Recto Verso

September 18, 2009

“Ya.” Sebotol mahal anggur putih ada di depan matamu, tapi kamu tak pernah tahu. Kamu terus menanti. Segelas air putih.

“Yes.” A bottle of expensive white wine is here in front of your eyes, but you never know it. You kept waiting. A glass of water.”

I know.

It’s been a year since this book was published.

And months since I borrowed it from my friend (maafkan saya, Fer… =p), but I didn’t touch the book until last night.

And even tough it’s not half as interesting as Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, nor as touching as Cecelia Ahern’s P.S. I Love You, I find myself unable to put it down.

Recto literally means the page on the right side of an open book, and Verso the left.

There’re eleven short stories in this…hmmm…work, with eleven corresponding songs.  It’s quite interesting, and this coming from a person who rarely reads Indonesian literature.

Dengar fiskinya, baca musiknya

Dengar fiksinya, baca musiknya

The second story of this book is about a guy (in this book he is known as simply ‘Abang’ , no names) who had autism, and he has been accustomed to spending his Sundays with a girl, ‘perempuan’. Then Abang’s younger brother returned from his studies overseas, and the girl started seeing him. The boys’ mother (Bunda) had a talk with the girl, saying that she’d prefer her to date Abang, since he loves the girl not only with his heart, but with his soul. And the girl replied by saying that Bunda cannot possibly know that, since she is not an angel who can know a person’s heart. Hence the title, “Malaikat Juga Tahu” (“Even Angels Know”?). LOL
The music video tells the short story written in the book version:

Nice way of spending an idle day. I haven’t finished the book yet, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol showed up, and you know, Brown trumps all. =)

Two of my many favorite things in the world, combined! What could be better? LOL

Check it out, especially for those who keep looking for a real-life projection of Fitzwilliam Darcy after reading Pride and Prejudice…like moi… =p
http://www.much-ado.net/austenbook/

And for those who twits:
http://madhattermommy.blogspot.com/2009/05/pride-and-twitterverse.html

Meet Christopher Boone.

He has autism, likes (and is very good at) mathematics, likes prime numbers only, and thinks that seeing four yellow cars in a row is bad.

curiousincident

This book is written by Mark Haddon, it’s great and I love it.

It is Haddon’s first book, published in 2003, and have won a lot of awards, such as the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year and the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.

The title is actually a quotation of a remark made by the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1894 short story “Silver Blaze”.

The story is narrated by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy with autism, living in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. The book starts with his discovery of the neighbour’s dog killed with a garden-fork. Mrs Shears found Christopher holding her dead poodle, Wellington, and starts screaming, then call the cops.

Christopher is living with his father, Ed, who tells him his mother (Judy) was killed by a heart attack two years earlier. Although his father objects, Christopher sets out to find out who killed Wellington.

During his investigation, Christopher meets people whom he has never before encountered, even though they live on the same street. Eventually, Christopher finds out from Mrs. Alexander that his mother was engaged in an affair with Roger Shears, Mrs. Shears’s former husband. Ed discovers the book and confiscates it from Christopher, after a brief fight between them, though he later apologises. While searching for the confiscated book, Christopher uncovers a trove of letters which his mother wrote to him, dated after her supposed death, which his father has hidden.

***

Christopher, the book’s narrator, is gifted at and focused on mathematics: this is reflected by his inclusion of several famous puzzles of maths and logic. The book’s appendix is a reproduction of a question from Christopher’s A-level examination, with annotated answers.

Christopher likes only prime numbers, hence the book’s chapters are all numbered in prime numbers, ignoring composite numbers. So the first is Chapter 2, followed by 3, then 5, 7, 11, and so on, up to the last chapter, 233.

Cute, right? =p

Abomination!

May 7, 2009

IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.

Sounds rather familiar?

It was the beginning lines of a book by Seth Grahame-Smith, called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. Needless to say, the book was a terribly-written version of Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Pride and Prejudice.

pride_prejudice_zombies1w

The auther, Seth Grahame-Smith, claims that he has transformed “a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.” Good Lord!

The book focused on the Bennet sisters, who were living in the middle of a strange plague in regency England, killing the living and reviving them back to life as the undead who must feed on the living to survive. The conflict in town is fierce, spreading to the countryside and into the village of Meryton where Elizabeth Bennet and her family reside nearby at Longbourn. Mr. Bennet extricated from his library has dedicated himself instead to training his five daughters from an early age in the deadly arts, traveling with them to China to attend Ninja finishing school with a Shaolin Master. His business in life was to keep them alive. The business of Mrs. Bennet’s was to get them married.

*yawn*

I gave the book a chance. I tried to read it, but after “the pentagram of death” (everyone was at the ball where Darcy slighted Lizzie, and the a horde of zombies -wait, the correct term is ‘the unmentionables’, and Mr. Bennet called to his five daughters to form “the pentagram of death”), it was all too much and too disgusting, I cannot read on.

Grahame-Smith not only wrecked one of the finest classics, but he also took great pride in doing so.

What an abomination!

Weather Report

March 24, 2009

“Any day I’m vertical
is a good day”
…that’s what I always say.

If you ask me,
“How are you?”

I’ll answer, “GREAT!”
because in saying so,
I make it so.

When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture
that brings a soft curl to my hair.

When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up
to feel its warmth on my cheeks.

When Life brings fog,
I hug my sweater around me
and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery
that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing.

When Life brings snow,
I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue,
relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.

Life’s events and experiences
are like the weather –
they come and go,
no matter what my preference.

So, what the heck?!
I might as well decide to enjoy them.

For indeed,
there IS a time for every purpose
under Heaven.

And each season brings its own unique blessings.

-B. J. Gallagher-

I like this poem. Very…optimistic, sunny, very warm, and I love it, hence I’d like to share it with you. Yes, you! You, yeah you over there… Stop looking left and right, I’m talking to you! Yes you, no, not the person beside you… =)

The Jane Austen Book Club

February 16, 2009

The Jane Austen Book Club, a 2004 book by American author Karen Joy Fowler, and also a 2007 movie adaptation of the same title, based on Fowler’s book.

book-club-bookThe book “The Jane Austen Book Club” takes place near Sacramento, California, and centers around a book club consisting of five women and one man who meet once a month to discuss Jane Austen’s six novels. It was a critical success and became a national bestseller.

The novel takes place over the course of several months in a contemporary university town in California’s Central Valley near Sacramento. Each of the six chapters is dedicated to one of the six book club members as well as one of Austen’s six works. In turn, each of Austen’s novels parallels the individual characters’ experiences with relationships and love.

Jocelyn (Emma Woodhouse in Emma):
an independent, 50-something dog breeder and matchmaker who organized the Jane Austen Book Club. Jocelyn has been best friends with Sylvia since they were eleven and introduced her to her husband, Daniel, when they were in high school. She has never married and has no children. She originally invites Grigg to the book club for Sylvia’s sake, but ends up attracted to him herself.

Allegra (Marianne in Sense and Sensibility):
the young and impetuous daughter of Sylvia and her husband Daniel. Allegra is an artist and a thrill seeker, having been known to sky dive and rock climb, amongst other things.

Prudie (Anne Elliot in Persuasion):
a 28-year-old French teacher at a local high school. She is married to Dean, whom she loves, but she becomes confused when witnessing every-day infatuations between her students, especially when one student in particular flirts with her.

Grigg (represents basically all of Austen’s misunderstood male characters):
an offbeat 30-something, and the only male member of the book club. Grigg grew up the only boy amongst his three older sisters. He is also addicted to science fiction and coincidentally met Jocelyn at a hotel in which they were attending two separate conventions: Jocelyn, a dog breeding convention, and Grigg, a science fiction convention.

Bernadette (Mrs. Gardiner in Pride and Prejudice):
a 67-years-young yoga enthusiast and the most talkative of the members. Bernadette has been married multiple times and is determined to “let herself go” with style. Although she is the oldest of the members, she is the most satisfied with her lifestyle.

Sylvia (Fanny Price in Mansfield Park):
Jocelyn’s best friend, Sylvia is also 50-something years old and is going through a troubling separation with her husband Daniel, who has left her after thirty years of marriage for another woman. Their daughter, Allegra, has come to live with her for the time being.

book-club-movie

The idea of the book club comes from Bernadette (six times divorced), who has this inspiration when she meets Prudie, a prim, married high school French teacher in her mid 20s, at a Jane Austen film festival. Bernadette’s concept is to have six members dicuss all of Austen’s six novels, with each member hosting the group once a month.

Also inducted into the club are Sylvia, a fortysomething housewife who recently has separated from her philandering lawyer husband Daniel after more than two decades of marriage; Sylvia’s 20-year-old lesbian daughter Allegra; Jocelyn, a happily unmarried control freak and breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks who has been Sylvia’s friend since childhood; and Grigg, a science fiction fan who’s roped into the group by Jocelyn with the hope he and Sylvia will prove to be a compatible match.

As the months pass, each of the members develops characteristics similar to those of Austen’s characters and reacts to events in their lives in much the same way their fictional counterparts would. Bernadette is the matriarch figure who longs to see everyone find happiness. Sylvia clings to her belief in steadfast love and devotion, and eventually reconciles with Daniel. Jocelyn denies her own feelings for Grigg while playing matchmaker for him and Sylvia. Prudie, encumbered with her inattentive husband Dean and a free-spirited, pot-smoking, aging-hippie mother, a product of the 1960s counterculture, finds herself desperately trying not to succumb to her feelings for her seductive student Trey. Allegra, who tends to meet her lovers while engaging in death-defying activities, feels betrayed when she discovers her current partner, aspiring writer Corinne, has used Allegra’s life as the basis for her short stories. Grigg is attracted to Jocelyn and mystified by her seeming lack of interest in him, marked by her failure to read the Ursula K. Le Guin novels he has hoped will catch her fancy. He also serves as the comedic foil to Jocelyn and Prudie’s very serious takes on the books.

Cast:
Maria Bello as Jocelyn
Emily Blunt as Prudie
Kathy Baker as Bernadette
Hugh Dancy as Grigg
Amy Brenneman as Sylvia
Maggie Grace as Allegra

Jane Austen #6: Persuasion

February 15, 2009

Persuasion is Jane’s Austen’s last completed novel, which she began soon after she finished Emma. It was completed in Auguts, 1816. Austen did in 1817 (aged 41), but Persuasion was not published until 1818.

Persuasion is a story about two people who used to love each other. Then they were separated, and met again and found their way back into love again.

persuasion1Persuasion mostly tells us about Anne Elliot, the middle daughter of the vain Sir Walter Elliot, a baronet who is a little too concious of his good looks and rank, and spends excessive amounts of money. Anne’s mother was a fine, sensible woman who is long dead. Her elder sister, Elizabeth, resembles her father in temperament and delights in the fact that as the eldest daughter she can assume her mother’s former position in their rural neighborhood. Anne’s younger sister, Mary, is a nervous, clinging woman who has made an unspectacular marriage to Charles Musgrove of Uppercross Hall, the heir to a bucolic but respected local squire. None of her surviving family can provide much companionship for the elegant-minded Anne, who, still unmarried at 27, seems destined for spinsterhood. Soon after her earlier commitment to Wentworth, at age nineteen, Anne had been persuaded by her mother’s great friend –and her own trusted confidante, the widow Lady Russell– to break the engagement to the man she loved deeply. Lady Russell had questioned the wisdom of Anne marrying a moneyless young naval officer without family or connections and whose prospects were so uncertain. Wentworth re-enters Anne’s life when Sir Walter is forced by his own profligacy to let the family estate to none other than Wentworth’s brother-in-law, Admiral Croft. Wentworth’s successes in the Napoleonic Wars resulted in his promotion and enabled him to amass the then considerable fortune of £25,000 from prize money awarded for capturing enemy vessels. The Musgroves, including Mary, Charles and Charles’s younger sisters, Henrietta and Louisa, are delighted to welcome the Crofts and Wentworth to the neighborhood. Both Musgrove girls are attracted to Wentworth, though Henrietta is informally engaged to clergyman cousin Charles Hayter. Hayter is viewed as a merely respectable match, being a bit beneath the Musgroves, socially and financially. Charles, Mary, and the Crofts continually speculate as to which one Wentworth might marry. Captain Wentworth’s visit to a close friend, Captain Harville, in nearby Lyme Regis results in a day-long outing being organized by those eager to see the resort. While there, Louisa Musgrove sustains a concussion in a fall brought about by her own impetuous behaviour. This highlights the difference between the headstrong Louisa and the more sensible Anne. While onlookers exclaim that Louisa is dead and her companions stand around dumbfounded, Anne administers first aid and summons assistance. Wentworth’s admiration for Anne reawakens as a result. Louisa’s recovery is slow and her self-confidence is severely shaken. Her newfound timidity elicits the kind attention and reassurance of Wentworth’s friend Captain Benwick, who had been mourning the recent death of his fiancée. The couple find their personalities to be now more in sympathy and they become engaged. Meanwhile, Sir Walter, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s scheming friend Mrs. Clay, the widowed daughter of Sir Walter’s agent, have relocated to Bath. There they hope to live in a manner befitting a baronet and his family with the least possible expense until their finances are restored to a firmer footing. Sir Walter’s cousin and heir, William Elliot, who long ago slighted the baronet, now seeks a reconciliation. Elizabeth assumes that he wishes to court her, while Lady Russell more correctly suspects that he admires Anne. Although William Elliot seems a perfect gentleman, Anne distrusts him; she finds his character disturbingly opaque. She is enlightened by an unexpected source when she discovers an old school friend, Mrs. Smith, living in Bath in straitened circumstances. Mrs. Smith and her now-deceased husband had once been Mr. Elliot’s closest friends. Having encouraged them into financial extravagance, he had quickly dropped them when they became impoverished. Anne learns, to her great distress, of his layers of deceit and calculated self-interest. In addition, her friend speculates that Mr. Elliot wants to reestablish his relationship with her family primarily to safeguard his inheritance of the title, fearing a marriage between Sir Walter and Mrs. Clay. This helps Anne to understand more fully the dangers of persuasion –in that Lady Russell pressed her to accept Mr. Elliot’s likely offer of marriage– and helps her to develop more confidence in her own judgment. Ultimately, the Musgroves visit Bath to purchase wedding clothes for their daughters Louisa and Henrietta (who has become engaged to Hayter). Captain Wentworth and his friend Captain Harville accompany them. Anne and Harville discuss attachments with Wentworth writing a note within earshot of the discussion. This causes him to write a note to Anne detailing his feelings for her. In a tender scene, Anne and Wentworth reconcile and renew their engagement. The match is now more palatable to Anne’s family — their waning fortunes and Wentworth’s waxing ones have made a considerable difference. Also, ever overvaluing good looks, Sir Walter is favorably impressed with his future son-in-law’s appearance. Lady Russell admits she has been completely wrong about Captain Wentworth, and she and Anne remain friends.

***

I haven’t watched any adaptations of Persuasion, but I heard there’s a great TV drama aired in 2007, starring Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Frederick Wentworth.