fashion

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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[THE PROFESSIONALS] Creative Designer by Dennisa Nisyam

Hi! I know it’s been a while since the last The Professionals entry. But I’ve been really busy. I didn’t have the time to look for contributors. Then Rora came along and recommended Dennis to write! Thank you so much Rora and Dennis! ♥

Don’t you wanna be a lawyer?

A doctor?

An engineer?

Apparently, I don’t.

The name is Dennis, 23 years old, Jakarta-based 9-5 prisoner.

I’ve been drowning myself in the fashion field for almost 2 years as a Creative Designer for a fashion house. I’m a textile craft graduate, so I guess it’s kinda goes along the path.

I know I’d wanted to take the said major since I was in elementary school, so I believe that my family already prepared for my future career and the instability of the creative industry. I’ve been in love with the creative industry: film, music, art and craft in general since I was a kid. Frankly, I can bravely say that being a Creative Designer is my dream job. I graduate with a little note to my lecturers: I don’t want a career as a commercial designer. That’s for sure.

So, I applied to this designer as one of his creative team.

What’s a creative team?

It’s basically people, more than one designer, who develop the idea that the main designer makes; make it come true in any way possible. Graphic for invitations and lookbooks, multimedia, image branding, color plans for the next collection, music for the fashion show, anything. That’s what we do. There are two sub-divisions under the Creative Department: Graphic Designers and Creative Designer. The graphic kiddos do the layout, pattern making, shows invitation, catalogs, technical drawing, everything that needs visual development in graphic terms. Meanwhile, my position as the Creative Designer requires me to be able to do things like: style research and development, color plan for the collection, details, material hunting, I practically do everything that the main designer does as his right hand. I have to take care of every fashion show he makes: the whole collection; the music and the concept in every single detail possible: rundown, lighting, models, make up, hairstyle, you name it.

The fun part is, well, it is fun. If you like this kinda stuff, if you want to be a designer, it’s a really good start. You can learn a lot, from concept making to production and the final show. So many connections, so much experience. You can also have access to designers’ stuff as well if you like one.

Okay, now the less fun part, it’s tiring. Like any job in the whole universe, it’s tiring. Like, physically tiring, because you have to be at the venue at 6:30 for rehearsal and stay until 3 in the morning. But more or less, I can’t find anything bad about it, it’s fun, it’s challenging, but not for stash-minded people. Creative workers are still underpaid.

You don’t have to be an art graduate to be on the team, as long as you can deal with the Adobe Illustrator and its friends, it’s totally okay. You love fashion, love its elements, you can join the team. Because get in, loser, we’re going shopping!

Got anything to discuss? Feel excited about the whole concept? Contact me at dennisanisyam@yahoo.com .

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Indonesia Local Brands: Affordable Quality

Ever since I’ve followed Vivi Yusof’s blog and read her stories about Fashion Valet, I keep wondering if we have similar things like that. Being a Malaysian, she’s a big supporter of Malaysian brands, and her business at Fashion Valet sells a number of Malaysian brands under affordable prices. Even Indonesian brands are also there! I became a bit jealous and wanted to see if we have a similar thing in Indonesia. So I looked around and found out that we have many.
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