Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Summary

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Sebelum mengucapkan selamat tinggal pada tahun 2012 saya ingin membuat catatan perjalanan blog buku ini beserta semua pencapaian dan kegagalan yang ada. Mungkin tidak banyak yang tahu kalau pada saat membuatnya blog ini bukanlah blog buku namun sebuah blog tanpa tema khusus dengan tujuan untuk melatih kemampuan membuat tulisan dalam bahasa Inggris. Namun karena minat saya terutama pada film dan buku maka topik tulisan saya jarang sekali menyentuh topik lain. Ketika tak sengaja menemukan komunitas Blogger Buku Indonesia dari blog kawan maka saya berpikir mengapa tidak sekalian saya membuat blog khusus buku dan lahirlah blog Darjeeling Books.

Dari 31 buku yang berhasil saya baca selama rentang waktu 1 tahun saya berhasil membuat 14 review buku baik dalam bahasa Indonesia maupun bahasa Inggris. Ada beberapa book challenge dan event yang saya ikuti dan saya buat sendiri, check it out:
  1. Victorian Challenge: terdapat 12 buku yang harus dibaca namun hanya 6 buku yang berhasil saya taklukkan dan 4 yang berhasil direview
  2. Jane Austen Challenge: hanya terbaca 1 dari 7 buku; 1 review
  3. Goodreads challenge: 31/50 buku, 14 review
  4. Sherlock Holmes Quest 2012: completed! 2 buku terbaca dan berhasil direview
  5. Historical Fiction Challenge hosted by HobbyBuku: bertahan 2 bulan dan menyelesaikan 2 buku 
  6. Classic Club Project: 5 buku pada tahun pertama, not bad! 
  7. Gone with the Wind read along hosted by Mbak Fanda: unfinished, baru sampai part 2
  8. Blog meme: Character Thursday by Fanda Classiclit.
Kesimpulan dari daftar tersebut adalah banyak challenge yang tidak berhasil diselesaikan, banyak alasan yang menyebabkan namun saya jadi mengerti seberapa jauh kemampuan saya menyelesaikan buku beserta reviewnya. Maka di tahun 2013 mungkin tidak akan banyak event yang akan saya ikuti walaupun menarik karena saya bertekad untuk menyelesaikan setiap challenge yang sudah saya pilih. Here are my resolution for 2013:
  1. 24 buku setahun (Goodreads)
  2. Blog meme: Character Thusrsday
  3. Mengalihkan Classic Club Project ke blog baru saya darjeelingclassic.wordpress.com
  4. Waiting for another interesting challenge or event
Let's hope for the best in 2013!

NB: sekedar informasi, blog saya berpindah alamat dari darjeelinglife.com menjadi darjeelingbooks.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gone with the Wind Part 1

The movie Gone with the wind that starred Vivian Leigh as Scarlett and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler has a lot of influence while I’m reading the novel that the movie based on. I always pictured Scarlett as pretty as Vivian Leigh and feel surprised found out that Margaret Mitchell described her as not beautiful but have her ways and charm to make every boys/men adore her. She’s clever although school boring her, stubborn, narcissistic and a little bit cunning. The sixteen year old Scarlett purpose of life was to attract as much young man in his neighborhood and marry Ashley Wilkes.

Scarlett O’Hara was a first daughter of Gerald and Ellen O’Hara; she has two siblings Suellen and Careen and also three bothers that have died. The O’Hara was an upper class and wealthy landlord of Tara plantation, Georgia. The Wilkes, Tarleton’s and Fontaine’s are the other landlord in Georgia. They become close friend and always had a barbecue party every week. Each family have their unique character, The Wilkes is known for their strange hobby reading and playing music and married their cousin, The Tarleton’s is famous for their weakness in alcohol and the Fontaine's very well known for their short-tempered. All those families, except Wilkes family, support Georgia to leave the confederation because they hate the Yankees who against slavery.

This first part describe the main character one by one, Scarlett, the major character, her family and neighborhood also the politic situation in Georgia and also America  before the Civil War. It quite interested that the Afro-American slave of the landlord has a hierarchy too and despite their suffering because of slavery they also secretly insult and feel better than the poor white family. They was accustomed to be slave for years that made them serve their master deliberately and never thought of freedom. This is a quite different point of view compared to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

*spoiler alert*
Back to the story, Scarlett who thinks Ashley Wilkes loves her too felt very hurt when she heard that he will engage to Melanie Hamilton his cousin. Feeling confident that Ashley possibly loves her, she decided to confront Ashley and told him that she loves him. Fortunately Ashley loves her but he confused with Scarlett behavior toward him and another young man, he convinced Scarlett although they love each other, she never will understand Ashley because they gave a different hobby and interest. Feeling rejected and humiliated, Scarlett made a decision that she hope will hurt Ashley and other girl who gossiping her but also realized that it hurts herself too.
*spoiler alert*

After all, I think I enjoyed this part, didn’t amaze me but not bored at all. I’m ready to read part 2 know because in that part Rhett Butler maybe start to enter Scarlett life deeply. Can’t wait to read it. If you interested, just join us at GWTW read along hosted by Fanda started this September and will end at November, 8th.

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The Importance of being Earnest

Bunburyist is a strange word that I doubt you will find in any English dictionary. The term Burnburyist here was used by Algernon Moncrieff to describe an act for pretending that someone has a (imaginary) friend or brother or relative for the purpose to run away from tiresome social obligation. He found himself lucky knowing that his friend Jack Worthing had a same secret as his, Jack also has fake bother named Ernest that always masking trouble and needed to be save by his big brother Jack, but the fact is Jack is Ernest himself, he created Ernest to give himself a leisure time in London to do whatever he wants despite his obligation as a guardian of eighteen year old Cecily Cardew, a landlord and other responsibility.

If Jack had Ernest, Algernon had Bunbury, his invalid friend that always ill and had to stay in bed. The conflict begin after Jack/Ernest fell in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax, Algernon cousin, fortunately Gwen also love him and accept his proposal because she loves being married with someone named Ernest that inspire absolute confidence, she could not love anybody else that has a different name. For her, the name Jack is too plain for her and refuse married someone named Jack. This made Jack very confuse and decided to christen as Ernest.

In the other hand, Algernon decided to pay a visit to Cecily and posing as Jack bother’s Ernest. Cecily found him charming and funny and decided to marry him after Algernon/Ernest proposed. Poor Algernon, he really loves Cecily and feeling sad after found out that Cecily, similar to Gwen, interested in him only because his name is Ernest, she probably not wanted to married someone named Algernon. The same as Jack, he decided to get himself christened as Ernest. How will this mess be managed?

I found that this play was humorous and also ridiculous in other side. The plot is quick, the dialogue is amusing but somehow the conflict is a little bit superficial. Frankly speaking, I think this play is the only one classic literature that I've read (especially Victorian novels) that not stressed me with many details of role character and their feelings, it just fun and not easy to forget because it’s a short play. Even though the conflicts are not deep enough but we could draw several moral lesson: that earnest is importance and lie needs another lies to work. This made me curious to find another Wilde’s piece of work. If you need a break during Wuthering Heights or Great Expectation, Oscar Wilde works will amuse you, I guarantee it.

I’m surprise to know that Oscar Wilde has an awful life in his late age. Before become famous because of his works, he was a flamboyant man that although not very wealthy he was famous. He was imprisoned because of Marquess of Queensberry (who is homophobic) accusation that Oscar made his son, Lord Alfred a homosexual. According to the law at late 18th century, homosexual was a crime. After released from prison his spirit was broken and decided to live in Paris as a poor man. Despite his story of life, this witty and amusing play should list as must read book/plays.

Silas Marner

Feel betrayed by his best friend, community and his fiancée, Silas Marner decided to leave Lantern Yard and move in to the first place he feels settled, Raveloe, a countryside village. He tried to forget all that happened and doing numbing routine of solitary work as a weaver. His neighbor found him as an introvert person but had a special knowledge for herbal remedies and his fine work as a weaver that made him secretly rich. He rarely joined the other villager for drinking or just gossiping at local bar. His only amusement was spending every night counting his gold that has been hidden beneath floorboards.

So had his way of life: - he invited no comer to step across his door-sill, and he never strolled into the village to drink a pint at the Rainbow, or to gossip at the wheelwright’s; he sought no man or woman, save for the purposes of his calling, or in order to supply himself with necessaries....
But his secret being suspected and there was rumor in the village that he was rich and had a lot money, this rumor made Dunsey Cass - a greedy and trouble-maker son of Squire Cass - interested and one night he decided to go to Silas house and plan to intimidate him to lend Dunsey some money, but, alas he decided to steal the money instead. The calm and peaceful life of Silas wrecked because of this tragedy. But at the very same day, out of nowhere, there is a baby girl that left at his door by his dead mother. Eppie - he named the baby after her mother name - made Silas realized that he finally find a true happiness that can console him from his lost (his faith and his money) and give him a new hope of happy life. He became more socialized and welcomed in that village because of Eppie. But trouble keep hitting him, the real father of Eppie claimed her after abandoned her for many years. Would Silas let Eppie go?

Silas Marner was the first George Elliot works that I ever read. I pick this book to catch up with Victorian challenge for June and also because it has the least pages compared to other Elliot’s books. George Elliot was pseudonym of Mary Ann Evans, whom like Silas, she also keep questioning and struggle with her faith. This story was a simple story, with a no surprise plot and had a not-shocking ending. But it still interesting books because Elliot known for her deeply philosophical novel. The character of Silas was well described also the other character.

To sum up, this story have a positive moral lesson such as we cannot base our happiness only to materialistic thing but also to the relationship with other human that will made us truly happy. The other was no matter how deep you buried your bad deeds, they are always coming up, so be careful with your life and be honest to everyone.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

#12 The House of the Spirits

This book was consider as the most notably work of Isabel Allende and I think this book is deserve to be in 1001 books you’ve must read before you die. This book has many plots and twist also the character is so rich yet eccentric that made me forgets for a while that this is a quite thick book.

This story began with Del Valle family most famous daughter, Rosa and Clara. Rosa the eldest sister has an enchanting beauty and often regard as an angel. She has yellow eye, green hair and transparent skin that made her looks like from outer world. The baby of this family, Clara, also consider as an outer world person because her gift (or curse) as clairvoyant. She claimed that she can see ghost, predict the future and also move things even without touched it.

Rosa was engaged with Esteban Trueba Rosa died before she married as Clara predicted. Despite his grief, Esteban decided to rebuild the old family farmland, Tres Maria (Three Maria). The egocentric, harsh and materialistic nature of Esteban made him a successful and arrogant landlord. He treated his farmer as a slave and raped every female teenager surrounding Tres Maria. This action made him a father of many illegitimate children who would cause many pain in his later life. After he married Clara, his life had change and he decided to live in the city and build “the big house on the corner” (a.k.a the house of the spirits). The influence of three women in his life, Clara, his daughter Blanca and his granddaughter Alba made Esteban realized many bad deeds that he had done and finally changed him to become more kind-hearted person.

If I can conclude this family saga was about how legitimate and illegitimate children from Esteban Trueba interact, mainly this relationship was full of hatred and revenge. Things that Esteban did in the past finally come back to him but through his daughter and granddaughter. This book was categorized as magic realism book, genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world (Wikipedia). In this book the most prominent magical elements includes Rosa beauty features and Clara’s habit to communicate with spirits.

I think this book is also a historical fiction because the coup in some South America country was very similar with what happening in Chile. This book also consider as Isabel Allende’s story of life because her uncle, Salvador Allende was a socialist president of Chile who assassinated in a military coup led by General Augusta Pinochet, this story similar with “the candidate” in her story that finally became first socialist president in that country. Maybe it’s the recipe how Isabel could bring the same intense of the terror into this novel. I have to say that this story is a must read book. Enjoy it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Character Thursday #6 Jacob Jankowski (Water for Elephants)

It’s a little bit difficult to decide whether Jacob is a protagonist or antagonist role in this book. Young Jacob had a perfect family until accident took away his parents, as the only son, he was so overwhelmed by this loss; he couldn’t decide how he’s going to live his life. Circus change the naive Jacob to be Jacob the brave and kind-hearted gentleman.

He proved that he can survive in wild life of circus world. He was a best and honorable friend that someone can rely on especially when he tried to protect Camel form throw from the train. He also adapt fast when finally he made friend with Kinko. Although he did not graduate yet as a veterinarian, but his skills is reliable. His compassionate love to all animal – especially Rosie, the dumb elephant – touch everyone exclusively Marlena, the performer. With some clues finally he found out that Rosie could not understand English at all because she usually trained by Polish language.

After meeting Marlena, Jacob can deny that he has feeling for her despite the fact that she was already married. I’m not going to preach here about he should not kiss Marlena and made her crazy lovely husband angry – and turn out he is really crazy (schizophrenia) – but there is always something wrong by loving other man’s wife. But the writer made an easy way out for Jacob and Marlena when August dead in a chaos of animals rage.

In summary, I like this character because despite his sorrow he finally can move on and struggle with a new life. Although it was not easy in the beginning but he keep struggle and struggle to make his life easier and happier. He made some mistakes but lucky enough he had a new family that could support him until the rest of his life. Sadly, his children and grandchildren abandoned him but there is always a hope of a happy ending for someone who braves enough to hope and fight for it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#11 Water for Elephants

Honestly, saya sama sekali tidak tertarik untuk baca buku ini. Berhubung bulan ini temanya hisfic dan beberapa narablog serta anggota goodreads nampaknya terpikat hingga memberikan rating tinggi pada buku ini maka saya memutuskan untuk membelinya (alasan sebenarnya: sedang ada diskon besar-besaran di Gramedia). And surprisingly, saya menikmati membaca buku ini.

Kisah ini dimulai dengam kehidupan Jacob Jankowski, peranakan Polandia berusia 90 tahun atau 93, dia sendiri juga tidak yakin, yang tengah mengenang kehidupannya waktu bergabung dengan sebuah sirkus kereta api. Tidak pernah ada dalam pikiran Jacob muda, seorang calon dokter hewan, anak seorang dokter hewan pula, untuk bergabung dengan dunia hiburan macam sirkus. Namun kehilangan kedua orang tuanya pada saat bersamaan akibat kecelakaan membuat ia bingung menjalani hidup, ia merasa tak punya tujuan dan tak punya "rumah" lagi.

Puncaknya adalah ketika Jacob merasa tak mampu menyelesaikan ujian akhirnya, ia berjalan tak tentu arah lalu nekat menaiki kereta yang sedang perlahan melintas di depannya. Keputusan tak masuk akal ini berujung pada pengalaman yang akan mengubah perjalanan hidupnya secara keseluruhan. Dunia hiburan yang tanpa kepastian secara perlahan-lahan menjadi awal dari kehidupan barunya bersama keluarga baru termasuk Rosie, seekor gajah yang dikira dungu. Penasaran? You definitely must read this book.^^

Sirkus tempat Jacob bergabung adalah Benzini bersaudara. Sirkus yang bangkrut namun perlahan mulai bangkit lagi melalui tangan dingin Al, pemilik barunya. Al bertekad membuat sirkusnya mampu bersaing dengan Ringling Circus, sebuah sirkus ternama yang pada kenyataannya memang merupakan sirkus yang berjaya pada tahun 1935. Masa dimana sirkus kereta api sedang menjamur dan bergantian jatuh bangkrut. Banyak istilah dan lika liku kehidupan sirkus yang bisa diperoleh dari buku ini. Misalnya ada dua kelas dalam kelompok sirkus yang disebut performer atau kinker dan kelompok pekerja.

Menarik sekali bahwa tim pekerja ini merupakan kasta terendah dalam sebuah sirkus, mereka seringkali tidak mendapat bayaran terutama bila sirkus tak punya banyak pengunjung, mereka sering tidur bersama hewan, tidak punya gerbong khusus, jarang mendapat jatah air untuk mandi dan tempat makan pun terpisah dari para performer. Selain itu ternyata ada juga "sirkus di dalam sirkus", pertunjukan tak resmi namun menyedot banyak pengunjung terutama pria, you can guess! Yang mengejutkan ternyata ada beberapa para pendorong yang tugasnya memang mendorong penonton (dalam arti harafiah) supaya masuk ke tenda sirkus.

After all, saya menikmati buku ini karena penuturannya menarik, ending yang cukup mengejutkan dan berbagai pengetahuan baru mengenai dunia sirkus. Saya sebenarnya ingin menonton filmnya tapi agak kecewa ketika mengetahui Robert Pattinson yang memerankan Jacob, kupikir Leonardo di Caprio, Shia Lebouf atau Tobey Maguire akan lebih cocok memerankan pemuda innocent di tengah dunia sirkus yang penuh intrik. Namun ada satu pertanyaan yang mengganjal dalam benak saya, apakah makna judul buku ini, Water for Elephants. Apakah itu sebuah metafora? Setelah bertanya pada Mbah Gugel saya mendapatkan bahwa kemungkinan artinya adalah seseorang yang mempunyai beban yang berat atau people who pretending to be more than they are. Untuk lebih lengkapnya simak saja diskusi ini di goodreads: Symbolism: What is the "Water" and who is the "Elephant"

**Review ini ditulis bulan kemaren untuk posting bersama BBI, namun baru sempat diedit dan dipublish hari ini :p