Khairul H.'s Reviews > Kembara Sastera Nisah Haron : United Kingdom & Dublin

Kembara Sastera Nisah Haron  by Nisah Haji Haron
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May 03, 12

bookshelves: travel
Read on May 03, 2012

Reviu di bawah ini mula disiarkan di blog saya, The Malaysian Reader

(Disclosure: The author of this book is an online friend and there is a paragraph within the book that alludes to me, though anonymously. Therefore claims of bias might be raised but are unfounded, I assure you)

If you are not familiar with Nisah Haron, she is an author with several novels and at least one children’s book to her credit. She also maintains a blog and it was in this blog that she first chronicled her travels to the UK and the city of Dublin, Ireland. Kembara Sastera (A Literary Travel) is a collection of those blog posts.

So yes, it is a blook. Ugh, I hate that word but it is a book derived from a weblog so it’s an accurate description. Why then should anyone bother to pay when it’s free online? Well for one thing, if you’re like me (and that would be awesome!) you would always prefer to have a hard copy in hand rather than reading from a screen no matter how convenient it may be. And as I have mentioned above, Nisah Haron is an established author so she can write. No ghostwriters needed here. It’s all her.

Travel books usually have a theme. Trekking cross-country on a bike, for example, or in search for the best street food in the world. Nisah Haron also had a specific aim in her travels and that is to discover the rich literary culture of the British and the Irish and the contributions they have made to world literature. All that in just under two weeks (she was on a budget). Beginning at Birmingham, she works her way north to Manchester, the Lake District, Edinburgh, across the Irish Sea to Dublin, London and back to Birmingham before flying back home. In between all that, she squeezes in visits to Stratford-upon-Avon and the bookworm paradise better known as the Hay Festival at Hay-on-Wye. True to her objective, Nisah Haron makes an effort to visit anything connected to books and the arts at every stop she makes. Don’t expect her to gush about the incredible shops selling incredible wares because this book has none of that. Unless its books. Then yeah, it has plenty of gushing over books and bookshops in Kembara Sastera.

The Hay Festival? Gush.

The James Joyce Center? Gush.

The Writer’s Museum, Edinburgh? Gush.

The Cambridge University Press? Gush.

Charing Cross Road, London? What do you think?

Kembara Sastera is also packed with photos of the places Nisah Haron visited (basically the same ones in her blog) which sure helps the reader appreciate the chronicles of her travels even more, and the photos are not just in the middle of the book like you’ll find in most books but just about on every page and in colour as well. Visual aids! Yay!

This book is simply a treasure for the Malaysian bookworm. Never before have I read a travel book in Malay that focuses solely on a particular nation’s literary treasures. Her travels also showed her and us the care and thought given by the Brits and the Irish to their authors and the ideas they brought forth. Over there men and women of letters are respected and honoured almost to the point of worship. Their homes are preserved, statues are erected in their honour, there are museums dedicated solely to authors and of course their books are kept in print even if demand is low and the author long dead. We Malaysians clearly have a long way to go.

Can’t afford to visit the book lover’s paradise that is the United Kingdom? Reading Kembara Sastera is the next best thing. And if you can afford to visit the UK, the book can act as a travel guide.

Here’s hoping there’ll be more travel books like Kembara Sastera in the near future either from Nisah Haron or others because there’s nothing a voracious reader likes more than to read a book about books. To us, it’s like porn but without the shame and guilt.
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message 1: by Nuruddin (new)

Nuruddin Azri do you know any other books that share their experience in europe?


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