Back to Basics: A Year in Recap

I started the year 2015 with reading Fifty Shades Trilogy (yes, I know… I know…) but then continued on my own usual path, out of the romance way (except for one paranormal romance I had to professionally translated). After wandering around the genres of romance and fantasy quite a lot for the last three years, I finally came back home last year: the general/literary fiction that I love most. In short, I was getting back to basics. It’s not that I deliberately intended to limit my reading, but last year I had an unintentional, spontaneous tendency to read something that I would call “of my passion”. Of all the 28 books I’ve read till last December, only seven which were not of my “comfort zone”—3 romances, 1 fantasy book, and 3 crime fiction novels. Others were just what I would have loved to get myself into.

Now, speaking of reviews, since this is a mainly book review blog, I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% productive in writing them. Some books were left unreviewed for no particular reasons: sometimes I was just lazy to do it, sometimes the book was just too bad to even talk about, and sometimes I just didn’t know how to start it with a book so complicated. So, of all the books I read last year, only 23 I made the reviews. Here is the list:

  1. Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James (all in one)
  2. Supernova: Ksatria, Puteri, dan Bintang Jatuh by Dee
  3. The Diving Pool by Yōko Ogawa
  4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  5. Selama Kita Tersesat di Luar Angkasa by Maggie Tiojakin
  6. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
  7. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  8. Hotel Iris by Yōko Ogawa
  9. 9 dari Nadira by Leila S. Chudori
  10. Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
  11. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  12. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  13. Bastian dan Jamur Ajaib by Ratih Kumala
  14. Trilogi Soekram by Sapardi Djoko Damono
  15. Layar Terkembang by Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana
  16. Cantik Itu Luka by Eka Kurniawan
  17. The Road to Becoming a Survivor by R.R. Hayden
  18. The Gathering by Anne Enright
  19. Cameo, Revenge by Yudhi Herwibowo and Ary Yulistiana
  20. Halaman Terakhir by Yudhi Herwibowo
  21. Pada Suatu Hari Nanti, Malam Wabah by Sapardi Djoko Damono
  22. Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

And here is my list of the unreviewed books in 2015:

  1. The Hobbit by J. R. R Tolkien
  2. Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
  3. Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
  4. Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada
  5. Hujan Bulan Juni, a poem collection by Sapardi Djoko Damono

*Indonesian books typed in red.

At the beginning of 2015 I made a pledge to read more and more Indonesian books, simply because, well, I’m an Indonesian. I realize that I’m an Indonesian who has a greater passion for contemporary foreign literature, so I need a self-encouraged commitment to read and appreciate the literary work of my own country. Hence the need for said pledge. And what a surprise! Last year I managed to read 11 Indonesian books. Well, that’s not many, I know. But I’ve been progressing, at the very least. And I have to say that those 11 books were mostly not disappointing. In fact, some of them made most of my best books list.

So, what are the books which made into my best reads last year? They are Selama Kita Tersesat di Luar Angkasa, The White Queen, Hotel Iris, Silent House, Trilogi Soekram, Cantik Itu Luka, and Halaman Terakhir. It’s a surprise even to myself that four of them are Indonesian books. When I started the Indonesian Literature Reading Challenge at the beginning of last year I never thought that I would find so many gems of my country’s literature. But the list has proven I was wrong. The interesting thing is, however, when the whole world has been talking about Eka Kurniawan a lot (I, too, was swept by the “Beauty Is a Wound” wave), I found myself attracted more to Sapardi Djoko Damono. Finding and reading his works were not only like finding a gem, but a soulmate. Trilogi Soekram is truly, truly the best of the best reads this year, Cantik Itu Luka (Beauty Is a Wound) can’t even compete with it.

And what’s the worst book? I have to, or rather, am sorry, to say that it’s Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Rumi, but using his wisdom to justify your unwillingness to fix your miserable life and your husband’s betrayal and your running off to “someone you love” instead seems like a complete nonsense to me. Even the Fifty Shades Trilogy has a better premise than that. Really.

Ah, well, I think that’s it for now. I still have no idea about what I will read this new year and what this blog will be in the near future. All I want is to read as many books as possible and get my hands on more and more Indonesian literary works. I also hope that this blog will be “bigger” and can get a wider readership. Happy New Year, everyone!

P.S.: What about you? You can drop comments below on your best and/or worst books of the year, feel free!

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2 thoughts on “Back to Basics: A Year in Recap

  1. Happy New Year, Ratih. I’m glad you enjoyed Hotel Iris – I still have that one to look forward to, a possibility for August’s WIT Month. Wishing you all the best for 2016.

    1. Happy New Year to you, too, Jacqui! 🙂 Now I’ll be looking forward to reading your review of Hotel Iris. August is still so far away! Haha. I wish you all the best, too, for this year. May it become a great reading year for us. 😉

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