Gil comes to realize that he's been transported to the 1920s, an era he mesmerizes. He then encounters Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali and Ernest Hemingway. All his favorite writers and artists. These moments have something that eventually leads Gil to a breakthrough not only in his work but also in his relationship.

I have just finished the book Fatima's Good Fortune and now this movie, both of them are set in Paris. No wonder Paris is called the City of Lights. I guess it's just a perfect place to daydreaming, to walking the streets and imagining all sorts of magic.

Midnight in Paris is a movie with witty and sophisticated dialogue about art, culture and literature. This light romantic comedy is truly entertaining.

Fatima's Good Fortune

Authors: Joanne & Gerry Driyansky
Susi Dwiyanti
Penerbit Matahati
Publication Date:
March 2011
Pages: 375

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted

The line above perfectly describes what happens to Fatima, a Tunisian girl who suddenly arrives in Paris. She is in Paris by chance. As Fatima's sister was killed in a sudden accident, her sister's ex-employer summoned Fatima to go to Paris and take over her sister work. As an illiterate foreigner girl in a strange country, Fatima feels lost at first. But by spreading her gentleness, kindness and wisdom, she gradually acquires courage, new skills and a group of friends.

The book was well written. I felt like I was taken on a magic carpet to the sights, smells and flavors of Paris. The writers described life among the Parisian beautifully. There are many unique characters in the book, such as people who live in the apartment where Fatima works, people who visit certain cafe, and many more. Fatima's natural confession ensures her survival and --unexpectedly--bring good fortune for those around her. The book is closed by a sweet ending. Finally it's Fatima's turn to seize her own happiness.

The book was written by New Yorkers married couple who live in paris for the past 20 years. They write everyday in a cafe near the Eiffel Tower, where they are alone every morning with their Siamese computers over a cup of coffee, until the street sweepers come in to hang out for their deserved breaks. Can two people write fiction together? They made it. According to them, they've known each other since they were teenagers that you could say that their heads are in the same computer.

Are you looking for a book that brings warmth to your heart? This is the one.

Happiness is...

looking at my girls' shoes collections. Falling in love with the color. Amazed with their shoes size. Feeling melancholy when I remember that it seemed it was just yesterday I bought them baby shoes and now look at Najla's shoes, her shoe size is 34 while her mom is only 36..:)

arranging a kid birthday party. Although it was raining cats and dogs all day long but it did not affect my excitement in preparing Zea's 5th simple birthday party at her school. Moreover after I saw the happy faces of Zea's classmates when they saw the birthday cake, suddenly I just felt warm. It's simply the magic of children. Their songs, laugh, even their scream were the best melody I'd ever had. Nothing beats the children world. It's beautiful. Always.

having my own birthday cake. Blowing the candles and the wishes. Just simple wishes. To be blessed with good health so I can spend lots of time with my beloved little family. To share the ups and downs of life. To enjoy the rain and the shine. Nothing can make me happier than being around you, hubby and my girls. Thank you.

Please Look After Mom

Author: Kyung Sook Shin
Translator:Tanti Lesmana
Publisher:PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date:September 2011
Pages: 296

Hanya ada dua kemungkinan: seorang ibu menjadi sangat dekat dengan anak perempuannya, atau mereka menjadi asing terhadap satu sama lain.

A deeply moving story of a family search for their mother who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul subway station. This missing moments change life of all family members. They feel sad, sorry and 'empty' inside. They finally realize that all this time they are too busy with themselves and never show enough care for their mom.

The story is told uniquely through four richly imagined voices, the mother's daughter, her eldest son's, her husband and finally her own. The author structured the voices of all of them in the second person 'you' and the third person 'her'. It's only the mother who uses the first person. According to the author "when a woman becomes a mother, she no longer gets to speak or sometimes even think in terms of 'I'. Of the four different voices in the book, the mother's perhaps the most vivid and powerful."

Beside telling about love, relationship and the despair among the family members, the book also tells about many elements of Korea culture beautifully , the Fool Moon Harvest, the food, the clothing, etc. This book reminds me of Trilogy Warna, an excellent graphic novel written by Korean author, Kim Dong Hwa.

A good book will change us. It will make us thinking about it for a long time. Reading this tale is like opening a door, once you cross it, you will never be able to go back to your comfortable place you came from. Read the story slowly, it needs to be uncovered layer by layer, just as it was written. One think for sure, after finishing the book, you will never think of your mother the same way again. A well written book. Highly recommended.

Top Ten Favorite Books in 2011

A new year is coming to town. Let's tidy up all the scattering books. Choose which books go to the bookshelf and which one goes for sale. It's also the time to list down all books read in 2011. This year I read 60 books. I have never made any target for the number of books to be read each year. I thought that if I do so I will focus more on reaching the target instead of enjoying the book itself. Therefore I just let it flow. No target. Just grab the book I like and read it.

After comparing from year to year, it seems that I always read 50-60 books a year. Well...let's consider that within 52 weeks in a year I can finish one book per week. Not bad at all:)

Here is the list:
1. Angel's Cake by Gaile Parkin
2. In A Strange Room by Damon Galgut
3. Water for Elephant by Sara Gruen
4. of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
5. Garis Batas & Selimut Debu by Agustinus Wibowo
6. Wuthering Height by Emily Bronte
7. Gadis Jeruk by Jostein Gaarder
8. When God was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman
9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
10. Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

This year I will try my best to buy less books and finish ton of books that have been put peacefully in the bookshelf for about... a decade? *same old boring new year wish* :D

A New Year, A Birthday & A Happiness

It's already the third day in this new year. As usual we have two important occasions to celebrate on new year. The new year itself and our little girl's 5th birthday. Yes, Zea turned 5 on new year.

No, we did not have any big party or things like that. We just celebrated the new year's eve at home. Chatting and munching. Fortunately my parents-in-law came directly from Lampung to Jakarta to celebrate the new year and their granddaughter's birthday. So our home was a bit merrier then with the grandpa, grandma and the granddaughters' scream and run all over the room and back yard.

On the first day of new year, we had a family gathering. Just a simple lunch with all the family and relatives. We're grateful to be together and could share the happiness. As always there is also a prayer for the new year, a hope that this year will bring more sunshine and all good things in life for all of us, amen.