Wrap Ups

September Wrap Up and Currently Reading

Hello everyone, welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks! A little bit late for a monthly wrap up, especially since I posted my October TBR not too long ago, but better late than never! How was your September reading month? For me, September was quite successful. I read three novels and one short story collection, and I rated one book 5 stars, while I rated the other three four stars. Overall, not a bad month!

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Books I Read in September

Lelaki Harimau by Eka Kurniawan (full review)

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A novel famous all over the world, Lelaki Harimau is written in Indonesian and has been translated to English, titled Man Tiger. This short book is about a man living in a small, remote village who killed his neighbour in cold blood, claiming that he was possessed by a tiger inside him. It’s a very literary book, full of hidden meanings and complex characters. At first it was a little hard for me to get into the writing style of this book. And there are quite a lot of characters you had to remember as well. However, once you get to know the characters and enjoy the entire vibe and atmosphere of the book, you cannot stop reading it. The plot itself isn’t very exciting for me. I mainly enjoyed the words I was consuming with my eyes, and trying to piece together the characters and their motives.

All in all I gave this book a 4 stars, not 5. It’s a little too deep and philosophical book for me, and there are a lot of weird, supernatural, inexplicable events that happened, so if you’re not the person who enjoys those magical realism books, don’t pick this up. It’s not an amazing book, but I do understand why so many people loved it, and why they consider it a good literature. The writing is wonderful, and the themes discussed in this book, especially the internal dwelling between the characters, was genius. And those last pages got me really hooked, while that last section of the whole book made me close my eyes in amazement. I can’t wait to read Eka Kurniawan’s other books, and I already have an urge to reread this book again.

4 stars

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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Murder on the Orient Express completes my small but burning want to read mystery and thriller books and I decided to pick this one up in my Kindle because I know that the movie is coming up soon and the trailer looks so goooood. This is probably one of Agatha Christie’s most popular novel, a mystery about the murder of a man in a train that is stuck in a snow storm, making it a locked-room mystery.

Filled with exciting events and a cast of unique and interesting characters, this novel makes up one of the best mystery novels people have ever read. It’s entirely exciting from the beginning to the end, and you will never be able to guess the real killer. I looove Hercule Poirot, the main character, and although a while after reading this book the characters mostly feel like a blur to me, they are all so filled with motive and possibility that you just keep guessing for the culprit till the end.

4 stars

Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (full review)

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Dear Mr. M is very different from any other thriller books. Coming into the book, the blurb only tells the readers about a tiny section of the story, of how an avid reader of a bestselling author writes a letter to him. Having previously read The Dinner and loving it, I had high expectations for this book. This was definitely chunkier than his previous novel, and the story itself seems much more elaborate and full of details. But looking back at it now, they both definitely possess a similar vibe and several themes came up in this book that reminded me of The Dinner.

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In many ways this book is such a complex and mysterious book, with exciting events unraveling. With amazingly written characters and a plot that makes reading a 400-page book feel like nothing, you can almost dismiss the occasionally rambling writing style. It might’ve been perfect if it was around 100 pages cut, but this book was overall a very fresh story that not many books possess. Exciting, thrilling in every page, while also not being too fast paced, Dear Mr. M will blow your mind.

4 stars

Monsoon Tiger and Other Stories by Rain Chudori (full review)

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I didn’t expect much coming into this short story collection. Even though I adored the simple and minimalistic production of the book – how small and compact it is, with simple cover and overall white tone, and a lovely typefront, I didn’t really know what to expect. This was written by the daughter of a writer who wrote a book I really enjoyed, titled Pulang.

I love how unique and different from each other every story in the collection is. When I look back at the table of contents, I can still make out which story is about which and what I loved about it. I also love how even though they’re different, all of them have that same similar feel and vibe going on throughout the story, not just because of the same writing style but also the themes discussed, the small objects mentioned, and the elements taking part in the stories.

The stories were written beautifully, and although it felt a little odd to read an Indonesian person writing in English, the writing style is just wonderful to read. Some of my favourite stories are: The Swimming Pool, Monsoon Tiger, and Beneath the Bougainvilleas.

I know this isn’t a book for everyone. I’ve read some reviews saying that they got bored and didn’t enjoy the stories. But I know that I love slow, atmospheric stories, where not a lot actually happens, but when you look back you remember only how you felt while you were reading it, and this book is exactly it. I can’t find any clear flaw in this book, to be honest. At first I only rated this book 4 stars, thinking, I’m not a huge fan of short story collections, most of the times I’d only rate them 3 or 4 stars because they’re forgettable and some of the stories just don’t gel with me. Although I do have favourite stories in this collection, I loved every single one of them and so I am changing my rating of this book to 5 stars. It’s amazing how despite how I’ve read a book by her mother, therefore automatically comparing her work to her mother’s, this book is a 180 degree turn from Pulang that I just couldn’t compare the two of them. Well done! I absolutely cannot wait to read more of her work. This book needs more hype and appreciation!!!

5 stars

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Books I’m Currently Reading

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

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I’m nearly finished with this book, but in the end I didn’t manage to finish it before October starts. I picked this up on my way back from Lisbon because I just had it in my Kindle and I’ve always wanted to read another book by Kazuo Ishiguro. So far it isn’t as amazing as Never Let Me Go, his other novel, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. I’m not a huge fan of this novel’s writing style, but we’ll see how the story plays out in the end.

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So, how was your September reading month? What did you think of the books I read this month? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you soon with my weekly updates!

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Classes, Morning Reading and Shopping: Weekly Wrap Up #1

Hi everyone! I’ve decided that I will do a weekly wrap up of my life in general, and my reading progress! I think it’ll be fun to discuss what I did throughout the week and post it on Sunday night. Hopefully I can do this regularly and do it every week!

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This is the first week of classes for my third year in university, and it’s been great! There are a lot of new classes that we’ve never had before, and it’s exciting to learn new topics and some are definitely boring and some looks really difficult, but I love learning so I can’t wait to see what the classes this semester has to offer to me. I have several classes spread across three days of the week, but on Monday and Thursday I didn’t have any classes so I could just chill at home and it’s wonderful.

On mornings I’ve tried to read more instead of watching Youtube videos. On Thursday I promised myself I’ll try to read until midday and not open my laptop at all, and I did! At the beginning of the week I started reading Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, which started a little slow because I wasn’t familiar with the characters yet. Throughout the week this book was what I was mainly reading, and now I’m around 70% through. It’s really fun reading in the morning as I’m eating my toast, with the morning sunlight streaming through my window and enjoying a murder mystery underneath my blanket.

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I also started Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch, but I’m still only on the first chapter and haven’t continued reading it.

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On Thursday night I watched the premiere of Inhumans in IMAX at the cinema with my boyfriend (because he’s a huge Marvel fan). I wasn’t excited at all, I had zero expectations and to be honest, I was a little reluctant to spend that much money on IMAX to watch the first two episodes of a series I probably won’t watch. In general I didn’t hate the first two episodes, but I didn’t love it either. You can really tell it was made for IMAX and the director really showcased a lot of the camera and cinematography skills. The story itself is quite interesting, but that is due to the comics. The characters aren’t very apparent, you don’t really know them that well yet, but I do like them. The dialogues weren’t amazing, and the directing wasn’t that good, it felt too forcedly dramatic. Overall, around a 3 star “movie” for me.

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Food and health wise, I haven’t done ANY sports (even though I’m a generally lazy person, I’m trying to lose weight by doing yoga in the past). For food, I’ve tried my best to not snack on too much sweets, which I’ve quite succeeded! For breakfast I ate one piece of toast with sandwich spread and cucumbers, and sometimes tea. For lunch I had a huge salad with pan-fried chicken, arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a lemon-olive oil dressing. For dinner I had various dishes, I cooked yaki udon with chicken and mushrooms one night and it was marvelous.

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On Friday night after classes, I had a wonderful time with my friends and our boyfriends, we went to Murphy’s Law in The Hague and had drinks while enjoying live jazz. The atmosphere was warm and fun, and we rarely ever go out for drinks but we feel very adult-y and it’s wonderful to have fun with my friends outside of class.

On Saturday me and my boyfriend and my two housemates (and their boyfriends) went to Roermond for a day to their famous factory outlet to spend some money on CLOTHES. I planned on buying a winter coat that is branded where I know it’s good quality, and for an affordable price, and others wanted winter coats, or bags, or shoes, etc. I’m not a huge fashionista and I hate buying new clothes – in my opinion, I only need 2-3 coats for winter and it’ll be enough for me. My old parka which has served me for 2 years is still good but its zipper is broken, which is a shame.

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In the end I bought a dark-red, really really thick parka from Superdry which I’m really happy with. I’m a little sad I have to spend so much money, but I can try to save more in the future, and I think it’ll be a good investment for me. It looks a lot like this one, but with a deep red color. And the weather is not cold enough for me to wear it yet –  I might put up a picture sometime in the future!

The trip was fun, we spent around 2 hours to get there from our house by train. I spent it napping, playing on my phone, chatting with the others, playing Black Stories, and reading a short story collection I bought written by Rain Chudori, titled Monsoon Tiger and Other Stories. It’s a lovely, small, well published book that’s not very thick and has large font but the stories are very enjoyable, easy reading and the writing is often times very beautiful.

So that was my week! Very fun and not too exciting, especially since I’m still in the beginning of the school year so I’m still pumped to study and the workload isn’t that heavy yet.

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Plans for next week:

  • Start doing yoga again
  • Food: milk & cereal for breakfast, salads for lunch, low carb and small portion of dinner. Fruits for snacks
  • Study well, do more homework
  • Read more in the mornings, since I don’t have many morning classes. Write reviews for the books I’ve read.
  • Finish the short story collection and Murder on the Orient Express, and start reading another book on my Kindle.
  • Watch at least one movie on the cinema.

How was your week? What did you read? Let me know in the comments down below!

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May, June, July, and August 2017 Movie Wrap Up

Yes, I haven’t done a movie wrap up in 4 months. You can blame me all you want, but at least here I am doing a wrap up of a whole four months for you guys!!! As you probably know, I love watching movies in addition to reading. This summer I watched a lot of movies. Here they are!

Statistics

Movies watched: 40
Rewatches: 11
Movies watched at the cinema: 11

Highlights

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I watched a lot of new movies at the cinema that were amazing, and movies that were meh. Get Out was incredibly good, thrilling and mindblowing.  Meh movies include Alien: Covenant and Life, two highly anticipated movies that fell flat for me. However movies I watched at home were also wonderful. Rewatches like The Tigger Movie, which made me tear up a little, Pride and Prejudice (2005) when I was in a bad mood, and Love, Rosie and The Devil Wears Prada were still as heartwarmingly fun to watch as ever. So was Okja, which I watched with some friends on Netflix. Other Netflix highlights include House of Cards, on which I’m only at the 4th episode of the first season, but hooked so far. Blockbusters like Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming I also watched, they were okay and well made but not mindblowing.

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I also watched several movies I’ve been meaning to watch for ages and now got the chance to. Before Midnight turned out to be overrated, and Joy was so-so. A Monster Calls BROKE MY HEART TO PIECES and Dunkirk was just as good as everyone raves it is, and I thoroughly enjoyed Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo and The Tale of Princess Kaguya for the first time.

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Also related to movies, I went to the Ghibli Exhibition in Jakarta this summer. It was lovely. There were huge settings of familiar movies I loved, my favourite being the castle from Howl’s Moving Castle and a smaller version of Spirited Away’s castle while also meeting the No-Face Monster!

Currently Watching

Several TV shows I’m currently watching: Assassination Classroom, forced by le boyfriend since I finished Fullmetal Alchemist two months ago; House of Cards, like I mentioned, and the new Game of Thrones of course! Since I’m 2 episodes behind hehe.

What movies did you watch recently? Any favourites? For more updates on movies I watch, follow me on Letterboxd!

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