what’s on my bookshelf


Title: Of Mice and Men
First Publication: 1937
Published as Red Penguin Classic 2006 by the Penguin Group
Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Note: My most favorite novel of all time because it stabs right at the center of my heart once I come to the very last page of the book. By far, it is the only novel that leaves me with so many mixed feelings that I want to throw it out as I complete reading it.


Title: The Grapes of Wrath
First Publication: 1939
Published by Penguin Books in 1992
Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Note: Steinbeck puts so many things into this one basket; poverty, moral decadency, family rifts, religious mockery, social issues that arise during the Great Depression in the US with survival is the ultimate goal of all. It contains an ironical yet powerful message as Steinbeck chooses a female character as the navigator of the family mostly consists of male persons. The book is my second most beloved one, anyway.


Title: East of Eden
First Publication: 1952
Published in the John Steinbeck Centennial Edition (1902-2002) by the Penguin Group in 2002
Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
NOTE: This family saga is the door to Steinbeck’s masterpieces as it is his first book that I read back in June 2009


Title: Cannery Row
First Publication: 1945
This edition is published in 1992 by the Penguin Group
Rate: 3 out of 5 stars
NOTE: This novel is quite similar to his popular ‘Tortilla Flat’ with less dosis of dark comedy, saner characters


Title: In Dubious Battle
First Publication: 1936
This edition is published by the Penguin Books in 1992
Rate: 2 out of 3 stars
NOTE: I dislike the novel not only because it is highly political but also it is written in a too rigid, much less poetical way.


Title: Travels with Charley In Search of America
First Publication: 1962
Published in the 50th Anniversary Edition of John Steinbeck with an introduction by Jay Parini by the Penguin Group in 2012
Rate: 3.5 out of 5 stars
NOTE: The solo journey-driven non fiction highlights Steinbeck’s refreshed relationship with the US, his homeland that he loves so dearly amidst the shifted values in its people 


life of pi
Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Published by HarcourtBooks in 2001
Rate: 3.5 out of 5 stars
NOTE: A very wise book about human relationship with God through various religions according to innocent, honest eyes of a boy. A sad, solid, deep story of a friendship between the boy and a Bengal tiger. Above all else, it is a touching, heartbreaking yet brave journey of coming out alive from the Pacific Ocean.


the catcher in the rye
Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Published by the Little, Brown and Company Hachette Book Group USA in May 2001
Rate: 3.5 out of 5 stars
NOTE: A failed story of a teenager who wants to flee from his home, so sick of school, lack of love from his parents. His pure love for his sister keeps him from doing what he wishes. A curse or a bless? All in all, this controversial book is full of craps, true picture about teenage problems in the US. It used to be one my favorite books but I think I’m gonna change my mind.


the madonna of the future

Title: The Madonna of The Future and other Early Stories
Author: Henry James
Published by The New American Library in 1963
Rate: 3 out of 5 stars

cerita-cerita negeri asap

Title: Cerita-cerita Negeri Asap (Stories from The Nation of Smoke)
a collection of short stories
Author: Radhar Panca Dahana
Published by Kompas, 2005
Rate: 3 out of 5 stars

setelah revolusi tak ada lagi
Title: Setelah Revolusi Tak Ada Lagi (After Revolution No Longer Exists)
A collection of the author’s writings
Author: Goenawan Mohamad
Published by Pustaka Alvabet in 2005
Rate: 3 out of 5 stars


mary barton

Title: Mary Barton
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
First Publication: 1848
This Harper Press paperback edition, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is published in 2011
Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
NOTES: A highly recommended story for those seeking enjoyment in the beauty of words. A must read book for Victorian addicts who completely adore Victorian writers for their mastery in language.


adam bede

Title: Adam Bede
Author: Mary Ann Evans Cross or widely known as George Eliot
First Publication: 1859
Published by Signet Classic, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.Rate: 3 out of 5 stars
NOTE: One of the hardest novel I’ve read so far due to its religious content, ancient dialect spoken by some of its characters.


the woodlanders

Title: The Woodlanders
First Publication: 1887
Published by Oxford University Press Inc., in 2005
Rate: 3.5 out of 5 stars
NOTE: Splendid in the descriptions of nature, people, well, as always by Hardy. An unfair romance story for faithful people, or a realistic one for some. 


sea of poppies

Title: Sea of Poppies
Published by John Murray in 2008
Rate: 3 out of 5 stars
NOTE: An adventurous story about some characters on their way to join the Ibis ship during an opium era in India. Ghosh is a master of historically-inspired novel and this one proves his skills not only in telling you about events that serve as its background but also Indian traditional values, personal struggles that shape the lives of the major characters prior to their journey in the ship. Ghost’s honest narration yields cruel facts that may still be upheld by the Indians, particularly the one that discredits women as faced by Deeti, one of the characters in the book.


Title: Lalita
Author: Ayu Utami
Published by Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia in 2012
Rate: 2 out of 5 stars
NOTE: Sorry Ayu, this novel is way below your achievements through the phenomenal ‘Saman’ and ‘Larung’. So many things to be discussed in a relatively thin book that eventually fails to answer the puzzles. Easily-guessed ending, clumsy language, shallow character descriptions.

the god of small things

Title: The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
Published by Harper Perennial in 1998
Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
NOTE: A deeply moving, profound, mysterious novel that brings a satisfaction even if it forms a crack in my heart because of its sadness. Very beautiful language, so Arundhati Roy. Another plus point: dark comedy. This is my most favorite book written by any Indian writers so far.

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