real life

My 2014 in Books

The list of books I read in 2014! My Goodreads Reading Challengen was set to 12 books, but I read 42 books instead. Here they are, along with a short review.

1. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Review here.

2. Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer
Review here.

3. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Review here.

4. Why I Left Goldman Sachs by Greg Smith
Review here.

5. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
This is why I have to read outside of my comfort zone. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have read this book! I like how she incorporated her Indian roots in such an American novel. It gives me hope that other writers of color can go global too. Not to mention the story itself is good.

6. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Review here.

7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Review here.

8. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’m not a fan of this book. All that I remember is it’s about a smart, virgin girl with an obsession of giving a guy a blowjob.

9. Under the Dome by Stephen King
I read a critic somewhere that King’s best craft is in depicting human nature, but not in resolutions. Under the Dome releases the monsters inside us as we crumble under pressure. A small town is trapped under a mysterious dome and everyone goes bananas. I love getting to know the characters and how they deal with the situation. The ending is not as epic as I’d like it to be, but the story is good, so I don’t really care.

10. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
It’s about a war veteran with PTSD. To be honest, I didn’t really get it. I have to read it again.

11. Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Biography by Lemony Snicket
Another puzzle in the mysterious life of Lemony Snicket. I love catching glimpses of his whole self in all of his books.

12. School of Fear #1 by Gitty Daneshvari
This book is too young for me. Maybe if I read it in elementary school, I would have liked it.

13. Entertainment Law in A Nutshell by Sherri L. Burr
Best introduction to entertainment law I’ve ever read so far. Very useful for students and entertainers who want to know more about the subject.

14. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Now I know why this book was recommended everywhere in 2013. It’s that good and such a mindblown. I didn’t know that we could write a novel this way.

15. The Circle by Dave Eggers
This book is definitely talking about Google and its good & evil potential in the society. I like it best because it’s not quite a dystopia story. The story tells a period when people is getting to the peak of making the world a better place, but they don’t see that once they reach that peak, they’ll decline into a dystopia.

16. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Nah, not my Gaiman favorite.

17. Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi
I love it. It’s so interesting reading a history of how a certain disease has changed the face the world. It’s funny too!

18. Airframe by Michael Crichton
Crichton never disappoints. Airframe makes a fun and fresh leisure leading. It’s light but still mindboggling.

19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nope. Nope. Nope. I honestly don’t understand what the hype is all about other than it captured the hedonism of the roaring 20s.

20. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Scalzi, funny as always. I like the point of view too, sending our senior citizens to war and defend humanity. I rarely see stories like this.

21. Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
EPIC. The resolution of the first Formic Wars. The characters that were indifferent to each other in the first two books set aside their differences to save the world. I love it. ♥

22. Gloriously Bright by Orson Scott Card
It’s practically a rereading of Xenocide. Not bad as its own story.

23. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I LOVE IT. And jealous at the same time. How could a man weave words so beautifully?

24. The Jacatra Secret by Rizky Ridyasmara
Please don’t waste your time reading this book.

25. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Basically the same as the movie, but with more elaboration on the characters’ state of minds leading up to their deaths.

26. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
I like it best for its tribute to great SF/F works that have contributed in making SF/F a more popular genre ♥ and yes, Joe Hill is such a good writer.

27. Rahasia Menulis Kreatif by Raditya Dika
So far, the most useful writing advice book I’ve ever read. Raditya Dika is simple, systematic, and straight to the point. He tells you what you can do and why you should do it.

28. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
I still don’t know what to make of JK Rowling’s detective series. She’s really good with characters, and this book is all about character development. The case itself is not so interesting.

29. World War Z by Max Brooks
For a portion of 2014 I was obsessed with zombies. This book is good. I love the report style it uses to tell the story. It’s not really about zombies either, but it’s how people rally in the face of a common enemy, and I love the book for it.

30. Lock In by John Scalzi
The worldbuilding is interesting and the story is funny. But it’s kind of predictable and the case is not that hard to solve either. I think it’ll make a good series though.

31. Schroder by Amity Gaige
It hit me straight in the chest at some parts, but other times, it’s meh.

32. How to Set Up and Run A Fashion Label by Toby Meadows
The title is self-explanatory. Very useful for beginners.

33. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
I fell in love with Hadfield because of this book. It’s like he’s lending me his eyes to see space and what we can do out there. Of course, I, the astronaut wanna-be, totally fell for it.

34. Gelombang by Dewi Lestari
Review here.

35. The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner (3 books)
Nope. I know that the movie is praised, but the books are typical young adult, and it’s not that epic either. The resolution is so disappointing. In the end, this trilogy talks about nothing.

36. Shouldn’t You Be In School by Lemony Snicket
It’s in this book that I finally appreciated how great a writer Daniel Handler is. He knows his words and what he’s doing with them. I’m jealous.

37. Attack on Titan #13 by Hajime Isayama
I only keep reading cos I want to know the ending. It’s so draggy up to this point.

38. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
The blurbs all say it’s funny, but I’m afraid my Indonesian humor doesn’t really get Semple’s American humor. It’s still a fun reading. I can relate to Bernadette and her anti social tendency.

39. Hidden Agenda by Jacob Julian
Along with The Jacatra Secret above, this book is proof of how poor our publishing is. I’ve seen so many poor Indonesian books, I can’t even blame the writers anymore. It’s because of the poor editing. We should raise our standard and actually demand our writers to be fluent in written Indonesian.

40. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
It raises immigrant issues in the USA, so no, I can’t really relate to it. The protagonist sounds whiny too. I don’t like him that much.

I don’t have a picture of the books I purchased in 2014 cos there are so many of them. But I always post my new purchase on Instagram under the tag #utislibrary. Credit card will be the death of me, you know.

Last but not least, my personal awards for my 2014 reading list.
– Best Book of the Year: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
– Worst Book of the Year: The Jacatra Secret by Rizky Ridyasmara
– Best Fantasy Book of the Year: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
– Worst Fantasy Book of the Year: The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner
– Most Recommended Book: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
– Most Recommended Collection: Lemony Snicket books
– Most Overrated: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
– Most Underrated: Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer
– Most Favorite: Rahasia Menulis Kreatif by Raditya Dika

I set my reading goal to 20 books this year. I’m not going to make a new wishlist cos I still haven’t fulfilled my 2014 one. I should really count how much I spend for books. This will dig a hole in my pocket.

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Let’s go to Bandung and watch a theater!

Hi! How’s your new year, everyone? I hope it was great. Mine was quite uneventful. Brago and I went to Sawarna again only to have it rained everyday. We didn’t get the sun nor the shroom. It was quite depressing. :(

Work has started for two weeks and I’ve been swamped with tons of agreements and research. All agreements are reviewed now, only a few research left. Got to do meetings with some clients and counterparties, where I learned more about the lawyering profession. Some lawyers, as it turns out, no matter how notoriously intimidating the profession is, are just shitty negotiators. We might know a lot about the law, but such knowledge is useless if we can’t communicate it well.

In a contract negotiation, we’re not only trying to convey our intention, but we’re trying to convince the other party to follow suit with what we want. The latter is proven to be difficult if you can’t even speak well. Unless you force the other party, which is obviously illegal. And again, I learned that age is just a number. Some lawyers are maybe more senior with more experience, and I respect them for it. But EQ still matters and we’d better increase our EQ points a notch.

Klikonsul also went into hiatus with Aldy’s honeymoon and Barry’s Euro-trip. It’s basically only Sangeh and I were left, and we took the time to discuss Klikonsul but also our new project. I want to say a lot of things about the new project, but I’m afraid it’d be an early thunder, so I’ll keep my mouth shut. :3

Next week, many of us are going to Bandung for Merchant of Emotion’s “Sunset Deity” theater performance. Check out the show and ticket info here. I can hardly wait. The concept and graphics look amazing! The tickets are very cheap, so you should come!

POSTER_Teater #01_Resized

So I guess I owe a lot of blog posts. Please don’t ask me about The Professionals, I barely have time for the feature :( But I can still find time to post my December playlist (if I can still remember), 2014 personal literary review, and my new year as well as Sawarna trip. But after I get all my homework done, ok? As of now, Bandung first.

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2015

I can’t sleep. The long weekend has messed up my circadian rhythm. I’m lying on my bed, thinking of how bad I need to get my shit together. And I’m thinking that there’s no better time than the new year to do it, along with an army of planners who mostly would fail their own plans on the 2nd of January.

Reflecting on 2014, my dating life has been scoring some. No serious relationships, but it’s slightly more colorful than the previously gray years. Fascinating what could happen when you open yourself up. I just kicked another suitor out the door though. If I’m being ungrateful, so be it. He’s hella boring. He’s decent, but boring. If I’m settling for less, I’d be miserable. Loved perhaps, but miserable. I often wonder if this will make me single for a lifetime. I’ve practically been single for years. No, I’m not afraid of commitment. If anything, I’m totally ready to commit and you have no idea how I can persevere in a commitment. That alone justifies my tight screening for life partners. I don’t want to waste my time for the wrong people.

Career-wise, I’m starting to realize that my personal branding has invaluable values (haha I think I’m so funny). I’m registered at a bunch of social media sites, only a couple of which I actively update. Considering my future plans, looks like I have to start actively managing all of them. They’re marketing tools like no other. Sometimes I wish I have a personal assistant.

Career-wise is also where I need to put my shit together. I know that I’m probably involved in too many orgs, but opportunity doesn’t come twice you know. My 2015 schedule should be something like this:

1. Daily
– work, 8 to 5 (bless my boss)
– Klikonsul
– writing
– personal branding

2. Monthly
– invest
– invest
– invest

3. Weekends
– go out and network
– catch up sleep

No room for exercise hahaha I should cut down on the going out part. I’ve been going out a lot this year. A lot of money and time spent, but my network grew. Ugh the sacrifices we have to make. Not that I’m complaining, cos I had a lot of fun. But other parts of my life suffered as I poured less energy into them.

So my 2015 resolution is simple: be more disciplined. Work days are for working, weekends are for sleeping. This is a hard schedule for me to follow. Often I feel like I’m being stretched so thin.

But 2015 is holding a lot of promises. Let’s hold on.

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January 2015

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Mr. & Mrs. Remialdy

Aldy and Monda got married last week. The first of Klikonsul to get hitched. I almost couldn’t make it to the wedding due to a sudden business trip. But the trip was cancelled, I was so relieved. Their wedding is one of the weddings I truly enjoyed. I’m so happy for them. I saw how Aldy struggled for months to get the wedding in place. We were there as he ran around looking for halls, photographers, caterings. Monda was even admitted to the hospital because of the stress.

But it paid off. The wedding was so beautiful.

Good luck for your new life, Aldy and Monda!

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Klikonsul represents

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Our embarrassing flower board

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With the happy couple

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I passed the bar exam!

I was on my way to this Halloween party when Huda texted me, “Congrats! You passed the bar exam!” I called him immediately.

“Do not shit with me, young man.”

What followed was thirty minutes of trying to open the ever-so-slow Peradi’s website, calling Tami to confirm and convey the news, calling Huda again to ask for screencaps of the announcement.

Whoa, I really passed the bar exam.

Then a flood of relief washed over me. I didn’t realize I’d been that worried about this bar exam. Now that I’ve passed it, it feels like my life is going according to plan. After this, I can be sworn in, in 2 years, and I can pursue my Master’s degree by 2017 as planned. And not only that. I’ve been (sort of) promoted in the office, which is totally unexpected. My life’s going really well right now, I honestly feel like I almost believe in God again.

That night, the Halloween party was not scary at all.

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I'm supposed to be a flower. #lazycosplayer

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