[Musing Mondays]: November 30 - I am the Black Sheep

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythmMusing Mondays is a weekly meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm,.that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

"I am the Black Sheep"

I cannot think of when the last my Musing Mondays post was. And my today's Musing Monday is not corresponding to that of Jenn's @ A Daily Rhythm. I'm sorry about that. And I am currently so out-of-date of book blogging activity. But I feel obliged to share recent event I was through, and the personal thought resulted from. Firstly though, I humbly thank Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm who devotedly hosts weekly memes on her blog, which is the place for other bloggers to share. And I also pass my condolence for our brothers and sisters in Paris for the recent tragedy there. Please remember, we only start being the victim of terrorism once we are afraid of the perpetrators.

What I want to share is not particularly themed about books, but the activity of reading in general. If you are not aware yet, I have lived in Indonesia since I was born. I studied International Relations for my four-year bachelor degree. Internally and externally, during this time I learned considerable subjects regarding politics of various countries and social issues and cultures of other international societies. I read literally everything from newspapers, books and internet. I don't like watching soap operas like my parents and siblings did. The only things I see on telly are national and international news portals. My past lecturers forbade students from classes, if they were not prepared by updating themselves with current issues. I didn't find this as academic burdens or responsibility, as this turned out to be my daily habit. I love reading novels, but I do not want to limit myself into fictions. I also met exchanged students from various countries in my campus. I once aimed of becoming a diplomat even though it was short-lived as the government offices in my country are full of nepotism practice.

This habit still continues til now. Thanks for the invention of smart phone, the world is now at my fingertips. I also have the routines of sharing what I got, to my sisters, my parents, and my friends. I love sharing what I learn to people. I want others to have the knowledge I have too, and it is likewise I want them to share their knowledge to me too.

But the hard reality is, sometimes things just don't go that way.

Recently I shared to my fellow blogger that I had arguments with my mother. I was able to defend my own opinion in the debate with her, where she could not. She then said I read too much that I am dared to argue with her...

She blamed the reading activity which I do, like in almost all the time in my day. I still continue reading and as I said, I gain lots of things from reading. Not only reading books, but reading articles, journals, newspapers, magazines, blogs and everything. But I didn't know that this kind of activity is what my parents would oppose. Every other parent that I know, would be discouraged of other activities like illegal drugs-addictions, shoplifting, bullying, physical violence, brawling, etc. from their children. But my parents are apparently afraid if their children have too much knowledge.

I thought that this folly would end at that time. But, no. It has to step to the next things.

I have a cousin who is a transgender. She was born a male, but she feels that she is truly female inside. If it is asked where my stance on this case is, it will be this: even though I am straight, I support and respect whatever decision she wants to take. I am never against LGBTQ people. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with them. I always try to treat people equally, regardless their race, sex, religion, ethnicity, etc. But apparently my extended family is like the half of the people in the world who are against LGBTQ people. They do not accept my cousin and thus my parents are extremely sensitive to LGBTQ issues.

A few weeks ago, I read in some news that Japanese government has issued same-sex partner certificates. At the night when I read it, my mother called me and I immediately shared that news. And you, my friend, would not believe what my mother said in response. She directly asked me whether I was lesbian or not. Whether I was like the people on the news. I asked her why she thought of me that way? She then said that is because I have never dated or haven't had a boyfriend until now, thus she started to doubt my sexual orientation.

The other case:

As the recent development, I have updated myself with everything about the terrorism in Paris. I read news about the 13 November. I also read things regarding the IS group, how they develop, how they recruit, the former members of IS, and how the mothers of IS members are now coping. When I shared the news to my sister, here is her reaction: "Why are you reading things about IS? You're not thinking of joining them, no?"

And she was not joking when she said that. She was literally having the idea that there was possibility of me joining the militant group...

To say that I was upset to my mother and sister, is an under statement. I was and am still livid. Is this what they think of me all this time?

So the case would be: If I read something about narcotics, I must be a druggie. If I read something about cancer, I must be a cancer patient. If I read something about food recipes, I must be a cook. I f I read something about corruption, I must be a corrupter.

Is that how my family perceive READING ACTIVITY??????

I loathe how people label and stereotype others. I mean, I'm not a naive; I know that in our heads, everyone must have prejudgement toward others. But, DO WE HAVE TO DECLARE THEM ALL THE TIME? If we had to, this world must have been a hell to live. We would not give ourselves to think and examine whether other people were just like what we had judged them as or not. People would say straightly their prejudice and hate would be everywhere.

I know I would not end this case by writing in this blog and letting bloggers read. But I need to write this to other people who are not my family. I need to let it all out of my head for a second. It doesn't mean that I am against and badmouthing my family. I just want to figure out everything's going on. And it's always refreshing to hear and read others' point-of-views.

Thank you to everyone reading this post. Thank you for sparing your time to read my rant. May the force be with you (in respect of the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens :P )

All the best,


[Mini Book Review]: Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

23731881Book Title: Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help
Year: 2015
Page Count: 70
ISBN: 9780316369152
Find it at: J.K. Rowling's Official Website
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.

This is a mini review which does not really discuss the content, just an act of fondness toward this lovely lady whose works have been accompanying my life since I was 10 years old and some quotes I found in this book and would really like to share with you guys.

Also the sales of this book will benefit Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling that works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.

"There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."

 "Failure means a stripping away of the inessential."

 "Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default."

"Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way."

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I've ever earned."

"So given a Time-Turner, I would tell my twenty-one-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive to its vicissitudes."

"Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's places. One might use such an ability to manipulate or control just as much as to understand or sympathize."

"Those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy."

"If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages..."

"...then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

"As is a tale, so is life; not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters."

One of my most favourite parts of this book is on page 48, when Ms. Rowling recounts the young man from Africa. Truly heartbreaking, yet inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing this precious wise words to the whole world. Ms. Rowling!

[Book Review]: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Book Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Source: Purchased
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Year: 2009
Page Count: 538
ISBN: 9780804138338
Find it at: Gillian Flynn's Official Website
Warning: Contains explicit murder scenes and some vulgarity
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

After the hype of Gone Girl, I had been curious of Gillian Flynn's works. But I ruled out the mainstream and tried Dark Places first, based on reviews I read. Thriller and mystery are genres are not really my main and favorite stuffs, but I can like, appreciate and am willing to read the good ones. Robert Galbraith and Abigail Haas' works are one of them.

In my opinion, thriller and mystery books are not like contemporary or fantasy young adults which are able to put different colours and sensation in the content. Thriller and mystery books are all typical. There are criminal cases, the process of finding out the truth, the chill and thrill when you read while guessing your speculations and then finally you get the answers. But there is something for me that makes Gillian Flynn's book truly high-class and stands out among other books within the same genre. Gillian Flynn does not follow the usual plot and flow that are common in the genre. She does not cheaply give away the clues and hints. The way she wraps the case is very gentle. Thus all speculations I made, were not really that strong. All in all, Dark Places is more that just mind-wrecked.

There are great deals of main and supporting characters in this book. But each of them has strong characteristics. Take this as an example, there are four children in the Day family. As you read their childhood story, you can see that Ben is a strange and unsociable boy who has malignancy inside him which he does not even understand; Michelle is a curious, meddling girl; Debby the crybaby; and Libby, the youngest of the family, who always needs someone to lead her. One of my favourite characters in this book is Diondra. Flynn shaped her into a tremendously horrifying character, in a savage way, despite her being a seventeen year old teenager.

I've read that this book is adapted into a movie too and I can't wait to see it immediately. Even though when I read the cast list, I just could not imagine how Charlize Theron playing Libby. So what's of Gillian Flynn that I need to read next? I'm just not sure it will be Gone Girl. Sharp Objects is in line immediately once I'm recovered from Gillian Flynn's syndrome.

[Teaser Tuesdays]: June 2

TeaserTuesdays-ADailyRhythm3Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a weekly meme hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea. It lets us share the first paragraph or (a few) of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon. 

Another post for Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! I'm so happy that I read 4 books this week. Initially I set the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge to 50 books, but I realize that I'm never going to make it with all the college stuffs. So I cut it down to 25 books for this year [even though I'm hoping for more :( ]

Today I'll be highlighting another Melina Marchetta's book. This is new from her for me. I adore all her contemporary books, so I'm sure despite the fantasy genre, she will surprise me all the more!


The first paragraph and teaser:

First paragraph from Prologue:

A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed that he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere.

The dream came to him from the gods on the eve of the Harvest Moon Festival, when the whole of the kingdom slept under the stars in the Field of Celebration. It was Finnikin's favorite night of the year, watching his fellow Lumaterans dance and give thanks for a life of peace and plenty. When the dawn broke and the priest-king sang the Song of Lumatere, the joy in people's souls lit up their world. And what a world it was - made up of those hailing from the Flatlands, the Forest, the Rock, the Mountains, and the River. All protected by a beloved king and queen and their five children, said to be descended from the gods themselves.

First paragraph from The First Chapter:

When it finally appeared in the distance, Finnikin wondered if it was some phantom half-imagined in this soulless kingdom at the end of the world.

There had always been talk that this land had been forsaken by the gods. Yet perched at the top of a rocky outcrop, cloaked in blue-gray mist, was proof to the contrary: the cloister of the goddess Lagrami.

Random teaser:

"You started this when you forced us to cut flesh from our bodies, Finnikin," Lucian whispered. "But I would do it a thousand times over to see our queen lead us back home to Lumatere."

~p. 295, "Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)" by Melina Marchetta.

Share with me what you're reading this week! :)

[Book Review]: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

5303373Book Title: The Chosen One
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Year: 2009
Page Count: 213
ISBN: 9780312627751
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

Before I read this book, I know that there are these kind of religions, faith, cultures that hold polygamy value high. A few years back, there was a renowned religious figure in my country that married his second wife and caused such an uproar. Many people opposed and there were many that supported him too.

I don't know much things about the religious background for someone to do polygamy, but when I read this novel, I was appalled. I really was because there's apparently someone (and it happens to be Ms. Carol Lynch Williams) who writes about the whole things of polygamy in pretty much details. I never read one that lifts such issues. The worst part is that how Ms. Williams blatantly shows the fact that some men have only lusts towards their young brides, hiding beside the masks of religious duties, tribal myths and etc.

In this book, it's not that the author explores such sensitive issues (at least in my country it is), but she hauntingly shows the desperation that the thirteen-year-old Kyra feels about her having to marry her sixty-year-old uncle. Throughout her journey, I was constantly feeling enraged, shocked, anxious of what would happen to Kyra in the end.

Despite the severity of the topic, the novel is a very easy read and the characters will absolutely live in my heart for a long time.

[Book Review]: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Book Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Year: 2013
Page Count: 273
ISBN: 9780316221351
Find it at: Matthew Quick's Official Website
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

After reading two works of Matthew Quick, now I'm really sure he's a very kind man. I want to meet him in person and give him the biggest hug in the world. Seriously, how can an author manage to write two books that effectively dried my eyes from tears while I was reading them? T_T

Leonard Peacock is another ordinary teenager who is damaged. He's being bullied at school, no one befriends him, and his parents don't care about him. The four people who give a care are his old neighbour, one of his classmates, a devout Christian girl and his teacher. As I read through the book, these four people are the only one who at least can bring some happiness to Leonard.

Quick also once again puts one of the kindest characters I ever read. This time, it is Herr Silverman, Leonard's teacher. He plays the biggest part that determines Leonard's decision in the end.

About the main character, Leonard is also a very unique character. Even though he's been disappointed by so many people in his life, he got me thinking that he still cares about them and believes that everyone should not be forced to live a life they don't like. He's a contemplating and even a sweet boy, I think. There are only few authors that can create a character who makes me want to scream about the injustice they are through, and want to laugh at the same time at the naive, quirky and witty voices they bring.

I really want to thank you to Matthew Quick for writing this kind of book. I'm wondering what a wonderful world we live in would be, if everyone read books like this and was changed to be a better person because of them.

Read my review for Matthew Quick's Sorta Like a Rock Star here.

[Book Review]: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

19732381Book Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Year: 2014
Page Count: 328
ISBN: 9781471119163
Find it at: Abigail Haas' Official Website
Add to your Goodreads shelf.
My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Two days...
Two days I was tortured by suspense from these Haas' books. I was never a fan of mystery novel before, but Abigail Haas has opened that door to this genre for me.

Firstly, this book is not the sequel of Dangerous Girls. It's totally different from Haas' previous work. Dangerous Boys is written in the first point of view of Chloe Bennet, in spite of the title. It alternately changes from the present and past. Chloe has been living in a small city since she was born. She is a normal girl, always goes with the stream in her life. She dreams of leaving the town once she graduates from high school, but it is shattered when her mother falls to depression, leaving her as Chloe's responsibility. During this moment, she meets Ethan Reznick, who is going to be her boyfriend and at first she believes that he is the only thing that keeps her holding on with all those pressure. While she's trying hard to accept the fact, she meets Oliver Reznick, Ethan's older brother who is the total opposite from his younger brother. Oliver is all Chloe needs to bring out the her inner demon. Yes, I write it correctly: 'demon'.

Even though this book is not as nerve-wrecking as Dangerous Girls, it's still a very powerful book. To say it out loud, this book is about damaged people. It's about how desperate you are in finding your own way in life, to do something in order to be someone. Haas once again drags out the worst of each character in Dangerous Boys. Throughout the story, you will once again guess and speculate about things, which will turn out wrongly at the end. You will be surprised on whom Chloe saves and why. Just like me lol

Dangerous books are really recommended for those who like to be in suspense and find gritting truth about the characters in the end. Two thumbs up for Abigail Haas!

Also read my review for Dangerous Girls here.