2015 in Books

It’s been quite a while since the last time I posted something here. 2015 was a weird year for me on so many levels. For reading life, I set a goal to read 45 books in 2015. The goal was set under the precedent that I could read more than 40 books in 2013 and 2014. I was so confident that reading more than 40 books in a year was a piece of cake. But then lots of thing happened and I began to realise that reading 45 books in a year was impossible.

First quarter of 2015 went well. I could finish some books easily. Problem arose in the second quarter of 2015. For some reasons, I began to struggle on reading books, especially the thick ones. My attention span was short and I was easily distracted. Therefore, I read on and off and switched books a lot. Things didn’t go well until the third and last quarter of 2015. Instead of sticking to any books that I planned to read, I switched a lot, left many books half-read or only slightly read. I kept buying books because I thought my hundreds something unread books couldn’t cure my reading slumps so I kept looking at new ones, wishing the new piles could save me.It didn’t save me from my reading slumps. And the new piles will soon be forgotten in my cramped room. I came to the epiphany that reading slump is as real as quarter life crisis. It seems like a myth, but once you catch it, it’s very hard to escape.

 

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Put the failed-to-achieve-reading-goal aside, 2015 was somewhat a more satisfying year than in 2014. I read 37 books and my average rating for them was 3.6 stars. It means that most of the time I like the books I read, probably gave 3-4 stars in general. I find it a bit difficult to decide the top 5 books for 2015. Some books were hauntingly beautiful and made me left so overwhelmed with profound emotions than I had with some people 😆 But here’s my top 5:

  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flannagan
  • Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman
  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield
  • Bumi Manusia – Pramoedya Ananta Toer

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I also read more short-stories in 2015. Thanks to my reading slumps and my short attention span that made me read 6 short-stories collections, 4 are from Indonesian writers and other 2 are from Neil Gaiman.

Compared to previous years, I also read more Indonesian books. Most of them are shot stories collections though. Two of books are debut novels (“Kahve” by Yuu Sasih and “Sebuah Wilayah yang Tidak Ada di Google Earth” by Pandu Hamzah), not really brilliant (plot holes here and there) but still quite enjoyable reads and most importantly, not chic lit. Generally, I am okay with chic lit, but there are too many local chic lit right now, some people really need to write something other than that.

Books that did not make to my top 5 list but made me very heart-broken: “Kitchen” by Banana Yoshimoto and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews. I rarely cried. I didn’t even cry when I read “A Little Life” but I cried reading those books. Both books are not typical heart-breaking stories, but my INTJ heart was really touched with the stories *sigh*

Despite the low quantities of books that I read, I find them satisfying. Well, not all of them (“Supernova” by Dee and “Angin Bersyair” by Andrei Aksana were total rubbish IMO). But, mostly they’re beautifully written and good companions during 2015. For 2016, I decided to lay low on setting the reading goal. My goal is only to read 25 books but hopefully with more diversified genre and authors.

“There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corridors of our lives. We think we have moved on, put them out of mind, left them to desiccate and shrivel and blow away; but we are wrong. They have been waiting there in the darkness, working out, practicing their most vicious blows, their sharp hard thoughtless punches into the gut, killing time until we came back that way.”
― Neil Gaiman, Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

 

Reading Life: March

Kehidupan membaca saya semakin terseok-seok karena kegiatan sosial yang semakin demanding. Saya yang biasanya membaca di malam hari sepulang kerja atau sebelum tidur, sekarang merasa kesulitan untuk melakukannya karena saya sekarang pulang lebih malam atau keburu kelelahan dan ingin segera tidur. Membaca pagi hari pun semakin jarang dilakukan, apalagi siang hari saat jam makan siang. Akhirnya status Goodreads saya pun selalu tertinggal beberapa buah buku dari jadwal seharusnya -____-

Selama Maret, akhirnya saya sukses menyelesaikan membaca tiga buku.

A Wild Sheep Chase – Murakami Haruki

Buku ini saya baca sejak akhir Februari dan akhirnya selesai di minggu pertama Maret. Sekilas tentang buku ini sempat saya tulis di postingan Februari. Di bagian-bagian akhir saya cukup suka dengan The Rat dan lebih punya emotional attachment dengannya ketimbang dengan si narator. Secara keseluruhan, bukunya cukup oke, tapi ga terlalu memikat seperti buku Murakami lainnya.

Rating: 3 dari 5 bintang

Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman (US Edition, illustrated by Skottie Young)

Buku yang ringan dan menyenangkan. Bercerita tentang seorang ayah yang menghabiskan waktu terlalu lama saat membeli susu ke toko pojok. Saat ia pulang, ia bercerita ke anaknya kalau ia pergi cukup lama karena tiba-tiba banyak hal terjadi padanya, termasuk bertemu dengan Profesor Stegosaurus yang bepergian dengan balon udara.

Sungguh buku ringan yang menyenangkan! Saya jatuh hati pada sang ayah yang kreatif nan jago ngeles. Anyway, selama membaca buku ini, saya terus menerus membayangkan sosok sang ayah adalah Neil Gaiman sendiri. Gambarnya pun mirip sih, pakai pakaian hitam dengan rambut berantakan 😆

Rating: 4 dari 5 bintang

Sang Golem dan Sang Jin – Helene Wecker

Buku ini dibeli secara impulsif saat saya berada di toko buku sembari menunggu teman saya datang dan saya sama sekali ga menyesal membeli buku ini. Memang agak sedikit gambling kalau membeli buku terjemahan, karena khawatir terjemahannya aneh dan mengurangi kenikmatan membaca. Tapi, buku ini diterjemahkan dengan baik dan luwes oleh Lulu Fitri Rahman.

Sang Golem, Chava, kehilangan tuannya di laut dan ia pun menjadi tak bertuan dan kehilangan arah tujuan. Sementara itu, Sang Jin, Ahmad, terikat dalam sosok manusia dan tak mampu mengingat mengapa ia berada dalam sosok tersebut. Keduanya berusaha menjalani kehidupan ala manusia meskipun jiwa mereka menginginkan hal lain.

Premis ceritanya menarik dan ditulis dengan gaya bahasa yang memikat. Terlepas dari valid atau tidaknya, banyak hal baru yang saya pelajari dari buku ini. Dan yang paling berkesan untuk saya dari buku ini adalah meski tokoh utamanya bukan manusia, tapi mereka terasa manusiawi sekali.

Rating: 4 dari 5 bintang