How Much Land Does A Man Need? – Leo Tolstoy

tolstoyBuku mungil ini adalah satu dari 80 (iya, DELAPAN PULUH!) buku yang diterbitkan di bawah label Penguin Little Black Classics. Ada 2 cerpen karya Tolstoy di dalamnya: How Much Land Does A Man Need? dan What Men Live By.

How Much Land Does A Man Need? dibuka oleh percakapan dua orang saudari (satunya bersuamikan petani, dan yang satunya lagi bersuamikan pedagang yang hidup di kota). Mereka berdebat kehidupan mana yang lebih baik, kehidupan petani ataukah pedagang. Mendengar perdebatan mereka, dari suami yang berprofesi sebagai petani tercetus kalimat ini: “Seandainya saja aku punya cukup tanah, aku pasti tidak akan tergoda cobaan apapun dari Iblis!” Kemudian ia membeli tanah yang lebih luas dan lebih subur di daerah yang jauh dan membawa keluarganya pindah ke sana. Lama kelamaan ia ingin lebih dan lebih banyak tanah lagi. Cerpen ini mengajarkan kita tentang bahaya ketamakan.

Sedangkan What Men Live By bercerita tentang seorang pengrajin sepatu yang pergi untuk membeli mantel musim dingin yang baru baginya dan istrinya (mantel yang lama sudah tipis dan usang). Di perjalanan, ia bertemu seorang lelaki muda misterius yang entah bagaimana tidak berpakaian, padahal saat itu cuaca bersalju dan dingin menggigit. Meskipun tadinya sang pengrajin sepatu ingin pergi meninggalkan si pemuda karena “bukan urusannya”, tapi akhirnya ia jatuh kasihan dan memakaikan mantelnya yang usang ke si pemuda dan membawanya ke rumah. Sesuai judulnya, si pemuda dan keluarga si pengrajin sepatu pada akhirnya memahami, dengan apa manusia hidup.

Detail buku:
How Much Land Does A Man Need?, oleh Leo Tolstoy
64 halaman, diterbitkan 2015 oleh Penguin Classics
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

alice puffin chalkIt’s strange that even though I have been familiar with the character Alice since childhood (thanks to Disney), I have never actually read the book. While both of the Disney adaptations—the old-school animation and the latest one—are weird, I think the book was even weirder!

Curiouser and curiouser! Alice would say.

Alice, a curious child of seven, thought it was very strange indeed that on a hot day, she should see a White Rabbit that talks and wears a waistcoat and has a watch which he took out from his waistcoat-pocket. Piqued by her own great curiosity, she followed the frantic White Rabbit down a seemingly endless hole. Through the Rabbit-Hole, she was transported to Wonderland, a world in which everything is absurd, fantastical and even ridiculous, and nothing makes sense.

Why is this book so well-loved? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I know that I like this book because:

1. You can never guess what happens next. And Alice as the main character will keep you fascinated. When I decided to read this book I was in need of a sort of escapism, and little did I know that I was in for a treat. This book is a wild journey of imagination.

2. True, this book falls into the “literary nonsense” category, but you can’t help but admire Lewis Carroll’s wordplay. And some parts are just so funny.

Let’s take a look at a passage from The Mock Turtle’s Story:

“I couldn’t afford to learn it,” said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. “I only took the regular course.

“What was that?” inquired Alice.

“Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,” the Mock Turtle replied; “and then the different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.”

“…Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seography: then Drawling—the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.”

“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.

“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle, “nine the next, and so on.”

“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.

“That’s the reason they’re called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”

3. The cover of the edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I own (published by Puffin Books under the Puffin Chalk series). I mean, the cover alone would have been enough to rate this book 3 stars at least.

To wrap up this nonsense review, I only want to point out that even though I read this book for the first time as an adult, I read it with a mind of a child. I didn’t search for symbols and hidden meanings while reading, because the child in me didn’t need to understand to enjoy the journey.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”


Book details:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
160 pages, published 2014 by Puffin Books (first published 1865)
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

The Princess Bride – William Goldman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt comes to this: I was in need of a light read after spending one and a half month preparing for IELTS. I don’t know exactly why I chose this book—maybe because I suddenly remember my history with The Princess Bride. I first bought The Princess Bride on impulse. The truth is I don’t like fantasy books all that much, and I also didn’t really like the cover, so I sold it to Mbak Dewi (it was a copy with this cover, anyway). Some years later, while casually browsing a pile of used books in a bookshop, I found another copy of The Princess Bride. Having watched the film and seeing that the book has a vintage-looking cover, I decided to buy it. Ha! This time I didn’t regret buying it because in addition to the eyecatching cover, it also has a map. It would make a splendid addition to my collection!

Now, moving on to the story. I will list the characters first.

Buttercup, a Florinese village girl of unmatched beauty.

Westley, an orphaned farm boy who worked (or slaved) for Buttercup’s father.

Prince Humperdinck, a scheming and power-hungry prince who loved hunting above all else.

Count Rugen, Humperdinck’s sidekick and confidant who was obsessed with pain.

Vizzini the brainy Sicilian.

Inigo Montoya the sword-wielding Spaniard.

Fezzik the Turkish giant.

All the Farm Boy ever said to Buttercup was, “As you wish.” Of course what he meant was “I love you” but it took Buttercup some time before she realises this. Not until a visit from Count and Countess Rugen when she saw the Countess seemingly took a fancy of Westley. But just after them realising their true feelings for one another, Westley sailed off to America to seek his fortune, in order to become a man worthy of Buttercup. Buttercup waited and waited, but news came one day that Westley’s ship had been attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts and he never takes prisoners, which means Westley was dead. Heartbroken, Buttercup accepted marriage proposal from Prince Humperdinck (confused? Hang on a bit) with “I can never love him” in mind. Well, it means death if she said no. So began the preparations of the royal wedding, including months of making the village girl into a princess. One day while riding her horse, a weird trio consisted of Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik kidnapped her. But the trio’s plan (or more accurately, Vizzini’s plan, since he was the head of the trio) was threatened by the man in black, who followed them as they were sailing to the neighbouring country of Guilder, up the Cliffs of Insanity to the ravines that led to the Fire Swamp. (I’m going to leave it at this moment, there are so much adventures thereafter, but I don’t want to ruin your fun by spoiling them all.) 😉

Thoughts:

This book is the abriged version of S. Morgenstern’s The Princess Bride, the “good parts” version by William Goldman. (SEE UPDATE AT THE END OF THE POST) I don’t think that this book belongs to the fantasy genre, let alone a fairy tale, even though my copy says “a hot fairy tale”. I think it’s an adventure book with bits of fantastical elements. My copy of The Princess Bride starts with a 29-page introduction, rather too long for my taste. I was tempted to skip it altogether but later realized that it was somewhat necessary to read, that is if you want to know the background on the abridgement of S. Morgenstern’s work by William Goldman. Goldman’s “commentaries” are also scattered all over the book, but mostly they are short so it wouldn’t be a burden to read these additional paragraphs typed in fancy italic. As someone who’s seen the film first then read the book, I must say that I think both are equally entertaining. The film adapted the book very well, from Westley’s wittiness (performed gorgeously by Cary Elwes) to the memorable lines of Inigo (“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”)

inigoand of Vizzini (“Inconceivable!”).

inconceivableInigo and Fezzik making rhymes is also my favourite part of both the book and the film. Miracle Max and his wife Valerie were hilarious. The one character I like the least is the princess bride herself, in both the book and the film. However, the book can give you much more interesting scenes that didn’t make it to the film. For example Fezzik and Inigo’s adventure when they went through all five levels of Prince Humperdinck’s Zoo of Death to retrieve Westley was thoroughly explained in the book, while in the film it was reduced to short scenes in the Pit of Despair. The writing feels modern, so it easily falls into the “light reading” category. Of course you need to ignore some stuff if you want to enjoy the book, for example Buttercup accepting Humperdinck, the torture scenes, and how a lump of clay coated in chocolate could bring someone back from the dead. All in all, this is a delightful read. You should read it then watch the film. Or vice versa, I don’t really care. Just read it and watch it, in whatever order you’d like. 🙂

P.S. : I know this review is crap but it doesn’t make the book any less entertaining.

Here is the movie trailer:


Book details:

The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
283 pages, published 1987 by Turtleback Books/Del Rey Books
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


UPDATE (15 Mar 2016):

I have just found out that S. Morgenstern is not a real author, thanks to Fingerprinttale and Chiipurai who kindly informed me of this. Explanation on Wikipedia: Simon Morgenstern is both a pseudonym and a narrative device invented by Goldman to add another layer to his novel The Princess Bride.[26] He presents his novel as an abridged version of a work by the fictional Morgenstern, an author from the equally fictional country of Florin. The name may be a reference to Johann Carl Simon Morgenstern, who coined the term Bildungsroman. (Read the rest on Wikipedia).

Thoughts Corner: My Never-Ceasing Dilemma of Reading Classic Literature

I do not come from an English-speaking country. I fell in love with classic literature some years ago, and I started off mostly by reading Indonesian translations, and with time I read more and more classics in English. I also read works that are originally written in other languages than English—French and Russian for example—but since I can’t read those other languages, reading in English translation would have to suffice.

Some of my classics collection: Indonesian translations on the top row and books in English on the bottom row

Some of my classics collection: Indonesian translations on the top row and books in English on the bottom row

So when it comes into reading classic literature, I face a major problem: to read it in English or to read it in the Indonesian translation?

I read classics in Indonesian translations because:

  • they are easier to understand, hence faster to read
  • they are mostly cheaper than the books written in English
  • to show appreciation to the translators and publishers who made it possible for a classic literary work to be translated into Indonesian. I know it’s not easy, especially when the market for classic literature in Indonesia is not really promising. So I think they really need the appreciation.
  • as a way to promote world classic literature in Indonesia, especially to those who we can consider “beginners”. Translated books are more accessible, affordable, and understandable to them.

But then, being the perfectionist that I am, after some years of reading classics in both Indonesian translation and English, I can’t help the feeling that I’m missing the “true flavour” of a classic when I’m reading Indonesian translated version. Because somehow in the process of translating and editing, the meaning of a sentence or a paragraph can change. It’s not that Indonesian translated classics are all bad; there are a lot of books that are translated wonderfully, some even came with added “Indonesian flavour”, like Landung Simpatupang’s translation of Nineteen-Eighty Four by George Orwell.

So the problem lies here: while I still want to read Indonesian translations because of the above reasons, I also don’t want to lose hold of the true meaning of a literary work, which in my opinion can be expressed better in English. But, to be honest, there are times that I prefer to read Indonesian translations just to save time! LOL. Aside from being a perfectionist, I am also a moody and a very slow reader.

Do you face the same problem as I do? If yes how would you deal with this dilemma? Please let me know in the comments!

Two New (But Old) Jane Eyres

Sorry for the long absence! It’s been so difficult for me to compose new blog posts lately due to some things going on in my life—things I need to take care of, AND my laptop had broken down.

For the time being, let me show you my two new (but old) Jane Eyres. Needless to say that I absolutely love Jane Eyre, ever since I read it the first time in Indonesian translation (read the review in Bahasa here) and last year I managed to read it in the original language (read the short review in the bottom of this post).

So, after getting inspired by this blogger’s awesome collection of Jane Eyres, I decided to start collecting “collectible” editions of Jane Eyre. I don’t intend to gather as many editions as possible, though, I prefer to collect illustrated editions.

This is Jane Eyre: Portland House Illustrated, 1988 edition. This book is illustrated by Monro S. Orr.

Jpeg

I was rather disappointed with this edition; because it only has 8 illustrations from the 16 illustrations I saw on the Jane Eyre Illustrated website, and it’s an abriged version. However, it still makes a lovely addition in my collection.

And this is another gem I am lucky to have: a 1943 edition of Jane Eyre with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg. Have you ever heard of a movie titled Definitely, Maybe (2008)? Well, this edition also ‘starred’ in the movie, alongside Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz and Elizabeth Banks. And also one of the main characters, April, had a collection of Jane Eyres, which was awesome. 🙂

Watch this clip if you’re curious.

Look how intricate and awesome the wood engravings are:

In the markets you can find an edition of Wuthering Heights in the similar style (also with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg, only creepier).

It feels awesome to hold in my hands a book that’s more than 40 years older than myself! 😉

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

little women[Review in Bahasa Indonesia and English]

Adalah empat orang gadis sederhana keluarga March yang tinggal di Concord, Massachusetts: Meg, Jo, Beth, dan Amy. Mereka tinggal bersama ibu terkasih yang mereka panggil dengan panggilan sayang Marmee, sementara ayah mereka sedang pergi berjuang dalam perang. Buku ini pada umumnya bercerita tentang kehidupan sehari-hari para gadis March, tentang persahabatan, persaudaraan (sisterhood), pergumulan mereka tentang kemiskinan, sedikit petualangan, harapan, dan juga cinta. Dan yang tak kalah penting, di dalam buku ini diceritakan bagaimana Meg, Jo, Beth, dan Amy memetik pelajaran hidup tentang rasa syukur, pengampunan, jodoh dan masa depan, bekerja dengan rajin, kebahagiaan, meraih impian, dan banyak hal lain. Banyak sekali pelajaran yang bisa kamu ambil dari buku ini.

Karakter keempat tokoh utama sangat beragam: Meg cantik dan riang, namun kadang terlalu menginginkan hal-hal yang mahal dan indah; Jo seorang kutubuku tomboi yang doyan menulis dan bermain peran; Beth tulus dan lemah lembut, namun minder dan cenderung rapuh; dan juga ada Amy, si bungsu yang berbakat seni, namun kadang manja dan tinggi hati.

Salah satu hal favorit saya tentang buku ini adalah tentang persahabatan keempat gadis March dengan Laurie (nama aslinya Theodore Laurence), yang adalah cucu Pak Tua Laurence yang tinggal di sebelah rumah keluarga March. Laurie seorang pemuda yang moody, gampang bosan dan lumayan bengal, namun sejak bersahabat dengan keempat gadis March, dia tidak lagi mudah merasa bosan. Kehadiran Laurie juga memberi warna tersendiri dalam cerita, apalagi yang memerankannya di film adalah Christian Bale… (Oops. Maaf, salah fokus) 😛

Lalu ada karakter Marmee yang sepertinya menjadi sumber segala kebijakan dalam buku ini. Sampai-sampai saya merasa karakter ini agak terlalu sempurna, sampai diungkapkan bahwa Marmee sendiri mengakui salah satu kelemahannya, dan bagaimana caranya untuk mengatasi kelemahan itu. Salah satu kutipan favorit saya yang berasal dari Marmee:

“Aku ingin putri-putriku menjadi wanita-wanita yang cantik, berhasil, dan baik; dikagumi, dicintai, dan dihormati. Aku ingin mereka mendapat masa muda yang ceria, kemudian menikah dengan baik-baik dan bijaksana, menjalani hidup yang berguna dan menyenangkan, dengan sesedikit mungkin kekhawatiran dan kesedihan yang merupakan cobaan untuk mereka, cobaan yang dinilai pantas oleh Tuhan. Dicintai dan dipilih oleh seorang pria yang layak adalah hal terbaik dan terindah yang bisa didapat seorang wanita. Dengan sepenuh hati aku berdoa dan berharap putri-putriku akan mendapat pengalaman luar biasa itu.” – hal. 159

She is the best mother character ever. You rock, Marmee!

Baiklah, saya mengakui bahwa saya jatuh cinta dengan (hampir) semua karakter dalam buku ini. Semuanya terasa begitu hidup dan nyata, seperti seorang teman lama yang menyambut saya dengan hangat dan akrab.

Terlepas dari sedikit rasa tidak puas saya akan endingnya, secara keseluruhan membaca Little Women sangat menyenangkan. Feel yang saya dapat saat membacanya mirip seperti saat membaca A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; kedua buku ini tidak memiliki cerita yang “wah” namun ternyata enak dinikmati dalam segala kesederhanaannya. Rasanya seperti membaca buku harian yang ditulis selama setahun (dari Natal ke Natal selanjutnya), namun dengan POV orang ketiga. Semoga saja nanti saat membaca Good Wives (sekuel Little Women), saya bisa merasa puas dengan endingnya. Tapi saya tidak berharap banyak sih, karena konon Tante Louisa bukan tipe penulis yang suka menyenangkan hati pembacanya. Ia lebih memilih membengkokkan plot daripada menulis seturut keinginan pembaca. (Yes, she is that badass.)

Kesimpulan: Bacalah. Buku. Ini.

Banner_BacaBareng2015-300x187

Baca bareng BBI Januari 2015: Buku Secret Santa

28th review for The Classics Club Project | 1st review for Children’s Literature Reading Project | 1st review for Project Baca Buku Cetak | 1st review for New Authors Reading Challenge 2015 | 1st review for Lucky no. 15 Reading Challenge (Cover Lust)


Review in English:

Little Women tells us about the four March girls: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. They lived modestly in Concord, Massachusetts with their beloved mother (“Marmee”) while their father was away in war. This book is mainly about the March girls’ daily life, friendship, sisterhood, their struggle through poverty, and also about hope and love. It gets adventurous in some parts, and in many parts we witness the March girls learn life lessons: gratitude, forgiveness, marriage and future, hard work, happiness, and accomplishing dreams, among other many things. Yes, you could learn so much from this book.

Meet a parade of colorful characters: the beautiful and sometimes superficial Meg, the independent tomboy and bookworm Jo, the delicate pianist Beth, and the artistically talented but snobbish Amy. There is also Mrs. March or Marmee, who at first I thought too good to be true, until it was revealed that Marmee herself confessed about one of her own faults, along with her way to deal with it. Marmee is a picture of a perfect mother: loving, hard working and full of wisdom, not to mention a wonderful storyteller. Last but not least there is Laurie, the boy next door who was eventually bound in friendship with the March girls. Laurie is described like the typical teenage boy: moody, gets bored easily, sometimes naughty; yet his character brought more color to the story. Okay, I admit that I fell in love with (almost) all characters in this story. They all feel so alive and real, like an old friend who greets me with such warmth and intimacy.

Regardless feeling a little unsatisfied of its ending, reading Little Women is overall a pleasing experience. Little Women and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn gave me a similar feeling when reading them; both of these books do not give us an intricate story, but they are enjoyable in their simplicity. It felt like reading a diary for a full year (from one Christmas to the next), only in third POV. I can’t wait to read Good Wives!

Final words: Read. This. Book. Just. Read. It.

Book details:

Little Women (Gadis-gadis March), by Louisa May Alcott

376 pages, published 2014 by Gramedia Pustaka Utama (first published 1868)

My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


A Note to My Secret Santa:

Dear Santa yang mengaku bernama Louisa M.A.,

Terima kasih sudah memberikan buku ini. Terima kasih sudah dikangenin. Dan ternyata, memang membaca buku yang kamu hadiahkan ini terasa seperti bertemu kawan lama. Kangen. Sama seperti rasa kangen saya dalam menulis review. Well, here I am, Santa. 🙂

Nah, sekarang saya mau mencoba menebak identitasmu ya.

Santa bilang kalau kita pernah bertemu saat Pangeran nan bahagia merayakan ulang tahun pertamanya, saat itu aku membawa hadiah sebuah jaring emas untuk pangeran.

Kemudian aku pernah bercerita kepada Santa tentang kisahku ketika berada di dua kota.

Santa pernah bercerita kepadaku tentang seorang ayah berkaki panjang. Aku bilang cerita itu sangat menarik dan aku ingin mengabadikannya.

*(Riddle lengkap bisa dilihat di post ini)

Baiklah, berarti Santa dan saya sudah membaca beberapa buku yang sama: Pangeran Bahagia, A Golden Web, Kisah Dua Kota, dan Daddy Long-Legs. Wah, Santa tahu benar buku-buku yang saya suka ya :). Karena 3 dari 4 judul buku diatas buku klasik, saya tinggal ngubek-ngubek Index Review Baca Klasik yang saya kumpulkan dengan susah payah (baru kali ini saya merasakan kegunaannya secara langsung :D). Hey, ada satu clue lagi yaitu kertas yang digunakan Santa untuk riddle! Setelah mencocokkan satu clue dengan yang lainnya, hasil deduksi saya meruncing pada….

Pauline Destinugrainy alias Mbak Desty

(https://destybacabuku.wordpress.com/)

Bener, kan?Ada jejak saya di empat review buku yang saya sebutkan diatas di blog Mbak Desty. Dan itu, gambar bunga di kertas riddle sama dengan gambar bunga di header blogmu! 🙂

Sekali lagi, terima kasih yaaa. :*

Matilda – Roald Dahl

matilda book coverOnce upon a time, there lived a reader. Her name was Matilda. No, Matilda wasn’t just a common reader. She began reading at the age of three, and at the age of four she devoured all newspapers and magazines she could find laying around her house, along with one cooking book that happened to be the only book in the household. Poor Matilda, being a child so bright in a dreadfully unsupportive family, she had to find her own way to the library, the place where she could find all the books she wanted to read. Voila, after devouring every children’s books in the library’s collection, this magical child managed to read these books before she even turned five years old:

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Tess of D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Gone to Earth by Mary Webb
Kim by Rudyard Kipling
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Good Companions by J.B. Priestley
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
Animal Farm by George Orwell

Hard to believe, I know. But the story does not end there. We can say that it was Mr. and Mrs Wormwood’s fault that Matilda entered school quite late. They were Matilda’s parents, and they didn’t give a damn about their daughter’s education. So at age five and a half Matilda went to school for the first time. Crunchem Hall, the name of the school, was the place where you can find the biggest, most ridiculous contrast ever between two people. The headmistress of Crunchem Hall was called Miss Trunchbull, and there is only one word that could define her best: a nightmare. She was a gigantic monster, a terror, a menace. She enjoyed punishing children in such a horrifying and unexplainable way that the parents would not believe if their children told them about the headmistress. Meanwhile, the exact opposite of Miss Trunchbull took the form of a Miss Honey, Matilda’s teacher. She was a slim-figured young woman who was mild and quiet. Later on, Miss Honey would recognize the extraordinary talent that Matilda possessed. As their friendship grows, Matilda would learn that Miss Trunchbull was the one who is responsible for Miss Honey’s miserable life. Using her newly found “superpower”, Matilda arranged a plan to take revenge on Miss Trunchbull for what she has done to Miss Honey.

My Thoughts—Spoiler Alert!

For children, this book could be enjoyable since logic won’t spoil the fun. They won’t think about how on earth stupid people like Mr. and Mrs Wormwood could have a daughter as bright as Matilda. And maybe they won’t wonder why the antagonist has a horrible name like Trunchbull and the protagonist has a name so sweet and innocent like Honey. For most people, this book might be an innocent reading, a quick stroll into childhood. I like it that Matilda found comfort in books, when she was feeling depressed living with family who are so different from herself. But in the book I also found some things that I object, especially in the matter of family relationships. Maybe because, thankfully, I grew up in an encouraging and loving family, I never felt what Matilda felt. I just couldn’t get the idea of punishing your parents, no matter how irritating they are. And the ending as well, I just couldn’t get it. I mean okay, Matilda’s finally got her happily-ever-after, but why must the author broke the relationship between her and her family? Couldn’t he make them (Matilda’s family) change instead? Well, maybe I have taken the book a little bit too seriously, but this is what I think of it. On the other hand, this book could be a gentle reminder to ignorant parents. They should be able to see that a child is a human being who deserves their attention, and sometimes children are capable of things beyond older people’s comprehension.

In the end, MAYBE this is the message of Matilda:

Family is people whom you should always go home to if they are good people.
If they are bad people, then you can go home to other people who are nicer to you, form a bond with them, not by blood, but by heart.

P.S.: “MAYBE” means even though I wrote these words, it doesn’t mean that I agree with it.

27th review for The Classics Club Project / 8th review for Books in English Reading Challenge 2013 / 11th review for  What’s in a Name Reading Challenge 2013 / 7th review for New Authors Reading Challenge 2013 / 3rd review for Fun Year with Children’s Literature event

Book details:

Matilda, by Roald Dahl
240 pages, published March 1992 by Heinemann (first published August 1988)
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥


Movie Review:

matilda darls chickens
If you enjoy Home Alone franchise, then you would probably like the 1996 adaptation of Matilda as well. Directed by Danny DeVito, the movie is quite faithful to the original story, and was successful in bringing into life the abominable Miss Trunchbull and also the delicate Miss Honey. Matilda was pictured older than she actually was in the book (and rather gloomier than in the book, I think). One major difference between the book and the movie is that in the movie Matilda still has her powers after the whole business with Miss Trunchbull was over. In the book, she lost her powers—and she was glad about it. I think I prefer the ending in the book than in the movie.

Matilda (1996) on IMDb

Scene on Three #1: The Yearling

Scene on Three adalah meme yang dihost oleh Bzee yang mengajak kita menceritakan adegan favorit dalam sebuah buku. Di bawah ini adalah salah satu adegan favorit saya dari buku The Yearling karya Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, agak panjang sih tapi mudah-mudahan semua yang membacanya bisa menikmati adegan ini seperti saya menikmatinya.

Note: […] berarti ada penggalan yang saya cut, supaya tidak kepanjangan 🙂

'Dance of the Whooping Cranes' by N.C. Wyeth Illustration for "The Yearling"

‘Dance of the Whooping Cranes’ by N.C. Wyeth Illustration for “The Yearling”, source

Bangau-bangau itu menari berkelompok, seakan sedang berdansa di Volusia. Dua bangau berdiri berjauhan, tegak dan putih, menciptakan musik aneh berupa separuh jeritan dan separuh nyanyian. Ritmenya tak beraturan, seperti tarian itu. Bangau-bangau lain membentuk lingkaran. Di tengah-tengah lingkaran itu, beberapa bangau bergerak melawan arah jarum jam. Para musisi mengumandangkan musik mereka. Para penari membentangkan sayap dan mengangkat kaki mereka, pertama kaki yang satu, lalu kaki yang lain. Mereka membenamkan kepala dalam-dalam ke dada putih mereka, mengangkatnya lagi, kemudian menunduk lagi. Mereka bergerak tanpa suara, setengah canggung, setengah anggun. Tarian itu sendu. Sayap-sayap mengepak, naik dan turun bagai tangan yang terentang. Lingkaran luar terus-menerus berputar. Kelompok bangau di lingkaran dalam bergerak pelan.
 
Tiba-tiba semua gerakan terhenti. Jody mengira tarian itu selesai, atau keberadaan mereka ketahuan. Lalu dua musisi tadi bergabung ke lingkaran. Dua bangau lain menggantikan tempat mereka. Tarian itu berhenti sejenak, lalu berlanjut lagi. Bayangan bangau-bangau itu terpantul jelas di air jernih kolam. Enam belas bayangan putih memantulkan gerakan mereka. Angin malam meniup rumput-rumput gergaji. Rumput-rumput itu menunduk dan bergetar. Air beriak-riak. Matahari yang terbenam memantulkan bayangan merah jambu di tubuh-tubuh putih itu. Burung-burung ajaib menari di rawa mistis. Rumput-rumput ikut berayun bersama mereka, dan air dangkal serta tanah bergetar di bawah mereka. Tanah ikut menari bersama bangau-bangau itu, juga matahari terbenam, angin, dan langit.
 
[…]
 
Di rumah, roti sedang dipanggang menunggu mereka, lemak panas digoreng di kuali besi. […] Keluarga itu makan tanpa suara.
Ma Baxter berkata, ”Ada apa dengan kalian berdua?”
Mereka tidak menjawab. Mereka tidak memikirkan apa yang mereka makan ataupun wanita itu. Mereka bahkan tidak sadar bahwa wanita itu berbicara pada mereka. Mereka telah menyaksikan sesuatu yang ajaib. Mereka masih terlena dalam pengaruh kuat mantra keindahannya.

***

The Yearling merupakan novel bergenre realistic fiction yang mampu menggambarkan alam liar Florida dengan sangat hidup dan indah. Adegan di atas adalah ketika Jody dan ayahnya, Penny Baxter, diam-diam menyaksikan tarian bangau di rawa. Selesai membaca adegan ini, saya terpana, sama seperti Jody dan Penny. Ada sesuatu yang sangat magis dalam menyaksikan tarian bangau di alam liar, melebihi adegan-adegan dalam buku fantasi sekalipun. Memang kita bisa menonton bangau menari melalui channel TV seperti Animal Planet dan sejenisnya atau YouTube, namun ”menyaksikan” adegan ini melalui lembaran kertas dan untaian kata-kata memberikan feeling yang berbeda, yang sangat unik dan spesial…

sceneonthree

So that was my first Scene on Three. Kalau kamu mau ikut juga, dibawah ini adalah cara mengikuti meme ini:

  1. Tuliskan suatu adegan atau deskripsi pemandangan/manusia/situasi/kota dan sebagainya ke dalam suatu post.
  2. Jelaskan mengapa adegan atau deskripsi itu menarik, menurut versi kalian masing-masing.
  3. Jangan lupa cantumkan button Scene on Three di dalam post dengan link menuju blog Bacaan B.Zee.
  4. Masukkan link post kalian ke link tools yang ada di bawah post Bacaan B.Zee, sekalian saling mengunjungi sesama peserta Scene on Three.
  5. Meme ini diadakan setiap tanggal yang mengandung angka tiga, sesuai dengan ketersediaan tanggal di bulan tersebut (tanggal 3, 13, 23, 30, dan 31).

My Favorite Opening Line – The Classics Club’s June meme

To be honest, I had to think over and over again to decide which opening sentence from a classic novel that I should call my favorite. And just so you know, if only the question was “What is your favourite closing sentence from a classic novel (and why)?” I would answer it easily, without thinking too much! Hehe.

Well, because the question was “What is your favourite opening sentence from a classic novel (and why)?” then my answer is below:

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

From Nineteen-Eighty Four (1984) by George Orwell

1984cover

There is something weird and abnormal about this sentence, which I think fits the mood of a dystopian novel perfectly. April is usually bright alright, but cold? (I don’t live in a four-season country, so honestly I can’t really tell) And then  there was the suspicious clock.

When I was searching for what makes this opening sentence so special, I found this blog post on Shmoop News; titled The 25 Best Opening Lines in Western Literature. Not only the opening lines and its source, this blog post also provides a rather witty commentary or “creative thought process” for every opening line. Here’s what the post said about 1984’s opening line:

To properly set the mood for a futuristic dystopia, combine the elements of springtime, coldness, an unlucky number, and bells tolling. Then, watch people fight over the feasibility of a clock that can strike thirteen.

So that was my favorite opening sentence from a classic novel. I like it because it’s mysterious and curiously brilliant.

Fahrenheit 451 Explained in a 3-Minute Video

Recently a Jack Collins e-mailed me about a video explaining Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in less than 3 minutes. Academic Earth, a website that provides free online courses supported by world’s top universities, explained one of the world’s dystopian masterpieces with excellent hand-drawn illustrations that make it all the more interesting. I usually consult Sparknotes.com for literary study guides, and now I’m glad that I have one more source to learn from. However, I wish that the narrator wouldn’t speak that fast. I’m grateful that a transcript is available under the video, but if both transcript and English subtitle option is available it would be very helpful, especially for learners whose mother language is not English, like myself.

fahrenheit451-video

A screenshot of the video

You can watch the video HERE.

Academic Earth has many original videos in wide range of subjects, you can browse them here. I hope they will add more literary study guides soon. Thanks to Jack Collins for letting me know about Academic Earth!