Posted in Books, Interesting Things

Book Review #10

Err..yeah, do sorry before that I skipped some book reviews. Partially because of my grad school and the other is because…I’m lazy, ahaha. Guilty as charged.

I read the first one in early April, but the rest was read started in the mid of June. Mind you, I read nothing between that. Oh, my grad school~
So, here we go again.

The GodfatherThe Godfather
Mario Puzo

This one has been on my to-read list since last year, and honestly I’ve spotted the book in a bookstore back in Bandung. At that time, I decided not to buy it which is such a mistake, because after coming home, I can’t find it anywhere. Fortunately, I got an e-book link with it’s listed, so I downloaded it.

Frankly speaking, I read it in the middle of piling up assignments in the name of procrastination. Turned out it’s a right decision, IMO. It’s been ages I haven’t read a book this intense. It’s like one of those days when the weather’s terribly hot and you’re coming home to find a glass of fresh cold orange juice (or anything you like) waiting. In short, it’s nice and refreshing, in many ways.

The book’s following the story of the Corleones, the so called New York’s most powerful mafia family. Their organization reach out gambling, labor workers, and even properties; name it. The power’s coming mainly from the charisma of its leader, Don Vito Corleone. He’s been keeping bonds with people around him, offered them his friendship, and in return, gained their loyalty.

But like any other powerful family, the power comes with a price. In New York, the power has been constantly being fought for, and in the world of mafia, war means bloodshed. Literally. So, when conspiracy to take them down took place, here comes the ups and downs of the Corleones with their entire family and organization at stake.

I’m not that fond of criminality or mafia-thing, or in this case, brutality, but the story is totally good. The intensity, the tight story line, the character’s development, the plot twist, how it’s all been wrapped up; it’s satisfying. It’s like a quick insight into the dark world of power. And I finally understand why Sicilly has been associated with mafia all this long. #noOffense

Why Men Don't ListenWhy Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps
Allan & Barbara Pease

Why young girls learning something faster than the boys? Why men are, mostly, better in math than women? Why women are, mostly, bad at parallel parking? Why men usually turning down the TV’s voice when you talk to them? Why women can cook while watching dramas and talking to their friend on phone? Why men are so bad at interpreting women’s words? Why, most of the time, riding together in a car to a new place ended up in a fight between the two?

This book explains it all. And not just based on some opinions or ideas, but scientifically. I said scientific, as in based on MRIs, long time researches, and so on. The basic idea is emphasizing that, in fact, men and women are different, and the reasons why. Turned out it’s all due to our genetic code that we received and developed back in our mother’s womb. The genetic factor plays a big role in determining our brain’s structure, how it behave, and in turn, affecting our action and natural behavior. So, it’s alright for us ladies to admit that we have difficulty reading the map in our hand or phone as well as it’s completely acceptable for you gentlemen to ask for direction when you get lost.

I bought this one back in 2011, read some chapters, paused, and then it’s been borrowed. Finally it came back to me this June, so I gladly read it in the holiday. You might find yourself nodding unconsciously reading the fact stated here, laughing or smiling remembering similar cases, or even frowning to the explanation that you find unsuitable. Well, it is, however, talking about majority case. It’s just normal if yours might slightly different. But me myself found the explanation is satisfying and gained a lot of knowledge about my own self, too.

A pretty sensitive part in this book, IMO, is about LGBT. (Googling it for you who don’t know.) It is stated that the orientation is caused by the same genetic factor, so mostly LGBT person is born that way, and their environment plays a small role, in fact, to change them. It’s pretty contradictive to what people believe in general.

The Jilbab TravelerThe Jilbab Traveler
Asma Nadia and friends

This one was bought unplanned, or maybe I was just unconsciously want to go somewhere so bad, ahaha. Anyway, this is the first traveling book ever I’ve ever have. Well, I didn’t take 99 Cahaya di Langit Eropa or The Geography of Bliss as a traveling book, that is.

I won’t explain much about the content, since it’s basically similar with many traveling book out there. It presents stories and traveling-know-how from several people about several countries: the interesting places, the transportation route, the accommodation, the customs, the languages, etc. What’s slightly different is that the authors are all women and moslem, so it’s practically pretty useful for people like me.

Other interesting part, IMO, is the quick tips of how to prepare our traveling. It’s divided into several parts, so it’s easier to be noticed. Another is the criminality stories. Well, we all hope for the best and the most safe trip wherever we go, especially abroad, but sometimes things just go wrong. This book gives you some tips and known criminality motives that usually happen to tourist or visitor. Well, better prepare for the worst, right?

Kisah Hidup Umar ibn KhattabKisah Hidup Umar ibn Khattab
Dr. Musthafa Murad

I was accompanying my friend looking for some books she needed back in 2012 when I spotted this book set, and I ended up buying more books than my friend, ahaha. The set contains four books, each one of Khulafaur Rasyidin. I’ve read the first one of Abu Bakar Ash-Shiddiq (which should be in the review that I skipped), then continue to the second of Umar ibn Khattab, but got bored after the first one third, and stopped. I began to read it again last month, and thankfully, finished it.

Umar ibn Khattab ra is the second khalifah, and as a matter of fact, my favorite out of four. It doesn’t mean the other three are less amazing than him, but I found many aspects on him that I admire both in a leader and in a man, so yeah, he’s been my role model ever since I was in elementary school.

The book itself divided into parts, following his life since his early life, when he embraced Islam, then continue to the time he’s being the second khalifah and his death. I’ve read another historical book of Umar ibn Khattab long before, so I knew his life line generally, but this book provides more detailed information, especially about his governing time. His achievements are explained, each war is told. But the most interesting for me is the detailed part of his governmental structure. Little did I know that Umar ibn Khattab ra was the one putting in the basic structure of Islamic government, many of its parts resembling modern governmental system nowadays. I should say that his management and political knowledge indeed is admirable, which I think is one of the main reason why Islamic regions at that time can be maintained well.

One pitfall of this book is there’s no map, like seriously. Since there are a lot of war and expansion here and there along Umar ibn Khattab ra’s time, it will be a lot better to provide the events map. This is one of reasons I stopped reading it midway. Another thing is, like any historical book, this one trying to provide many information in such small space. It can be helpful, but sometimes it’s like two-edge blade; the reader can get tired quickly.

Sidoarjo, July 3rd 2014

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