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Gone With The Wind, Part 1

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This is my first fiction read along and I’m glad I found this event at Fanda Classiclit blog (thank you for hosting this, mbak Fanda!).  Gone With The Wind is famous, famous for what I honestly didn’t know haha. I have never tried to find the movie or the book or even the synopsis of the story. I guess it’s time to find out why and good thing there’s this reading along because this novel is 993 pages long (e-book version from Green Light publisher, only 0.99 USD at Kobo! xD)

Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler

A lot of them. Because I just want to note my impression of the first 7 chapters of the novel. Check out fellow readers’ updates here. :D


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Written by Elfira Y S

September 15th, 2012 at 11:14 am

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Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Halfway through this book I was thinking that this book got a bit of Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. Both books allow the readers to get to know one special boy through his stories and his thoughts. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie, the main character, writes letters to a stranger during his first year of high school.

I love it that the story is built so smoothly that I didn’t even realize that Charlie was special until I had read about 4 or 5 of his letters? I don’t know the exact number because the subtlety worked so well for me.

Charlie’s letters are beautifully written and they show what kind of person Charlie is. If I can choose 3 adjectives, they would be pure, selfless, and humble. While from the outside he could be perceived as weird or freak, but knowing him little by little, I can’t help but symphatize and feel ache when he on one of his breakdowns wished someone to tell him what’s wrong with him.

Just tell me how to be different in a way that makes sense. To make this all go away.

The book is divided into 4 parts, one for each season I guess, and an epilogue. I got carried away with my speculation and comparison with Haddon novel so the epilogue left me a bit surprised. I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation that will come out around September this year. Hope it will be as sweet as the book! Oh, one more thing, I’m glad I chose this book as my first ebook purchase for my Sonel, a Sony PRS-T1~

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Written by Elfira Y S

August 11th, 2012 at 11:21 pm

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Review: Laika

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Laika Laika by Nick Abadzis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the story of a Russian dog sent to the earth orbit in Sputnik II, Laika (lit. the barker). The story was sad but that’s what happened in a real life. I feel like it’s a story of helpless, trapped characters.

There was a chief designer who was forced to answer his leader wish to launch something into space in a month time, the team who had to make adjustments here and there and decided to not include the return-to-earth plan, the dogs carer/instructor who knew a little too late about the whole plan and had nothing on her hand to stop it, and of course Laika who could not do anything but to submit to whatever mankind had decided to do with her life.

Throughout the story, I also gradually became helpless, I found it hard to blame anybody. The nearest person I’d like to curse might be the chief designer. The leader? I stay away from him, they’re Russian. But then again the chief designer was just doing what he had been told to. And it was not just that, before he was a chief designer, he was wrongly accused and got prisoned. He struggled through hard times but he didn’t give up. I like how he kept reminding himself by saying: “I will not die. I am destined to be somebody big. I will not die” (pardon my sentences, I read the Indonesian translation and have not checked the original edition). That’s how the opening goes, him walking in a stormy night trying to get to Moscow with a hope to get his name cleared.

Laika’s life before Sputnik II is also portrayed in a way that I root for the dog because of her patience. She was loved of course, she was told to be one special dog. But she also managed to keep running into people who wanted to hurt her (can I count the Sputnik team in?). What mesmerized me was Laika seemed to keep her faith in kindness and in human. Is it because she is a dog? But I’ve seen dogs in Dog Whisperer TV shows that got traumatized. Or maybe because it’s just a graphic novel and the author got to decide? I don’t know, I haven’t yet to find out how deep the author’s research for this novel.

More heartwrentching point? There’s a quote from the chief designer at the end of the novel. He said that the information gathered from the Sputnik II launch was not significant. It didn’t have contribution to the first human trip to space that happened 4 years after Sputnik II. At this point, the for-science excuse immediately faded away and the unforgiving thought in my mind wondered if Laika died to only fulfill the leader’s wish.

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Written by Elfira Y S

July 8th, 2012 at 11:56 am

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Review: The Umbrella Man and Other Stories

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The Umbrella Man and Other StoriesThe Umbrella Man and Other Stories by Roald Dahl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After so many years, finally I read another work from Roald Dahl. When I was in junior high, I read The Witches and it gave me a so so impression plus I was fined by the book rental for late return. I know, I know, an absurd reason not to read books from a particular author. :P

Even after Charlie and The Chocolate Factory movie came out (I love it!), I am not intrigued to read Roald Dahl’s other books. Not until I saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox movie. I can still hum the song from the movie.

Boggis and Bunce and Bean.. One fat, one short, one lean. These horrible crooks So different in looks Were nonetheless equally mean!

The Umbrella Man and Other Stories has 12 horror short stories and a story about planes.

The plane story is placed as the 8th story in the book and at first I was surprised. I was expecting another horror story and when I read and waited for the darkness part to come, it never came. Then I remember that Roald Dahl was a fighter pilot and he wrote article about war. Soon after I realized this, I skipped the story. :D

The horror stories in this book are all adult stories. Some of them are bloody scary to imagine (or is it me who easily get scared..).

Don’t be fooled by my short appreciation for each of the story below. Roald Dahl is an awesome story teller and even when I found some stories similar, I still got engaged in the way Mr. Dahl magically conducts the characters and the events. Thumbs up!

The Great Automatic Grammatizator The idea presented in the story is scary. You know that in cooking, there might be an ingredient that’s lastly added and the dish’s fragant or taste becomes stronger after that? This story is like that kind of dish.

Mrs. Bixby and The Colonel’s Coat One word comes to mind: deceit.

The Buttler This story reminds me of the famous children tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. Yes, it’s definitely same story, different set.

Man From The South With proper imagination, there would be blood involved. One bloody scary story indeed.

The LandLady If it were a song, the title would be Hotel California.

Parson’s Pleasure Another deceit.

The Umbrella Man Witnessing a deceit.

Katina The air plane story. Didn’t finish reading.

The Way Up To Heaven This is a warning to always keep not just ourselves sane, but for the sake of our life, keep other around us sane, too. Because you never know what a mental person could do.

Royal Jelly It reveals the horror of being obsessed. That’s what I thought.

Vengeance Is Mine Inc Cool company name, bad bad business.

Taste A story of a jerk.

Neck I need a second opinion for this story, really. I read and read the last few paragraphs and would really like to confirm what happen at the end. Did he really do that? Did he not? Did he? Did he??

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Written by Elfira Y S

May 16th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

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Review: Integrated Korean: Beginning 1, 2nd Edition

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Integrated Korean: Beginning 1, 2nd Edition (Klear Textbooks in Korean Language)Integrated Korean: Beginning 1, 2nd Edition by Young-Mee Cho

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Korean textbook and I love it! It has 8 units and each unit has 2 conversations, a narration, usage example of the lessons learned in the unit, and a piece on Korean culture snipplet. The audio files are provided in KLEAR website.

The Grammar Points and Vocabulary

I have no complain against the grammar taught in this book. At my beginner level, I’d just welcome any points taught and be happy to be able to create more simple sentences throughout the lessons. Since it’s a college textbook, the vocabulary revolves around campus life and it’s perfectly ok with me.

I love it that they only use romanization at some parts in the introduction. I’m not a big fan of romanization. It surely helps at certain point, like when the first time learning 한글, or when we communicate with those who are not learning Korean (btw, 한글 is Hangul, the Korean writing system), or when the tools are not capable for writing in 한글.

For Korean learning textbooks and dictionary, I prefer romanization served at minimum or almost zero rate. That’s why I prefer Collin’s gem dictionary instead of Berlitz. Thanks to Febry, the dictionary is on the way, yay!

The Exercises

The book does not have the answer key and I read that even the workbook of this KLEAR series don’t have the answer key provided. The exercises tend to be short in number and some are only applicable in a classroom or with partners (not quite suitable for a self learner like me). Despite all that, I’m grateful to have those exercises.

Other Parts

I love the introduction, the objectives list, and the closing part of the book. My favorite part of the introduction is the pronunciation rules. It’s the part where I always keep running to whenever I hear different from the sound I am expecting to catch on my ears. I mark this part with post-it.

The objectives list provide us the summary of each unit, which grammar points at which part, what culture snipplet and what kind of usage. Needless to say, it’s one helpful list for ㅁ reference. As the new grammar rules come, I use this list a lot.

The last few pages in this book consist of appendices, grammar index, and the glossary. More references which if I knew about it sooner, it would make my studying time more efficient. I even left out the glossary until I reached Unit 8, the last unit. Before that, I kept turning the previous pages to find what certain word meant and it happened like thousand times! sigh

The glossary is Korean-English, and vice versa. The Korean-English one can be useful to learn the 한글 alphabet order. I’m so gonna use this one for my next books of this series! (Hope the books will arrive safely next week, cross my fingers xD)

이 책을 정말 좋아해요. 여러분, 한국어 재미있지요? ^^

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Written by Elfira Y S

April 23rd, 2011 at 9:59 am

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Bookshopping, yay, Bookshopping!

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This week I just got my books from Book Depository, the online bookstore based in UK. I first heard about Book Depository from this forum (in Indonesian). The store offers free shipping to worldwide, including to Indonesia.

But free shipping does not always mean cheaper. Like any other purchase, comparison will help deciding from options available. I asked several questions before buying books, especially import books, from Book Depository or from any bookstore for that matter.

Are the books available in local bookstore? No. In Kuta, where I currently live, I haven’t seen the books in Periplus, Times bookstore and even Gramedia.

Have you checked local(Indonesian) online bookstore? I actually could send an inquiry to several bookstore such as Kinokuniya (customer_service@kinokuniya.co.id), Periplus, Times bookstore, or Aksara (info@aksara.com). They accept book order either via email or form on their website (and they respond in twitter, too). A friend had an experience buying the third book of Hunger Games trilogy from Kinokuniya and the service was excellent.

I think I could get my books in Kinokuniya. Though their Indonesian website doesn’t have any search form yet but I assume what I can find in other Kinokuniya’s website can also be found in their Indonesian store (well, if it’s not in stock, I think they can make it available since they’re one company, right?). I did the search in their Singapore website. The books were available but at price I’m not willing to pay. :P

What’s with the price? I can’t say any particular store has the absolute best price for all books. Price comparison is a must. The import books on local bookstores usually have higher price than the stores like Amazon and Book Depository. So, if Amazon has shipping cost, does that mean Book Depository is the better way to go? Not always. Some books we’ll find it cheaper and some more expensive at Amazon, and other books at the same price. So, always compare, compare carefully!

Anything else to pay? I could think of 2 things, time and means of payment. I think the first one is more general. It takes 25 days for the books to come into my bookshelf. Let me note down the dates:

26 Feb: ordering date 1 & 2 March: books dispatched (I order 2 books, they were dispatched separately and that’s why I got 2 packages) 22 March: my happy day!

What makes it worth the long wait is the total of 300K IDR difference with Kinokuniya price. If it’s under 100K IDR, I would bear with it because I might have got the books faster from Kinokuniya, if the book is in stock. If it’s not in stock, with 300K IDR difference, I need to wait for 3-4 weeks as they order it from their warehouse. But that’s my case.

Another friend of mine just got her books from Kinokuniya Jakarta. She ordered it by email and the books are available. She  pays 80K IDR more than the price at Book Depository but the books arrives within 2 days.

What about means of payment? I took it into consideration because I still don’t own a credit card. Lucky me, my dear friend Rika was willing to help me with the purchase (I can’t thank you enough, jeng!). But I feel that it would be great if I can handle (control?) all my book purchase process from beginning to end. I’m thinking of getting a credit card but that’s another story.

There’s actually a way to purchase import books without credit card. There are at least 2 online bookstores in Indonesia that helps us purchase books from Amazon (yes, only from Amazon at the moment), BukaBuku and Bookoopedia. I just tried buying via Bookoopedia a few days ago (ok, guilty! I can’t stop buying books!!). The total price is 50K IDR higher than Book Depository but I don’t need any credit card so it’s wonderful. I hope the books will arive safely (cross my fingers).

I chose Bookoopedia because when I searched for the books, Bukabuku didn’t list the new price on my books. The books I wanted to buy was recently discounted but the discounted price only showed up in Bookoopedia. See? Always compare!

This is imported goods, any tax? I’ve heard things and I’ve read things. Both Bookoopedia and Bukabuku said that total order higher than $50 is subjected to tax (read it here and here, in Indonesian).  I have nothing on this so I don’t have much to say. I’ll update it when my Bookoopedia order arrives.

Is that it? Is that all? Alternative! Regarding bookshopping, there is still e-book. I have no thought of converting to an ebook reader (am I using the correct term here?). But one day, one twitter account intercepted my conversation with Periplus (I was looking for a book by George Orwell, 1984). That account was of an online bookstore, specialized in ebooks. I guess they are the first in Indonesia. Check out their website here, Papataka. Quite a unique name, huh?

I guess that’s all for now. Happy book hunting!

Written by Elfira Y S

March 26th, 2011 at 8:23 am

The Chat

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October Your turn in the chair next time.

November I know. I like your stories. Mine are always too dark.

October I don’t think so..

October It’s just that your nights are longer. And you aren’t as warm.

November Put it like that, and I feel better.

November I suppose we can’t help who we are.

taken from Neil Gaiman’s October In The Chair in his book, Fragile Things

Written by Elfira Y S

February 23rd, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Review: If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late

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If You're Reading This, It's Too LateIf You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What keeps me reading the series is the narator character. It was like I didn’t care at all about the story. I guess I just can’t lie about my age.

And I think that’s the only problem I have with this book. I mean if the author someday decides to write something that has more appeal to adult, I would definitely put it in my shelf. He is creative in way that he is able to come up with various detail in presenting a story. When I read the books (the first two of the series), I feel like each chapter has one extraordinary detail at minimal.

For example, there is a chapter in which he only writes an apology for losing the chapter, a quiz chapter with absurd questions. Then there is a chapter that teaches us a polite way of saying that something is unordinarily different (which is a polite way of saying weird). He also provides a prologue and appendix in similar way. If I were to read this in my younger years, I would probably be drown in full satisfaction.

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Written by Elfira Y S

February 19th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

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Note to Self: Book Rating

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1 star

This book is never meant to be for my eyes and mind. I wish I could burn this book. speechless

2 stars

I manage to finish reading it. It’s o-k-a-y.

3 stars

Hey, what’s this? I like it! Hm.. Fascinating!

4 stars

Love it, love it! I’m grateful to have read this book. There are many things to say about this book.

5 stars

amazed How can there be a book like this? This book… I read it more than once in acceptable period of time.

Written by Elfira Y S

February 13th, 2011 at 11:34 am

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Review: The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me likey: the competition. Me no likey: the love seasoning.

Yes, the love thingy is just a bit and the way it is staged is reasonable but I guess it doesn’t suit my taste. I surely hope that it will not come out strongly in the rest of the trilogy or turn out in such different way.

And yes, the competition is scary. A reality show in which the viewers get to see 24 teenagers kill each other? Luckily it’s only fiction. Oh, please stay in fiction for eternity! I notice that I enjoy the book because I always enjoy the story of competition. You know, like watching Running Man with Yoo Jae Suk as MC (this shameless analogy is brought to you by my honest adoration to the humble and witty MC xP).

Anyway, this first book of the series is recommended to be a weekend reading (since reading it in weekdays would risk in sleep deprivation or uneasiness from having to put down the book for a while.


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Written by Elfira Y S

February 11th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

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