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bricolage \bree-koh-LAHZH; brih-\, noun: -a dump site for anything at hand, in mind-

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Apey and Lenje got this thing called "book tag" and Apey threw one at me.

"Book tag" seems to be an entry about books.

I don't read much text books. I read more novels.
I don't really dig British writers. No offense. that's the extend of my English-as-second-language understanding.

Let's frown
James N. Rosenau's book "Turbulence in World Politics" really captured me ten years ago. Along with a couple other books on international affairs. "Bringing Transnational Relations Back In" edited by Thomas Risse-Kappen has an interesting insights into the emerging transnationalism back in mid 1990s. His book is about what we are living now in 2000s.

the odessa fileI've been drowned in Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth novels since high school (1992 or so). Clancy's best novel is "The Hunt of Red October". It was a very thrilling book to read. Well, if you call chasing submarines with nuclear warheads is fun, then you should agree with me (I'm a geek, remember). The rest of Clancy's novels are so so. "The Teeth of the Tiger" is very disappointing though (This is his latest novel). On the other hand, Forsyth's "The Odessa File" was amazing. It was a blend of history and war novel. I'd gobble anything about The Second World War. I'd say "The Negotiator" was Forsyth's second best. His way of writing is more straightforward than the flowery Clancy. Forsyth, a former journalist with Reuters, has a realistic yet condensed manner of story telling.

the outsiders"The Mississippi Burning" was my first novel. I didn't really understand the book until I saw the movie. Typical beginner-English-learner, ey? "The Outsiders" of SE. Hinton was an eye opening novel after "Mississippi Burning". I like the "Nothing Gold Can Stay" poem. I agree to what Frost had to say. If you grew up in 1980s for sure none of you would have missed Tom Cruise, Ralph Macchio and others first appearance in Coppola's "The Outsiders". I enjoyed the novel more than the movie. "1984" of George Orwell was an out-of-this-world experience. The "Newspeak" was mind-blowing. Orwell must've either been nuts or delirious..

calvin and hobbesForget not, I also read pop-corn books such as Erich Segal's "Doctors" and children book series of Astrid Lindgren. The brilliant "Pippi Langstrumpf" aka "Pippi the Longstocking". Although I wouldn't call Tetsuko Kuroyanagi's "Totto Chan" as a children book. It's like calling "Calvin and Hobbes" as a children cartoon (is it?)

It's an Indonesian thing
Later on, I delved myself more into literature. Mostly Indonesian ones as price of imported English books was rising steadily because Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is way too weak against the US Dollars (monetary crisis all over Asia in 1997. hello?).

ronggeng dukuh parukOka Rusmini's "Tarian Bumi", "Sagra" and "Kenanga" are must-read texts to understand the real struggle of Indonesian women, while Ayu Utami's "Saman" and "Larung" kinda complements the whole thing from a more modern setting. Both writers produced novels that I consider as important milestones in Indonesian literary world. Forget Pramoedya Ananta Toer. PAT's work becomes a status among Indonesians. I'd opt for the offbeat track than the mainstream one. Ahmad Tohari trilogy of "Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk" is a guide to the real life of real Indonesians. While Umar Khayam series of "Mangan ora Mangan Kumpul" is a soo Javanese despite Khayam's realism. But get a hold of Khayam's "Seribu Kunang-Kunang di Manhattan", it's another way of understanding Indonesia if you don't want to get caught up in classic PAT books. Dewi Lestari aka Dee's series of "Supernova", "Akar" and "Petir" is a must read for those who want to catch up with Indonesian adolescents of 21st century. I wouldn't call it as a trilogy as the epilogue is not there yet.

"Aku" of Chairil Anwar is another mind-blasting work. Try to complement it with Nugroho Notosusanto's "Tiga Kota" and Mochtar Lubis "Senja di Jakarta". Then you will get at least a brief and quick description of contemporary Indonesia. But still, grab some NH. Dini's trilogies and books. I forgot where do I have to start with Dini. Read her earlier works such as "Hati Yang Damai" and any titles which was released around that year.

From the other side of the world
haruki murakamiGo haruking! I have no clue about J-pop or anything that begins with "J" (Japan). But Haruki Murakami is soooo absurd and so out of this world that I can't get away from his novels. I can't put it off because it has always been so absorbing. His books are hypnotizing. It's like being caught in a spider web. "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" might be too intimidating for "haruki beginners", pick up "After the Quake". Another option might be Banana Yashimoto. But she's a bit too sweet for my taste.

Seno Gumira Ajidarma aka SGA is writing urban genre. You'd find his writing intriguing if not inspiring. I especially respect "Jazz, Parfum dan Insiden". I found it inspiring. His most famous credo is "When journalism is silenced, literature must speak" (See Allen, Pam; "Seno Gumira Ajidarma: Conscience Of The People" in New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 4, 2 (December, 2002): 177-182). While "Negeri Senja" is something special. He recently earned his Ph.D from the University of Indonesia. Although powerful in writing, he doesn't talk much in public.

If you guys are up to some contrasting scenes, begin with Notosusanto's "Tiga Kota", then "Aku" of Chairil Anwar, ending it with NH Dini's earlier work up to "Sekayu". Continue to "La Barka". Then switch to Oka Rusmini's "Tarian Bumi" and "Sagra", dash your mind with Ayu Utami's "Saman" and "Larung", then pick up Dewi Lestari's "Supernova" and end it with Khayam's "Seribu Kunang-Kunang di Manhattan". Topping the whole thing with Tohari's "Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk" would be a blast *winks*

Can't mix Murakami with Forsyth and Clancy. They are stronger than "sex on the beach" :P

Photo credits:

The Outsiders

Calvin and Hobbes

Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk

The Odessa File

Haruki Murakami



Blogger Apey said...

RD, great catcher !! its so awesome bookish...thx jeng :)

Wed Sep 21, 07:43:00 AM 2005

Anonymous lenje said...

Phew! *speechless*

Wed Sep 21, 11:52:00 AM 2005

Anonymous koeniel said...

salam kenal. senang liat daftar bukunya. kita punya selera sama soal sastra Indonesia, kecuali bahwa gue juga suka banget sama Pram :) N gue juga suka banget sama Calvin and Hobbes!

Thu Sep 22, 08:48:00 AM 2005


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