BookVoyage review: Traveling the world by books

While now I am living a little bit distance from the central Tokyo, and it is very expensive to go out of the town. It takes about 25 USD (3000 yen) for round trip between my town to Tokyo. While I really love books, and I feel depressed if I am not reading books (and it will be very bad because I have lots of deadline to catch, no time to get depressed, stress, or whatever is that name). So, I tried to subscribe book subscription boxes. I already have some which provide non-fiction books to feed my brain hunger. But I also need some fiction books, to entertain my soul. I don’t really like YA genre… so it is also a little bit challenging for me.

One of the most interesting book subscription box I tried is book voyage.
What is this? Here, their short description…

“BookVoyage is a monthly subscription box for avid readers and global citizens. Each box is country-themed and contains a foreign book written by a critically-acclaimed local author and translated into English, tea or coffee from that country, as well as a sweet or savoury treat to go with the hot drink, giving you what we like to call a truly global immersive reading experience.”

So, yes! Every month you will get a book from different country. And for me, it is very exciting! Last month I got Lebanon box… and of their coffee was awesome (can’t forget that).

This month, they give me German stuff. I made a little unboxing video for this one. You can check this out if you have time.

So here is the full spoiler for this month box.
The hanuta is awesome, the coffee also good but still I prefer the Lebanese coffee…
and the book? They always make a good choice. It is a classing fiction “No Way Back” by Germany writer Theodore Fontane. However, the story is also taken place in Copehangen, Denmark. Well… but Germany and Denmark are neighbor country.

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Like any classical story, it is a romance with lots of conflict and well… I think quite tragic. I haven’t finish read all of this while I should concern to my research this time. But my first impression, it is beautifully written, with classic poems, letters… a combination between historical fiction, classic, and romance.

I always excited with how book voyage will surprise me every month. I review this, because I hope their business can be survive, and they will always be able to surprise us.

 

 

“We should all be feminist”, should we? 

I am not a feminist, at least I think I am not a strict feminist.
My brother maybe more “feminist” than me… “Kakak, you should be happy! Achieve everything you want to achieve! Go far…”
To be honest, I never think too much about gap equality on salary because I think the most important thing is what I did on the job, and I’ll have time to compare how much my salary compared to the men with same position with me.
I also will have no problem if someday I should have more time to take care my kids, why not…I love kids. I will find the job which quite friendly enough to facilitate my preference.
And if I am an actress, I also have no problem if the categories in Oscar divided into male and female, well… why not… more winner, more happiness… why not!

And I think, maybe most of women think like me (some of course have a broader ‘feminism’ perspective).
The problem is, sometimes men asked more without communicate everything first with the women. At least, that what I got from my personal perspective and also from what I read from “We Should all be feminist” By Chimamanda N. Adichie. Adichie, in my opinion (and I believe you agree with me)is very bright woman. She got some points to capture about gap inequality happening in the world. Arghhh… I like her 🙂

(PS: If you are too lazy to read the book, you can see her speech on youtube)

I remember in one page she talking about marriage. If men too late to get married, our community will see them as men who still fight and focus for their career. Building their brighter future.
While women? In some community (including my country actually), women who pass their middle 20 age are considered as spinster… and maybe (just maybe) it will be hard for them to find man who want to marry her.

Women also will face many obstacles to continue their career, and well… that’s not really bad. The worst thing is if divorce should be happened, the women who continue their career will be blamed more by the community than the men who workaholic and don’t have time for his family.

Maybe the gender inequality is more serious than I noticed… I just lucky because I always surrounded by very nice people around me.

But I am thinking, how far “feminism” should be?

feminism:
1 :  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 :  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

I agree with the definition, but how far the equality should goes?
As a woman, in the future I am okay to take care my family… to educate my kids, to prepare some delicacy for my husband, taking care my family. That’ll be my pleasure. I even don’t have any idea to threat men authority. But I also have lots of potential inside, I still want to be a researcher, a writer, a photographer, play music, I also still love to teach. And I hope my future partner can understand that.

I know that our community sometime more-cruel than our inner circle family. They become a commentator without knowing what really happened inside. I remember when one of my friend told me that she has a friend who made a mean comment about a women who came very late from home by said “Hish… she must be never take care her kids”. Who knows this woman have a serious financial problem in her family, who knows her husband already passed away, who knows the income of his husband is just not enough… who knows? Have we think about that before we judge about other people?

The same question for my self.

Maybe… we no need to be a real-radical feminist.
Maybe just become a wiser and better person is enough to make this world become more comfortable to live in.
Yeah… maybe.

Time to learn from the trees: A little review of “The Hidden Life of Trees”

I am sick with all of my social media, so I uninstall some except my instagram (because I love photography), twitter (because it just short and and Linkedn (because some news and information are great there), and I also leave my cellphone off since this week. I want to detox my life from any kind of negativity and hoax! I am not sure whether I am not good with human or I just sociopath. But, seriously… I am tired and what I really want to do is refresh my mind with positive vibes around.

Then I got a very beautiful book: The Hidden Life of Trees
My first impression when I open this book is it is like “Pocahontas” soundtrack

“But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name”
– Color of the wind-

Yes… now we can sure than even tree also has a life, spirit, and name at least after you read the book.

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From this book, we can learn how the tree can cooperate each other, for example the have a specific and special root system and network to “holding” each other in such steep land in order to protect each other from landslide.

They also have their specific mechanism to protect their body and seed from any kind of weather and harsh condition. The way they adapt with the environment also always impressive. We also will notice how they communicate each other and also how the way they nurture their “kids”.

In my opinion, Peter (the writer of this book), deliver some simple and basic information and knowledge about tree in such a philosophical way. For me, it makes me to be a better person after I read this one. I mean, if tree can communicate well each other, help each other, taking care of each other, than by logic we…. human beings can do better!

It is sad for me while we human, sometimes, rather than taking care our environment we broke it… broke it and over-utilize it… and have no time to learn from it. Then, because of lack of contemplation we even hurt between each other. Oh come on! How can trees beat us in character.

Every time I read books about nature and environment, I am thinking of my self… do I really already do a good thing and right thing to my surrounding. My tongue! Oh sometimes it has its specific “venom” and I might hurt between each other.
As an “environmentalist”, I sometimes get crazy by my own research.
While outside there, even trees and plants are try their best to run their role as one of God’s great creatures.

Well! I will take care of you planet! for sure 🙂

Book Review: The Omnivore Dilemma

Again, I always think that we designed as an omnivore, so it is not a sin when we eat both meat and vegetables. The problem now is how to be “wise omnivore”

I went to a book store in Tokyo, and finding the most popular book in popular science on their shelf. Then I found a very interesting book: The Omnivore Dilemma by Michael Pollan. People said you haven’t learn much about agriculture and foods if you haven’t read any Pollan’s book. And yes!

One of the best Pollan’s masterpiece is this book. I you are a young reader (or at least love bigger and more attractive layout of book), I recommend you to find the “young reader edition” because it is very easy to read and some information box and graphics are really help us to understand a whole idea in this book.

omnivore dilemma

It is like my whole research in easy words. In this book, Michael Pollan tried to bring us investigate every point on the food’s chain. From on-farm until off-farm. You’ll find out what human actually do for the shake of industry needs. This book will open your eyes about some hidden facts of all agricultural products including, of course, our foods. A book which brought me to visit farm area in Japan and motivate me to learn more about food chain, agriculture, and stuff. I will recommend it so much, especially if you totally green about animal cruelty, mono-culture in farm, and sustainable agribusiness. This book will be a good start and encourage you to find more.

Another thing I love so much in this book is Pollan, in my opinion, in not kind of “hardliner” about vegan VS non-vegan, he is very neutral and wise, and to be honest we need lots of writer like him. Also, while his background was a journalist (and I think he also guest lecture in Barkeley now), so the way he deliver his ideas is flowing and nice to be read.

So, yuph! If you still wondering which book to read next, then you can try this one 🙂

[Just a little bit of] my reading history…

Happy world book day everyone 🙂 (Opps… a little bit late)

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So, how is it? How many books you already read this month?
I am the one who believe that you don’t need to be hurry in reading, the most important thing from reading is you can contemplate what the writer wants to deliver. Reading is not a competition, you no need to hurry for that. Read is feed for your brain, and as we do a “right and healthy eating“, we never eat in hurry and we eat from varied sources.
You may love fiction books, but read non-fiction as another “multi-vitamins” for your brain. You may rarely read fiction, but read it sometimes to let your brain relax and have another kind of entertainment, just like us who really love to eat chocolate and ice creams sometimes.

But, well… just like foods, we might also have some books we really don’t like. I don’t like young adult genre just the way I hate banana (yes, I don’t like banana). But, hmmm… I still eat banana in some case. However, not kind of fruits I will buy often. I read young adult and romance genre when they have very unique and special story, but well I rarely choose it by default.

People always ask me why I keep reading books, and spend a lot of money for those. Personally, books are my first friends… along with cats. I don’t have lots of friends since I was kids, and while my family are really love to read, and they gave me books. I sleep with my books and cats. When I am alone, books accompany me, and help me to create my own world.

My family also not such a rich family, and another sad fact is I was living in such a remote village when I was kid. we can’t travel far… Books helped me to see the world outside my home windows.  I even read my grandfather’s Encyclopedia Americana although I didn’t understand English. My Dad gave me some comics, then along with my reading ability increased he bought me a novel by Alan Lightman: Einstein’s Dream. My mom told me that the outside world is full with adventures and quite tough… the she introduce me with all Detective Novels like Sherlock Holmes and bought me all series of Agatha Cristie’s Novel. She also introduced me with Winnetou and Kara ben Nemsi by Karl May.

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But did reading always give a good experience for me? Not really… at least in Indonesia.
People kept thinking that I am such a weird person. I remember once, people in my classroom laughing so hard to me because I told them, in front of everyone, that formerly toothpaste was made by using urine. Then people said I am stupid, just because I read something that no one in that classroom ever read.

I also remember, in a class, the teacher asked all students to mention any terms in music and art. I remember I raised my hand and answered “SONNET”, and everybody again…again… and again laughing on me. They said I am very “dangdut” person, because in Indonesia there is a Dangdut Band “Soneta Group” which lead by the King of Dangdut in Indonesia: Rhoma Irama. No one in that class ever read that “sonnet” itself means a kind of poem.

Books is my best friends, read is my hobby… but in the same time it is also make me looks strange sometimes.

Am I mad with that? Yes! At first…
Because it was hard to look and sounds “stupid” while you believe that you are right.
But then I realize that in my country, where reading is not such a national hobby, it is very hard to find a good book. The themes… the genre…. everything are so limited. In my village, when I was kid, if I want to read something we should wait second-hand books from the schools in the town. Lucky me because my parent routinely bring me to the bookstores in the town, at least once a month.

Not like Japan or China for example, they translate almost all great literature from all around the world to their language. In my country, yes… of course there are several translation of worldwide books, but not much.
We still have limited non-fiction books…
limited books for kids….
Everything!

And like the vicious circle, because of limited good books, limited good readers, then there are also limited good writers.
If teenlit is become a trend this month, then everyone will write teenlit.
If a handsome vampire is a trend, then everyone will write about the vampire.
If a romance is the trend, then everyone write about romance.
So, if our taste is far away from the recent trend, then it will be very hard to find an alternative for us to read.

In this opportunity, I wish for nothing except I hope the literacy awareness in my home country can be increase.
I hope people start to realize that, reading is cheaper way to travel around the world.
This year, I think I am already read much classics so my reading target I want to read books from all around the world. Finally in the end of my PhD study, I want to go travel and visit the place from my favorite books 🙂

I think it is kind of motivation also for me ^O^b don’t you think so?

(sstt… a bit of my want-to-read list)

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Book review: The Sustainability Secret: Rethinking our Diet to Transform the World (and a little bit review about Willoughby Book club) 

So it is my first time trying subscription box and my first try is book subscription box.

To be honest it was very hard for me to find a nice book subscription box which fits my reading taste 😦 majority are only provide fiction books and to be specific: young adult genre. Unfortunately, I am too old for young adult books (although I really love kids books hahhahha).

So, last time I tried Willoughby Book Club. To be honest I just try randomly at first 😋 because they offer “Natural History” shelf. As you know I am now doing research related to environment, so it will suit me very much. While I am an avid reader of non-fiction books, I keep wondering what else can surprise me? Oh Marissa you are so big-headed 🤓

But really, even my best friends rarely buy books for me although they know I really love reading “You are nothing but so picky, Marissa.” That’s what they said on me.

So, hahhahha… Okay let’s see what kind of new books the “curator” will send me 😎

A little bit about Willoughby Book Club

As what they said in their website (Oh you are such a lazy reviewer, Marissa 😛). I use my cellphone to type this so I am a bit tired to type too long *could it become an excuse*

Based on information provided by you, we’ll deliver a new, hand selected book once a month to a gift recipient of your choice. Beautifully wrapped with a personal message and tailored to their reading tastes by our team of literary experts, our book subscription box makes the perfect gift for any book worm – young or old!

We offer a range of book subscription box gifts for a variety of ages and interests – from picture books for babies and children, to books for young adults, fiction lovers, budding chefs and even couples – all available in 3, 6 or 12 month packages.

Well if you are like me, your main concern must be the price HAHHAHAHAHA! Below, I will share you the price for 3 months subscription (it is minimum period if you decide to do subscription).

As I am counted as international buyer, I should pay more for delivery fee. But if you are in UK it will be free postage.


And while the first book I got is originally priced USD 24,95, assuming all of my books will be in the same price, then it was a quite good deal I think.

Unboxing The Incoming Package

Last week, finally their package arrived. It was wrapped beautifully and super simple package IMO. You got your book, a tiny pin, a simple bookmark, a sticker, and a welcome card.

They need to choose hi-quality book, otherwise they can’t beat other “book subscription box” which are usually more “fancy”. But well, whose care about being fancy! We need to read the book!


So, are you ready for unboxing time? It is always one of the most interesting part of opening your package.

Tadaaaaaaaa and this month book for me is: The Sustainability Secret: Rethinking our Diet to Transform the World 


And this is amazing! Lucky me I almost bought this one, but leave it because I still have some books un-readed.

I am so happy! It is my first time other people choose a book for me and I really like the theme 🤗

The Book Review: Great Opinion, but I am not Interested to be a Vegetarian, Vegan, or something similar 

If you ever watch a documentary movie tittle “Cowspiracy” and you can enjoy it, then you can continue to read this book to get more details information.

The first chapter is quite similiar with what I watched in cowspiracy. But after you turn the pages you will got further information about what really happened inside the farm. You will got an information about how much a farmer should spend just to take care their farm. How long and tough the journey of a cattle from being a cattle until they become a hamburger patty and ready on your dining table. How much the methan emission. And if you interested to learn about cruelty inside the farm, then this book is also recommended for you.

However, as a researcher… and an omnivore… I know it is really sad about what happened in some farm, but I think this book try to persuade the reader to be a vegan or vegetarian to reduce the demand of meat and livestock products and at last reduce industrialization of livestock. mmmm…cool,  I am not really agree for that.

I believe that there always a reason why God design us as omnivore, some animals as carnivore, and some animals as herbivore. Somehow, this planet should be in equilibrium, and to do so everyone needs to keep on track of their role.

If we all become a vegan it will also bad for our herbivore friends, because the demand of agriculture and plants will be increase and getting higher. There will be a high soil exploitation, and trust me it is not good because it will reduce the productivity of the soil. Not only us will face the trouble, but also all of the herbivore friends.

Make all human being become a vegan is as bad as make all human being become a carnivore.

I am not saying it is bad if you are a vegan. No way, that’s really cool and healthy. But everything that “too much” always not really good. I just can’t agree if human should totally become a vegan to be a better person. So, if you are a vegan… go on track and good luck. And if you are an omnivore like me, let’s become a wise omnivore.

We should consume both meat and vegetables in reasonable amount. Not eat meat too much and if possible find meat with “no-cruelty” label (including if you cosmetic geek, I suggest you to try organic or at least cruelty free cosmetic). Start to plant some herbs and vegetables by yourself.

Remember that in this planet, we have a right to enjoy and consume edible stuff in this planet, but as a human with brain and heart, we all have a responsibility to take care this planet. Yes! It is our big mission, don’t you think so?

Ssssttt…as a little treat for you, here you got a greeting from my babbies. Yes, I do love gardening, eat vegetables and fruits, and still a meat lover 😘