Holiday Reading List

Dec 25th, 2009, in Opinion, by

Suggestions to while away the lazy holiday days engrossed in worthy tomes of literature.


Perhaps a holidays reading list from you ?? Just your personal favorites…


The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin A strange, enigmatic and structurally flawed book, but by god that’s fine writing. I can read the first page alone over and over: “In Alice Springs – a grid of scorching streets where men in long white socks were forever getting in and out of Land Cruisers…”

The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway – Bad Hemingway (To Have and Have Not, and the shooting-things-in-africa books etc) is very bad indeed, but Good Hemingway is unsurpassed. Literature students tend to give more attention to the earlier stuff, and it’s sometimes claimed that FWTBT is a bit trashy, but I say b*llocks. The description of the “smell of death”, and the massacre of the nationalists in the village? Doesn’t get any better…

Point of Departure and An Indian Summer, James Cameron – the greatest British journalist, and the best journalistic stylist ever. EVER!

Kim, Rudyard Kipling – liberal bed-wetters, and EW Said pontificate on the colonialist discourse, ignoring a couple of simple facts – Kipling was an Indian-born Englishman in the 19th Century; you can hardly condemn him for having a pro-empire outlook, AND, you won’t find many other books where the richness of India shines through with as much warmth and love as this one.

Shame, Salman Rushdie – A spectaculary sharp and acidic political satire. I wish someone would do to Indonesia what Rushdie did to Pakistan in Shame, but I can’t see it happening…

The Way of the World, Nicolas Bouvier
– luminous travel writing, absolutely supurb…

Train to Pakistan, Kashwant Singh
– A sizzling little novel by India’s best journalist and general all-round cool guy. Like, a million miles away from the usually over-ornate style of Indian writers.

Catch 22, Joseph Heller. Years later, an interviewer snidely pointed out to Heller that he had never written another book as good as this, his first. In response Heller just smirked and said, “Neither has anyone else…” He’s cool. This book is cool. Yosarian is, like, waaaaay cool…

Evidently I could go on like this for some time, but those are the ones I generally re-read at least once every couple of years…
How about you Mas Achmad? What’re yours?
Hey, and how about you Anthony “Hitler” Tolomeo? Any recommendations?

Happy Christmas my lovelies…

69 Comments on “Holiday Reading List”

  1. bs says:

    This is getting awkward…

  2. madrotter says:

    hell of a way to start a new year bs…..

  3. Oigal says:

    I’ll try the Stephen King one – I did like his short stories when I was growing up, but thought most of his stuff is still a bit, well, adolescent

    Thanks BK, I would agree. In particular his later nonsense. Never the less, The Stand is worth a read but be prepared to spend a few hours. Not a bad mini series as well.


  4. brian astaga says:

    I prefer real life reads. .

    Sailing alone around the world -Joshua Slocum. It’s more of a dairy than a book but I found myself time again shaking my head on what this guy did and where/when he did it.

    could easily sit and read this book, or one of shapelle corbys novels

  5. Astrajingga says:

    Should be added with
    Lekra tidak membakar buku
    Dalih Pembunuhan massal

  6. Oigal says:

    one of shapelle corbys novels

    🙂 or have a tooth pulled

  7. firefly says:

    A honourable mention for A Shadow Falls: In the Heart of Java by Andrew Beatty, which I’ve just finished and enjoyed greatly, I’m sure some of you will be familiar with it.


  8. Odinius says:

    Achmad said:

    I’ve read “My War Gone By, I Miss It So”, one of the most chilling things I’ve ever read: a twin diary of an addiction to heroin and war. He actually first ‘chased the dragon’ in Indonesia of all places.

    Yeah, that’s a good one, isn’t it? A lot of good writing came about of the Bosnian war.

    My recommendation: everyone should read Roosa’s recently banned book on G30S/PKI.

  9. madrotter says:

    right now i’m enjoying these two books about indonesian music, the first part is sold out

Comment on “Holiday Reading List”.

RSS feed

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-20
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact