Book Stories


Riot Roundup: The Best Books We Read October-December 2020

Jan 04, 2021 / Dial A for Aunties
DIAL A FOR AUNTIES BY JESSE Q. SUTANTO (BERKLEY, APRIL 27) Wrap a romcom with a crime novel, sprinkle in Weekend At Bernie’s, and you get this deliciously fun, big-hearted book. Told in past and present, we learn of lost love, hope for love found, and watch a bickering (with love) family try to dispose of a body to help one of their own during a huge wedding. It’s hilarious! No, seriously there are just the right amount of ridiculous situations to have you rooting for them to get away with “accidental murder” and hope to be adopted into this big Chinese-Indonesian family. I mean, they’re willing to help you bury a body. And run a successful wedding business while doing it. If you love romcoms (this is PERFECT for adaptation) do not miss this 2021 gem of a release.

2020: Translations from Southeast, South and West Asia

Jan 03, 2021 / The Wandering
The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha,  translated by Stephen J Epstein The story begins in Jakarta, a hubbub of street vendors, motorbikes, and calls to prayer from mosque loudspeakers. “Travelling is the most ancient desire”, writes Intan Paramaditha in her first novel, a choose-your-own-adventure story published this February as global mobility ground to a halt. The wandering narrator, addressed in the second person befitting the conventions of the form, travels along multiple routes to Berlin, New York, and even outer space as she faces ordeals that illustrate the privileges of going abroad and the limitations of individual choice.

Book Deals: Week of January 4, 2021 – Penguin Classics Visits Darma’s ‘Bloomington’

Jan 01, 2021 / Orang-Orang Bloomington
People from Bloomington by Indonesian author Budi Darma was acquired in a world English rights deal by Elda Rotor at Penguin Classics. Jayapriya Vasudevan and Helen Mangham at Jacaranda Literary brokered the agreement for the book, a collection of seven short stories, with Indonesian publisher Noura Books. Penguin described Darma as one of his country’s “most beloved and respected living authors.” The book follows a group of characters in Bloomington, Ind., where Darma lived for a period, and, the publisher said, “blurs the boundaries between Western and Eastern literature.” Tiffany Tsao is translating the title.

6 Must-Read Indonesian Novels, Stories, and Poems

Dec 31, 2020 / Apple and Knife Man Tiger Sergius Seeks Bacchus The Book of Jakarta: A City in Short Fiction The Majesties The Wandering
Indonesia, Asia’s largest archipelago, is one of the world’s most ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse countries. It is a place called home by every kind of human being. As soon, Indonesian novels, stories, and poems offer readers that same kind of diversity and excitement. The Indonesian novels, stories, and poems found here do not encompass the entire literary scope of Indonesia, but they do offer a few wonderful places to begin reading Indonesian books in translation. Here, you’ll find some of Indonesia’s best writers, poets, and translators.

Our best Filipino books of 2020

Dec 29, 2020 / Aku Ingin Jadi Peluru (Kumpulan Puisi)
Here, we asked a few critics, writers, and publishers to give us some of their best or favorite reads of 2020. — Don Jaucian KRISTINE ONG MUSLIM, writer “Balada ng Bala at iba pang mga tula” is a 200-page volume of poems by Wiji Thukul, an Indonesian labor organizer and a desaparecido of the US-backed Suharto regime. The poems, edited and translated into Filipino by Mark Laurence D. Garcia and Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III, were written and published in the span of at least a decade. No greasy conceits of hagiography soiled the editors’ introduction. Expect a thoughtful contextualization that situates the recurring themes in Thukul’s body of work in the Philippines, where the Duterte regime — in the guise of an anti-insurgency, anti-terrorism campaign — is arresting or killing dissenters. Expect a compelling dissection that shows how Thukul’s political struggles had shaped his art — and not the other way around.

Literary Postmodern Perspective in “Will Badrul Mustafa Never Die”?

Dec 17, 2020 / Will Badrul Mustafa Never Die? Verse from the Front
Badrul Mustafa is considered an anti-hero who claims to be loved by everyone in society. He strives to convince one and all of his remarkable abilities—truth-bearer, hero, unrequited lover, and miracle worker—but is constantly baffled by life’s rebuffs and the futility of his self-defeating efforts. But Badrul Mustafa is not just one person. Instead, he represents an amalgam of absurd and delusional hypocrites who connive to attain power and sow communal discord. This is the “front”, the battle the author fights against the “Badrul Mustafas of all time”. Heru Joni Putra who is the author of the different poems that are in the book decides to incorporate Badrul Mustafa as a character because he symbolises many people in society. I reckon that this book is subject to literary postmodern analysis.

World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2020

Dec 14, 2020 / Deviant Disciples
Literary translation’s 2020 story is one of abundance and adaptation. Like most books published this year, dozens of new translations were published during a global pandemic. Events quickly moved from bookstores to Zoom. Writers and translators adapted, participating in virtual book tours, online conversations, Facebook live readings, and even virtual literary festivals. We gathered online to celebrate these new English translations and receive the community and comfort we could find there.

The Struggles of the Kretek Workers in Iksaka Banu’s Novel, Sang Raja (The King)

Dec 13, 2020 / Sang Raja
The novel Sang Raja was written by Iksaka Banu. This novel shows the struggles of people who worked in Bal Tiga kretek cigarette factory in Kudus in the early 1900s, during the Dutch colonial era. The problem in this research is how the efforts of the people who worked in Bal Tiga kretek cigarette factory sustain the life of the factory. The research objective is to analyze and study the struggles of the workers in the kretek cigarette factory in their effort to sustain Bal Tiga kretek cigarette factory. This research is a qualitative research, employing the descriptive analysis method through the intrinsic (character and setting) and extrinsic (sociology of literature and history) approaches. The kretek cigarette workers formulated various strategies and promotions to help their factory to overcome competition among cigarette factories. In addition, the tobacco harvest failure in Zanzibar and Madagascar had a major impact on the world economy. Bal Tiga kretek cigarette factory in Kudus felt the brunt of this crisis. However, after the economic crisis had passed, the people in Kudus returned to work in kretek cigarette factories enthusiastically. The results of the study show the values of humanity of the struggles of the kretek workers.

5 Food Novels by Southeast Asian Women Writers

Dec 09, 2020 / The Birdwoman’s Palate
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” Francis Bacon’s familiar maxim, about the degrees with which a reader might interact with a book, takes a renewed meaning in light of food literature. This particular category of texts has gone under many names: gastronomic novels, culinary fiction, books that cook, la fiction gourmande, or quite simply, food fiction. But the one aspect that distinguishes it, no matter the appellation, is its urgent concern with food, eating or cooking. Below are five examples of novels written by Southeast Asian women writers that explore the language of food. In their work, food acts as a theme or a symbol that represents the novel’s underlying message.

UK publisher to launch portraits of Jakarta in fiction anthology

Nov 27, 2020 / The Book of Jakarta: A City in Short Fiction
Every person who has been lucky enough to taste chaotic yet enchanting Jakarta would agree that the city is crammed with interesting stories. Open your window anywhere in the city and you will immediately find romance, horror, comedy, drama or anything in between waiting to be written down. UK-based publisher Comma Press has seized this opportunity by publishing an anthology of short stories with Jakarta as the setting, as part of its critically acclaimed Reading the City series.
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