Books I Read in 2017 (a Short Review)

Never did I take record of books that I have read in a year. I think it’s the right time now to start doing it because I read some great books and they deserve a short review. I finished 8 books in total (fail to finish another 3 or 4 because they didn’t hook me there or because I couldn’t follow what the book is saying). Here’s the list of the 9 books I read and maybe it can be your list for 2018!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

It was my second Haruki Murakami book. I still enjoyed how the author wrote the story and most importantly, how the book contains a lot of inspiring quotes. Typical to other books written by Murakami, the story of Norwegian Wood is dark and deep. As expected, the book also bluntly describe all the occasions in the story. It tells a tale of a man who can’t let go of a woman in his past. Even though in the present there’s a very attractive woman that loves him. The book taught me (and perhaps other readers too) that we should open our heart, never cling to the past, and never take anything we have right now for granted.

Favorite quote from the book: “what a terrible thing it is to wound someone you really care for and to do it so unconsciously.” It reminds me to always be considerate, especially for people i care for.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason

This one I definitely recommend. The title might sound a little bit rude but the content is awesome. In life, we often give a f*ck (read: throw our mind) to things that actually don’t matter. As a result, our happiness reduced. We become easily pissed and feel exhausted all the time because we let little things bother us. The book tell us how not to give a f*ck unnecessarily. We ought to choose the thing we deliberately give a f*ck to. The book underlines that we all are going to die anyway, this life is temporary. So why spend a single time overthinking and bothering about things that have very little value in our life? I feel very positive after reading the book. I stop thinking too much about what other people say and I try to keep looking for little things that makes me happy instead of the other way around. I’m a person who get pissed quite easily but now I can regain my inner peace rather quickly.

Happy Little Soul by Retno Hening

Who does not love Kirana? A very famous toddler on Instagram who will brighten up everybody’s day. In this book, her mother shares the journey of raising Kirana until she becomes a very happy toddler. Although I am not a mother (yet), I learn quite a lot from the book. It emphasizes the importance of quality communication between parents and children. For instance, how parents should really pay full attention the their children when they are having a conversation. There are many other useful parenting tips that we can learn from the book. At first I don’t expect the book to be very enjoyable to read. It turns out that Kirana’s mother has a good writing skill. Plus, the book comes in full color.

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Another Haruki Murakami’s book. This time, the book consists of several short stories. All the stories take place in Japan, after (or near the time of) an earthquake. I’m honestly not a big fan of this book. There is this one story about a frog that can walk and speak like human, trying to safe the world.. and I don’t like reading fantasy (that’s why I watched, not read, Harry Potter). Unlike other Murakami books, this one does not leave me any moral message.

L’art de la Simplicité by Dominique Loreau

The initiative of tidying up or decluttering has been popular this year. There are massive books that discuss how to declutter and how it can benefits us. I did not have any intention to apply this way of living, to be honest, because I found it pretty extreme to some extent (also because I pretty much declutter my wardrobe regularly). The book is divided into several sections, from social life, wardrobe, and healthy lifestyle. I have to both agree and disagree to whatever the book is saying. For example, I completely agree that it is better to buy one expensive cardigan with fine quality in neutral color that is versatile and will last a lifetime than a cheap colorful cardigan that easily torn or will only be used once or twice. But I disagree that we have to limit how much we eat, especially dessert. So, I guess I will just take whatever suits me and leave the rest.

Crazy Rich Asian by Kevin Kwan

This one is a very fun book! Highly entertaining. It’s my type of novel, just like Shopaholic and Revenge Wears Prada. Easy to read, perfect for a laid back weekend. They will make the book into a movie as well, fyi. It tells a story about crazy rich Asian people and their jetset life, complete with all the conflicts. The plot is actually pretty common, where a very rich guy dates a girl from middle class family. But the conflicts around the main plot is very interesting. I’m currently reading the second book of the trilogy and I’m all excited.

Revive Your Heart by Nouman Ali Khan

Nouman Ali Khan is very popular nowadays and we can listen to his lecture on Youtube. The content of this book is not much different from the content in some of his videos on Youtube. In fact, reading the book feels like listening to his lecture. The way they build the sentence is as if it is a transcript or subtitle from the video (maybe indeed it is). But I don’t really mind that. The topics inside the book are very relatable to our daily life and I think the book is a good reminder for us all. Every time we feel down, we can reopen the book and choose one topic to read. Some people asked me where to buy the book. I’m not quite sure where to get it in Indonesia, as I got it overseas. I hope they import the book soon.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A very touching book that made me so emotional almost in every page. It is a story about a doctor who is diagnosed with cancer. He has to survive for as long as he could and he also need to rebuild his life and wisely choose how he’s going to spend the rest of the time that he has left in his life. I couldn’t hold my tears when I read the epilogue written by the doctor’s wife. I can’t remember any quote from the book but this has changed the way I see life and death.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg attempts to encourage all women to be in a significant position in their career. This book is about feminism, a very positive feminism. It’s not about woman reaching out a tremendous career and neglect all other responsibilities. It’s about how woman can have both career and life, to some extent. There’s a balance between the two, not perfect but manageable. What I like the most about this book is that the author does not think that one woman is better than the other (e.g career woman better than housewife or vice versa). The most important thing I learn from the book is to respect each woman’s choice and celebrate it. Woman, regardless of their choice, has to be beneficial for her surroundings and for the society. Either by having a good career, volunteering, or fully committed to raising brilliant children. To be able to balance their life, women need good life partner whose willing to co-work inside the house and equally take responsibility in parenting and household activities. The book is very encouraging and it’s not in the extreme side. It’s a must read (for both woman and man!).

So that’s my list for 2017. I don’t have a list yet for 2018 but surely there will be plenty of good and inspiring books to read 🙂

❤️ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

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