Apr 16, 2018

Books I Read : April

I know it's too early to review but i don't want this post-effect be vanished if i just wait till the end of this month, p.s i also don't think i can read more book for the rest of this month haha 

So it started last month, i stumbled upon @bobbyhundreds' (LA-based streetwear designer) long instagram story posts about his tour in the Japanese-American internment camp of Manzanar, California. As foreigner here, i did know nothing about this so it was kinda grasp my hungry spirit of  inquiry (did i use this term correctly lol) and i ended up let myself googling and finally read 2 books related to how WWII affected Japanese in Japan and Japanese-American here in the US. 

Sachiko: A Nagasaki bomb survivor's story
Author: Caren Stelson
Genre: Nonfiction, History
11.01 am. 
The ten-year-old frozeSachiko threw herself facedown on the mat, covered her ears and squeezed her eyes shut. Was this pretend? 
11.02. am. 
PIKADON! (flash boom in Japanese)
This is a narrative nonfiction about Sachiko Yasui, one of the Nagasaki's nuclear bomb survivors. The first part of this book starts with the heart breaking memory of August 9th morning when the second nuclear bomb dropped in the city of Nagasaki, while Sachiko and her siblings went out to play. The rest of the book tell us Sachiko's life after that, the loss, the trauma, sickness, tears and hopes. Sachiko also told us several figures that inspires her, which we can learn how to stay in the positive way even after a terrible tragedy. I bet you don't have to worry spending more time to read this book because it is only 144 pages long with many pictures especially if you are interested to know more about the final stage of WWII and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I always felt myself have sufficient knowledge about WWII but then this book made me realize how little i know about what really happened and how this made a huge impact in many perspectives. This book not only focus on Sachiko's story, Caren Stelson also provided us with the consecutive short articles about the history itself. I feel like this book is even suitable for young ages to learn about history. For me personally, as Indonesian, who once saw the surrender of Japan in 1945 brought us the independence, this book was sorta reminder for me to not ever take what happened in the past for granted, cause it wasn't just about the Indonesian independence or the loss of Japanese or the occupation of other countries over other countries. We are all the victims of the war.

"And when you grow up, remember to tell my story. Have your children tell my story and their children and theirs...what happened to me must never happen to you."

Infamy: The shocking story of the Japanese American internment in World War II
Author: Richard Reeves
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Journalistic

Before I just knew it was because the attack of Pearl Harbor then the US finally dropped bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, i did know nothing about the Japanese American internment here in the US. I really wish i knew it earlier, even i'm not American myself but i was ashamed that i missed this cause this is important particularly because now the racial issues still a thing. This book provides us the real tension over Nikkei (Japanese American, both citizens and aliens living in the US) after the attack of Pearl Harbor, when there were a huge racism towards the Japanese American (the US mentioned them as "Japs"), when all of them being investigated by FBI without any forewarnings and finally evacuated to the concentration camps (there were 10 relocation centers in the US for Japanese American that time) just because they inherited Japanese blood and also the life in the concentration camp in the middle of Californian dessert with only hay beds and uncovered restrooms. Some people might not like the order of how Richard Reeves told the stories cause the stories kinda jump around between paragraph to paragraph but because the fact that this book came from one to one interviews of the people affected, for me it was fine. This book more like reading all the informations in museum (or maybe because i watched bobby hundreds' tour first so that i can visualized more clearly). What happened to Japanese American is as important as what happened to Jews during the holocaust, the African American and all other races who were and still being oppressed. Well, the important part of the history is not about how good or how bad our ancestors were in the past but more how can we learn from that, how we can anticipate something bad and how we can be better even from the infamy. I hope that someday we all can reach the same understanding of the racism so that one can never feel more superior than each other. Citing the thought of Connie Nice, the Hood River Valley of Oregon's museum director..

"I'm hoping that people will just stop and think: could we do that again? Are we doing that again, with Latinos or Muslims?..I'm not saying this will change the world but i want people to walk away and say, 'Maybe we didnt do that right' and i hope then that they're not going to repeat history"

Mar 31, 2018

Books I Read : February & March

Long story short i finished only one book in February and 2 books this March. Since these couple months have been so intense for me as student i felt like i could only bear light reading session before bed so i picked 2 short stories books and 1 short non-fiction book (which some of them turned out not so light for me).

What it means when a man falls from the sky
Author: Lesley Nneka Arimah
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

When i read the first paragraph in the first story, i thought i will never like this book and probably would stop in the middle but glad i finally finished it. This book makes me overwhelmed. First, she chose a very poetic words for such a short story. Second, for me, all stories have vague story line which made me out of place and often re-read it over and over again. Third, she used simple dialogs in between, like only one or two sentences but some..hit me so hard. Last, some made me confuse but so into it at the same time  The first story called "The future looks good", i depicted this story by only one scene of a girl named Ezinma trying to unlock a door with her keys but then it let us float into what made Ezinma be in her place now, past memories about her family and all the chaos in her life, flowed slowly until it reached the unpredictable shocking ending i was not ever prepare for. It consist of 12 different stories and i'm not gonna tell all of the stories in this book but most of them are about grief or pretty heart breaking with some background of unhealthy family relationship and also non-fiction fantasy character. I guess most of people who have read this book might love the "What it means when a man falls from the sky" (as it became the title of this book). My favorite story is the one with title "What is a Volcano?", story about dissension between the goddess of rivers and the god of ants, which in some ways i found it relevant to human relationship. 
No one asked Ant what he thought of River, but someone should have known that you do not take small things from small men..

Love, in theory
Author: E.J. Levy
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

This book has 10 individual stories about heterosexual and homosexual relationship, family relationship and even relationship with God. All the stories have the same big theme of "love". I personally like this book because the stories seems so realistic (yet quirky) to the real events, It's definitely not the Nicholas spark's love story and also this book provides you with different kind of perspectives on how people define love and affection. I never knew about E.J. Levy before but i could tell she's overeducated cause the words sound so smart full of intelligence. I think that is one of other things that make these love stories different from other common love story that often more exploit emotion of readers rather than think realistically. This book is more pragmatic for me than just a 'theoretical' despite the title is in theory. I'm still not sure about which story is my favorite haha. It's not because i couldn't find wow-factor but just because i feel each story has its speciality that i wont let myself to compare to each other. 

Reasons to Stay Alive
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Non-fiction, Self-help (um maybe?)

I still did not sure what made Matt Haig had been so depressed but this book is about the memoir of his anxiety and depression, more about how he went through it. I'm not gonna say much for this book as it seems so obvious if you just read the description behind this book. But I thought it was gonna full of motivational words or wisdoms but apparently this book told more about why depression is something that can happen without exception and how does it really feel as someone holding this kinda miserable feeling. Maybe for someone who is going through the same feeling can be so relatable. Which i think thats why this book might help people battling with depression. Cause most of the time we only just need people who know what you feel rather than people who tell us what to do or give advice without knowing whats within, right? Other than that, what i found interesting in this book is also because Matt Haig several times indirectly mentioned about how his wife, Andrea deal with him. It implicitly gives me perspective on how important it is to have someone around when you dealing with depression. 

To other people, it sometimes seems like nothing at all. You are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames.

Mar 20, 2018

I guess we should be happy 
every time we find ourselves related to 
a sad song,
miserable character in a movie or
a heart breaking book

because the point is 
you could finally realize
that people apparently share the same feeling
with you
and you are not alone.