Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Republic by Plato

I must take a mental note not to read any philosophical book during three of the last months of year! When reports and deadlines occupied most of my brain, I should have chosen some lighter books than Plato! Really… I almost put Republic down in the middle of 200s pages, but I know that if I didn’t finish now, I won’t probably pick it up again in the future. So, I kept on reading. And you know…it turned out to be rewarding in the end!

Republic is a conversation of some Ancient Greek men who were “on the threshold of old age”—one of them was Socrates. From common earthly matters, their conversation moved to a serious one: Does morality rewarding? Socrates thought so, but others disagreed. One of them said that “morality is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger party…” And that led to a discussion about governmental systems—the best and the worst types, as well as the same weighing at human’s characters. They even created from the scratch an ideal community in which happiness is in store for everyone—from the leaders (they call it “guardian”) to its citizen.

So, Republic is not a political book in the first place. First Socrates analyzed positive and negative points from several biggest governmental systems; then cross-referenced them with men’s character types. In the end, they all agreed that morality is, after all, rewarding. And actually, being the title of this book doesn’t mean that Republic is the best political system chosen by Plato. Here is the nomination according to Plato, and agreed by the rest (from best to worst):

- Aristocracy (complies with Plato’s ideal state)
- Timarchy or Timocracy
- Oligarchy
- Democracy
- Dictatorship

Like I said, I have chosen the wrong time to read Republic, so I didn’t have chance to make thorough analysis on the state models, and cannot decide which model is the most ideal.

The idea of one-person-one-occupation is good. That way everyone can work according to his passion and skill; that way he will produce his best, and in the end everyone will be satisfied. I also agree that the ruler (or guardian, using Plato’s term) must be provided with special education, on philosophy, in particular. But I strongly opposed to Plato’s way of exalting the guardian class, to the extent of restraining them from marrying other social classes, and even suggesting that children will be snatched from their parents and raised by the state. I agree that ruler of the state must have certain qualities, but that the kingship should be dominated by certain class… a big no!

To sum up, there are things in this book that are indeed relevant with our issues today; the idea about morality and philosophy really benefit us—and thus make Republic an important reading. But there are also other ideas that was really disgusting.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge


I have completed this challenge, 12 books in 12 months AND the two alternates also. Check below my entries with links to the review. Thanks, Adam, for ever hosting this challenge!


It’s back! After two sabbatical years (is it really two years?) of one of my favorite reading challenges, Adam has decided to host The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge again, yay! Thanks Adam, for I really need this kick right now to finally take on several books that has been in my shelf for years!

It requires us to read twelve books (with two alternates) from our TBR pile. This year I intended to read all twelve of them, so here they are… (the year is the publishing year of my copy):

1. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (2002)
2The End of the Affair by Graham Greene – Indonesian translation (2003)
3March by Geraldine Brooks – Indonesian translation (2007)
4Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy – Indonesian translation (2005)
5Howards End by E.M. Forster (1910)
6Cleopatra: A Life by Tracy Schiff - Indonesian translation (2012)
7The Siege by Helen Dunmore (2002)
8An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (2014)
9Possession by A.S. Byatt (2009)
10The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton – Indonesian translation (2013)
11Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens (1995)

1. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - Indonesian translation (2008)
2. A Spiritual Canticle by St. John of the Cross

Now, wish me luck for next year! *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dickens in December: A Reading Event | #DickensInDecember2017

credit for Dickens image

In my bookish life, December is one of the most exciting months of the year (besides April—because of… you know… one particular genius French author I happen to love! 😎). I love organizing, and around December I used to organize my reading schedule for the next year. All with reading challenges that everyone is posting, anticipation of reading (and rereading my favorites), it makes December so full of excitement and anticipation!

There is another thing. Since two or three years ago, I have been cultivating a new habit of reading Dickens only in December. Why December? I don’t know… maybe because Dickens is always associated with Christmas—hey, he is “the man who invented Christmas”, right? Or maybe, December always gives the perfect mood for reading Dickens… do you feel it too?? Anyway, now, I always put a Dickens or two in my December entry for next year reading lists.

And then I thought….why not creating a reading event of Dickens every December, just like what I have been doing with Zola every April (Zoladdiction—if you haven’t been familiar with it)? That will be super cool! And so…. today I am proud to announce my new reading event:


Why is it cool?
Reading Dickens IS always cool… do you need any other reason to read him?

How can I participate?
Just by confirming in the comment box, or by copy-pasting URL of your blog post about your intention to participate.

Must I own a blog to participate?
No, you can use your goodreads or Twitter or Facebook or Instagram account, or even… you can just read silently without social media sharings. But please don’t go “anonymous” here; use your alias name, at least. I hate talking to ghosts… 😝

Must I post a sign up post, reviews, or wrap-up post?
It’s you choice. I know December can be hectic (so many reports to prepare, humbug!), and totally understand if you don’t have time to write posts. But if you’d care to share your reading plan with us on the comment box, we’d be thrilled! In my blog I will post a scheduled kick-off post on December 1st and wrap-up post around Christmas so that you can share your thoughts or feelings (or URL of your posts) if you’d like to, as often as you want! You can also share it via social media using hashtag #DickensInDecember2017. Don’t forget to tag me! 😉

So, what MUST I do?
Read, read, and read as many Dickensian book(s) as you can! (books by Dickens or about Dickens) 💓

Last but not least… to spice up the event…

Are you super-excited with the upcoming The Man Who Invented Christmas movie?? I AM!! Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it…

You can also share your thoughts on the movie (or any other Dickensian movies) for this event.

Yayyy! See you next month! 🎉

===== UPDATE====
Please submit your reviews/posts in the link-up post.