current readings

i understand that now, more than ever, reading a lot is a real need for me. my writing teacher once said that, to become a writer means you will read much more than you write. and in fact i do need to make some research for my next writing because the topic is quite heavy, the setting will require some hard recalls on my memories of traveling, and the characters are very complicated. my friend asked me one night, “why do you have to write such a heavy issue?”. the answer is i don’t know. the idea just came out in my mind long ago when i did my final writing for my writing class and i failed to finish it that time and it keeps bugging my mind so i think i’d better just continue what i’ve started.

therefore i’m into literature (sastra) genre now. a bit sad that i have to put aside my light reading novels, but this is what i have to do anyway. then i began with short stories compilation for warming up.

i picked two books from banana publishing (o dear, if my teacher read this blog, he’d be smug) : short stories compilation titled “Some Weird Love Stories” (Kisah-kisah Cinta Ganjil) and a weird small novel by Annie Dillard “Teaching a Stone to Talk” (Mengajarkan Batu Berbicara).

the first book consists of 4 or 5 (i forgot) short stories by Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and other writers (one of them Japanese i guess). one story that sticks in my head is titled “Edward and God” (Edward dan Tuhan). such an interesting story. and a story titled “How I Met My Husband” is quite tricky that kept me guessing every time i turned the page.

the second book is so…weird. it’s hard for me to understand the point of each chapter. Annie Dillard is such a great writer (yes she is. of course. a Pulitzer Prize winner!). thank God i read in Bahasa. i would’ve just thrown the book away i guess, if i read the English one. short writings that make my forehead wrinkle every time i read them. one time she’s talking about a mysterious man who taught a stone to talk, one other time she’s talking about the relation between Catholic devotees and the Artic, and another time she’s talking about one cell creatures. i haven’t finished that 204-page book anyway.

along with those book, i picked one more short stories compilation. An anthology of women, as it said. the title of the book is taken from the title of one of the stories: “A Woman Who Falls in Love with the Sea” (seorang perempuan yang jatuh cinta pada laut). frankly, i haven’t started reading it.

then just a week later, i decided that i need some references for the sake of my writing i told above. i was looking for two books: “Para Priyayi” (the Nobles) by Umar Kayam and any book about Confucius teaching. but unfortunately, gramedia depok has zero collection of any Confucius book at that time. but within the category of Philosophy, i found “Dao De Jing” by Lao Zi. and i began reading both books now.

so, currently, i have 3 readings at a time. Annie Dillard for my on-the-bus reading. Lao Zi’s teaching for any time my mood to read it pop up (i have reached the middle of the book anyway). and Umar Kayam’s great writing for my before-bed reading.

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One thought on “current readings

  1. Just so you know, the Dillard book is not a novel but a book of nonfiction–each title begins a new essay, so all are completely separate from each other. It is her only book of essays, but not her only book of nonfiction. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the most famous, and Holy the Firm and For the Time Being probably the best (these three are also the most similar to Teaching a Stone to Talk). She does have two novels, her most recent, The Maytrees, the better of the two.

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