Category Archives: books

[REVIEW] The Atheist Muslim by Ali A. Rizvi

I have been a follower of Ali A. Rizvi’s Twitter account for a few years now, so when I found out he was writing a book, I just had to read it.

At the time of reading, Ahok is being tried for blasphemy case, and I’ve reached that point where I’m sick of the sense of entitlement some people have when it comes to their religion, tired of constantly having to hold back my tongue in order not to offend their inflated ego, and have heard enough of the infallibility status of some holy book. So reading this book–which provides bold and honest views from an ex-Muslim–really gave me a breath of fresh air.

Rizvi had a Muslim upbringing where being a Muslim does not only indicate your faith but also your identity; this is why I find his experience relatable. I, too, grew up in a somewhat liberal Muslim society that cherry-picked the teachings. Here is what he says on the inerracy of holy scriptures:

You know that you would never go to such an extent to justify the same ideas—expressed the same way—if I had written them in my book. You would’ve read them as they were and held me accountable for my words, instead of looking for “context,” a “correct interpretation,” or something else to make it sound better than it does.

You know, deep down, that it’s becoming increasingly difficult and exhausting to keep telling others—and maybe even yourself—how your progressive, reasoned values are somehow completely compatible with those words written 1300 years ago.

The chapter Islamophobia-phobia and the “Regressive Left” gave an analysis on Charlie Hebdo and Islamist attacks:

Again, it’s crucial to emphasize the difference between criticism of Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry. The first targets an ideology. The second targets human beings. This is an obvious, significant distinction, yet both are frequently lumped together under the unfortunate, reductive umbrella term “Islamophobia.” Again, human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. Ideas, beliefs, and books don’t and aren’t.

On letting go of faith:

The price of letting go can be immensely high. Giving up the security of faith and the idea of an ultimate justice is just one of many costs that an increasing number of Muslims around the world have to pay as they give up the religion of their parents. Recognizing this should help us better understand and empathize with those who are unwilling or unable to leave the comfort of their faith.

But it should also help us better appreciate the courage of those who have dared to give it up and construct a new compass for their lives.

Anyway. I sent a tweet to Rizvi to tell him how much I like his book. He was so nice and even replied my tweet!

I don’t see how this book can be translated to Indonesian anytime soon, at least not by a major publisher. But if some daring publisher wants to do it, I’d definitely buy a copy. It’d go well beside my Dawkins’ books.


Once A Fangirl Always A Fangirl

Excuse me, I’m just going to do a little bit of fangirling here.

These last few weeks have been exhausting, what with DD* going through a difficult phase–she is either sick or throwing a tantrum–and DH* kept having stomach problems, so I’m just muddling along here, wondering when is it my turn to be taken care of.

Long story short, I’m burnt.

Thank goodness for fictional boys. God knows how unbearable life is without them. Of all swoonworthy characters to warm my cold heart, two stand out: Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows series, and the one I’m going to talk about here: Anthony J. Lockwood from Lockwood & Co. series.

Around two years ago, I read The Screaming Staircase. It was good, but too scary for my taste so I wasn’t sure I’d read the next book. Too bad I already had a crush on Lockwood.

BUT. The Whispering Skull (#2) is SO GOOD, my harmless crush on Lockwood escalated. I just finished The Creeping Shadow (#4) and NOW I CAN’T CONTAIN MY FEELINGS. People, this series is awesome, I’m serious. It’s packed with intense action, has believable world-building, typical Stroud humor, and THE CHARACTERS OMG I LOVE THEM ALL.

The fourth book fulfills my every expectations. I love seeing friendship grow between Lucy and Holly. The Skull is as sarcastic and hilarious as ever. We see a badass side of George and unexpected turn of events with Quill Kipps. 

The Skull and Lucy reunited:

The ghost grinned as I hoisted the backpack over my shoulders. “Ah, two firm friends, reunited at last! There should be sweet violin music playing for us, but I’ll settle for the screams of the dying.”

And of course Lockwood! With his slim figure, too tight suit, and reckless action, my heart bursts whenever his name appears.

Lockwood didn’t say much. He was distracted, deep in thought. I knew the signs; the thrill of the chase was on him. Me, I was just happy for us to stroll together, side by side.

Me too, Lucy, me too.

If you’re familiar with Stroud, then you probably know there’s never much (or any) romance in his books. But here we have just enough of Lucy & Lockwood sweetness to brighten my deep, dark, emo heart.

I don’t know how many books to come out after this, but  there are talks about Lockwood’s ‘untimely end’ and I. JUST. CAN’T. Is it too much to ask for a fictional happy ending?

So yeah, life isn’t great right now. But with Lockwood to shine a light on my sad, lonely heart, I guess I’ll survive.

On our way home, I sat opposite Lockwood. He seemed pale and tired. In the days since our visit to the institute, we hadn’t spoken privately of what had happened to us. Occasionally, when our eyes met, we shared something that couldn’t be expressed in words.

* If you’re not familiar with these terms, try spending more time on parenting forums.

11 Kesan Setelah Membaca Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

​Jadi ya, saya sama sekali ga aware bahwa play script Harry Potter and The Cursed Child ini diterbitin dalam format buku. Baru tau pas buka Buzzfeed; kok banyak artikel mencaci maki buku kedelapan ini. Akhirnya saya putuskan untuk coba ikutan baca, dengan ekspektasi yang rendah sekali. Lagian lumayan kan bisa caci maki buku orang lain; bikin lupa masalah di buku sendiri, lol.

Inilah 11 kesan yang saya dapatkan setelah membaca buku ini.

1. Is it a book? Is it a script? Is it a book of script?
Selayaknya play script, buku ini isinya dialog semua. Siap-siap buat lompat dari satu dialog ke dialog lain tanpa basa-basi buat transisi. Meskipun memang seperti inilah format play script, I WAS EXPECTING A BOOK.

2. The plot moves so fast.
Dalam satu halaman, Albus udah bertambah tua dua tahun. Kthxbye.

3. Gampang banget nyolong Time-Turner dari Hermione.
Minum Polyjuice Potion buat menyamar jadi Harry Potter (HARRY POTTER CUY!) dan Hermione Granger (Minister of Magic sendiri), lalu menyusup ke kantor Hermione, dan mencuri Time-Turner? Easy as pie.

4. Character depth-nya perlu dipertanyakan. 
Saya ga nangkep motivasi dan tujuan karakter-karakternya. Ngapain amat Albus mau mengubah nasib Cedric? Kenal juga engga. Lalu kok bisa langsung percaya sama Delphi? Lagian si Delphi ini wtf sih maunya?

5. Harry ikutan diet rendah gula?
Kthxbye. That’s not the Harry I knew.

6. Voldemort dan Bellatrix punya anak? EW.
Meskipun Bellatrix memandang Voldemort kaya tuhan–mematuhi segala perintahnya, menjauhi segala larangannya–saya ga bisa ngebayangin Voldemort tahan bersentuhan dengan manusia biasa. Lagipula, keberadaan offspring ini jadi defeats the purpose of Horcruxes.

7. Tapi yang paling mengejutkan setelah semua poin di atas adalah … THIS BOOK IS SO FUN TO READ.
Begitu sudah terbiasa dengan formatnya, dan kalau bacanya juga ga terlalu kritis dengan plot hole dan inconsistency dengan buku-buku sebelumnya, seru juga lho time-travelling dan melihat dunia alternatif yang terjadi gara-gara kelakuan Albus dan Scorpius.

8. Saya suka interaksi antara Snape dan Hermione di salah satu alternate reality.
Hermione: I was an excellent student.
Snape: You were moderate to average.

9. Sampai sekarang saya masih belum ngerti JKR ikut nulis buku ini apa engga.
Kalau di Goodreads, dia termasuk salah satu penulisnya. Tapi ada juga yang bilang dia cuma menyetujui hasil kolaborasi dua penulis lainnya. Saya personally sih–melihat banyaknya pembunuhan karakter di buku ini–lebih memilih untuk percaya yang kedua.

10. Harus banget ya ini diiklankan sebagai buku kedelapan?
Cuy ini kualitas fanfiction cuy. Ga selevel sama tujuh buku sebelumnya.

11. That said, this is a good fanfiction.
Kalau ada lanjutannya saya mau dong baca hahaha.

Final score: 3/5.


​Judul: Rooftoppers
Penulis: Katherine Rundell
Tahun: 2013
Jumlah halaman: 278
Rating: 5/5

Udah lama ya saya ga nulis review buku. Sekali ini saya bela-belain deh bangkit dari males demi berbagi bacaan middle grade yang sangat memuaskan ini.

Ketika kapal Queen Mary karam, Sophie yang berusia satu tahun adalah satu-satunya penumpang wanita yang selamat. Seorang pria bernama Charles Maxim menemukannya tengah mengapung di atas kotak selo. 

Think of nighttime with a speaking voice. Or think how moonlight might talk, or think of ink, if ink had vocal cords. Give those things a narrow aristocratic face with hooked eyebrows, and long arms and legs, and that is what the baby saw as she was lifted out of her cello case and up into safety.

Aaak. Love at first chapter.

Charles lalu memutuskan untuk membesarkan Sophie sendirian. Namun Miss Elliot dari Welfare Agency tidak suka dengan cara Charles membesarkan Sophie. Menurutnya anak perempuan tidak seharusnya memakai celana, atau menulis di dinding, atau menggunakan atlas sebagai alas makan. Ketika Sophie berusia dua belas tahun, agensi itu mencabut hak perwalian Charles atas Sophie.

Terancam dimasukkan ke panti asuhan, Sophie memutuskan untuk mencari ibu kandungnya hanya dengan berbekal alamat si pembuat selo. Bersama Charles, dia kabur dari London ke Paris. Di sana dia bertemu dengan Matteo dan para Rooftoppers, sekumpulan anak yang hidup di atap-atap bangunan Paris, yang membantunya melaksanakan misinya.

Oke pertama-tama saya ngefans berat sama Charles Maxim yang bookish dan figur ayah idaman banget. Dan seperti Charles, Sophie juga tumbuh jadi karakter dengan kepribadian kuat.

“But . . . they told me that she was dead, and I didn’t believe them. Why did she believe it? Why didn’t she keep looking?”
“My darling, because she is an adult.”
“That’s not a reason.”
“It is, my love. Adults are taught not to believe anything unless it is boring or ugly.”
“That’s stupid of them,” she said.
“Sad, child, but not stupid. It is difficult to believe extraordinary things. It’s a talent you have, Sophie. Don’t lose it.”

Lalu settingnya ya ampun. Deskripsi Paris di sini cakeeep banget. Lebih cakep daripada kota aslinya menurut saya, haha. Ngebayangin Matteo berkeliaran di atap bangunan dan jalan di atas tali sambil ngasih makan burung kesannya sangat magical.

Pas nutup buku ini, hati rasanya hangat. Lol. Setelah sekian lama ga nemu bacaan yang memuaskan, this book is such a gem.

“Only people murmur. Sea roars. Wind blows.”
“No. Sometimes the sea and the wind murmur. The two are old friends.”
“When they sound together,” he said, “it means luck. A murmuration. A good omen.”

Another Author Bio

The good news is the editing process for my second novel is finally done, and that means one step closer to it becoming a real book. The bad news is that it’s time for yet another author bio.

Everyone loves to talk about themself, but doing so in third person is just annoying. Though it’s common in our culture to refer to yourself in third person (especially when you’re talking your family or older people), I never really refer to myself using my name. That’s what first person pronouns are for. But while my family is used to my using the pronoun saya, I have to admit the situation is a bit weird with my in-laws. This far I managed to survive by not calling myself anything. You know, when necessary I’d just omit the subject from my sentence, lol.

Anyway, back to author bio. I thought I could just edit my bio from the first novel, except that it’s hardly relevant now. Addiction to coffee? Why would I drink coffee when I need every minute of sleep I can get? So I decided to write another bio from scratch. Here it is.

Annisa Ihsani is the author of the middle grade novel Teka-Teki Terakhir, and she’s constantly worried that people won’t like her second book as much (not that the former is a best seller). She doesn’t worry too much about her third book, though, since it hasn’t moved beyond the first page despite the fact that she started it six months ago.

Annisa now lives in Bogor with her husband and daughter, and she’s definitely ruining the latter for life. She lets her have way too much screen time and feeds her conventionally-grown products instead of organics. Not only does she think organic products is a marketing scam, she’s also a firm believer in GMO.

She is also addicted to online shopping and has an unhealthy obsession with double wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel food jars.

Fortunately there is a thing called holding back information. Expect a subtler version in the book.

Review buku edisi telat

Kapan ya saya bakal belajar nulis review yang bener–satu postingan blog buat review satu buku, dengan judul yang relevan, bukan review buku edisi abc? Kapan-kapan deh. In the mean time, ini review sebagian buku yang saya baca beberapa bulan belakangan.


The Girl on The Train – Paula Hawkins (4/5)

Umur segini sebenernya saya udah males baca psychological thriller. Apalagi buku ini sering disebut adenya Gone Girl; ngebayanginnya udah suram dan lambat. Nyatanya, pace-nya lumayan cepet, page turner banget. Kisahnya diceritain lewat tiga POV. Misterinya boleh lah, intinya jangan percaya sama tokoh mana pun di sini.


Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas (2/5)

Lololololol. Wtf, apaan sih ini. Jadi katanya, si Celaena ini pembunuh yang telah menghabiskan setahun menderita di tambang mengerikan sebelum dipanggil buat ikut dalam kompetisi pencarian assassin buat raja. Gosipnya, dia terkenal banget sebagai assassin paling canggih. Tapi kelakuannya kok kaya anak SMP.

Everything was wet and half-frozen, and while she could bear sodden hair, she couldn’t withstand the agony of wet shoes

Abis menderita setahun di tambang, yang dikeluhin adalah sepatu basah? ADA YA YANG PERCAYA INI ASSASSIN TERHEBAT SEDUNIA?


A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – Anthony Marra (2/5)

Ini buku ratingnya bagus banget di Goodreads, bertebar pujian. Awalnya saya juga suka, abis kalimatnya cantik-cantik. Saya terus baca sampai halaman 140-an dan menyadari saya ga dapet apa-apa selain kalimat cantik. Plotnya ga maju-maju, karakternya ga ada yang likeable. Banyak banget kalimat macam: in nine years he would become bla bla bla buat karakter yang numpang lewat doang. So fucking what???? Ga ada relevansinya terhadap plot. Banyak yang memuji buku ini karena style-nya yang cantik. Ya emang bener sih, tapi most of the time saya ngerasanya: terus maksud lo apa bikin gw baca 2 halaman penuh tentang karakter yang ga bikin plotnya bergerak ke mana-mana?

Mungkin suatu saat saya bakal namatin buku ini. Buat sekarang sih, waktu saya terlalu berharga.


P.S. I Still Love You – Jenny Han (2/5)

Ini sekuelnya To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, buku yang lumayan lucu dan saya suka. Sayangnya, di buku lanjutannya ini ga berasa ada yang baru. Masih aja soal Genevieve yang rese. Masih aja soal adegan hot tub. Itu kan udah dibahas di buku pertama, malesin deh. Karakter John Ambrose juga flat. Too much drama, ga ada yang penting.

Review Buku Bayi

The ultimate reason kenapa saya mau punya anak adalah supaya ada yang mewarisi buku-buku saya muhaha. Jadi bayangkan betapa senangnya saya ketika Amel mulai ngerti dibacain buku. Sebelumnya, meskipun udah mulai dibacain buku sejak umur aktual 3 bulanan, doi cuek-cuek aja (ya iyalah, belom bisa ngeliat, nyampe HPL aja belom). Nah suatu hari, matanya mulai ngikutin buku, terus jadi anteng banget. Ya udah, abis itu saya langsung ngeborong buku bocah.

Tapi jangan lupa ya, belinya format board book, jangan kertas biasa. Soalnya pernah si Amel ditinggal main sendiri, anteeeeeng banget, ga ada suaranya. Pas diliat, taunya doi lagi ngunyah kertas wokwokwok.

1.Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown (2/5)


Buku klasik yang ngetop banget. Tapi saya kurang suka kombinasi warnanya, kesannya suram. Ilustrasinya juga biasa aja, lalu teksnya terlalu pendek buat saya. Jadi kan reasoningnya: teks panjang -> makin lama bacanya -> makin lama anaknya anteng. Nah di buku ini banyakan nge-zonk-nya.

2. Oh, The Thinks You Can Think – Dr. Seuss (4/5)


Ini buku pertama yang menarik perhatian Amel. Warnanya jreng banget, gambarnya lucu. Dibandingkan style Dr. Seuss yang biasa, paragrafnya kurang berima, tapi saya suka soalnya cukup wordy.

3. Chu’s Day – Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex (4/5)


Buku favoritnya Amel. Ilustrasinya juara banget emang. Penuh detil, colorful, terus pandanya imut luar biasa. Si Amel langsung ketawa begitu si Chu muncul. Ceritanya juga lucu banget. Sayangnya, ada beberapa halaman yang isinya gambar doang tanpa teks. Jadilah si Amel ngeliatin saya, mungkin bingung kenapa saya diem aja. Biasanya sih akhirnya saya jadi ngarang teks sendiri … pake bahasa Indonesia haha.

4. Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? – Karen Katz (3/5)


Buku ini modelnya lift-the-flap, jadi ada bagian yang kertasnya bisa diangkat. Nah meskipun formatnya board book, sayangnya bagian yang bisa diangkat itu terbuat dari kertas biasa. Ya udah, dikunyah aja dong sama si Amel.

5. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? – Dr. Seuss (4/5)


Ini asik banget bukunya. Si Mr. Brown ini jago niruin suara-suara, tentunya yang bacain juga ikut niruin dong hoho. Ada suara sapi, ayam, burung hantu, petir. Si Amel ketawa-tawa kalo dibacain.

6. Fox in Socks – Dr. Seuss (3/5)


Ini sih lebih asik buat yang baca ketimbang dibacain. Teks di bagian awal sederhana banget kata-katanya, lalu makin lama makin susah, sampe di bagian akhir puyeng deh.

Ya udah, sekian dulu. Mau nabung dulu buat beli yang baru. Board books mahal bener sih cuy.