One of the best books I ever bought. This book contains hundreds of famous poems and poetries by T.S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley,...moreOne of the best books I ever bought. This book contains hundreds of famous poems and poetries by T.S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Wordsworth, WH Auden, WB Yeats, Christina Rossetti, Sir Walter Ralegh, and a lot more.(less)
From the very first time of my acquaintance to the story of Great Expectations, I have always thought it is some kind of a Cinderella story, with a ra...moreFrom the very first time of my acquaintance to the story of Great Expectations, I have always thought it is some kind of a Cinderella story, with a rather unusual fairy godmother. Well, this is the very first Dickens novel I have read in unabridged version and original language. Written as an autobiography of Pip, this work is a bildungsroman as well as a work of mystery, gothic fiction and social criticism in Victorian England. Dickens’s writing is amazing as usual, although I had a hard time understanding some dialogues of the characters, mostly parts of Joe and Magwitch. I think that you will need extra patience to read Dickens, as his works are mostly slowly narrated and could strike you to boredom if you cannot bear it. And still as usual, in Great Expectations Dickens made a wonderful story consists of colorful characters. From Pip we could learn perseverance, undying love, and the willingness to forgive, from Herbert optimism and cheerfulness, from Joe kindness and fatherly love, from Mr. Jaggers professionalism, from Miss Havisham the choice she made to avenge her ghastly fate. Can I say that human nature from its best to its worst can be found in Dickens’s works? If it’s true, then it will be my reason to love this book, along with its extraordinary story.
This book I found in an imported books fair in Toko Gunung Agung Surabaya. At first I was being indecisive whether to buy it or not, but because I am...moreThis book I found in an imported books fair in Toko Gunung Agung Surabaya. At first I was being indecisive whether to buy it or not, but because I am a big fan of classics and this book compiled the long-loved classic stories, poetry, and even speeches to be told to children, so I think it's worth it. The writer, Dr. Russell, also added the meanings of some words that are not yet understandable by children, which is I think very helpful for people who doesn't speak English as their mother language (like me) :). I am very happy to have this book among my collection of classics.(less)
Ternyata nggak salah deh beli versi asli buku ini, tulisan tante Kate DiCamillo dalam bahasa Inggris jauh lebih kereeeeen.... jadi kepengen baca karya...moreTernyata nggak salah deh beli versi asli buku ini, tulisan tante Kate DiCamillo dalam bahasa Inggris jauh lebih kereeeeen.... jadi kepengen baca karya2nya yg lain dalam bahasa Inggris... :((
Review akan diposting di blog tgl 26 Maret (posting bersama BBI tema buku anak)
*** Update 26 Mar 2012 ***
This is a tale about a mouse, a princess, a king, some soup, a rat, a servant girl, a treacherous plan of revenge gone wrong. The story takes place in a castle, and the dungeon underneath the castle.
The mouse, Desperaux Tilling his name, was born as the last mouse to his parents and the only surviving one of his litter. Desperaux was born so small, with two huge ears, and with eyes open, staring directly to light. Instead of being so small and sickly, the strange little mouse lived. And he was nothing like other mice. He listened to music, he loved light, and he read pages of books instead of eating them.
“Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”
Interesting fate it was. One day when Desperaux lifted up his head to listen to the sweet sweet music, the music brought him to encounter the king and his beloved daughter, the Princess Pea. The princess looked down at him and smiled to the little mouse. As ridiculous as it might be, Desperaux fell in love.
“Love is ridiculous. But love is also wonderful. And powerful. And Desperaux’s love for the princess would prove, in time, to be all these things: powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous.”
Desperaux’s little encounter with the king and the princess then brought him serious consequence: the Mouse Council decided to punish him with sending him to the dungeon. Dungeon means deep darkness. It also means rats. And rats never meant a good thing.
While we’re still talking about rats, there was one peculiar rat that lived in the dungeon. Unlike his rat brothers and sisters, Chiaroscuro, or Roscuro, loved being surrounded by light. He too, like Desperaux, had a little encounter with the king and the princess, only then he also meets the queen. His encounter with the royal family was followed with a tragedy, which caused the king to ban soup and all soup-related items like bowls and soup spoons. The look the princess Pea gave Roscuro broke his heart and made him desire revenge. A servant girl called Miggery Sow then helped the rat to execute his plan.
The princess was in danger. What will Desperaux do? Could it be that a little mouse, in spite of all circumstances, help the lovely princess and save her from harm? The answer to this question, dear reader, you must read in this remarkable book, winner of Newbery Medal 2004, The Tale of Desperaux.
I have always been a fan of Kate DiCamillo, whom I love for her extraordinary writing. Kate can make a simple story so beautiful with her brilliant choice of words. Her sentences flow like a song, and I’m not exaggerating. That’s what I felt when I read The Magician's Elephant. The book broke my heart and I felt myself crying alongside the main character. Reading The Tale of Desperaux gave me a similar feeling, although it wasn’t as dark as The Magician’s Elephant. I’m really glad I bought a copy of this book in English and not the Indonesian translation, this time I can really succumb into Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful writing. This book also has nice illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. Parents, you should read this to your kids, I’m sure they’ll love it. ;)
“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.”
“I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
***A SMALL TRUTH***
I am haunted by this book.
Sit still, children. Death has a story to tell. It is about the book thief, who was but a fourteen year-old skinny German girl living in Nazi Germany, whose name was Liesel Meminger. The book thief first conducted her felony when she was nine, the day her little brother was buried in the snow. She, along with her mother and little brother, travelled down to Munich where foster parents would soon take over the care of the children. Or as we shall put it after Liesel’s brother death; only one child. Soon Liesel would separate from her mother and proceed to Himmel Street in Molching, and became foster daughter of Hans and Rosa Hubermann. What an unlikely couple the Hubermanns were, since Hans was the accordion-playing, fatherly-loving figure that Liesel would learn to love dearly soon, and Rosa was a lady rich with words (in which I mean swearing) and she liked to give Liesel a good watschen (which is a slap to one’s bottom). Liesel then learned to read with her beloved foster father, and continued book thievery; from Nazi book-burnings, from the mayor’s wife library and so on. One of her treasured books was The Standover Man, a gift from an unexpected guest for the Hubermanns who came one night, Max Vandenburg. Max was a Jewish fist fighter whose father once fought alongside Hans on World War I. He sought help from the Hubermanns that they would hide him in their house. They paid him the service, and Max then became an important part of the Hubermann family. Max’s presence seemed to bind everyone closer and Liesel became his best friend when he did not even dare to imagine having one. The story then takes readers to witness the struggles the Hubermanns were having for hiding a Jew, and how the residents of Molching dealt with bomb-droppings on their homes, and how Liesel’s love for books helped them endure the sufferings because of war. Clearly, an end awaits all of them, Jew or not Jew. An end where lies an enormous possibility that Death is already waiting.
”They watched the Jews come down the road like a catalog of colors. That wasn’t how the book thief described them, but I can tell you that that’s exactly what they were, for many of them would die. They would each greet me like their last true friend, with bones like smoke and their souls trailing behind.”
As the main character, Liesel was nothing special. What made her special is the relationship that grew between her and other characters: with Hans Hubermann, with Max, with her ‘boyfriend’; the lemon-haired Rudy Steiner, with the mayor’s wife, and even with Rosa Hubermann, who we would later realize that she could love as much as any other characters in the book.
I loved Markus Zusak’s writing style in this book tremendously, despite of some people who call it abnormal, especially for his style of personifying things or figurative language. For me, it’s original and captivating. Dark and gloomy as it is, the author kept the book true and honest, without any unnecessary sweetness. The author’s imagination in making Death the narrator is brilliant. And it made me think, could it be that Death is not as evil as we all think? He’s just doing his job, right?
This book is one of the very few books that can actually make me cry. I’m more of a visual person who cries more easily when seeing an emotional scene, rather than reading one. Yes, I cried at the end of the book. It wasn’t until I reached the last 100 pages that I decided that this book deserves my perfect rating. I think the author kept his best for last. Therefore, five stars.
“It’s probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler’s reign, no person was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me. A human doesn’t have a heart like mine. The human heart is a line, whereas my own is a circle, and I have the endless ability to be in the right place at the right time. The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. Still, they have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”
“Sebab rancangan-Ku bukanlah rancanganmu, dan jalanmu bukanlah jalan-Ku, demikianlah Firman TUHAN. Seperti tingginya langit dari bumi, demikianlah tingginya jalan-Ku dari jalanmu dan rancangan-Ku dari rancanganmu.”
Siapakah dari umat manusia yang mengetahui rencana Tuhan, dan memahami rancangan-rancangan-Nya? Ketika sesuatu yang buruk terjadi, bukankah kita bertanya, “Mengapa?” “Mengapa hal ini terjadi?” “Mengapa hal itu menimpa kami?”, atau “Mengapa hal ini menimpa mereka?”
Pertanyaan yang sama terpatri di benak Brother Juniper, seorang biarawan Fransiskan, setelah peristiwa putusnya jembatan gantung San Luis Rey di Peru yang terkenal. Adapun jembatan gantung yang menghubungkan kota Lima dan Cuzco tersebut ditenun oleh peradaban suku Inca dari abad yang telah berlalu, dan masih dilewati ratusan orang setiap harinya, sampai hari nahas itu tiba.
Pada siang hari, tanggal 20 Juli 1714, jembatan gantung San Luis Rey putus dan melemparkan lima orang ke dalam jurang di bawahnya. Peristiwa ini menggugah masyarakat Lima begitu rupa dan mengusik hati Brother Juniper, sehingga akhirnya ia memutuskan untuk mengadakan suatu “penelitian”, untuk menyelidiki kehidupan kelima orang korban. Ia berusaha menemukan jawaban mengapa Tuhan memilih kelima orang tersebut, untuk menunjukkan demostrasi kebijaksanaan-Nya, pada hari itu.
“Why did this happen to those five? If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were pattern in a human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan.”
Selama enam tahun Brother Juniper mengetuk semua pintu di Lima, mengajukan ribuan pertanyaan, dan mencatat di buku catatannya semua fakta, kecil dan besar, penting maupun kurang penting, terkait kelima orang korban San Luis Rey, untuk membuktikan bahwa kelima nyawa yang hilang tersebut sesungguhnya adalah satu kesatuan yang utuh. Penelitian ini membawanya menguak lembar demi lembar kehidupan Dona Maria, La Marquesa de Montemayor, seorang wanita bangsawan yang tidak dicintai oleh putrinya semata wayang; Pepita, gadis muda cerdas pelayan sang Marquesa; Camila Perichole, seorang aktris luar biasa cantik yang dikagumi oleh seantero Peru; Paman Pio, lelaki paruh baya yang merupakan pelatih sekaligus “ayah” La Perichole; dan pemuda kembar yatim piatu Manuel dan Esteban, yang memiliki kisah hidup muram mereka sendiri.
Setiap dari mereka mencintai dan berjuang untuk hidup dengan cara masing-masing; hampir setiap detail dari kehidupan mereka dikumpulkan oleh Brother Juniper dengan harapan samar bahwa entah bagaimana detail-detail tersebut akan memunculkan diri begitu rupa dan membuka tabir rahasia lima nyawa yang direnggut. Apakah Brother Juniper akan menemukan jawaban dari pertanyaan yang selama ini menghantui dirinya, dan mungkin juga hampir setiap orang di muka bumi ini?
Kekuatan utama novel pendek ini adalah gaya penulisan Thornton Wilder yang indah. Sebenarnya saya terlebih dahulu mengetahui versi film dari novel ini, secara tidak sengaja menemukan VCDnya beberapa tahun yang lalu. Versi film tahun 2004 dibintangi antara lain Gabriel Byrne sebagai Brother Juniper, Kathy Bates sebagai Marquesa de Montemayor, Harvey Keitel sebagai Uncle Pio, dan Robert De Niro sebagai Archbishop of Peru; dan menurut saya merupakan adaptasi yang cukup bagus. Jika dulu, saat pertama selesai menonton filmnya, saya akan duduk diam termenung beberapa saat, sekarang lebih lagi saat saya menyelesaikan bukunya. Alih-alih memberikan jawaban, buku ini mengajak pembaca untuk merenung. Kesimpulan yang saya ambil dalam hati mengenai buku ini adalah: kita mungkin tidak mengetahui rahasia Tuhan, mengapa Ia berbuat begini dan begitu. Namun satu hal yang mutlak adalah; ia menganugerahi masing-masing kita dengan cinta. Inilah hal yang terpenting, di atas segalanya.
“But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love.
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.“
To Christopher John Francis Boone, a mathematically gifted boy of fifteen with Asperger's syndrome, his mind is sometimes like a machine, like a bread...moreTo Christopher John Francis Boone, a mathematically gifted boy of fifteen with Asperger's syndrome, his mind is sometimes like a machine, like a bread-slicing machine that isn’t working fast enough but the bread keeps coming and there is a blockage. Christopher knows all the countries in the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He loves animals but is foreign to human affections. He doesn’t like being shouted at or touched. And he hates the color yellow and brown.
One night he discovered that Wellington, the dog next door, was dead with a garden fork sticking out of its body. Since then he decided to investigate on “the murder”, even though to do that he had to cope with the things that were out of his comfort zone. For example, being a “detective”, he had to interact with strangers, and go to new places, these are things that he wouldn’t do under normal circumstances. And even though his father didn’t approve, he kept doing his detective work and wrote everything he’d found in a book, the very book I was reading, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
This book is so unique because it enables readers to see the world through the eyes of a boy who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. According to Wikipedia, Asperger’s syndrome is is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. People with Asperger’s syndrome often display intense interests; in Christopher’s case he was interested in mathematics and science. His profound interest in math was reflected upon his choice to use only prime numbers for the chapters in his book. Therefore, there isn’t Chapter 1 in this book, but Chapter 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, and so on. Here’s what Christopher said about prime numbers:
Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them. - p. 12
What an amazing work the author, Mark Haddon, did in this book. While diving into the head of a mathematically genius boy with Asperger’s syndrome, the author provided readers with details as comprehensive as possible. For example, when Christopher was asked by the policeman to empty his pockets, he described every little thing he had in his pockets. Christopher drew the map of a zoo he and his father went to from memory. And the author described what Christopher do to make himself feel calm, which is do math equations and doubling 2’s in his head (he could do that until 245). And he could quickly give answer to 251 times 864 which is 216,864, because “it was a really easy sum because you just multiply 864 x 1,000, which is 864,000. Then you divide it by 4, which is 216,000, and that’s 250 x 864. Then you just add another 864 onto it to get 251 x 864. And that’s 216,864.”
Also, his relationship with his father is an important point in the book. We can learn that special kids like Christopher tends to need time to regain trust to his closed ones (in this case his father) if that person has done something wrong towards him. We can learn that being a parent of a child who has special needs requires not only love but never-ceasing stock of patience. One final note to wrap this review: people with Asperger’s syndrome are special, but they’re still human beings. To love them and interact with them you have to know what’s going on inside their heads. And Mark Haddon had done amazing job in telling us what’s going on inside their heads.