26 August 2016

My Curious Encounter with Indonesian Books

I read books, that's why I wear glasses. I spent my hours, drowned in library stacks. Something that I can proudly say, I passed on to Dudu. But when it comes to Indonesian writers, I have to admit I'm clueless. I find my comfort in English books that I usually skip the aisles with my own languages at the bookstore. I don't have anything beyond high school mandatory readings. I figure it's not fair.

The topic thrown at BEC discussion on their Facebook group page is challenging, not because I don't know any Indonesian writers, but because I'm not familiar enough with anyone to write a blog post about. Because I never buy a book in Bahasa Indonesia on purpose, my encounter with local books are always a pleasant surprise. Like what happened with these ones 

Ocean Melody
Ocean Melody by Gemala Hanafiah
Paperback, 282 pages

The book arrived on my hand one weekend, when I attended a travel blogger event. Didn't really know what to expect from this book, especially when I read the synopsis on the back and realized it talks about surfing. But the cover is compelling and after I followed Gemala on twitter and instagram, I started to flip the pages before long. An interesting story about an amateur going on surfing for the first time and her struggle to ride the largest wave out there. There's even a surfing 101 step-by-step guide inside the book. Ocean Melody takes you to the most beautiful (and memorable beaches, along the shoreline of our archipelago. I would never do surfing myself, so reading Gemala's book is like stepping into a thrilling adventure and the feeling of victory as you managed to finish the book. 

Eat Pray Leave
Eat, Pray, Leave by Jenny Jusuf 
Paperback, 286 pages 
An instagram contest pushed me to buy the book. I expected the book to be funny, just because the cover looks cartoonish and the title is an offbeat version of the legendary Julia Robert's movie. This book provides more than spiritual journey as Jenny takes you to different corner of Ubud to meet different kind of (bule) people. From the handsome friends with funky mother to the crazy couchsurfers whose attitudes get you upset as you turn the pages. You'll laugh and frown together with Jenny as she starts and ends each day. A recommended book for those in love with teenlit-kind of genre but expect an extraordinary story. I followed Jenny on twitter after reading the book and always find her lines as interesting. 

Growing Pains by Tatyana Soebianto
Paperback, 144 pages 

This book was sent to me after I was announced one of the lucky listeners of a radio program one afternoon. With subtitle "Dongeng Happy Single Mommy," the writer, which was known as Nana to her friends, started her journey when her husband suddenly left her in her third month of pregnancy. She then raise her son, Adi Nugroho, alone through thick and thin. I enjoyed reading her conversations, her struggles and how she managed to proudly present an awesome son. She has this witty storytelling style that, even when it's supposed to be sad, her story doesn't dragged you down or make you feel pity. 

Kota Lama dan Sepotong Cerita Cinta
Kota Lama dan Sepotong Cerita Cinta by Herdiana Hakim
Paperback, 312 pages

The interesting book with subtle cover was sent to me by a publisher once I agreed to attend a book club meeting (read the story here). Combining contemporary thinking and women empowerment in one book, she manages to take me through the time without wasting it. An interesting way to introduce Kartini to today’s youth, this book covers time travel as well as modern-day love story. A definite must-read for history fans. The writer is a friend of mine, a fellow journalist who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in children literature.

I finished each book in one sitting. Then I put them away or pass it on to fellow readers. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I don't really read Indonesian books. But it doesn't mean they're not worth reading for because I believe each book has a wonderful story to tell.


  1. Been a while since the last time I visited your blog!
    Thanks for the review! :D
    Somehow it really made me want to read all these books.
    Which then remind me of a book I just finished recently. I want to write a review so that people know and get interested to read it...but I myself was a bit disappointed by the ending. Any suggestion how to write the review then? Thx in advanced mama Ruth :p

    1. I would write an honest review. But books (and movies too) are always subjective. I would still say what I expected the end would be compared to the real ending, and probably throw the question out there for the blog readers to jump in and add on their own thoughts/ending.
      Thanks for stopping by again :)

  2. Hi Mami Ruth, haven't been to your blog since the Honesty post. Really need to catch up now! Hehe. Glad to have you again on BEC :) and I'm still looking forward to reading more of Dudu's writing (and the mother of course :) )

    1. Hallo. Thanks for stopping by again. I'm glad to be back at BEC too. :)


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