Posted in Books, Interesting Things

Book Review #16

Hi, there.
I just realized that it’s the 17th review already, which means it’s the fifth year I’m doing the review since I started it which is…wow. I never thought it’s this long already. I started this feature back then simply to keep a tab on what I’ve read and because I wanna share my thoughts about the books I enjoyed. Thanks for everyone out there following this review until today (if there’s any, ehm).
Unfortunately, we skip Book Review #16 because I didn’t finish a single book in the trimester, literally. And the first review of 2016 also fell a little short with only two books. Ahaha, pardon me. Hopefully this read-lagging will be solved soon enough.

So, shall we check it out?

Lapis-lapis Keberkahan
Salim A. Fillah

Lapis-lapis KeberkahanMost of the time we think that being happy is everything; that happiness is the most important thing. Sure, who doesn’t want to be happy in this world?
But what will happen if you put happiness as the main goal of your life?

Then your life will most likely lose the sense of blessings.
And happiness itself will lose its taste. And your journey to get it, perhaps your entire life, will lose its meaning if you don’t get your definition of happiness in the end.

But, what if we put happiness as a journey and enjoy it entirely?

Lapis-lapis Keberkahan is the latest book of the author I read. This book presented a concept that happiness is not the sole goal in our life. Instead, it’s the blessings in life that we should concentrate in, because the goodness in life doesn’t always come only from happiness. Just like its title, this book centered in blessings: the definition of it in Islam, how to find it, where, when.

Honestly, I bought this book two years ago and been reading it for about..a year? Guilty as charged.
It’s not because Lapis-lapis Keberkahan is bad or boring. Oppositely, this book is good and full of meaningful things that I have to read it slowly to let the messages sank in. You know, that moment when you read something good and have to stop once in a while to think and feel it over. For a year. Yeah, I know. Guilty as charged, I said.

I’ve always been a fan of the author and I’ve read almost all of his previous books. His characteristics and writing style is still as strong as ever in this book. The one I adore most is his way to slip meaningful or touching stories, or both, into the description. It works like charm to me, since I really like stories and not really into serious description. It made the book felt less like religion lecturing and more like story telling. Moreover, the stories are usually from Islam historic chapter or about the Prophet and his friends. It made a good point of not only good message but also good characterizations and exemplary behavior.

The downside is, too much sugar in a cup. In many ways.
This book is a packed one. With a lot of small parts, each has its own meaning, for some people it might easy to lose interest midway. The wide range of material presented also made the central topic a little blurred sometimes, at least for me. It’s a little difficult to focus when you’re told things from a to z.

The second is, the language used. I fully understand that this is the author’s trademark, this use of flowery vocab and sentences. But as someone taught strictly about Bahasa Indonesia and its structure, I found it a little bothersome since it differs from the normal and usual words. A lot. The usage of such words can also be felt overboard. I mean, using some rhymes and beautiful phrases once in a while is good, but putting it literally everywhere is totally destroying it in my eyes. Allow me to put it this way. Putting some sugar in your cup of tea is acceptable, but pouring the entire pot into it? Not all people can live like L. Got my point, guys?

All complaints aside, Lapis-lapis Keberkahan is a good catch and surely a good material for some self reflection.

Animal Farm
George Orwell

Animal FarmAnimal Farm tells an allegory of, guess what, a farm called Manor Farm. What set this farm different from another is, the animals living here decided they had it enough and chased away Mr. Jones, a human and the owner of the farm. The animals stated themselves as the new owner, that the farm belongs to all of them equally, and renaming it Animal Farm. They also establish Seven Commandments of Animalism as their, and the farm’s, life rule.

What ensues after the revolution is a changed life for the animals and a power struggle between Snowball and Napoleon, two pigs that has been the center of the revolution. As the time goes by, Animal Farm and its inhabitant went through many changes and events. But will it stay true to its goal, the Animalism?

I’ve been looking for this book everywhere for a few years to no avail since it’s a pretty old book. When I finally got a hold of it, waa…I was simply really happy. And all the waiting was paid for since the book is so good.

Based on the author’s critics about Soviet Union and Stalinism, this book is without a doubt a political satire. But the satire is so good I found myself delightfully entertained by it, and even laughing along the story line.

The author’s writing style is strong and enjoyable at the same time. The choice to present the characters as animals is a smart one IMO, because the heavy political stuff can be told simply and sometimes funny without losing its true meaning. The characters are strong, the story line is tight, and the sarcasm is good. FYI, the version I read is just a little over 100 pages long and I finished it in less than a day. It’s intended to just being a time killer while waiting for my vehicle to be serviced, but well..it’s so good I couldn’t take it down.

Perhaps because it’s based on real events, the story in this book is close to reality. And I mean not only in Soviet but also in another country as well. The beginning of a good-motive revolution, the use of military force, the rules-bending by the authority, even the dictatorship and the greed of the so-called leader. And the most heartbreaking of all, the use of citizen’s tears and blood for the benefit of some people that should be protecting and serve them instead. All too familiar nowadays.

 

 

Sidoarjo, April 9th 2016

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