Never Let Me Go

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Translator: Gita Yuliani K.
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: September 2011
Pages: 358

A science fiction novel by Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize (an award Ishiguro had previously won in 1989 for The Remains of the Day). The novel is set at the fictional Hailsham boarding school in East Sussex, England. Hailsham is not a normal boarding school. The students there are not allowed to have any contacts with the outsiders.

Narrated by Kathy, --ex Hailsham student and now 31-- she reminds her time at Hailsham. The time when she developed a close friendship with Ruth and Tommy. Kathy tells the story in three sections that chronicle the phases of their lives. It's started with their childhood, their adult life --around age 16-18-- when they moved to the "Cottages", a residential complexes where they begin contact with the external world and the last part is the most important part for them. The time to become Donors that will make their lives complete.

The author's rich description of the relationship among Kathy, Ruth and Tommy makes the novel more like a drama instead of  a science fiction. Over the course of entire novel, it requires the readers to understand what is implied as much as what is told. The pace of the novel is slow and the details seem trivial but patient readers will be rewarded for their efforts with a very touching ending. You will be curious who Kathy is. When it's eventually revealed that the children are clones created to provide vital organs for non-clones, it just leaves you with mixed feeling, the ethic of science, the moral and the like.

This novel works beautifully, giving it a quality that keeps me thinking about its plot, characters and themes long after I finished its final page.

101 Soal Perempuan Yang Patut Anda Ketahui

Author: M. Quraish Shihab
Publisher: Penerbit Lentera Hati
Publication Date:  4th printing, November 2011
Pages: 214

During Ramadan month, usually bookstores display more Islamic books. The bookstores even provide a special space for this kind of books. I also found this interesting book when I was on the way to cashier in order to pay for my daughters' children books, suddenly this pink book just caught my attention. 

Written by M. Quraish Shihab, a Muslim Intellectual, this book is presented in a simple way. The author conveys his thought using questions and answers method. All important things about women are there. You'll find lots of explanations on marriage, husband and wife relationship, how to raise our children, life style, career woman, and many more. A small book with rich content. 

Just a perfect book to read while ngabuburit. Happy fasting, everyone.:)   

The Lifetime of an Early Teenage Girl

Author: Aurelia Prinisha Madjid
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 195

Authors have different reason why they are writing something. Some said, it's their hobbies, others said it's their job, and few people said that writing is a healer. This is exactly what happens to Aurelia Prinisha Madjid, a ten-year-old girl who was born as a special little girl. According to Aurel's mom, Aurel was born with a very tiny body, easily got sick and anxious about many things. She used to consume lots of medicines, she got healthy for one day and got sick for many days. This happened on and on.

Because of her weak condition, Aurel grew up as a girl who didn't feel comfortable with herself, easily crying and felt over anxiety. This whole things made her mom worried about Aurel's future. It took a very very long  times and lots of patience to support Aurel in regaining her self confidence, her health condition and her comfort through herself and her surrounding.

Good things come to those who wait. Slowly Aurel grows up and develops as a confident and  healthier girl who has godly character. At age 5, her mom noticed that Aurel loved writing. She wrote many stories with illustration. Her mom collects all her works --about 200 writings-- that written down in English. From then on she realizes that her daughter, Aurel, is blessed with the writing talent. 

This is one of Aurel's novels. A little teen novel. It will take us to the world of youth. An adventure in the world of Stacy Coralson. You'll find friendship, betrayal, happiness, sadness, all the ups and downs in the teenage life. The story is entertaining, engaging and written down in a perfect English. Unbelievable.

Hopefully this novel will inspire other teens to explore the talent in each of them. This also convincing us that writing for healing does happen.  

A Simple Happiness

Lately I fall in love with classic novel. It's all started when I finished reading Wuthering Height then continued with Jane Eyre, yes, The Bronte Sisters' works definitely capture my heart. Few days ago  I visited the big library of UI in Depok, I passed Times bookshop, one of the shops there, and you know what, they displayed lots of  classic novel right in front of their store with special price. How could I resist this? Seemingly like a dream comes true. I directly bought four of them. Now they are still put beside my bed, not sure when I will read them all. But the feeling of I will one day read all those great books has made my day. I just feel happy, perhaps that is called a simple happiness.  

Batik Najlazea: 2nd Anniversary Sale

Whew...time does fly. My online shop is celebrating its second anniversary today. Honestly having my own business has never crossed my mind before. I always thought that I am going to be a career woman. Working from nine to five. That's it. But life is a mystery. You will never know what's next.

It's never been easy to start your own business. You have to be tough and persistent. Just work hard. never look back. I learn a lot from my small business here. Moreover since I handle all by myself , from production until delivery, therefore I just realized how this business somewhat changed my point of view. I am still learning now. The more you learn about having your own business, the more you realize that you knew very little about it. In fact it seems there are always new things to explore.

My dream is simple. Just hoping that Batik Najlazea will always be in the heart of its customers and it can grow bigger and bigger, amen.

Code: API 34, size XL, Rp 310.000,- now Rp 248.000,-
Code: D45, Rp. 265.000,- now Rp. 212.000,-
Capuchon, Code: JL1, Rp. 245.000,- now Rp. 196.000,-
On this special occasion, to celebrate our anniversary and also to welcome Ramadhan month, there will be a 2nd Anniversary Sale. We will give 20% discount on all blouse, sackdress and man's shirt. The sale will be started today, July 17--August 17, 2012. C'mon, let's grab it. First comes first served.

Simply click here and enjoy the batik collections.         

Hector and The Search for Happiness

Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 165

Lesson no.1: Making comparisons can spoil your happiness

Hector is a successful psychiatrist. He enjoys his job since he likes people and is really interested in them. Until suddenly he had a concern, why were so many people who had everything --career, success, money, family, friends--not happy? It really worried him. So he decided to take a trip around the world, and everywhere he went he would try to understand what made people happy or unhappy.

Hector travels from Paris to China to Africa to the United States and along the way he keeps a list of observations about the people he meets. During the journey, he crisscrosses and meets lots of interesting characters and gets into some very strange situations. Those characters and experiences bring light to the story and they allow Hector to list down some important lessons about happiness. Moreover his professional skills and his genuine interest in people turn out to be very useful.

This book is written down in the style of a child-like book. With its simple language, the book delivers a self-help in a way of a modern-day fable. It's a charming little book. Hector's journey in finding the formula for happiness is touching, funny and quite insightful.  

The author, Francois Lelord, is a successful psychiatrist himself in France. He is the co-author of a number of bestselling self-help books. For this Hector's journey, Lelord has written three subsequent books: Hector and the Secret of Love, Hector and the Passage of Time, and Hector and the Wonders of Friendship.   

A Sister Hug Has A Thousand Meanings...

This is the second year for Najla and Zea to sleep in their own bedroom. I got to admit that teaching kids to sleep in their own bedroom is definitely not an easy thing to do. It is not only hard for the kids but also for their mom, hehe..yeah..sometimes (or very often?) I miss the chance when the four of us were still sleeping umpel-umpelan in one big bed:) 

At the beginning of separation Zea sometimes woke up in the middle of the night, she screamed, cried and finally called out for her Mama. Usually I came to her room, calmed her down and accompanied her until she felt asleep and went back to my own room, but sometimes I over slept there all night until the morning came.

After few months Najla and Zea have already been enjoying their own bedroom a lot. No more nightmares, no more crying and screaming in the middle of the nights. They now sleep peacefully by themselves. Even when their father is away for a business trip and I ask them to accompany  me  and to sleep in Mama's bedroom, they surely will say 'no'. Now I am in a dilemma either to feel proud of their consistency or to feel sad..*yes, I'm also a drama queen* 

Recently  I often find out in the morning that Zea already moved from her bed and slept together with Najla. When I asked, she answered as follows:

Mama: Zea, sekarang sering pindah tidur di samping Kakak Najla ya?

Zea: Iya Ma, aku kalau terbangun malam, terus nggak bisa tidur lagi, terus aku pindah tidur di samping Kakak

Mama: Hebat...pantas Zea nggak pernah nangis malam-malam lagi

Zea: Aku seneng tidur sama Kakak karena Kakak sering peluk aku

Mama: Oh...gitu *mulai terharu & bangga karena anak-anaknya saling sayang*

Zea: Iya..Ma, Kakak sering peluk-peluk aku karena Kakak kira aku itu....GULINGNYA....

Mama: *batal terharu* 

Jane Eyre

Author: Charlotte Bronte
Translator: Lulu Wijaya
Publisher: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
Publication Date: October 2010
Pages: 688

Jane Eyre is one of the most excellent classic novel written by Charlotte Bronte. It was first published in London in 1847 with the title Jane Eyre. The Autobiography under the pen name Currer Bell.

The novel follows the emotions and experiences of Jane Eyre, the lead character, her growth to childhood and her love to Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Hall. It goes to five different stages of Jane's life, her childhood at Gateshead, where she emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins. Her education at Lowood school, where she gets friends and role models but also suffers privations and oppression. Her time as the governess of Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with her employer, Edward Rochester, her time with the Rivers family during which her cousin, St John Rivers, proposes to her and the final is her reunion with her beloved Rochester.

So what is so special about this novel? The plot of the story is actually not so special, it's started with a poor-little-orphaned-girl with no one cares about then closed with a love story that full of obstacles, what haunting me  until to date is the vivid characters the author created. I love the characters of  Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. The author is a real master who comes up with in-depth exploration of strong female character's feeling. She created Jane Eyre as a remarkable character and a very strong female character in a genre that usually draws women as beautiful victims. Those wonderful and memorable characters makes this novel special, more than  just a Gothic romance.

There have been numerous adaptations and related works inspired by Jane Eyre such as silent films since 1910, the motion pictures versions from 1934 until 2011, musical versions, radio shows, television versions and even graphic novel. I am curious about the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre  made by director Cary Fukunaga in 2011, got to find it soon.

And this novel is highly recommended. Definitely an all time favorite's book.

A Eulogy

Once you pass a certain age, life is just a continuous process of losing one thing after another. One after another, things you value slip out of your hands the way a comb loses teeth. People you love fade away one after another. That sort of thing. Surely, you must remember.

--1Q84, Haruki Murakami--

Dedicated to my dear friend, Dwi Anggraini, who just lost her beloved husband this early morning. My heart goes to you, be strong...

Dunia Sophie

Author: Jostein Gaarder
Translator:  Rahmani Astuti
Publisher: Penerbit Mizan
Publication Date: Second Print, November 2010 (Gold Edition)
Pages: 798

Life is both sad and solemn, we are led into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other --and wander together for a brief moment. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived.

I have never learned any philosophy lesson until I studied at Faculty of Law. As a law student, I must learn the Philosophy of Law. It's a mandatory subject. If I remember the moment back then I was a bit shaking and intimidated on the first day of the lesson. Especially when I saw the lecturer, a famous professor of law philosophy and found out that so many senior students failed on that subject and had to join the lesson for...I was not so sure, perhaps the third time, the fourth's going to be a tough subject.

Now when I finish reading Dunia Sophie, I salute Jostein Gaarder. I appreciate his hard work to resume the history of philosophy  from pre-Socratic Greeks and ends with Jean Paul Sartre and mix it with a fictional plot. This book is Gaarder's best known work. It has been translated into fifty-three languages.

It's all started when Sophie, a 14-year-old girl receives two anonymous messages in her mailbox. The first message asking "Who are you?" and the second asking "Where does the world come from?". With these mysterious communications, Sophie becomes the student of a 50-year-old philosopher, Alberto Knox. Alberto teaches Sophie the History of Philosophy. Mixed with the philosophy is a plot to a normal teenage novel, in which Sophie interacts with her mother and her friend, Joanna. 

This book is one of the good ways in introducing people to the basics of philosophy. At least to change the point of view that 'philosophy is complicated'. Wish I got the opportunity  to read Dunia Sophie back then before I took the subject Philosophy of Law, perhaps I could absorb the material far better.  
The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder...

Ambilkan Bulan

Director: Ifa Isfansyah
Writer: Jujur Prananto
Casts: Lana Nitibaskara, Astri Nurdin, Landung Simatupang

My hubby and I accompanied Najla and Zea to watch Ambilkan Bulan last Saturday. It's a simple movie about Amelia (Lana Nitibaskara), a 10-year-old lonely girl. Since her father passed away of a car accident, her mom as a single mother is quite busy with her works.

Living in a apartment in Jakarta without any friends, Amelia finally gets new friend from a social network, Facebook. She later on found out that her friend, Ambar is her niece who lives in a remote village in Central Java. Having nothing to do for holiday Amelia is curious to spend her school holiday in Ambar's place. The adventure begins. 

The lead character Lana Nitibaskara acts so natural with her excellent voice. It turns out that she is one of the best jazz singer. At the age of 6, she's already performed in a Jazz Festival. In 2010 she released her solo jazz album Spirit of Jazz. The album consists of 7 jazz children songs in Bahasa Indonesia and English. I watched some of Lana's videos in youtube and they're amazing.

Najla and Zea seemed to enjoy the movie a lot. They sang for the songs they knew (there are 10 songs of AT Mahmud performed in the movie), laughed and felt scared for certain thrilling scenes. Not only my girls, I enjoyed the movie as well. The songs reminds me of my childhood. The beautiful scenes there spoiled my eyes and heart. How about my hubby? The good news was he didn't fall asleep during the movie and even smiled for few scenes. That's enough for us:)