January 30, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn & Tebak Secret Santa


ditulis oleh Gillian Flynn
diterbitkan 24 Mei 2012 oleh Phoenix (Orion Books, Hachette UK)
Adult Fiction/Thriller/Crime/Mystery
466 halaman
Pemenang Goodreads Choice Award 2012: Kategori Misteri & Thriller

***

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer? 
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Who are you?
What have we done to each other?

Satu kata yang tepat untuk Gone Girl adalah: GILA. Saat istrinya menghilang tiba-tiba dari rumah pada hari ulangtahun kelima pernikahan mereka, Nick Dunne malah bertingkah aneh. Laki-laki ini nggak menampakkan reaksi yang sewajarnya dari seorang suami yang istrinya menghilang (dengan adanya kemungkinan diculik, dibunuh, atau apapun itu). Ia tidak begitu sedih, tidak begitu panik, tidak begitu berduka. Karena Nick adalah sosok terdekat dari Amy, kecurigaan pertama pihak kepolisian pun mengarah kepadanya.

Lalu kejadian ini tersebar di media massa. Sosok Amy bukanlah sosok asing, ia adalah inspirasi dari buku Amazing Amy, serial buku anak terkenal hasil ciptaan kedua orangtuanya. Amy adalah kesayangan masyarakat, maka media pun bersimpati pada Amy ketika tulisan-tulisannya dalam sebuah diari pribadi terungkap; Ia menulis tentang pernikahan yang tidak bahagia, perilaku Nick sebagai suami yang buruk dan sering bersifat kasar, perselingkuhan Nick dengan seorang perempuan yang jauh lebih muda... Semuanya makin mengarah kepada kemungkinan bahwa Nick-lah tersangka dari peristiwa ini.

Gillian Flynn ini penulis yang pinter dalam hal 'mempermainkan' pembaca. Halaman demi halaman awal di Bagian I aku baca, termasuk semua tulisan Amy dalam diarinya, gampang banget bagi siapapun untuk ikutan sebel dan benci sama Nick yang digambarkan sebagai suami yang aneh, gila, dan nggak pernah bersyukur. Narasinya Nick NYEBELIN, dan meskipun dalam beberapa kesempatan aku simpati sama dia ketika media justru 'menampilkan' cerita yang nggak sebenarnya, tapi susah untuk suka sama laki-laki ini karena motif dari perilakunya sendiri pun nggak jelas.

Di sisi lain, lewat tulisan dalam diari dan juga surat-surat/'riddle' yang ditinggalkan Amy di tempat-tempat bersejarah dalam hubungannya dengan Nick, yang ditangkap pembaca adalah sosok Amy ini wanita biasa, yang menikahi laki-laki yang ia cintai, tapi kemudian situasi rumah tangganya mulai berubah, nggak seperti apa yang ia harapkan. Everything went ugly. Nick dipecat dari pekerjaan, lalu mereka harus pindah rumah ke kampung halaman Nick demi merawat Ibu Nick yang sakit (dan Amy nggak nyaman banget dengan hal ini; dia adalah anak satu-satunya yang nggak pernah jauh dari orangtua, tapi demi Nick, akhirnya Amy rela mengalah), Nick mulai bersikap kasar dan sering keluar rumah, Nick selingkuh... Tipe suami yang ih, bukan-idaman-siapapun banget lah. Jelas banget bahwa Gillian pengen kita simpati/kasian sama sosok Amy dalam diari itu, yang malah bikin aku ngerasa bahwa kayaknya ini bukan perbuatan Nick deh... Mungkin dia emang cuma korban, dan aku nunggu-nunggu kehadiran tokoh-tokoh yang mungkin bisa dijadiin 'tersangka' lainnya.

Hingga kemudian cerita sampai di Bagian II: Cool Girl.

Gila.

MIND = BLOWN.

One of the best thing about Gone Girl is the element of surprises, because it works SO WELL. Gone Girl baiknya dibaca dalam kondisi kita 'nggak tau apa-apa' tentang ceritanya, sehingga efek yang muncul waktu sampe di bagian dimana twist-twist gila itu diungkap bakal kerasa banget. And I'm lucky to experience this. Bengong beberapa saat, pusing, baca ulang lagi halaman sebelumnya, speechless ... #heakmulailebay. Gone Girl adalah psychological thriller, dan sisi psikologis dalam ceritanya ditulis dengan sangat bagus. Ms Flynn adalah penulis berbakat yang sabar dan nggak buru-buru, semua unsur ceritanya dibangun dengan hati-hati, satu persatu diuraikan, dan dia menempatkan twist-twistnya di momen-momen yang tepat. Pilihan-pilihan katanya enak pula, jadi meskipun ceritanya dark dan SANGAT creepy, aku tetep penasaran buat lanjutin lagi dan lagi *gemes sendiri*

Satu hal yang aku nggak suka adalah tokoh-tokohnya yang hampir nggak ada yang likeable, and believe me, it was hard reading a book when you can't symphatize with the characters. Termasuk Nick, meskipun di beberapa kesempatan dia sendiri juga korban 'jebakan media', ataupun Amy, si istri LUAR BIASA SINTING baik-baik yang harus mengalami kejadian buruk kayak gini. Sayang banget hubungan mereka yang awalnya baik dan indah, malah jadi kacau nggak terkendali sampai ke titik dimana pernikahan bukan lagi ikatan yang bikin bahagia, melainkan sesuatu yang poisonous dan berbahaya buat kedua pihak. Serius, jadi mikir dua kali buat menikah... Di banyak bagian Gone Girl juga kritis tentang masalah-masalah umum di masyarakat, keluarga, maupun rumah tangga jaman sekarang, dan bikin pembacanya ikut ngebentuk pendapat sendiri tentang itu.

Gone Girl bukan buku dari genre yang biasa aku baca, but I'm glad anyway that I could get to read it. It's very well-written and deserves all the hype that the book got last year (Can't wait for the movie to happen! Ben Affleck is going to be great as Nick). Aku pun nggak yakin akan baca buku-buku Gillian lainnya, karena ceritanya cenderung berat dan dark... but for the sake of your reading experience, Gone Girl is totally worth it! ;)

“My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?' 
He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said, 'Because I feel sorry for you.' 
'Why?' 
'Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.” 


Review Gone Girl dari teman-teman di BBI lainnya: Mbak Mia |  Arian Syah


***

Dan sekarang adalah waktunya untuk TEBAK SANTAAAAAAAAAAAA *tebar confetti*



Sesungguhnya, pas awal-awal baca riddle, aku masih berniat dengan serius buat ikutin petunjuknya dari awal sampai akhir.

TAPI,
malah langsung stuck di nomer #1. *nangis*

Kenapa? Karena kata-kata di riddle kan begini: "ADA 3 HURUF YANG TAK BERULANG," Tapi setelah kuperhatiin covernya baik-baik, ternyata huruf yang nggak berulang itu... CUMA DUA. *gubrak*
Dan dua huruf ini emang membentuk inisial merk mobil sih, yaitu VW. (Iya kan, Santa? Bener nggak bagian merk mobilnya?)

Terus, kalo cuma dua, berarti huruf pertama inisial si Santa apa dong? Kok? Ini? Eng ing eng ing eng............ *bingung*

Coba kita lanjut ke #2 dulu.
Katanya, "Huruf kedua dari nama lengkap = Huruf pertama dari abjad." Berarti A
Tapi "... inisial nama panggilan justru huruf terakhir" Nama panggilannya berawal dari huruf Z.

Terus, #3
Nggak bisa dijawab soalnya nggak tau huruf pertamanya apa kan, cuma tau 'A' aja...
Aduuuuh.

#4
EEEEE ALHAMDULILLAH YA ALLAH YA TUHAN
Tau gini langsung skip aja ke nomer ini! Huehehehehehe di petunjuk terakhir ini maksud kata-katanya jelas banget, "...temui aku di urutan ke-57"
Yak, ini sih pasti tinggal buka direktori member BBI dan....
Ketemu!

#antiklimaks
Juga setelah cerita ke Bajay Jabo tentang buku yang aku dapet dan hadiah tambahannya (notes, green tea latte....) beberapa pun langsung nyebutin satu nama yang sama. Yuhuuu

Jadi,


Are you? Are you? Am I right, or am I wrong? Nonetheless, thank you for the book and the additional gifts! I enjoyed them a lot (notesnya sekarang kupake jadi blogging notes hehe) ((and my mom likes the green tea latte!)) But if I'm wrong about who you are which I'm 99% sure I won't anyway, well, SORRY. PLEASE kindly reveal yourself, ahaha. 
Juga, makasih untuk Divisi Event BBI! Seret Santa 2013 has been a lovely event for me and I'm glad to have participated in it. Semoga tahun depan bisa berjalan dengan lebih lancar lagi ya :)

Here's a little Ben for you

So, what about you? Who's YOUR santa? Did you get it right? Was your riddle difficult to guess? Have you read Gone Girl, by the way? What do you think of it? Shoot me with your comments! :)
And as always, have fun and read some more!


January 25, 2014

Can I or can't I ― 2014 Reading Challenges that I'm taking part in!


Last year I only joined ONE reading challenge and failed miserably. Apparently, I'm too lazy to make reviews of the book and put the links on the link-up page, pshaw. This year I initially vowed myself NOT to join any challenge, but then all these FABULOUS challenges keeps appearing, and lots of it suit into the kind of books I usually read (you know what kind...) and those pretty buttons are too hard to resist! So, in short, let's just say that I finally surrender in no longer keeping my own promise *Hangs head in shame* Hopefully I'll be more consistent this year, hopefully....... *glancing at my second term schedule nervously*

So here are the challenges I decided to take part in.  I compile all of them in this master post and later I will move it to my '2014 Reading Challenges' page (link on the sidebar!)


2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Tirta has read 10 books toward her goal of 100 books.
hide

Goodreads Reading Challenge is, by far, my most ambitious one among others simply because the challenge only required us to read a number of books that we set up personally at the beginning of the year. Everyone who own a GR account can participate! This is my third year for the challenge, and I vowed to read 100 books (On 2012 I overachieved my target of 90 books so I added another ten to last year's challenge BUT then I STRUGGLED and almost didn't make it. This year I would like to repeat the goal and see if I can exceed the number!)

No button yet, so I use the common BBI button instead of the challenge button
Yeay, it's BBI's own challenge! It's not a secret anymore that lots of us have a LOT more books that we only read than the ones we actually review. For that, BBI Review Challenge is meant to motivate us to be more diligent in reviewing all the books. I'm setting up to review 25-40 books (That's a big number for me!) for IPR. On another note, BBI also has this monthly event called #PosBar (Posting Bareng). I hope this year I could be able to participate in at least ONE theme of #PosBar every month :) Here's the list of themes that we're going to do in 2014

January: Fable & Books from Secret Santa
February: Indonesian Historical Fiction & Culinary
March: Oprah's Book Club & Poetry
April: Woman & Travel
May: Khatulistiwa Literary Award 2013 & Comedy
June: Asian Literature & Fairy Tales
July: Teen/Family Issues & Sicklit (Sick Literature)
August: Local (Nusantara) & 2014 Debut
September: Silat & Low-rated Books
October: Balai Pustaka & Birth Year
November: Newberry Book List & Numbers


YA my luv, YA my wooorlddddd.... This one should be easy since almost ALL of the books I read are YA! :D The only problem now is to be consistent in posting reviews and enter them into the master post. Young Adult Reading Challenge is a new challenge hosted by Kak Tammy, the owner of Tea Time and Books.


You know I like being sneaky ;) Jasmine from Flip That Page made this particular 2014 Standalone Contemporary challenge and I'm happy because standalones are my favorites! Though I'm also aiming to read lots of series this year, but contemporary standalones will definitely still dominate my books. And I can combine it with the YA Reading Challenge too, so it's a win-win!


I love reading works of authors that are new to me, whether it's a debut OR a book from authors that I've previously heard but never read before. Everytime I read a great debut book I feel as if I'm finding a gem, though sometimes it can also make me feel shitty for not reading their debut work sooner. 2014 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren.


This year is going to be a year full of series-enders. Among many of them are Ignite Me and Dreams of Gods and Monsters (two that I'm very excited about!). Other than those two, I would really like to read The Lunar Chronicles, Penryn & The End of Days, The Darkest Mind series, also some others that will have its debut this year, so I decided to raise my hand and join Octavia's 2014 Series Challenge! Based on my own experience last year, though, my record on reading series is NOT that good, so I'll aim for the Silver Badge instead of Gold or Platinum.


So, that's all. Whew, 6 Reading Challenges! Sounds pretty terrifying for me, ha ha. Let's see if I can commit and ACTUALLY complete them all instead of only one (you know... the Goodreads one). Being consistent is one of my weaker traits, it shouldn't be a secret anymore, and these reading challenges, in my opinion, are a good way to fix this bad habit. Moreover, since reading is an activity that I enjoy so much, it should be fun instead of being another burden. Wish me luckkk

How many challenges are you participating this year and what are they? Have fun (with all the challenges) and read some more! :)


January 23, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory

by Laurie Halse Anderson
published on January 7th, 2014 by Viking Juvenile
Young Adult/Realistic Fiction/Mental Illness/Romance
a standalone
372 pages
other books from the author Speak, Wintergirls, Fever 1973, Seeds

***

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

“Leaning against my father, the sadness finally broke open inside me, hollowing out my heart and leaving me bleeding. My feet felt rooted in the dirt. There were more than two bodies buried here. Pieces of me that I didn’t even know were under the ground. Pieces of dad, too.” 

The Impossible Knife of Memory is my first Laurie Halse Anderson's book. Though I've known about her works since Speak (My queen Kristen Stewart is the Melinda Sordino on the movie version!), and I know this author has SO MANY fans, I always thought that Laurie's books are kinda 'heavy', difficult and ones that need mental preparation first because of the emotions (Nyaaa). Lots of reviews have said that The Impossible Knife of Memory contains more romance than usual, though, so I braced myself to jump on the bandwagon. Please note that I read the book while still struggling with the strange fog on my mind, but hey, I know a good book when I read one, I'll try to explain it as much as I can.

Our main character, Hayley Rose Kincaid
The story starts up with Hayley getting detention for correcting her teacher's mistake. My first impression of this girl is strong: She's different. Quirky. A tough cookie in the surface, but soft in the inside just like any teenagers her age. Through most of her middle grade and early teenager age, she's been on the road with her father, being homeschooled. But now for her senior year, Hayley's father wants her to be in high school. Hayley has been long being forced to be mature beyond her age because she has a father with PTSD that she has to take care of, but she's an amateur in socializing and dealing with people. She doesn't understand the rules of it! These two sides of her often collides, and I love this girl because she's real, she keeps holding on to her trueself instead of letting her personalities getting dragged in by 'the zombies'.

Hayley's father, Andy Kincaid
Is a war veteran dealing with PTSD. Though I have read some books that tackle the same issue before, I never experience firsthand what is it like to live with someone who's suffering from PTSD, but The Impossible Knife of Memory gives me some insights about the struggle and the rough situation. It's not easy, because you don't know when 'the memories' will attack and 'destroy' the one you love. You need to be aware at all times, in case something bad happens. The thing is, sometimes it feels like you can't do anything about it other than to be ready when the attack 'strikes'. Hayley has been dealing with this heavy burden since her early age, and she has no one beside herself to count on. Reading about Hayley and her father's relationship is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time,  because I can feel how much Andy loves her daughter and vice versa. Every few chapters, Laurie also gives us a glimpse to Andy's mind, what's going on inside his head, which is both GOOD and BAD for the emotions, because ughhhh the feels.

The love interest, Finnegan Ramos
Finn, the school newspaper editor. He is the light of The Impossible Knife of Memory! He's the one who makes reading the book easier because ALL THE FLUFFY MOMENTS BETWEEN HIM AND HAYLEY, zomg, sometimes I.CAN'T.HANDLE.IT. Especially the first 'anti-date'. The first 'anti-date'! SOO ADORABLE. More guys need to learn from Finn if they want to handle a 'tough, hard to get' girl and ask her out on a date. It's funny reading about Hayley who doesn't understand how to deal with all these romance thing-y, since she has no experience at all, remember? Her way to responds to flirty Finn is by being mean, snarky and sharp-mouthed, but that doesn't falter Finn at all. I adore their relationship! Giggles and swoons and blushes ALL THE WAAAY. Judging from the way he handles Hayley, his ideas about their dates/non-dates, how he reacts to Hayley's father, that guy is a keeper. Listed as one of my (BEST) book boyfriend of 2014: Done!


I shoved my books into the locker. “‘Math joke’ is an oxymoron, Fishhead, like ‘cafeteria food’ or ‘required volunteer community service’.”
“I think we should take each other to the limit to see if we converge,” Finn said. 
“Shut up,” I said.
“I’m flirting with you, Miss Blue, flirting in the perfect language of calculus. It’s a sine I think you’re sweet as pi. Get it?”

(Finn flirts using math puns, gasps!)

Side characters
There are Trish (Hayley's ex-stepmother whom she hates so much), Grace (Hayley's girl friend) and Topher (Grace's boy). I like how Laurie doesn't merely make them as sidekick characters who doesn't add anything to the story, but sometimes I feel like there are so many things goin on in The Impossible Knife of Memory. Aside from Topher, all the characters I've mentioned in this review have their own serious problems. Hayley is struggling to remember some lost memories from her childhood (it's painful for her to do, and she doesn't really understand why she can't remember it), Finn with her addict sister and Trish with her alcoholic self, also Grace with her cheating father. Too much problems toppled into one line of story its kinda tiring to read. And not all of them got much depth or attention like Hayley and her father's problem, so that one was a minor downer.

The story
Is pretty much about Hayley, who has never experience real life with all the socializing and blending with other people, now has to do those things because her father forces her to get in public high school for her senior year, after all this time homeschooling her while on the road. Hayley is reluctant, because what she wants is to be home and take care of her sick father who's dealing with PTSD. At the same time, Hayley is learning to deal with having actual friends and boyfriend, with all their own problems.

Really, this is my first time reading LHA's books and I had a great time reading The Impossible Knife of Memory! Well, if I have to be honest, I kinda had a hard time to mentally connect myself with the situation (so even in heartwrenching moments there was no tears at all... If you've seen the RDJ gif on my fog post then you get what my face looked like most of the time when I read this book) but I think Laurie's style of writing, her prose, is 'different' and she creates her main character really well. Hayley's personality feels real (yes, the snarky attitude was getting annoying at some point, but well, you don't think teenagers feel like they're better than everyone else and they don't be mean most of the time? They do!), the whole story feels real (and it was kinda intense), like it could actually be someone's real life. The dialogs, the way her characters talk and respond, are how real people in non-literary world talk and act. I don't know, I think you have to read the book for yourself to experience her writing and feel what's special about it.


On another side note, I love the cover! It's not the kind of cover that would make me interested in reading the book but somehow the colors drawn me in. Then I found out that the cover hints at a major event in the book, and I smiled when I get the correlation. Read the book!

They say 'YES' to the book: Jen from Pop! Goes the Reader | Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner | Gillian from Writers of Wrongs (all my favorite bloggers!)
They say 'NO' to the book: Kat from Le Pauvre Coeurs | Khahn (On Goodreads) 


Now let's talk! Have you read this book or any books from Laurie Halse Anderson, guys? (What do you think of it?) Have you ever read any other books that tackle similar mental illness issues (PTSD, for example) that becomes your favorite?  

Also, what are you currently reading? Right now I'm juggling between Amy McNamara's Lovely, Deep and Dark and Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. Have fun and read some more! :D


January 21, 2014

My Top Ten Reading Wishlist


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by The Broke and Brookish) is a very interesting one! I'm sure that we, as readers, have so many ideas that we thought would make a great book. Or maybe, there are things that we wish to see more from a story (Could be a specific type of character, an issue takcled, a time period, a certain plot, etc). Here's mine:

1880
I'm thinking of YA book written in Laura Ingalls Wilder era! I love reading about the prairie, when lots of things are still done manually (No TV! No washing machine! No stove!), people mainly hunts to get their food, school is a luxury, how the families are trying to survive as a newcomer in a new land. I know there are five generations of books from Laura's family alone (starting from Laura's great grandmother until her daughter), but I wish to read another characters which are totally new, but still in her young age, living in the same era, too. More of it, please!

Normal Family
I wish the families in contemporary YA aren't all dysfunctional. It's slowly becoming a cliche, you know. While I understand that no family are free of problems, I believe that there are lots of us who still have a healthy, normal, functioning family with all the dynamics (Hey, I live with one!). Think about the Garretts from My Life Next Door. They're so refreshing to read.

POC POV
Means books with people of culture's point of view. One of my favorite thing about Eleanor & Park is that they're not your typical couple, with blonde/brunette hair, fair skin and colored eyes. I wish to read more books where the characters are hispanic, asian, african, european, living in an American society. I wish to see more culture diversity, too, but that would have more to do with the setting/places, which I would explain more later.


Bookish People
The main character is a bookshop keeper/librarian/author/book blogger, maybe? Would be fun to read about that *grins* Rainbow Rowell has presented a lovely Cather (a fanfiction writer and a devoted fangirl!) with all her awesome nerd-ness, and I'd like to read more books with similar main characters like her! To read a book where the MC works in a publishing industry (where the industry is a big, main part of the story and not merely an added element in passing) would be perfect.

Slow burn Romance
Authors must already be aware by now that readers are getting oh-so-tired with the insta-love. Life doesn't work that way, they said. Slow burn romance is a new perfect alternative for that. Think of all the angst, push-and-pull, I-don't-like-you-but-I'm-attracted-to-you moments with lots of clever, snarky, full-of-UST banters that can ensue! Fun, fun fun.

Places
These are five places that I want to see more featured in YA books. Maybe a road trip, or gap year stories, or travel stories, but still told from an American perspective, with a vivid imagery that makes the reader feels like they're IN the story alongside the main character.

Source
Source
Thank you, Laini Taylor, for introducing us to the darkly exotic Prague. Now I need a contemporary YA where the characters are in this city!

Source
I love South Korea! Their culture, their crativeness, their music, their street fashion, their variety shows...
For fun: Read one of my favorite expat lifestyle blog Lost in Travels. Chelsea is currently living in S. Korea with her husband :)

Source
Source
Most of the world citizen only know Indonesia because they've heard about Bali. (Part of them isn't even aware that Bali is located in Indonesia! Gasps) I may be a little bit biased here, but really, there are so much more beautiful places to explore in my country aside from that famous island and the capital city, Jakarta. So far, I've only (managed to found and) read one YA (titled Sea, by Heidi R Kling) that took place in my country. More of it, please! :D


My favorite reading wishlist on this week's topic is from Snuggly Oranges | Read the rest of the entries here

What's on your reading wishlist? Do you have any places or things that you wish to see more in books?



January 19, 2014

Fog on my mind

Something has been bugging me for a few days now and I feel like I really need to share it with you, guys.
Have you ever feel frustrated when you read? Not because the book you're reading is bad or anything, but because you feel like you CANNOT connect to the book at all. This is what I think is currently happening to me.

I started this month reading some awesome reads (The Journeys #3, The Sky is Everywhere, Cruel Beauty) and I tried to write the reviews of the mentioned books as soon as I can to keep up with my goal. Then I started reading some more books and SUDDENLY, all that books I read felt... Flat. Mediocre. No feelings. Sour.

And it's such a case of 'It's not you, it's me!' because THAT is what I feel. It's not the books' fault, it's me that is having a problem! There have been so much praises, good words, shout-on-top-of-the-roof of AMAZING!-ness about the books I was reading (and of course that's why I picked those books, right) so I initially felt disappointed when I couldn't feel the same. I was reading a (very well known) series and at first I thought okay, it was nothing. Maybe the first book didn't really match up my expectations, but surely the next book would change my opinion, right? Because believe me, all the hype over that series was HUGE and all over the place (especially with the last book coming), it made me think that something must be wrong with someone if s/he doesn't like the series. Something must be wrong with me! Then I kept up reading, just to prove it. I want to finish it, I need to finish that series so I can understand all the craziness over it. I went on with the second book, the third book.... I dragged myself. And finally I came up with a conclusion that maybe, maybe the series just wasn't for me? But when I started another book (a standalone), it happened AGAIN! Then I try to read another one (a classic), it also happened! I read amazing books but I can't give a decent reaction that the books should receive.

I know by this point you guys would think that I'm just being annoying, reading books that didn't meet my expectations and making too much trouble out of it, but believe me, I know when something is wrong.

And there's this thing, too. The strangest of all this weirdness that is currently happening to me is, usually, when I read a good book, I can feel it. When you read something so good, you can't help but to acknowledge it, yeah? Woah, this is a good book. Woah, this main character is so AWESOME. Woah, this scene is mind-boggling! The problem is, I CANNOT feel connected! I know what the characters are saying, I understand their intentions when they do certain things, and I recognize the emotions that the authors meant for me, or the readers, to feel, but I just can't feel it. AT ALL. I dozed off a lot when reading. It was like, my eyes were moving and my brain was processing the words, but everything didn't fully register. Usually there would  be a lot of reactions toward things, right? Here's a secret: I'm a super sensitive reader. I react A LOT when I read books. Sad scene didn't have to reach its climax yet but I already cried a river. Funny scene and I would giggle-and-trying-to-hold-it-in-at-the-same-time like a mad girl. Angry/fight scene and my breathing would sped up, my face would get hotter. Things like that. But these last days? Na-da! Nothing. Scenes went by without me NOT having any reactions at all. Epic part is happening, lil part of my brain told me 'This is the part that makes the book worth reading, worth recommending, worth to write about in your review' but the rest of the brain only said: 'Oh.' 

(Normal) me, when I read a book:






Me, these days:




I've been asking myself 'Am I having a book hangover' or things like that? But I don't think book hangover is the case, because I don't feel like I don't want to read books. It's actually the opposite. I wanted to read the next book on my list as soon as I can! Eventhough those previous books I mentioned were awesome, all the attachments toward the book were already off when I started that series. I didn't reply certain scenes from Cruel Beauty or The Sky is Everywhere over and over in my head. I had no problem starting a new one and adjusting to the new characters, new setting, new premise.

It's just that.... I can't focus on the books I read. Like I've said above, I dozed off a lot and it was hard to get in the world of the book that I'm reading. That immersed feeling that usually come up when you're deep into a story were not there at all. And it's saddening, because I know I'm reading some really good stuffs, excellent stuffs resulted from a hardwork of amazing authors and good publishers, but I can't bring myself to enjoy. I feel like I don't give the book much respect when I do that. Reading feels like something that I have to work on rather than something that makes me happy and let me experience different ranges of emotions :(


This has only been going for a few days but it's been really bugging me a lot. I've tried to distract myself with other things, I have. Maybe I need to put reading for a while, I thought. So I went out with friends and spent a whole day off, away from my books. I talked to my mom and did other mundane-y things that I rarely do in real life, like watching TV or cleaning up my room. Maybe I just need to refreshen my mind. Maybe I've been enjoying this semester break too much in my room and I need to go out for a while, taking fresh air. Or maybe I've been staring into the screen of my tab that I use to read ebooks too much and it has screwed my brain (not to mention my eyes... poor eyes), so I tried to switch into some printed books in my pile that I've been meaning to read. Put some music on to distract myself. Beyonce, JT, EXO, even Miley. Play with my phone and notebook all day, didn't pick up any book at all that one time. But EVERYTHING didn't work! Nothing work. When I  go back and try to read some pages again afterward, I still struggle to focus on the paragraphs in the pages. My brain felt HAZY, can you believe me? Like I'm reading through something like a... fog on my mind? It's just bizzare and ridiculous and so upsetting, I just want to get my mojo and get the 'enjoyment' of reading back! I want to read wonderful books and react the way a reader should react when they read wonderful books :(

Phew.

So tell me, do you think I'm exxagerating things up? Have you ever feel something like this before? Reading some good books and suddenly all the next books you read felt mediocre, eventhough they're actually FAR from it? IS IT ME, OR IS IT THE BOOKS? What do you suggest I should do? Anyway, if you've been reading this until the end, THANK YOU! I just don't know what to do and feel like I have to write it down on the blog or I'd go crazy. Now you know how much of a drama queen I am. HA!



January 16, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

a debut book by Rosamund Hodge
(will be) published on January 28th, 2014 by Harper-Collins
Young Adult/Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling/Romance/Mythology
a standalone
352 pages
finished reading on January 7th, 2014

***

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

"This house has many dangers. I cannot save you from most of them."
I let go and forced a smile. "I wasn't born to be saved."

First YA debut I read this year and I'm thoroughly impressed! So good, so good. Cruel Beauty is a fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite fairytale!) but you're wrong if you think you already know all about this book just by hearing that fact. I'm still liking this style of review-writing so here they are, my opinions of Cruel Beauty, in points:

  • I LOVE our heroine! In the original princess stories, the heroines are always depicted as someone who's kind-hearted, lovely, often receives bad treatment but still manage to keep a light spirit, which is, somehow, inhumane. Nyx Triskelion is the opposite! Her father had made an agreement with the devil, resulting in a marriage between the Gentle Lord and Nyx when she reached a certain age. Of course Nyx is full of hate, resentment, and despise toward her family: Her father, her aunt, even her sister too, because her sister is the one who'll stay while Nyx will be going to send off to live with (and kill) the devil (with the risque of, you know, getting killed herself). Nyx is totally NOT an innocent girl in this story. All the hateness and ugly thoughts of the main character, which we can feel clearly in Cruel Beauty, is decouraging at times, but the whole thing truly makes sense and it makes Nyx a multidimensional character, and the readers could totally relate to that.
  • Not just Nyx! What I love about the characters of Cruel Beauty is that Rosamund makes sure all of them are not a cardboard cutout characters. They're mostly grey, each one of them have both good and bad side. One time they can say the sweetest things, next they will threaten Nyx's life.
  • Rosamund Hodge chose to retell the story using the 'dark' way approach, and it works! It's edgy, different, there's no more happy, jolly, giddy feeling that usually appears when we read or watch Beauty and the Beast. This also helps with the world building and capturing the reader's attention. I'm fully immensed to the story after I learned about these two things: That Nyx is not your usual kind-hearted princess, and Arcadia is not your usual setting of disney stories.
  • Maybe it's because I've read too much books (not trying to be a snob here, nooo) or what, but I think I could already guess the truth about Shade and Ignifex since the first chapters (and I was happy to be proven true!). I'm not saying that Cruel Beauty is predictable, though! Some turn of events will have your eyebrows raised high and your mouth slightly agape, and this is FUN because you won't really know about the outcome of our Nyx and Ignifex until the very last pages.
  • No, I don't enjoy the pseudo love triangle between our characters. Sigh.
  • And the Greek Mythology side on this story? Sadly I can't say I fully understand about the whole thing. Between Ignifex, the shadows, The Kindly Ones, the last prince... I don't know. Maybe my brain's ability to absorb things have degraded A LOT but one thing for sure is that it is kind of complex.
  • The relationship between Nyx and Ignifex is the one that sparked my excitement when I was reading Cruel Beauty! I love it! They started with a shaky ground, with Nyx having 'task' to kill Gentle Lord, but then Ignifex started to show another side of his personality, which I found really charming. In this story, he's as much a victim as he's the villain. The banters, the whole push-and-pull, the sweet times, the progress of their relationship, the getting-to-know stage... I enjoyed every one of them! This couple made me smile and giggle like a fool a lot. Favorite!

“You deserve all that and more. It made me happy to see you suffer. I would do it all over again if I could." I realized I was shaking as the words tumbled out of me. "I would do it again and again. Every night I would torment you and laugh. Do you understand? You are never safe with me." I drew a shuddering breath, trying to will away the sting of tears.

He opened his eyes and stared up at me as if I were the door out of Arcadia and back to the true sky. "That's what makes you my favorite." He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. "Every wicked bit of you.”
 




My final thought of Cruel Beauty is that I LOVE it! Rosamund Hodge had successfully made a good impression with her debut novel. Cruel Beauty is very, very different than the usual classic fairy tale series, and though it's not without some imperfections, it's the first book of the 'fairytale retelling' categories that I've finished. Yes, it's true! I've tried to read the famous Lunar stories by Marissa Meyer (retelling of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, they say) but up until this day, I still have not picked up Cinder where I've left it. I swear I WILL make it one of my goals this year to read all the book in that trilogy! And I've heard about Splintered (and Unhinged too), which have been told as 'alice-in-wonderland' retelling. Should I try that one, too? What do you think? I don't know if the reason I managed to finish Cruel Beauty is because Beauty & the Beast is my favorite fairytale, or what, but I'm clearly not disappointed by Cruel Beauty! Far from it! Make sure you check this one gem out at the end of this month ;)

What do Khanh and Katy (from Goodreads) think about Cruel Beauty? Click on their names and read on! (Beware of the spoilers, though)

For fun: Watch this enthralling book trailer of Cruel Beauty


What do you think about this one? Will you be interested in reading Cruel Beauty? What's your favorite fairytale stories? Do you think I should try other fairytale retellings like the ones I've mentioned above (Splintered, Cinder, Cress, etc)? Tell Me! On another note, have fun and read some more! :)


January 11, 2014

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson


by Jandy Nelson
published March 2010 by Dial (imprint of Penguin)
Young Adult/Contemporary/Realistic Fiction
a standalone
288 pages

***

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

“The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.” 

In Jamie's annual end of year book survey there was this question: What book you don't believe you waited until this year to write? THAT IS exactly my reaction after I read this debut piece from Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere. Now that the book has been published for almost 4 years (I knowww, so late to the partayyy), I don't really hear much about it on the blogosphere, but everytime I stumbled upon a review or anything where the subject talked about The Sky is Everywhere, all I hear is good things, only the good things. So why did I wait that long?! Silly me.

Also, I want to try something new today! Inspired by Jana's review writing style, I'm gonna write about the book in points. So, The Sky is Everywhere:
  • The name of our main character in the book is Lennie, short for Lennon Walker, and I have this like/dislike relationship with her. Lennie had been living under her sister's shadow all her life, but now that she had no sister anymore, she didn't know what to do or how to act. 'Like being a companion pony next to a race horse,' She said. You know that eventhough having insecurities is normal for teenagers, I don't really like reading about it. Lennie refused to be 'on the spotlight', confused when people actually pay attention to her, didn't want to compete first chair in band for the clarinets, and I just wanted to say 'Eyyyy, just give it a shot!'. Aside from that, I love this girl's personality! Lennie loves to wrote poems on various surfaces (novel margins, under a rock, on a tree's skin, in a piece a paper slipped below a pot... She's creative at this) then scattered it in random places, she can play music, she also reads literatures (and has a HUGE fondness of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights). In short, LENNIE = A CUTE DORK.
  • The book talks about grief, though not in a gloomy way that reminds you of If I Stay (did you find If I Stay gloomy?) or any other books similar to If I Stay. Grief and death were the big talks of The Sky is Everywhere, mostly about how the people in the book deal with this sudden occurence of Bailey's death. I don't always agree with the way Lennie treat her grief (I hate it, even!) I want to whack Lennie's head everytime she fell into the same hole again and again with Toby (I mean, the things they did, ugh, wtf?! How could you do that guys?!) but I'm glad that at the end, she learned from it.

“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That's just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don't get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” 

  • Joe Fontaine! Oooooh, this guy. We cannot talk about this book without mentioning my first 2014 book boyfriend (YES, that's right). Joe was the new guy in town, he's from Paris, he shares Lennie's passion for music (Joe plays guitar). And he has this magical eyelashes that bat! LOL. He doesn't blink, said Lennie, he bat. Bat. Bat. Bat. For some unknown reasons Joe reminds me so much of Levi from Fangirl (can't these guys be more different?!), but to me Joe is SOOO MUCH BETTER. He's everything that Levi lacks of (Sorry, Rainbow, I still like him though!). I love Joe. Joe is sweet, charming, blends well with Lennie's family (an ability to be close to the girl's family is important!), he managed to FOUND ALL THE POEMS THAT LENNIE WROTE, and he's an amazing player. Lennie wrote a piece about him once (or twice, I can't really remember)
When he plays

all the flowers swap colors

and years and decades and centuries

of rain pour back into the sky”


My reaction:


Aaaaaaawwwwwe <3
  • Now that there's no more of her sister, Lennie only has two figures that she can call 'family': a grandma and an uncle. Lennie's mother ran off when the children were still little kids and never come back even once. There was never a mention of Lennie's father. But I love the Walker's family dynamic, however dysfunctional and unconventional they are. They grieve in different ways, but I can feel that those two people really love Lennie & her sister Bailey. I adore their ability to have fun and their sense of humour, too!
  • There were a lot of (sarcastic) humours thrown in almost every part of The Sky is Everywhere, and I loved it! Lots of LOL moments. I think Jandy Nelson wrote a perfect portion for the humour, romance, and grief. And I got ALL THE FEELS. The sad when Lennie remembered her sister (and missing mother!), the warm-fuzzy feelings everytime Joe Fontaine was near, and laughed along with her and her family on fun times. Feel is important, guys.

In conclusion, I LOVE The Sky is Everywhere! Some might found the book as 'not their cup of coffee', but whatever. It's an amazing debut that I cannot believe I put off until some days ago to read it! Death, grief, love, music, family are some big themes in the book and it blends perfectly, making the book such a fun piece of writing to read. If the synopsis reminds you of Before I Die, or maybe 13 Reasons Why (I know, I'm confusing that way), don't let it get to you! I love the way Jandy Nelson writes and I WILL make myself read her upcoming works in the future (I'll Give You the Sun is set to be published this September, guys)

Lots of other readers have talked about The Sky is Everywhere too...Two of them: The Book Smugglers | The Starry Eyed Revue


Tell me: Have you read the book? What do you think? If you haven't, well, read it! I promise it's a good book. By the way, I'm getting better at updating, yeah? This is the 4th post in a month, yay! I hope it's not only because I'm on my semester break and have nothing to do at hand, hehehe. As always, have fun and read some more! :)


January 08, 2014

On My Wishlist ― Athena, Amba, dan Gelombang ke 5

Satu insiden kecil di losmen mempertemukan Widha dengan Nathan. Mereka menjadi rekan seperjalanan; menyusuri Agora, Plaka, lalu ikut larut dalam keriaan sepasang pengantin baru di Rafina. Rasa bertumbuh seiring kaki-kaki mereka melangkah, dan binar tepercik setiap kali keduanya berserobok pandang.
Namun, di sebuah kios buku kuno di Monastiraki, Widha melihat hantu masa lalunya. Seseorang yang tidak seharusnya hadir di kota impiannya. Sosok yang gagal dia lupakan.


Di antara puing-puing kuil Parthenon, ada reruntuhan hati yang siap dibangun kembali.

Athena: Eureka! karya Erlin Natawiria, diterbitkan Desember 2013 oleh Gagas Media


Selain karena covernya yang cantik dan latar tempatnya yang mengambil lokasi Athena, belakangan aku memang lagi suka dan tertarik sama cowok keturunan Yunani segala sesuatu yang berbau maupun berkaitan dengan Yunani :))



Amba anak sulung seorang guru di Kadipura, Jawa Tengah. Ia meninggalkan kota kecilnya, belajar sastra Inggris di UGM dan bertunangan dengan Salwa Munir, seorang dosen ilmu pendidikan yang mencintainya. Pada suatu hari di Kediri, ia bertemu dengan Bhisma Rashad, seorang dokter muda lulusan Universitas Leipzig yang bekerja di sebuah rumah sakit. Percintaan mereka yang intens terputus mendadak di tahun 1965, di tengah ketegangan dan kekerasan politik setelah Peristiwa G30S di Kediri dan Yogya. Bhisma tiba-tiba hilang---ketika Amba hamil.

Beberapa tahun kemudian, setelah Amba menikah dengan seorang peneliti keturunan Jerman, datang kabar bahwa Bhisma meninggal. Ia meninggal di Pulau Buru. Rupanya selama itu, sejak sebuah bentrokan di Yogya, Bhisma, dijebloskan dalam tahanan di Jawa, dan sejak akhir 1971 dibuang ke pulau itu, bersama 7000 orang yang dituduh 'komunis' oleh pemerintahan Suharto.

Amba, yang tak pernah berhenti mencintainya, datang ke pulau itu dengan ditemani seorang bekas tapol, seorang lelaki Ambon. Ia berhasil menemukan surat-surat Bhisma yang selama bertahun-tahun ditulisnya untuk dia—tetapi tak pernah dikirimkan, hanya disimpan di bawah sebatang pohon. Dari surat-surat yang selama bertahun-tahun disembunyikan ini terungkap bukan saja kenangan kuat Bhisma tentang Amba, tetapi juga tentang pelbagai peristiwa—yang kejam dan yang mengharukan—dalam kehidupan para tahanan di kamp Pulau Buru.

Amba: Sebuah Novel karya Laksmi Pamuntjak, diterbitkan Oktober 2012 oleh GPU

Amba ini satu novel yang sejak duluuu banget aku pengen baca, karena ceritanya berbumbu peristiwa sejarah. Banyak yang bilang bukunya bagus, kemudian, aku tertarik juga karena di sinopsis dikatakan bahwa Amba adalah mahasiswi jurusan Sastra Inggris, hehehe

Setelah Gelombang 1, hanya kegelapan yang tersisa. Setelah Gelombang 2, hanya orang-orang beruntung yang lolos. Dan setelah Gelombang 3, hanya yang tidak beruntung yang bertahan. Setelah Gelombang 4, hanya ada satu peraturan: JANGAN PERCAYA PADA SIAPA PUN.

Alien menyerbu Bumi dan menyapu habis manusia dalam beberapa gelombang. Cassie berhasil bertahan sejauh ini. Menurutnya, untuk tetap hidup, ia harus sendirian. Sampai ia bertemu Evan Walker. Cowok misterius itu mungkin satu-satunya harapan Cassie untuk menyelamatkan adiknya—atau bahkan menyelamatkan dirinya sendiri. Namun, Cassie harus memilih antara percaya atau putus asa, melawan atau menyerah, hidup atau mati.

The 5th Wave (Gelombang 5) karya Rick Yancey, diterbitkan Desember 2013 oleh GPU

The 5th Wave adalah salah satu buku yang hype-nya gila-gilaan banget di antara para pembaca YA di luar sana. Banyak banget orang yang bilang buku ini sebagai best read lah, pas dibaca buat fans berat The Hunger Games lah, dan segala macam. Meskipun udah lama berniat pengen baca, tapi ujung-ujungnya lupa terus sampai akhirnya GPU menerjemahkan buku ini. Yay! 

***

Ketiga buku di atas adalah tiga dari sekian banyak yang ada di wishlist-ku saat ini. Ada yang udah punya dan baca buku-buku tersebut? Kalau ada yang mau swap atau minjemin atau kasih gratis ke aku, akan diterima dengan senang hati, lho! :P

PS: Post ini aku submit ke meme mingguan milik Mbak Astrid, Wishful Wednesday.

January 06, 2014

The Journeys 3 by Alexander Thian, Alfred Pasifico, Alitt Susanto, dkk

The Journeys 3: Yang Melangkah dan Menemukan

oleh Alexander Thian, Alfred Pasifico, Alitt Susanto, Ariev Rahman, Dina DuaRansel, Farid Gaban, Hanny Kusumawaty, Husni M. Zainal, JFlow, Lucia Nancy, Valiant Budi, Ve Handojo, Windy Ariestanty
diterbitkan Desember 2013 oleh Gagas Media
Non-fiksi/Travelogue
382 halaman
selesai dibaca 5 Januari 2013

***

Batas akan tetap menjadi batas, saat tak ada yang benar-benar berani menyeberanginya. Seperti halnya kita menamai utara sebagai utara, karena tak ada yang pernah bertanya kenapa.

Jarak akan tetap menjadi jarak, saat tak ada yang memulai langkah untuk menyudahinya. Kita hanya menduga-duga, sebelah langit mana yang berwarna lebih merah.

Dan, perjalanan hanya akan menjadi perjalanan, saat tak ada yang sudi menceritakan kisah yang menyertanya. Maka, temuilah, lewati batas, tuntaskan jarak. Ceritakan—setidaknya kepada diri sendiri, tentang jawaban yang kita temui.

Inilah kisah perjalanan yang akan membuat kita kembali kepada sesuatu yang paling dekat, sejauh apa pun kita melangkah pergi.


Pada akhirnya, setiap perjalanan yang dilakukan membuat si musafir melakukan ziarah atas dirinya sendiri.


Menziarahi diri sendiri adalah tema yang menjadi benang merah dari seluruh cerita perjalanan dalam The Journeys kali ini. Serius, aku bersyukur banget banyak orang melalui surel maupun Twitter yang (seperti yang dituliskan Mbak Windy di halaman pragagas) menanyakan 'Kapan lagi nih, The Journeys terbit?' The Journeys kali ini udah sampai edisi ketiga dan aku bakalan tetap beli kalau lanjutannya terus ada, sampai edisi keberapapunCerita traveling, ketika dituliskan dalam buku, sedikit banyak bisa membuat yang membacanya untuk merefleksikan kehidupan mereka sendiri. Hal-hal biasa yang mungkin sudah lumrah terjadi di kehidupan sehari-hari kadang jadi tidak biasa kalau terjadinya saat kita berada di tempat orang. Berbeda dengan The Journeys 2 yang fokus pada kisah-kisah dari dalam negeri, kali ini para penulis The Journeys mengajak pembaca ke berbagai tempat, baik di luar maupun dalam negeri: Zambia (Afrika), Selandia Baru, Singapura, Jepang, Wakatobi, India, Vatikan, Hong Kong, Santorini, Sydney, Kediri, dan terakhir ke Ubud, Bali! Wow. List yang menakjubkan untuk jalan-jalan lewat buku hanya dengan biaya kurang dari 100k ;)

Cerita-cerita di dalamnya masih menyentuh, seperti biasa. Gaya penyampaian yang berbeda-beda sesuai khas masing-masing penulis membuat cerita-cerita jadi tidak monoton, dan yang paling terasa dari The Journeys ini adalah humor yang diselipkan di banyak tempat. Ada beberapa kisah yang humornya terasa agak maksa, sih, dan ada satu cerita yang buat saya agak membosankan karena tone-nya datar, tapi secara keseluruhan The Journeys 3 masih tetap sebuah travelogue yang menyenangkan. Dan kalau harus bicara selera, lalu disuruh menyebutkan kisah-kisah favorit saya dari The Journeys 3 ini, maka pilihan saya jatuh pada 4 cerita milik Dina DuaRansel, Hanny Kusumawaty, Alexander Thian, dan Ve Handojo.

Dina dalam ceritanya yang berjudul Don't You Miss Home, Though? berbagi tentang pengalamannya pergi ke Selandia Baru bersama sang suami, Ryan, yang juga partnernya selama traveling. Jujur, saya baru menemukan blog Dina sekitar bulan Desember lalu, dan dari hasil mengintip itulah saya tahu bahwa pasangan ini memutuskan untuk menjual apartemen mereka dan meninggalkan seluruh kehidupan di Kanada untuk berkeliling dunia. Dalam The Journeys 3, Dina menuliskan bahwa banyak yang menanyakan padanya, apa rasanya hidup berpindah-pindah dan tidak punya rumah? Tidak punya satu tempat untuk kembali? Mengunjungi berbagai tempat memang menarik, but don't you miss home, though? Akhirnya, setelah dari Selandia Baru dan mengalami berbagai hal menegangkan seperti longsornya tebing saat mereka sedang berjalan-jalan di sekitar bola batu raksasa Moeraki Boulders, hujan buruk yang bisa saja menyapu mobil mereka jatuh ke tebing, dan mimpi-mimpi aneh selama perjalanan, Dina tahu jawaban akan pertanyaan tersebut.

Di sisi lain, Hanny terkejut akan pernyataan Vagelis, seorang pemilik toko di Fira, Santorini, yang berkata "You're a nice person" padanya hanya karena Hanny menjawab sapaan 'Good morning! Where are you from?' lalu menyempatkan diri untuk ngobrol sebentar dengan Vagelis. Hal yang sama terjadi dengan Adriano, seorang pegawai perusahaan yang menyediakan ATV maupun skuter untuk berkeliling Santorini. Adriano kerap menyapa turis-turis dan pengunjung dengan, 'Hello, how are you?' Nah, dalam banyak kesempatan, turis-turis itu biasanya hanya tersenyum kecil dan berlalu, malas berbasa-basi ataupun menanggapi. Hanny pun saat hari pertama begitu, namun di hari kedua, ia akhirnya menjawab sapaan Adriano. Setelah mengobrol beberapa waktu, Adriano berkata dengan sungguh-sungguh, "Today, you stop and talk. Yesterday, you didn't stop." Entah kenapa, cerita Berhenti Sejenak ini kena banget di aku. Keramahan sekecil apapun selalu menyenangkan jika berbalas, dan perbuatan seremeh menanggapi sapaan dan berhenti sejenak untuk mengobrol dengan penduduk lokal saja akan meninggalkan jejak yang berarti, setidaknya seperti bagi Vagelis dan Adriano dalam kisah ini :)

Alex dalam Pulang ke Pelukan Mama menceritakan pengalaman lucunya pergi ke Hong Kong diam-diam karena ingin memberi surprise bagi sang Mama, meskipun dirinya sendiri tahu bahwa ia adalah orang dengan bakat nyasar yang parah! Setelah dapat arahan dari Shanty tapi nggak nyampe-nyampe juga di hotel yang dituju karena nggak bisa inget petunjuk, dirampok Encim-Encim dengan dalih sumbangan bagi anak-anak tidak mampu, dijutekin cewek Hong Kong yang duduk di sebelahnya di bus, lalu mengetok pintu apartemen yang salah (duh malunya!), akhirnya ia bisa bertemu Mamanya juga dan menyempatkan waktu untuk bercerita banyak tentang kehidupan masing-masing.

Sedangkan Ve Handojo, saat sedang di Sydney demi menonton konser Coldplay, memilih untuk menginap di rumah seorang penduduk lokal bernama Sandra ketimbang di hotel. Tujuannya adalah untuk Slow Traveling, yaitu berbaur, menyapa, dan mengajak ngobrol penduduk lokal untuk merasakan kehidupan ala Sydney yang sebenarnya, bukan jalan-jalan ke tempat-tempat terkenal ataupun landmark-landmark yang biasa dikunjungi turis. Dengan tekadnya tersebut, Ve berhasil tau tempat-tempat yang enak untuk ngopi dan makan di Sydney, seperti Blomwood, Campos Coffee, Bread & Circus, lalu jalan-jalan ke Surry Hills, Marrickville dan Albert Street. Ve sebelumnya juga menuliskan kisah tentang perjuangannya berburu batik di The Journeys 2, namun aku lebih suka ceritanya yang ini.


Usia muda adalah usia yang paling tepat untuk bermimpi dan mengusahakan impian-impian itu untuk menjadi nyata.
- Alitt Susanto, Antara Singapura dan Rumah Mama

Bahagia itu tentang berkenalan dengan rasa cukup. Belajar merasa cukup.
-Windy Ariestanty, Menerjemahkan Bahagia

Nah, selain empat cerita di atas, masih banyak cerita-cerita lain yang sama asyik dan menakjubkannya! Tentang Husni M. Zainal yang menantang bahaya dengan berarung jeram di Sungai Zambezi lalu berenang di tepian air terjun Victoria Falls, Ariev Rahman yang ke Jepang untuk menapaktilasi perjalanan almarhum Ayahnya, Vabyo yang seorang muslim tapi pergi ke Vatikan, Lucia Nancy tentang pengalaman solo travelingnya ke Wakatobi, hingga JFlow yang pergi ke Kediri demi mengunjungi kampung halaman si Ibu. Dengan berbagai kisah yang pas banget buat jadi hiburan di kala senggang, dihiasi dengan berbagai foto yang bikin kita pengen jalan-jalan juga saking breathtaking-nya, The Journeys 3 ini sayang banget untuk dilewatkan ;)



Udah baca The Journeys 3? Udah pernah baca buku-buku traveling lain? What's your favorites? Ada rekomendasi buku tentang traveling yang menurut kamu bagus dan perlu aku baca? Yuk, saling ngobrol dan berbagi! Have fun and read some more!