I wish I don’t know that Hardy is a sad married man

thomas hardy

I have long known some bad rumors regarding Thomas Hardy, one of my most favorite authors. He is said to have neglected his wife, Emma Gifford, as they aren’t blessed with any children. They grow apart, emotionally. Hardy is told to have visited other women, including Florence Dugdale, whom later becomes his wife after Gifford passes away.  Hardy regrets of making his wife unhappy then spends his remaining years living in remorse. This state of emotion is told as one of the factors that shade his second marriage with Gifford.

As much as they are true, I wish I don’t know about that. Now I know but I don’t want to make the fact lessens how much I adore Hardy’s writings. Thankfully, I know about all of this after I read his masterpieces. Fortunately. It is like knowing you were actually in danger after you escape from it.

Because I don’t know how would that be if read the books knowing Hardy is unhappy with his marriage. Probably I would discontinue reading his books.

It is still hard to believe that Hardy is a sad married man. That is probably reflected from his books’ tone, which is gloomy, realistic cum pessimistic. Looking at the ways he portrays his heroines, I disbelieve that he is responsible of making his wife unhappy. In my opinion, Hardy’s women are feminists who have super power. The women in his fictions are stubborn but with intelligence, rare ones when they are created in the 19th or early 20th century.

That is why I hardly digest Hardy’s real romance life is quite saddening. That his marriage doesn’t make him satisfied as well. One can barely tell personal lives, problems don’t influence their writings. But I find it difficult to grasp his unhappy marriage life in his novels have I not known about his real life via Wikipedia.

May be Hardy can skillfully separate between the two (his own life and his artificial worlds in his books). Or probably I just don’t get that enough. I am too absorbed into his words. All I know his stories are all very realistic. That’s why I love him so much.

And sometimes I wish I don’t know about his own doomed marriage. Sometimes all I know is his beautiful words, poetic phrases and such. And now, I try to not remember Hardy’s life each time I enjoy his words. I hope I can do this as long as I can.

The picture is taken from this.

I no longer read Indonesian novels

picture source: readinglessonsforchildren.com. thanks a bunch for the picture!
picture source: readinglessonsforchildren.com. thanks a bunch for the picture!

I can no longer read Indonesian novels, by heart, although I am an Indonesian and Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesian language is my second mother tongue after Javanese language. I can’t remember the last time I complete reading an Indonesian novel. Years ago I suppose. On my daily basis, I do read a few of Indonesian articles but mere articles which are less than 10 pages. Sometimes I write articles in Bahasa Indonesia, but mere short writings. Not novels. Not yet. And sometimes I feel sorry for myself for not wanting to write any Indonesian books. The thing isn’t because I don’t have any ideas or don’t know how to start. But the obstacle is how can I write a book if I don’t even want to read the stories that I will create?

Because of this, I have missed some good opportunities out there, for instances, short stories writing competitions or simply submitting my stories to magazines or publications. The problem with an idealist like me is that no matter how golden opportunities others may think, if I don’t want them, then I won’t ever go for that. And vice versa. If people say what I do may be useless, but if I put all the love into what I currently do then I’ll stick to what I believe.

Sometimes I blame my addiction to reading and writing in English language. I sometimes think I should haven’t read or written too much in English language. Occasionally, I think what a shame that I haven’t read novels by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia’s greatest novelist, or the works by my friends. Some of my pals are authors, they produce amazing works. But I know I can’t force my feeling. If it says no then I won’t do that.

So here I am, still reading books in English language while occasionally reading articles in Bahasa Indonesia. It would be fantastic if my heart would be shifted at least to have willingness reading books in Bahasa Indonesia. But while waiting for the change of the heart, I keep doing what I love, seeing whereas my hobby may one day bring me career opportunities. Right now I still focus on Victorian Literature but I’m planning to shift my focus on another era or may be books from various countries.

 

 

My current battle: reading paper books vs online articles

How tremendous the impacts of smartphones are. I have been using a Chinese-made smartphone less than one year and I can’t believe how much it has changed my daily life. I used to have underestimated the influence of smartphones but now I can’t count how many hours have gone unnoticed while browsing articles in the smartphone. While I can still satisfy my curiosity in various fields by reading online articles, I feel guilty for neglecting some good novels at the bag. I currently reading “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens, a very wonderful, funny, touchy book yet I prefer online articles.

The problem with an avid reader like me is that I am curious on many things. I can read almost all kind of topics. Positive psychology is currently my field of interest. While that brings a lot of benefits, I easily get distracted. It’s hard for me to focus on one article let alone on one novel for just one hour. My eyes can’t stand of reading one article or a few pages of a novel within certain amount of time. As a result, I am struggling reading “The Old Curiosity Shop” simply because I find online articles are so irresistible.

Before I have the smartphone, I made use of my daily commute as the best time to read novels. I mostly read “The Mill on The Floss“, for instance, inside a Transjakarta bus. But now, I prefer reading online articles or check social media accounts while I am on the ways of going to and from the office.  I don’t know how many books that I am going to read this year. Actually, I have some great to-be-read novels in my mind but unless I can return to my old reading habit they will be mere plans.

 

 

 

This is how literature changes my life

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the picture is from quotesgram.com

When I was a senior high school student, I underestimated the importance of reading novels and poems. At the back of my mind, reading novels, fictions or poems would be a useless activity because it wouldn’t make me earning money. I couldn’t think of earning money by reading fictions.

Who would never thought that I was later accepted as a student of the English Literature where reading canon literature works was my daily activity. In the first four semesters, however, reading literature works was mere obligations from lecturers. My understanding was only skin deep. What I knew back then was only limited to plots, characters, social context, etc.

Thankfully, after I have graduated from the college, got a good job my reading habit never stopped. I even started viewing reading as a refreshing activity. And that was when the light shed on.

The first book that has uplifted my reading understanding then carried me to a whole new level was “The Picture of Dorian Gray“. The novel did not only lead me to have eventually learned the beauty of reading but also the most essential benefit of doing it.

While reading the title and others from the American and Asian literature has already boosted my reading experiences, those from the Victorian Era has given me more than that.

Literature has changed the way I feel about human beings. Because of reading a few number of great works from the Victorian Era I have loosened up myself from being a judgmental person. I become more tolerable. I now view people not as wholly kind or bad but in between; that people have good and bad sides. And if they do something ugly, they have complicated factors that make them doing so.

Literature has shown me that human beings are beautiful creations by Alloh swt. Their life stories are amazing, be they mostly about sadness or happiness. But when we disassociate from that labeling, each and every human experience is so worth it to be told, passed on.

Literature has shown me how society plays a very great role in shaping who we really are. Every human being is inseparable from where they grow up and live; and they are the product of those surrounding them.

Now, I come to the belief that reading novels, the best ones in particular, is all actually about reading human beings; upgrading, refreshing my views about people. And by the end of it all, I become amazed on how beautiful we are with all stories, journeys that each and every of us has passed through.

You know you’re a self-proclaimed bookworm when…

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  1. You only think of what titles you’re going to buy every time payday arrives no matter how urgent a party gown or office dress for you is. Then, you will curse yourself after not knowing what to wear to attend formal events. By the time you realize this, your money runs out. But mind you.. for you keep doing this all over again.
  2. A perfect weekend means spending a few hours reading a novel, sipping a cup of tea or coffee while sometimes listening to a good music. When some people say that is a smart choice of spending some days off you will respond it by saying, “I’d prefer to make use of my spare time with my boyfriend of husband if I have one, actually…”
  3. While another bus passenger click, browse their smartphones, you read novels instead. People may say you’re unique for keep reading paper-based books but deep in your heart you’re gonna admit that you don’t have enough money to buy those sophisticated gadgets. Or, the gadgets are affordable but they are too brilliant for a tech-illiterate like you. So, physical books remain the best pal during hectic journeys.
  4. You don’t mind being called as a geek for laying down in a grass while reading a novel while your office mates have a good time posing for narcisstic pictures. When they may pity on you, you firmly say, “Oh, that’s all right. I myself have best time with my own world.”
  5. Visiting a bookstore is a monthly must. Even if you have no money or bunch of unread books, you keep coming to the place. Once you get there, you inspect the titles of the books then leave them in the shelves. This has satisfied your curiosity.
  6. There comes a time when your reading desire is overwhelming. You opt to read tons of online articles in the internet despite the fact you still have some unread thick books. Even after you are done with the online articles, you end up rereading old stories from tabloids that you bought years ago. What about the thick books? Don’t worry, they are still in the bookshelf. You just don’t know yet how to regain the spirit to complete the reading or the heart to abandon them forever.
  7. You are reluctant to visit an eye doctor to get your eyes checked because you are afraid to may hear an ugly truth: that your eyes are now minus or that your minus may add because you read too much.
  8. Every morning you wake up feeling so joyful looking at the books filling up the shelves in your room despite the fact that you don’t really read them all. May be 75 or 80% but not 100%. You believe that they are the best treasures your grandchildren will inherit someday.

Source: personal experiences…