What Should I Read?

I still get questions on what book to read.

Unless I talk to you personally, I would not know your needs and wants. And if I do know your needs and wants, I would need more time to talk to you to figure out what type of readings you prefer. Then I would be able to help you out to pick reading materials. I prefer meeting in person but I have to go to the office on Mondays to Fridays. I do not go out of the house on Saturdays and my Sunday starts at 11 A.M. until about 10 P.M. In between scheduled hours, I will either be working on personal projects, dining with my family and the boyfriend, or snuggling under my blankets investing time in quality sleep.

So yeah. Since meeting you in person in unlikely, I do not think I am in any capacity to dictate you what you need to read. However. I can share with you what I have readand re-readfor the past 10 months of this great 2017. (Not great. Just OK. Learned a lot though, as expected.)

But before listing it out, I would like to make clear that for me reading is a very personal activity. I find it logical to say that it is a lot like eating. You think you do not like the taste of something but if it is cooked right, you can make exceptions. Seperti dengan gue dan sambal. Gue ga suka makan sambal atau makan yang pedas-pedas karena the fire of cabai will throw me off balance and my taste bud will not register taste due to me being kepedesan, ingusan, keringetan dan lain sebagainya. Tapi entah kenapa, I can stand the crazy heat of manakan Manado—and McDonald's McSpicy Chicken. The same goes for books and reading materials. I might say I do not like chick lit but, man, I can finish Lauren Weisberger, Sophie Kinsella or Emily Giffin's book in one sitting. And there are days when I prefer hauling their book up on the plane when traveling. I do not like chick lit but I still do read them and gush over the thought of the dreamy men they wrote in the pages of the book. It is in the way the author writes. Lorong tempat buku-buku itu ada bukan my first preference when going to the bookstore (seperti bagaimana makanan pedas bukan pilihan pertama gue ketika harus menentukan asupan untuk perut) but there are days when I do not mind leafing through their pages

What I am trying to convey adalah be open to a lot of choices. Mungkin lo ga suka baca yang "enteng-enteng" karena sastra adalah yang terbaik! I will roll my eyes at chu. Yaaa ndak apa. Choose what you think fits you best. Reading takes time so you do have the right to choose how or with what kind of material you should spend your precious hours. Right. Sudah cukup ngelanturnya.

So what do I read? For your ease, the list is divided into two: online and offline.

What I read onlinebased on the site I've bookmarked on my browser and sites I recall as interesting:
  • The New York Times. I subscribe to the New York Times. All access. News coming out of the site is what I read every morning on the way to work. That is why if you have seen my Twitter account, you will see a lot of links from the New York Times. I find it fascinating, like that time when Putin wrote to the American people as an Op-Ed Contributor (find the link here).
  • Haaretz. I used to subscribe to Haaretz too for about three years or so and then it started to lose its luster on me so I stop subscribing. I still do visit the website every now and then to get updates on the going abouts in Israel.
  • FiveThirtyEight. Stumbled on Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't in a bookstore a few years back. That is how I got familiar with his website and statistics. I like their take on the numbers which sometimes speaks volumes.
  • Lapham's Quarterly. The Quarterly's About page opens with this sentence: "Lapham's Quarterly embodies the belief that history is the root of all education, scientific and literally as well as political and economic." Being raised in a community that kept on screaming that "History repeats itself!" for the bulk of my years in school, I felt that Lewis H. Lapham aimed at me when creating the site (not a fact but I can relate to many of his writings!).
  • The Atlantic. This I have read since high school. I remember distinctly how I stumbled on this. It was 2007 and I was bored so I went to the internet to search for things I can read. That is the first time I found out that the US has a National Magazine Award. I had time so I went on reading the majority of the articles nominated. One that caught my attention was Sandra Tsing Loh's critic titled Rhymes with Rich on Leslie Morgan Steiner's Mommy Wars: Stay-at-home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families. I did my research afterwards to find that the history The Atlantic is quite fascinating. But ultimately what hooked me to it is the fact that my all-time favorite author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a contributor. Plus, it went on to win more National Magazine Award. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the senior editor of the magazine, won the Essay and Criticism category with his essay titled Fear of a Black President. I stopped my online subscription a few months ago and started buying the print instead.
  • Vanity Fair. I visit the site mostly to see Leibovit's works but there are times when you can stumble on some great writing on their cover stories too. An example would be Ezekiel Emanuel's Growing Up Emanuel written in 2013. I took notes when reading that article untuk siap-siap kalau sampai satu hari nanti dipercayakan sama Tuhan dengan keluarga yang anaknya laki-laki semua. Vanity Fair does have some good article lying around but it might take a bit more effort finding it.
  • The Gentlewoman. If you are a native Jakartan and have roamed through the aisles in bookstores, you must have seen the print version of The Gentlewoman. I have never bought the print version but they do publish the stories on the site. Link posted will lead you to the library. My personal favorite is their profile on Tilda Swinton purely due to their description of how she lives her life in Nairn, a town in Scotland. She raises her twins with limited access to media. Oh, the things you learn from reading. The rest of the profiles are equally interesting. Though for me, Tilda's stood out. 
  • Oxford American. I love the design of the website. Writings are interesting but do note that, unless you subscribe, there is a limit of 5 free articles. Pick and choose.
  • Esquire's What I've Learned Archive. I still do read men's magazine though mostly in print. The online versions are sometimes too clickbait-y that I prefer avoiding it in its entirety. But there are some gems hiding in the corners of the site. Esquire's What I've Learned archive is one of which. If you want more, give Tom Chiarella's writings a read too. I first read his writing when reading his Letter to a Young Drinker on Esquire's Drink Like a Man book.
  • Jacobin. Dubbed as the "leading voice of the American left", Jacobin is an interesting site to visit. Apart from their lovely web design, the writings written do provide perspectives. I wondered if I should place it here on the list but what the heck. Read it.
  • Pitchfork's Reviews. What I read when I ran out of music to listen to. Some get their music from the radio, some from friends, some from, I don't know, places. I honestly get mine from Spotify's Discover and Apple Music's recommendations. But there are days when your ears cannot handle another jazz note or are sick of Gregory Porter. I cannot turn to my music players so I go back to the basics: I read music reviews. If I find something I like reading, I search for the album and give it a listen. My most recent discovery is Amine's Good For You though he does resonate a little Chance the Rapper-y vibe (which I love so maybe I do lean towards some tone only).
  • Harvard Business Review. Yes, because I still get a lot to learn when dealing with my day to day work. The subscription notices do get annoying though. Thankfully, the office subscribe annually so I have the full version on my hand or laptop monthly without having to spend a buck.
  • Whiteboard Journal. You'd probably wonder when if I read any Indonesian sites when online. I do but barely. Whiteboard Journal is one of the local sites I frequently visit. Content's local but it does not feel like a local website (which is good, for me, in all honesty). I read most of the articles on the Focus section as linked above.
  • The New Yorker. I read this only when I find an interesting title on their Twitter account. Again, the subscription notification is quite annoying but, hey, that is how they get their money. No hate.
  • Wired. I think this was one of those magazines that I mentioned in my weird magazine-related monolog I wrote sometimes ago. But I do love Wired. It is filled with nerdy stuff. The highlight for me was that one time in 2016 when Barack Obama became the guest editor at the magazine. I really like it when presidents write. I do not know why. I just do. Apart from that, the magazine and site are filled with scientific this and that which I enjoy reading.
  • Man Repeller. The freshest writings I have read in 2017 by far. This is what I read when I am on lunch break. I think Leandra's writings are the kind of fashion-related writings I like reading without having to wince at things I find odd. I also dig their Real Cool People Real Cool Apartment section and the MR Money Diaries. You probably won't like it as much if your fascination about New York City and New Yorker, in general, is relatively low. Very cool.
  • Articles from my Twitter's List. I have three lists on my Twitter accounts: News, Not News, and Dudes. These I read only when my day is done and I have time and energy to be emotionally drained. Because sometimes things you read on the internet are not things that will make you happy. Should probably source links for cute puppies videos.

Banyak uga ternyata. I'll stop here for now. The offline writings that I read will be uploaded separately. I am currently on obat flu karena my nose is clogged and I had to battle a nasty sore throat yesterday. I'll (probably) update this list too in case something new comes up.


Ta ta for now,
Athalia Karima Yedida Soemarko.

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