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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Money Tips

Hemat pangkal kaya.

Sejak kecil kita semua diajarkan pribahasa tersebut. Pada kenyataannya, berhemat bukan hal yang mudah. Mengelola uang bukan hal yang mudah. Kita selalu punya keinginan untuk membeli sesuatu, pergi jalan-jalan, mencoba tempat makan baru, dan lain-lain. Bukan rahasia lagi bahwa semakin banyak uang yang kita miliki, semakin beragam pula kebutuhan kita.

Setelah akhirnya berhasil mandiri mengelola uang selama kuliah di Manchester (read it here!), aku belajar cukup banyak tentang uang. Sebagian lagi aku belajar dari orang tuaku. These may not be as good as the tips told by a famous financial planner, but I hope it benefits you anyhow 🙂

Divide your money into several pockets

Not literally, though. Punya uang yang terbatas pastinya harus dikelola sebaik mungkin. Ada porsi untuk jajan sehari-hari, belanja, uang transport, uang hangout sama teman-teman, zakat, dan lain-lain. Once you got your monthly (or maybe weekly) allowance, divide it immediately. Sebisa mungkin, disiplin dengan porsi yang udah ditentukan di awal. Kalau jatah hangout adalah Rp 500,000 per bulan, ya hangout sesuai budget itu. Kalau udah melebih budget, ambil dari jatah expense lainnya (jangan dari jatah nabung atau investasi ya!)

Note your expenses

Aku mulai membiasakan diri mencatat pengeluaran sejak di Manchester. Keuntungannya adalah jadi lebih bisa mengontrol uang yang kita punya. Mengontrol uang di Manchester jauh lebih mudah sih, karena aku jarang jajan hal-hal kecil kayak cilok, gorengan, dan lain-lain. Jadi item yang dicatat pun ngga banyak (even a cup of coffee aku catat lho dulu). It’s a challenge to note every expense I made in here. Yet I think I have to try harder.

Nikmati uang yang dimiliki

Uang ngga dibawa mati, ya kan? Jadi, jangan pelit-pelit. True kita harus hemat, tapi bukan berarti pelit. Pada akhirnya uang yang kita terima dari hasil bekerja, harus bisa kita nikmati. Treat yourself a delicious meal, buy yourself a decent pair of shoes, etc. Ini bisa dilakukan setelah membagi uang ke porsinya masing-masing ya.

Berbagi dan membuat orang lain senang

Zakat tentunya wajib hukumnya. Dari setiap harta yang kita miliki, ada hak orang lain. Selain zakat, coba juga untuk bersedekah. Berbagi dengan orang lain yang membutuhkan. Ngga harus selalu memberi dalam bentuk uang, bisa juga dengan membelikan makanan dan kado. Selain ke orang-orang yang kurang mampu, bisa juga untuk memberikan perhatian ke orang-orang yang kita sayangi. Happiness only real when shared, remember?

Lend your money wisely

Pernah ngga sih ragu minjemin uang ke orang lain karena takut ngga dibalikin? Atau bingung setengah mati gimana caranya nagih hutang ke orang lain? Nah ibuku pernah bilang “kalau minjemin uang ke orang lain, kasih berapa pun yang sekiranya kamu ikhlas kalau-kalau dia ngga balikin uangnya.” Dan aku selalu terapin itu setiap ada yang pinjem uang. Jadi di awal udah ikhlas kalau ngga balik uangnya. Yet, we have to be brave enough to ask our money back sih kadang-kadang.

Carry less cash

Waktu di Manchester, aku pernah kedatangan guest lecture dari MasterCard. Beliau ini mengajarkan bagaimana bermanfaatnya uang elektronik. Di Manchester pun aku biasanya cuma punya uang cash £5 untuk naik bus. Sisanya semua transaksi dilakukan dengan kartu debit. Yang aku rasain banget sih dompet jadi lebih enteng dan belanja jadi lebih terkontrol. Sisa uang tuh biasanya bikin kita spend lebih banyak untuk hal-hal yang ngga terlalu kita butuhkan. Sayangnya di Indonesia belum selalu bisa bayar pakai kartu ya..

The more isn’t always the merrier

Punya uang banyak pasti menyenangkan. Tapi ternyata ngga juga, well, at least that’s what one of the richest people in England said. Katanya at some point, money is an evil. Jadi ternyata the more isn’t always the merrier. Makanya it’s very wise kalau kita ngga mengejar banyaknya uang yang kita dapat. Yang harusnya kita kejar adalah berkah dari berapapun uang yang kita punya.

So, that’s it guys. Tujuh hal tentang uang yang akhirnya aku pelajari setelah 23 tahun hidup di dunia 😀 I hope you find it helpful and beneficial.

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia