Orson Scott Card

Tattoos, Mothers, and Twitter

My friend and I were talking about tattoos. We both want one, but what if our mothers find out? We may not fear God, but we both fear the wrath of our mothers. My mother keeps me more grounded than religion ever could. There are some decisions I don’t dare to make because of my mother, such as permanently inking my skin. There’s also the issue of marriage. It’s not that I don’t want to get married, because I do. But how much of that wanting to get married is because I personally want to, or because my mother wants me to?

She asked me what kind of tattoo I want to get. For a while now, I’ve wanted to ink the sentence “the enemy’s gate is down” from Ender’s Game across my collar bones. I imagine it will hurt badly, so let’s reconsider the placement of the tattoo later. Not to mention it would be very big and visible there. But I want those words on my skin. It’ll be an homage to my favorite book. It’ll also be a reminder of optimism, strategy, and victory.

All of a sudden, I thought of another tattoo I want to get. A tesseract tattoo. Or ‘warping’ for Trekkies. Check this out:

An excerpt from Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" regarding tesseract.

An excerpt from Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” regarding tesseract.

I want a tattoo of an ant, tesseracting from my forearm to my bicep. The tattoo won’t have to be big. I can have a small ant on top of a thin line or a small dot on my forearm. Then the end of the line or the other small dot would be on my bicep. To show the ant tesseracting, I just have to fold my arm and voila! Damn it, now I want that tattoo badly.

It’ll be another homage to my favorite book ♥ and at the same time, it’ll say a lot about me, summarized in a group of tiny pictures. It’ll tell my love for SFF, my muse of and neverending hope in science, and my faith that we’ll travel the stars one day. That we will reach far beyond our eyes can see. It’ll be great to pair it up with the Ender’s Game tattoo.

As for my friend, she wants a tattoo of a cage and a bird. I joked about it being a bird out of its cage and she got mad lol the interesting part is, she wants a silhoutte of a bird as a symbol for many things. I didn’t expect one of them to be Twitter.

I think all millenials would agree that Twitter has not only changed our lives, but it has become a part of our lives. I can’t imagine not having a Twitter. I have retired most of my Twitter accounts, but I don’t delete them. Twitter is a part of my identity, and it’s one of my streams of self-expression. It doesn’t show a full picture of me, but it still shows a lot. It is there where I make and interact with a lot of friends. It’s my number one source of lightning news update. It’s a constant pool of discussion and debates. And you get to share your piece with the rest of the world, through different communities. Twitter is a social magic. It is how we connect these days. It also serves as a micro diary as well as a personal announcement platform. Out of all of my social media accounts, Twitter is the only one I have consistently maintained. It’s not an overstatement to say that it has shaped me into the person I am today, and I believe I’ll still be using it in decades to come.

My future biographer would have a hell lot of material from my Twitter alone.

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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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My 2013 in books

It’s that time of the year where I wrap up all of my reading experience for the last 12 months. My Goodreads reading challenge was to read 52 books in 2013. It was quite difficult in the middle, and it looked like I was about to fail. But I managed to catch up (and maybe cheated a bit) and ended up reading more than 52 books! Here’s the list!

1. Enderverse books by Orson Scott Card
I finally finished all the books in the series. The ones I read in 2013 were: Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight, A War of Gifts, Ender in Exile, First Meetings, Earth Unaware, and Earth Afire. Duh! Greatest sci-fi series ever! Didn’t review the books, but I did review the movie here.
2. Star Wars, Lost Tribe of the Sith: Precipice by John Jackson Miller
3. Lupus Kecil: Sakit, Lah, Dekh, Donk, Weew! by Hilman & Boim
4. His Dark Material series by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass, Lyra’s Oxford, and Once Upon A Time in the North. Somehow better than Harry Potter. Basically about a child trying to stop her father from killing God.
5. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
6. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. Best epic ever since The Lord of the Rings.
7. Inferno by Dan Brown
8. The Fuzzy series by H. Beam Piper
Little Fuzzy, Fuzzy Sapiens, Fuzzies and Other People. Classic sci-fi.
9. Balada Si Roy series by Gol A Gong
Book 1 and 2
10. All the Wrong Questions series by Lemony Snicket
Book 1 and 2. Always perfect. Lemony Snicket rarely goes wrong.
11. The Naked Traveler by Trinity
12. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
JK Rowling is in love with crime fiction.
13. Sci-Fi 1.0: Kumpulan Cerpen Fiksi Ilmiah Indonesia edited by Ismanto Hadi Saputro
Bad. Really bad. I was embarrassed to read this.
14. The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
15. Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Because proper authors write fanfictions too.
16. Every Day by David Levithan
17. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Great book. Truly. I was honored to ever read this.
18. Abarat series by Clive Barker
Abarat; Days of Magic, Nights of War; Absolute Midnight. Only reviewed Absolute Midnight here.
19. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
EVERYBODY MUST READ THIS BOOK. And her debut novel too.
20. Ranah 3 Warna by A. Fuadi
21. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
In fandom words, it’s an Islam!AU fantasy.
22. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
In fandom words -oh fuck it- every fangirl must read this, really.
23. James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing by G. Norman Lippert
24. The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle
Review here.
25. Attack on Titan series by Hajime Isayama
Japanese manga, read volume 1 to 12.
26. Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L’Engle
Review here.
27. Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant. Review here.
28. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Review here.
29. Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer
Review here.
30. Mango Seasons by Michelle Cruz Skinner
Review here.
31. Fantasy Fiesta 2010: Antologi Cerita Fantasi Terbaik 2010 edited by R. D. Villam
This anthology gave me so much hope for Indonesian fantasy genre.
32. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Review here.
33. Across the Universe by Beth Ravis
Book 1 and 2. Somehow reminds me of Divergent, except it’s better. As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of reading the sequel (third book) now.

And I thought I was busy! Turns out I wasn’t that busy to miss these 50+ books. It’s been a great year of books for me, cos it feels like I’ve been catching up. I used to read a lot, then somehow I stopped reading as much, especially when I started to work. But now I’ve caught up and it feels glorious to be back in this familiar sphere of words. Not only that, now that I can finally afford to get books on my own, I’ve been shopping a lot!

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Books I bought in 2013. More are still coming, will arrive on my doorstep next year. And I actually forgot to add 2 books to the stacks. Some are still wrapped. They’re all over the place right now cos I’m running out of shelves.

As satisfying as my reading experience has been, some books are still bad. So I made a mini personal awards of my own.

Best Book of the Year: Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Worst Book of the Year: Sci-Fi 1.0: Kumpulan Cerpen Fiksi Ilmiah Indonesia edited by Ismanto Hadi Saputro
Best Fantasy Book of the Year: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
Worst Fantasy Book of the Year: Sci-Fi 1.0: Kumpulan Cerpen Fiksi Ilmiah Indonesia edited by Ismanto Hadi Saputro
Most Recommended Book: Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Most Recommended Collection: Abarat series by Clive Barker
Most Overrated: Inferno by Dan Brown
Most Underrated: His Dark Material series by Philip Pullman
Most Favorite: everything in the Enderverse of course ♥

I think that basically summed up my year 2013 in literature. Reading 52 books in a year has been really hard, I don’t think I’m gonna do it again next year. I think I’ll just stick to at least 12 books and focus more on writing stories of my own and book reviews. It’s time to slow down and relax. I got a couple of half-finished manuscripts and I have to submit at least one of them to a publisher before April. Just a personal goal of mine. There’s my literary wishlist of 2014 too, so yes, I’m still going strong on building my own mini library. I want to read non-fiction more than fiction though next year, just so I won’t get bored.

This is just the beginning, my friends! In 2014, I read less, but in a way I also read more. I want to contribute a lot more in regards to books, since now I’ve realized that it’s the only thing I gladly work on without any complaints. Many great books are coming in 2014 and I hope I’ll get to discuss them with you.

Keep reading, folks. ♥

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Should Have Hit The Jackpot

Good morning! Yesterday was a really great Sunday and obviously you could see it from my tweets. I have decided to start collecting everything Ender’s Game, starting with the books. Yes, I’ve read the e-books, but there’s nothing like holding a physical book at the tip of your fingers. And I’ve been meaning to reread the series anyway. I must have the paper experience.

So I ordered the first 4 books through Periplus, my favorite local importing bookstore. They offered the quartet set for 396,000 IDR. A bit pricey, but for 4 imported books, I think they’re not bad. They said the books would arrive in 12-20 working days, so I marked my calendar for Nov 20 and Dec 2.

But no, my friends. I got my surprise of the month when the security told me that my books had arrived yesterday. Oh my god.

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I’m collecting Ender’s Game. I can feel it. I can’t wait to reread everything! But I’m gonna wait until I’m done collecting the complete series so I can read them in a linear sequence. I still got 9 novels and many comics of the title to order. Not to mention the upcoming novel that will be released in April next year. Oh my god I’m so happy ;~~~~;

In the evening, I went to Periplus again to get my favorite magazine, Discover: Science for the Curious. Periplus is the only store that sells it. I really recommend Periplus to everyone cos it’s the only store I know that actively encourages people to read. Their collection is relatively cheap, consists of many titles (I mean, many), and ordering imported books are so easy. You can pay with your credit card or bank transfer. And they also have many programs that offer discounts or vouchers if you’re a member. I am, and I have no complaints so far :D

Anyway, I also checked out Kinokuniya, cos no matter how awesome Periplus is, often I find Kinokuniya has more books on their shelves than Periplus. I haven’t tried Kinokinuniya order system though, so I can’t compare.

As I browsed through the store, guess what I found on one of the shelves. Book 5, 6, and 7 of Madeleine L’Engle’s Kairos series. Ask Rudi, I almost screamed in the middle of the store.

You have to understand. A Wrinkle In Time and Ender’s Game are my most favorite, favorite books! They’re both so awesome I can’t even decide which one tops the other. They’re both number one on my list! Getting imported books used to be so hard in Jakarta. I had to ask my friend to buy me Kairos series in the past and even then I only got 5 books out of 8. And yesterday I found the remaining 3! What’s more exciting is, I haven’t read these 3 at all! These books are so rare, I can’t even find the e-books online.

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Now it’s complete. Oh my god.

I still have the Chronos series to import so that my collection would be mega complete. I can’t wait to start reading it. ♥

Now I’m waiting for payday so that I can immediately order the next Ender’s Game books. I just found out that Book Depository offers free shipping worldwide and they have the Shadow series omnibus that is cheaper than what Periplus offers. And they claim to ship faster than Periplus! I’m gonna check them out.

If only I found another great book yesterday, I would’ve hit the jackpot.

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The Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending

Day 27 of the 30-day book challenge


Click pic for Goodreads page

Obviously, I can’t talk much about it, because that will spoil everything.

PLEASE EVERYONE, READ ENDER’S GAME. IT’S NOT NUMBER 1 ON ALL SCI-FI BOOK LISTS FOR NOTHING.

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