From January to August: A Collection of Books

Five days into September and I’m a little over halfway through my 2015 reading challenge. After reading so many books so far in a year, I sometimes wonder if this challenge is even worth it, and how much have I actually gained from it. There are a couple of books that are a complete miss and others hit the mark, so before I start my next read in September I decided to do a little recount (plus mini-review) on the books I have read so far. Up to August I have read 31 books out of 50; some were borrowed from the local library, some were read while on holiday at home, and most others were bought during the past few months and were crammed in between deadlines. I had pleasure in reading these books, and I hope I’ll be able to keep it up until 2015 ends! Continue reading “From January to August: A Collection of Books”

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‘Tis the Season to be Jolly

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

Seasons change so quickly! Which one do you most look forward to? Which is your least favorite?

I spent a good portion of my childhood growing up in Australia. There, there were four seasons and I remember falling in love most with autumn. I loved the colors of autumn — the earthy, neutral meets fiery scheme from nature. I loved how pretty trees looked and how the leaves fell, how it all automatically make you feel poetic and melancholic. As a child, I thought autumn was the most romantic season to be in.

As I moved back to Indonesia and grew up in the tropics, I only know two seasons: the dry and the wet season, with the small transitioning period in between. Simply, half of the year is full of rain and the other half is mainly hot and dry. In Papua, I didn’t really pay attention much to the seasons, it all felt pretty much the same: rain one day, sunny the next. But when I moved to Surabaya, it was a whole different story. See, you don’t feel the extremity of dry and wet season much in Papua; sure, there are the occasional torrents of rain and plainly hot days — but Surabaya is a whole new extreme. Continue reading “‘Tis the Season to be Jolly”

From Zero to a Dozen

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Counting Voices.”

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?

Nothing beats the feeling after having a good conversation. Whether it’s an intellectually challenging debate, a personal heart-to-heart, or just a simple chit-chat, a good conversation will always leave a resounding impression. Funny, isn’t it, how a simple exchange of words can foster great ideas, catapult dreams, or even soothe the little storm in your heart.

But what exactly makes a good conversation? Based from experience, a good conversation is one that is simply fulfilling. You find the answers to what you’re looking for in another person, you may find comfort, some sort of profound meaning, or something simulating. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for, a good conversation will fulfill you to a certain extent and will make you want to keep searching, keep conversing, until you reach your closure. That being said, how many people does it take, ideally, for a good conversation? Continue reading “From Zero to a Dozen”

What I Talk About When I Talk About…

Book reviews.

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Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

We’re all familiar with the five-star rating system. Y’know, like, 1 star = Ugh; 2 stars = Meh; 3 stars = Okay; 4 stars = Cool; 5 stars = Awesome. We’re used to rate things using this or a number scale: we rate apps, music, books, movies, food, hotels — all sort of things. It’s simply a convenient way of rating and reviewing the things we use, but sometimes I feel that it’s becoming redundant each time I use it.

I’ve been active on Goodreads for about a year but I’ve only been shelving books and rating them after reading; I rarely give a serious review — only did two so far. But since my last review, I’ve been thinking hard about how I’ve been rating the books I read. Why did I give Harry Potter five stars and why did I give low-rating stars to Catcher in the Rye? So far my ratings were based on impulse and feeling, like, oh I really love Harry Potter so Imma give five stars, or ugh Catcher in the Rye bored me to oblivion so Imma give one — or maybe two stars, meh. It’s obviously very biased and that’s all normal, because reviews and ratings are inherently subjective. But if I keep giving evaluations based on subjectivity then I’m not getting the best out of my readings. What’s the use of reading 50 books a year but I can’t give an objective and critical opinion on them? Right? Continue reading “What I Talk About When I Talk About…”

Why do you go to the museum?

One of my favourite places to visit in a city would probably be its museums, simply because it fascinates me how certain events, little trinkets, or even people defines a single context in time, and museums do a good job of communicating these things. A museum can exhibit anything of important value. It can be historical, cultural, scientific, or artistic. It can be about certain events, artifacts, objects, architecture, even living beings! Yep, zoos and botanical gardens are also museums.

Now, I don’t go to the museum to simply gawk or to be entertained, but to learn; to satisfy my curiosity towards specific things. I may not always have a concrete objective of what I want to learn, but discovering something new is a positive value. For example, I visited the safari park several days ago because I was curious about the animals there, and at the end of the day I ended up knowing a tad bit more than I did on hawks and eagles. I visited House of Sampoerna not because I love cigars and tobacco (I don’t, by the way), but at the end I learned about vintage handmade cigarettes — oh and there’s a lovely art gallery there too, if I may point it out. Learning and gaining something new is a major motivation for me to visit museums. I’d rather do that than being stuck at a shopping mall date or a boring movie date.

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House of Sampoerna has the prettiest museum doors Continue reading “Why do you go to the museum?”