Minggu, 08 Juni 2008

Reading

“Reading” is always one thing I mention when people ask what hobbies I have, besides swimming, and recently blogging. At home, if I am not mistaken I have more than one thousand titles of books although my paycheck is just so so. (Well, so I think. ) It means people can add another hobby of mine: collecting books.

Do you then think that my days are full of reading activities?

Recently I start to suspect myself that in fact I am not that fond of reading.  I just want to show off to people around me that I belong to the intellectual type by saying that I love reading.  Also by bringing book(s) anywhere I go while in fact I don’t always have time (or force myself to spare time) to read. 

What made me accuse myself that horrible (and pathetic) thing? LOL.

Recently, I start paying attention to one workmate of mine who loves bringing books to the workplace. She is lucky to get one stand by time (I have never got one since five or six years ago) so that if all teachers on duty are present, she doesn’t have lots of things to do but pressing the bell as a sign the class starts and ends. I always see her taking out a book. She is still interested in reading books about raising children. FYI, her first child is around two years old while the second one is around six months old. After one or two weeks she will bring a new book to read. That made me conclude that she already finished reading the previous book. Different from me that mostly bringing my own book, she brings books she borrows from a public library where she is one of the members. (I am even no longer a member of one library, after finishing my study around two years ago.) Because the books do not belong to her, she has to read the books she borrows from the library at a certain period of time. This quite amazed me of course because that is one thing I cannot do: have to read books at a certain period of time. I don’t enjoy reading books like that. 

I remember one friend from my ex workplace that also loves reading. She can finish reading one book—novels oftentimes—in a very short time.

Is it because I don’t really have much spare time I can use to read books?

Around a year ago, a workmate gave me a registration form to be a member of one library located not far from my workplace. Not wanting to disappoint him (or perhaps I wanted him to see me as a reading freak ), I received that registration form, put it in one book I had with me at that time, then ... forgot it peacefully. When another workmate of mine asked whether I had registered myself at the library, I snobbishly (and annoyingly) said, “I have lotsa books at home and I don’t finish reading all of them yet. I don’t need to borrow any book yet from a library.” Huuuuuuuuuuuu...

I know I always have difficulty to finish reading one book (especially the non fiction ones) because I easily get bored. I will just jump to read another book. But when I love one book, I will have it with me until I produce some writings for blogs. Well, you can check them under topic “Books” or “Book review”. Many writings of mine are inspired by the books I (have) read, besides experiences of people around me.

I think this then became my Abang’s idea to “provoke” one new member of the mailing list we possess together (he made that milis but then always says that it belongs to all the members LOL). And his “provocation” took its toll. LOL. The new member who just had his first novel published sent one copy to me, expecting I would make a review, or analysis, or whatever it is called. I didn’t want to disappoint him so I agreed although I was a bit worried because I was not a pro (yet). LOL. I have written some reviews or interpretations of books I have read because I love reading the books. What if in fact I don’t like the book? 

And my worry came true. The book is not to my interest.  Thus, it becomes a very heavy burden for me to finish reading it until the last page, 482. (moreover to “peel it out”) So far, I stopped reading it till page 5 because it gave me an illustration like Indonesian sinetrons that are full of unnecessary violent acts and insulting words that are inappropriate to be heard. Not to mention his illustrating characters that are not suitable for children.

This made me question myself what makes me fall in love with a book? I love SI PARASIT LAJANG very much. Oh no, perhaps I cannot compare a non fiction book to a fiction one. I like SAMAN (from the same author) although not as crazy as I am for SI PARASIT LAJANG. And as a melancholic romantic feminist, I think I like female authors more than male ones. (I am not a lesbian though. LOL.) I believe you can understand why I love Ayu Utami’s books because we view this life from similar point of view. Meanwhile I like Dewi Lestari because to me we have undergone similar spiritual journeys, questioning deeply about this life and religiosity; only she has made a (can be said temporary, she once said) choice in being a Buddhist while I still stay Muslim.

How about the book one member of the mailing list gave me? So far, until page 5, it didn’t give me any feministic point of view nor spiritual journey. It tells about parents who quarrel in front of their young children. Perhaps it is too quick of me to jump to a conclusion. But the problem is, like what I stated in the beginning of this writing, in fact I don’t think I really like reading, or I don’t always succeed forcing myself to spare time to read.

As for more information some books written by male writers I like:

* “Lelaki Terindah” by Andrei Aksana, full of romantic and beautiful poems. I directly fell in love with the book when I read the poem printed in the back cover.
* “Cantik Itu Luka” by Eka Kurniawan. This novel is not thinner than Harry Potter’s series. I like the book, first by it’s mysterious yet attractive title. The plot is mixture of forward and backward, and the story, similar to its mysterious title, is also somewhat horror (although I don’t like horror movies anymore, this was only during my teenage years). He is a real expert in narrating the story.
* “Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk” by Ahmad Tohari. This novel tells about a woman destined to be born a “ronggeng” or a sensual dancer and her complicate life: having many admirers and foes at the same time.
* “Selingkuh itu Indah” a collection of short stories by Agus Noor. Well, perhaps this name is already a guarantee of good writings. He is smart in choosing the title of one short story to be the title of the book. And he cheated the people who “judged the book by its cover/title”. Instead of narrating a beautiful love affair outside the wedlock, Agus in fact wanted to criticize such affairs. 
* “Petualangan Celana Dalam” a collection of short stories, the first book written by Nugroho Suksmanto. Some short stories written with Semarang as their settings really attracted my attention, somewhat forced me back to my childhood (and tried finding my “root”, as Budi Darma said when talking about MUDIK tradition on Lebaran ). I like some other stories too, including the story whose title was chosen to be the title of the book “Petualangan Celana Dalam”. One weakness, in my opinion, one (or more, I forget) short stories when Nugroho chose a girl as the main character. Nugroho didn’t do deep and thorough investigation of women’s emotional and psychological problems.

Btw, at the moment I am still reading AKAR, the second novel (in Supernova series) by Dewi Lestari. I have time to read it only some minutes in the early morning while waiting for one student of mine at Bank Jateng Demak to pick me up and we leave together, and on my way home from teaching there, while sitting in the bus. Many philosophical statements I found in this book that made me want to write, to “peel out” my own spiritual, emotional, as well as psychological problems. I must admit that as a blogger, I just look for a media to expose my being narcissistic. However, this is really RELIEVING.

(Meanwhile I still have that big burden: to finish reading the novel a member of the mailing list has sent me and then write my interpretation on it. Sigh deeply ...)

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