I was an avid reader.
The bad thing was I couldn’t afford to buy books from my pocket money. The good thing was I had all the time to walk around my school’s library and borrowed everything I want to read.
Then college life took away everything I have. Energy, money and most of my times. There was only the bad thing left for me.
I haven’t read a single book until the 7th semester and yes, people always need something to blame for. I’m blaming my bad decision to not experienced the delightful activity on those three years of my life. Then one day, a magic book called my poor soul.
I went to the bookstore and found a stunning The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in an ulterior rack. This is a crime fiction novel by my favorite author Agatha Christie, her well-known masterpiece. I looked up at the price tag. Rp.38.000,00. I could afford this one! I bought the book, digested in a few days then came a feeling I’ve forgotten in such a long time.
Ah, I yearned the feeling of finishing a good book. The tremendous adventure, mixed-up feeling, false prejudice, stunning revelation and unique perspective. I fell in love. I want to read more.
I started with the local author: Negeri Para Bedebah and Negeri Di Ujung Tanduk by Tere Liye; Dilan and Dilan Bagian Kedua by Pidi Baiq; and Sabtu Bersama Bapak by Adhitya Mulya. I was excited by my comeback-old-hobby so at the end of 2015, I made a resolution to read more in the next year. As we know, resolution won’t be achieved without the right tools. I remembered having a Goodreads account. It was mussy. Then I reset my account: uploaded the profile picture, picked a username, rated books I’ve ever read (and months later, not just rated but also reviewed) and pledged 25 books on Goodreads 2016 reading challenge. It means I have to read at least two books in a month, with one extra book in one of the three long-holiday months (Jun-Aug).
The days went by. Since today is the last day in 2016, it’s official to say that I have finished 45 books. And that’s quite an accomplishment! Moreover, I also read in English! I was afraid I can’t understand the story and it would take a longer time to finish. This year, my reading-books-in-English anxiety is healed. 16/45 books are in English, so it equals to 35,56%. I should call it a progress.
Here are the books I have read in my commute, waiting time, and have caused late-night sleep in 2016:
- Mystery of Yellow Room (Gaston Leroux)
- Peril at End House (Agatha Christie)
- Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Agatha Christie)
- A Murder is Announced (Agatha Christie)
- Five Little Pigs (Agatha Christie)
- The Murder At The Vicarage (Agatha Christie)
- One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (Agatha Christie)
- The Moving Finger (Agatha Christie)
- Towards Zero (Agatha Christie)
- Sad Cypress (Agatha Christie)
- Murder is Easy (Agatha Christie)
- Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Monogram Murders (Sophie Hannah)
- The Black Cat and Other Stories (Edgar Allan Poe)
- Ordeal By Innocence (Agatha Christie)
- Parker Pyne Investigates (Agatha Christie)
- Cards on The Table (Agatha Christie)
- Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (Agatha Christie)
- Poirot Investigates (Agatha Christie)
- 4.50 From Paddington (Agatha Christie)
- Dead Man’s Folly (Agatha Christie)
- Hickory Dickory Dock (Agatha Christie)
- Murder on The Orient Express (Agatha Christie)
- Destination Unknown (Agatha Christie)
- The Mysterious Mr. Quin (Agatha Christie)
- By The Pricking of My Thumbs (Agatha Christie)
- Tewasnya Gagak Hitam (Sidik Nugroho)
- Murder on The Links (Agatha Christie)
- Pulang (Tere Liye)
- Hector and The Search for Happiness (Franςois Lelord)
- The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
- Kiss Kiss (Roald Dahl)
- Daughters of Eve (Lois Duncan)
- Sputnik Sweetheart (Haruki Murakami)
- The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
- Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote)
- Give and Take (Adam Grant)
- Studentpreneur Guidebook (Arry Rahmawan)
- Rumah Tangga (Fahd Pahdepie)
- Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Haruki Murakami)
- Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)
- Lifeboat No. 8 (Elizabeth Kaye)
From those forty-five books I devoured in 2016, there are five rated-five-books I highly recommend. Yes, Christie’s whodunnit mystery is on the list. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and Murder on The Orient Express are astonishing. I believe that Hercule Poirot’s Christmas has been inspired by Gaston Leroux’s Mystery of Yellow Room, a locked-room mystery. It’s a bloody crime with a stunning revelation. Next is Murder on The Orient Express. Without any explanation, the title says it all. I won’t say much because it will be adapted for big screen and released on 2017! If you don’t have time to read the book, please watch the movie in the cinema started on November, 22. Eleven months to go. I can’t wait!
Move on from Agatha Christie, let’s talk about the best non-crime-fiction books I read this year.
First one is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Based on my Goodread’s year-end report, The Alchemist is the most popular book among my have-read books. I’m certain that you’ve ever heard “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” quote. Yes, it comes from this motivational fable. The Alchemist teaches us to believe in our callings and eager to learn everything it takes to get us closer to our dream. It guides me in this frantic post-graduate syndrome.
Next one is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. As we know, discipline equals with Japanese, and Haruki Murakami is a respectful Japanese. I never knew the definition of discipline before I read this memoir. He is extremely hard to himself, in a good way. If you want to read his golden precepts in a short time, you could read here. However, I highly recommend reading the book by yourself. The last one is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. A well-written insight of how we view success through the word of outliers. It’s thoroughly researched. You do need to read this one.
I’m proud to say that I actually read more than 45 books. I’m using 50-page-rule, if I can’t enjoy the book after 50 pages of reading, I ditch it. This year, it happened to Hector and The Search of Love. I thought I’m gonna love the second Hectors’s adventure as I love the first one, but I was wrong. There are also some half-read books. Here is the list of books I wished I could finish immediately on 2017:
- We Have Always Lived In The Castle (Shirley Jackson) – I read it while waiting for a friend in a Transjakarta Shelter, then at that time I have another Christie’s books. So I forget it. Sorry.
- Danny The Champion of The World (Roald Dahl) – It shares some similarity plot with The Champion of The World, one of the short stories in Kiss Kiss, also by Roald Dahl. So I got bored with this chasing pheasants part.
- Charles Dickens’ Ghost Stories (Charles Dickens) – One (weird supernatural) story left.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It (Allison Pearson) – I got this from book swap in International Readers Festival by Goodreads Indonesia three weeks ago. I am interested in how a working mother saves the world. Yea you know, I’m just running out of time.
- The Maxwell Daily Reader (John C. Maxwell) – You can not devour motivational quotes without getting bored, even if it’s great. Believe me.
- An Astronaut’s Life Guide on Earth (Chris Hadfield) – I love this one! But I love fiction even more. I promise to gobble you up til the finish line when I start reading you again. I’m a woman of her words.
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts (Susan Cain) – I love this one, too! I (also) promise to gobble you up til the finish line when I start reading you again.
As you see, I’m more a fiction fan. A crime fiction fans to be precise. So in the next year, I wish I could read more non-fiction books. They provide us new knowledge with related case and we can apply the lessons in real life situation. Basically, we’ll get better. Then, why not? I’ll pledge 35 books on 2017, 10 of them have to be non-fiction. You may ask, “You have read 45 books this year, why only pledge 35?”.
I have to be realistic. This year I’m still unemployed so I have more free time. I’d rather call it my gap semester actually. Still seeking the essentials of life: who I am, what my values are, what I can do, what I want, what I need to do, and so on (lately I am interested in philosophy and had asked numerous questions to myself, in my brain). On 2017, I have to be busy with my own career. So three books per month with one extra book in one of the three long-holiday months is quite enough.
Now I am ready to chase my ideal job and read great books.