Posted in Books

Book Review #3

I had quite time to read in July until September since I was in holiday. To be honest, the amount of books I read surprised me myself. This time, I tried to balancing the title I took. Fictions still strong here, in additional of some new books.

Serial Cinta
Anis Matta

I started to read it in March and just finished in early July. It’s not because this book’s not interesting, but more that I can’t spare my attention long enough to read it in a-go.

Serial Cinta, as told by the title, brought up love as the backbone. But love here doesn’t mean the one between man and woman. What Anis Matta wrote here is love as a power. Therefore, the word itself is being manifested and interpreted in many ways.

From love of a couple, into the ultimate love for Allah. From simple fact that love is necessary, ’till the essence why. From beautiful poem of love’s definition, ’till the explanation of human body’s chemical reaction because of love. This book’s giving that many side of one simple word.

Unlike another Anis Matta’s book, this one can be categorized as simple. Still in the writer’s style of writing in points and not long description, Serial Cinta consists of short chapters; each one is less than ten pages. This make the book easier to read.

Habibie dan Ainun
Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie

Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie is Indonesia’s third president and one of Indonesia’s most notable scientist worldwide. In Habibie and Ainun, B. J. Habibie himself wrote about his life with Mrs. Hasri Ainun Habibie, his beloved wife, from the beginning of their youth until the moment Mrs. Ainun passed away.

Bandung is being their memorable town since they both spent their high school there. This town also the place they met again after seven years of college. From Bandung, Mr. Habibie and Mrs. Ainun started their marriage life, spending 48 years together through many events and environmental changes.

Reading this book, the readers likely presented with three genre: romance, history, and science. How deep is love between Habibie-Ainun couple, you won’t doubt it reading the narration of Mr. Habibie himself, and some times, of Mrs. Ainun’s word taken from another book.

Along with this book’s pages, the author also wrote about his carrier in Germany and then in Indonesia. From an engineer until company director. From a minister until a president. It’s including Mr. Habibie and Mrs. Ainun social life, their thoughts, and their contribution  to form some social and science foundations.

Habibie & Ainun also presenting many aspects of science and technology, since Mr. Habibie himself is a scientist. At some point, science even becoming the main topic. And again, readers can catch a glimpse of historical side in Indonesia’s struggle of being developed country.

Aside from it’s wonderful contents, readers may find this book isn’t easy to read. Mr. Habibie wrote Habibie & Ainun in a form of memorial for his wife, and the writing style itself sometimes felt strict and less flowing. Also, the main topic in each chapter can jump from one into another. So you may end a chapter in time his first son already in elementary school just to find the next chapter began with the story of Mrs. Ainun pregnancy.

Perempuan Istimewa: Teladan di Medan Dakwah
Muhammad Husain Isa

This one was my 21st birthday present from a friend. That means more than a year ago, and I just read it this year’s half end. It’s been buried in my shelf, ahaha.. Despite of the title, this book’s a small one. I read it in my spare time in office and finish it quite fast.

The power of women and their wonderful contribution in Islam are the main subject in this book. Starting with histories of shahabiyah like Khadijah binti Khuwailid RA, the prophet’s wife, until the scene of hijrah which involving women as well as men. Every chapter mainly focus on one figure or event, then followed with explanation or moral values of the chapter.

Honestly, the subject of women’s important part in life is very interesting, indeed. But I think this book somehow failed to present it in more captivating way. For example, the historical part are told shortly and without strong theorem. The explanation aren’t really satisfied, too. Overall, it’s enough for a side read.

The 360 Degree LeaderThe 360° Leader
John C. Maxwell

Most people think that a leader is someone who in top and they can only bring out their best ability if they become the highest leader. This book provides that it’s wrong.

The author, an expert in field of managerial and leadership for years, leads you to understand the position of 360 degree leader: someone being in the middle managerial. This kind of leader generally have many challenges because they should be responsible to many parties.

360 Degree Leader’s opening the content with myths circulating people in middle managerial. Then it gives out challenges faced by mid-managerial leaders. It continues with chapters of principles that a leader in this position can implement in order to lead upward (to their boss), sideways (to their colleague or leader with same structural position), and downward ( to their staffs). The author also explains about values that 360 degree leader should have.

I think this book is very interesting and enlightening. The principles are explained well, with an easy language and examples taken from real life and author’s experiences. Reading this book made you think and reflect a lot, finding many similarities that’s explained and realizing you did the same thing as many other people. It also gives you courage to achieve your goals since you understand where your weakness and how to develop your potency in managerial or even in daily life.

I suggest you to read it. Just like the author said, “Don’t wait for opportunities. Start to lead now, right in place you’re at!”

Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series:
The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan’s Curse
The Battle of The Labyrinth
The Last Olympian
Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson_The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson_The Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson_The Titan's Curse

Percy Jackson_The Battle of The Labyrinth

PaTO_The Last Olympian

I read The Lightning Thief for the first time in September 2011 while visiting my family in Lamongan. The book back then is my cousin’s. I was unable to finish it at the moment and just happened to read it again in this year’s Idul Fitri holiday. The same book, the same place, and the same ending. I can’t finish it. Therefore, back to Bandung, I went to book store ASAP and bought the whole series. Kinda rush, hahaha.

Perceus Jackson, or Percy, is so-called demigod; half human and half God. His life’s kinda miserable according to reasons. First, his mother marrying Gabe Ugliano, a stepfather he never like, and he never got a chance to know his own father. Second, he’s been changing school six times in six years, always ended up being expelled. He’s suffering dyslexia and his marks can’t be counted as good. Moreover, problems seems enjoying hang around him.

Percy’s life twisted around in summer of his sixth grade when he learned that he’s demigod. After that, Percy’s being brought to Camp Half-Blood, a place for demigods like him. From this point on, Percy’s facing many adventures along with his best friend Grover and his later-to-be-girlfriend, Annabeth. Those adventures bring him to all sort of places: island with Cyclop hanging around, Hades’ palace, Atlas’ place of punishment, Daedalus’ labyrinth, until Mount Olympus itself. All dangers and problems Percy facing is caused by one: Kronos, a titan and the father of Olympians.

Honestly, I wanna review each book as one part, but I think it’ll be too long. And since each book is actually connected to each other, I think it’s fine to reviewing the whole series at one.

What I think about this series?
It’s great. According to me, I’ll put it right after Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings series. It’s been long time since I read a series of this quality.

First good thing of Percy Jackson is the writing style. Yes, for me it’s an important quality of book, since it can determined whether the reader will enjoy reading it or not. As for this series, the stories’ flowing and the language is easy to grab. I found it wasn’t hard to finish the whole series in two days.

Second is the story. I love myths and legends, so basically for me reading this series felt like read an encyclopedia of Greek’s myths. The story’s strength is also consistent, going from one book to the next didn’t give the sense of loss in the story line. The portion of action and drama is good. What I admired most is the twist of plot. You’ll enjoy the surprises given along when the story goes, and each book’s ending is satisfying.

Third is the characters. Percy is so not hero-like. He’s not feeling great being a son of Poseidon. Rather than showing off his ability, he found it quite troublesome. Percy’s feelings, like happiness, jealousy, anger, and frustration, is also being portrayed well in the series. Being simple, the main character is very human-like. The other characters like Grover, Annabeth, Luke, and even the Olympians also being told uniquely. And once more, you’ll find it’s somehow interesting how Gods being presented just like human with all their strength and weakness.

The last is joke and dialogue. In the series, the dialogues talked is smart and given proportionally. It keeps the story fresh.

Karakteristik IslamKarakteristik Islam; Kajian Analitik
Dr. Yusuf Al-Qardhawi

I found this book in my father’s bookshelf and brought it back to Bandung in February. In fact, I just started reading it in August and finish it in early September.

As told by its title, the book’s explained about  characteristics of Islam: rabbaniyah, insaniyah, syumul, al wasthiyyah, al waqi’iyyah, al wudhuh, also unition of tathawwur and tsabat. Each characteristic’s explained in a chapter, consists of the meaning of each characteristic, then its explanation in Islam. Mostly, the explanation’s presented in points and completed with Al Qur’an verses or hadits.

I prefer not to translate the characteristics to English, since it might change the meaning, and in the book itself there are many Arabic terms. As for book’s content, the author gave a thorough explanation and also strong bases for each characteristic, made it a worthy knowledge. The author also gave examples taken from daily life. I think, it’s important to understand your own religion, and this book gave a good base.

In the other hand, some parts of the explanation can be felt quite stiff. In addition, if you’re not familiar with the terms being used, you might wondering what its meaning.

The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

Honestly, this one was my 2013-to-read list. But when I went to bookstores, I found it. So, I read it faster than planned, you can say.

Telling about the revenge of Edmond Dantes, an honest and hardworking sailor from Marseilles, The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic. Nevertheless, there’s no need to be afraid that the story goes boring. Despite being first published in 1844, the taste of Dumas’ telling remain strong.

Edmond Dantes is the first sailor under Pharaon’s captain and his most trustworthy subordinate. When the captain died in their trip back home to Marseilles, no one doubting Dantes will be the next captain. So, this young man’s coming home to his old father and fiance with a brighter future. He’d be a captain and marrying the girl he loves soon. He surely is fortunate. But not all people can gladly see his fortunate life.

Fernand Mondego, Danglars, and Gaspard Caderousse; three people that Dantes thought were his friends, turned out to betrayed him due to jealousy. Their actions made Dantes held captive in prison for years. After receiving big amount of inheritance from Abbe Faria, a priest and Dantes’ friend in prison, this man started to plot his revenge.

This book’s great due to reasons. First, the story is unpredictable. Though we know from the start that it’s about revenge, we can’t predict how the revenge Dantes’ plotting in exact. The plot lines are full of surprises and new facts. And, the ending does satisfying.

Second, the characters. I always love book with a strong main character. This one’s presenting Dantes as if he’s two different people before and after he’s imprisoned. Both sides of him are admirable, though the dark and mysterious Count is more preferable for me. But not only Dantes, The Count of Monte Cristo also presenting the other’s character well. Every character told here, especially the ones around Dantes, has their own uniqueness.

Third is the humanity it brought up. During Dantes’ revenge, the author shared the character’s conflict, their thoughts and feelings, and also the consequences of the revenge itself. Here, we can’t say that a bad one is bad, or a good one is purely good. Dantes himself is the one seeking revenge, but that didn’t make him a total villain. Very realistic, I think.

Anyway, I recommend it. =)

Antologi RasaAntologi Rasa
Ika Natassa

What it feels like loving someone that loves other people?
Moreover, if they’re your best friend?

Meet Keara Tedjakusuma, Ruly Walantaga, and Harris Risjad; three buddies working in the same international bank in Jakarta. Started from being placed together in remote towns with another friend of them, Denise, the life of these four are tangled together in four square love. From the beginning of this novel, we’ll be brought into their daily life, along with work routine, their habit, and of course, love life.

To be honest, reading a Metropop novel isn’t really my choice. This one was borrowed from a friend in office while I’m in internship program, for the result of a joke. So, here I go.

For me, what’s cool about Antologi Rasa are three things following. First, the writing style. Ika Natassa telling the stories with a flow that easy to follow. I think it’s commonly known that Metropop or Teen/Chicklit genre always have this impression of lightly read, and that’s one of this genre strength. Second is the language. This book basically written in two language: Bahasa and English. And since the characters often having conversation in English, the readers can grab some new vocab here, from normal one until slang. Another reason is the characters. Indeed it’s very interesting for me how the author presenting each character vividly with their own uniqueness.

But in the other hand, Antologi Rasa does bring a socialite life as its center. So, things like wine, party, etc can be easily found here. And perhaps it’s just my impression, but mostly, the characters way of talk or communicate are in the same pattern.

Bandung, December 30th 2012

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