Rambling about books

Book review: The House Between Tides, by Sarah Maine

Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.

Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.

What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body. Goodreads.

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Rambling about books

Book review: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, by Salman Rushdie

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub-Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.

Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.

Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights – or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse. Goodreads.

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#RetrospectSeries

June: in retrospect.

Ah the dreaded July is coming tomorrow, which means I literally only have a month left to wallow in self pity before I actually have to pull my shit together and actually face the music, that is to say actually accept the fact that I am indeed moving to Colombia. Yay?

I still hate spending Eid Fitr.

Now don’t get all your knickers in a twist. I don’t hate the day, but I hate the activities and the things that happened on Eid Fitr. In Eid Fitr, I am supposed to spend it with the whole lot of family, and although they can be bearable (if I really try my best), more often than not, they are shitload of troubles; what with the nagging, the complaining, the whining, and the “let’s-pretend-we-all-like-each-other-for-a-day-but-comes-tomorrow-we-would-all-pretend-we-don’t-know-each-other-until-next-Eid-Fitr“. It’s just tiring. I am not even remotely nice on my good days, imagine how horrible I am on my bad days, especially when I have to pretend that I’m okay?

Apparently logic doesn’t exist.

I was asked whether or not I have finally been impregnated, even it is clear as a crystal that I haven’t met my husband for four consecutive months. Two things why this bothers me; (1) what I do and what I don’t do in the bedroom with my husband is my personal shit to deal with, please don’t poke around; (2) why the fuck would I be pregnant after not meeting my husband for four consecutive months? Would that not be posing another question as to whose kids would the baby be? But you know what? Fuck logic, because people seems to just want to see every couple to be pregnant, because it’s so interesting to know that people have sex and are expecting kids.

I guess not everyone is familiar with the concept of cause and effect.

I was compared with a neighbour’s kid the other day by me Mum. And then I was compared again with another kid by me Mum. The problem is that, it seems that my Mum might have forgotten that things just doesn’t happen because it wants to happen, things happen because there is something that triggers it. Hence the concept of cause and effect. Exhibit A; you can’t expect the kids to want to spend time together all the time when we were raised to not found comfort in spending time together, ergo the effect (not enjoying time together) is because of the preliminary cause (being raised not to enjoy time spent with family).

When cornered, just throw someone else under the bus (except that, you shouldn’t).

First off, let me tell you that this matter was actually already resolved but I feel the need to note this on my retrospect series, because after all this did happened in June. There was a time when my sister was cornered by our Mum regarding a certain delicate matter. After repetitive follow up questions from our Mum and she couldn’t handle it no more, she did the next best shitty thing; threw someone else under the bus, and that someone else is none others than yours truly. Look, this is just shitty move; first of all, I did not partake in the any decision that my sister made, and suddenly I’m playing shield for her to threw our Mum off of her? Yeah, pretty shitty if you ask me. I talked it out with her and she was sorry, but let this be a lesson that never, not in any circumstances, should you throw anybody under the bus when you are cornered, especially if the other party knows nothing about your situation, or even if they knew still don’t do shit like that.

I am seven days away from RAM coming home!

Okay, that’s just self explanatory.


Well, there goes my June. I’m not going to be cliche about welcoming July or anything, especially since I just want the earth to open up and swallow me whole before July comes around. And yes, I was being dramatic and I was speaking figuratively.

Rambling about books

Book review: Fatherland, by Robert Harris

It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler’s 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth – a truth that has already killed, a truth that could topple governments, a truth that will change history. Goodreads.

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#FictionFriday

#FictionFriday: The shop.

The first thing she noticed was the sky, how it turned to a lovely hue of blue but gradually turned into dark grey. Slowly the clouds are congregating, as if they have a meeting to attend high up in the sky. The next come the pitter patter of rain hitting her wind breaker. Slowly she brought out her green umbrella. Standing motionlessly under the rain, she can hear all the droplets of water clearly, she can feel the wind blowing, and most of all she can feel the thunder brewing high above the sky waiting patiently to unleash its sound and light.

Slowly the lights began to flicker, illuminating what once was a crowded street but now empty due to the falling rain. She walked slowly, trying to enjoy the splashing of rain around her, the smell of rain if there is one, the flashes of thunder and the quiet street. The slow walk might have something to do with her anxiety over where she was supposed to be fifteen minutes ago.

There was a shop at the end of the road, and they had a Christmas tree set up, complete with twinkling lights that serves its purpose as fake snow. A Christmas tree on a July? The shopkeeper must have gone mad, she thought to herself. For what other reasons could there be for a shop to set a up a Christmas tree five months before the actual Christmas? And yet she can’t help herself from stopping in front of the shop and just stare at the twinkling lights. She pull out her left hand from under the umbrella and felt the rain had wet her hands. She hoped that the water might have turned into snow soon. A foolish wish, she knew.

The door to the shop was open, she was startled, she lost her balance a bit, she thought she was going to fell on her backside, but a pair of bony hands shoot out and pull her up straight in time.

“Oh, dear me. Did I startled you, young Lady?”

The owner of the bony hands was a lady with an all black clothes, from her immaculate top hat to her pointy boots are black. She cannot decipher how old the lady was. She seemed ancient, but young at the same time too, if she were to judge by the strength of the bony hands that pull her up straight.

“Oh not really, I was just lost in thoughts from staring at your Christmas tree. It’s gorgeous,” she manage to say, “but, why a Christmas tree? Christmas is still quite far away.”

“Oh dear, this is not a Christmas tree. Surely you can see this is not even a pine tree. This, my dear, is the tree of wishes. Each sparkling lights you see here represent people’s deepest wish. When someone wishes for something, strongly wished for something, sometimes, we are alerted of it and we try to locate that person and help them grant their wish,” the Lady was speaking in such a soothing tone to her ears, “I would love to chat with you but I am needed somewhere else. Have a good day, dear.”

She stood there, slowly shaking her head as she watched the Lady walked purposefully followed a black cat. Oh, surely whatever this shop is, the owner and whoever works there have gone mad. Tree of wishes? Whatever happened to this world?

With that thoughts in mind, she drags herself slowly trying to locate her destination. The rain grew harder and she doesn’t feel like walking anymore. She saw a bench, she didn’t care about the wetness of it, she was going to sit on it because she doesn’t feel like walking anymore, and so she sat down.

“I think I’m supposed to find you, clearly you’re the only person wandering around in this deserted street. Everyone else has gone inside a building, either to keep themselves warm or just to keep themselves dry until the rain stop. So, tell me dear, are you the one I’m looking for?”

She was close to screaming when she heard it. She thought a cat was saying those things to her. There was a cat in front of her, looking at her with tilted head. The cat has the shiniest black fur she had ever seen. Strangely the fur doesn’t seem to be wet. Thankfully, she realised that it wasn’t the cat that was talking to her, it was the Lady from the shop with the Christmas tree. She was not going to call that tree of wishes, she is not mad, yet.

“I’m sorry, what?” Her question came out like a squeaky mouse if ever a squeaky mouse can talk.

As the Lady took up the seat next to her, she said, “Well, I did tell you about how we go out and try to help people when they have wishes to be granted. We’re like a genie but without the hassle of living in a bottle and wait until some poor soul rub their grimy hands on the bottle. I was told to find a girl who would be wandering around the street, I was told she would joining us in training. Since there’s no one here except for the both of us, and Jimmy the Cat here, I assume you’re the one that I need to found.”

“Again, I’m sorry, what?”

“Oh for goodness sake, mate. I don’t get paid enough to go around and be inspirational and shit and whatever. Look, Are you or are you not Emily Henderson? And do you or do you not wish to join the Fidelia Greenwod Witchcraft?”

“Oh yes. To both questions, I mean.”

“Well, let’s get a move on then. We were waiting for you. I’m a witch but it doesn’t mean my clothes can’t get wet and honestly, the water from this bench is seeping up my knickers already.”

 

Impromptu writing

Impromptu writing: I fear for her.

I fear for her.

I dread the day that golden eyes shine no more.

I dread the day that face would scrunch no more.

I fear for her.

What if she no longer comes when I called for her?

What if she no longer there when I need to hug her?

I fear for her.

I do not wish her to be alone.

I do not wish her to groan.

I fear for her.

She deserves more.

She deserves to soar.

I fear for her,

for I will be gone

and it would feel like eon.

I fear for her,

but I fear for myself more.

If the end should come,

I see myself turning numb.


Jakarta, 15 June 2017