Profile for D. Haven > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by D. Haven
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,017,029
Helpful Votes: 3

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
D. Haven "DvdH" (Hoofddorp, Netherlands)

Page: 1
Culture and Customs of Indonesia (Culture & Customs of Asia)
Culture and Customs of Indonesia (Culture & Customs of Asia)
by Jill Forshee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 27.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive Overview yet also with single-sided Views, 13 Mar 2014
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the culture and customs of Indonesia. It covers the whole range of religion, arts, food and many more aspects of culture in various parts of Indonesia.
Necessarily, with a country that consists of so many different cultures, the book cannot cover all parts of the country. Typically missing in most descriptions are the cultures from Papua, Maluku and up to a point Sulawesi and Kalimantan. The author does a good job providing a decent overview of most of the rest of Indonesia (probably those areas where the author has been herself), though, and provides some general views of what she could gather from other regions.
What did strike me in a negative way, though, is that the authors seems to see aspects of animism or other pre-conventional beliefs in every aspect of Indonesian culture. Of course, these basic beliefs are part of any culture, but the emphasis that is put on the influence thereof is odd, almost compulsive. A person with a hammer sees nails everywhere, but based on my own extensive travels in Indonesia, this is an image that is not justified. I wonder if the author, when describing a western European culture, would be able to see the same remnants of animism there and if she would put the same odd emphasis on it.
Overall, I'd recommend reading this book, as it is one of the few thorough studies of Indonesian culture. Just take the animism pieces with a grain of salt.

Joseph Anton
Joseph Anton
by Salman Rushdie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written but extremely annoying, 22 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Joseph Anton (Hardcover)
For starters, I am a great fan of Salman Rushdie's books (with the exception of Fury). They have always dragged me into different worlds where in amazing ways a myriad of storylines that seems to constantly diverge in the end harmoniously converge.
Therefore, I was also very much interested in what Rushdie had to go through during the years he has been in hiding because of Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa. This book gives some insight into it and provides a look into Rushdie's private life as well. The most interesting part I found the autobiography of everything that led up to him writing The Satanic Verses.
However, in what followed, there was simply too much name dropping: one "brilliant author" hasn't left the story yet and the next "eminent writer" shows up. After 250 pages or so I promised myself that if another literary hero would be mentioned, I'd give up.
And I did give up. Not only because of the continual name dropping, but also because of the way in which Rushdie describes his experiences. All the minute details of his life in hiding are just not interesting enough to fill six hundred pages. Worse, it seems that the only way of dealing with the events, no matter how gruesome it must have been to live through them, was to rationalise them to the extreme. Never ever do we hear about what he feels, about the fear that he must have experienced. Instead, he seems to be more concerned about whether Penguin will release the paperback version of the book or not and where to publish his next book.
Finally, he seems to have a complete lack of empathy: everyone who does not defend him publicly is a coward and no sympathy can be given to those who have come under attack because of his book, such as bookshopkeepers.
This is a well-written book, because Rushdie is simply one of the greatest English authors alive, but the contents make this book hard to get through and eventually simply extremely annoying to read.

Future Queens of England
Future Queens of England
Price: 1.02

4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 9 Mar 2012
Future Queens of England is a hilarious book, written in an eloquent style. From beginning to end, it keeps amusing without becoming predictable, even though the subject matter is open to all-too-easy jokes. Mr. Matthews managed to not fall into that trap, though, which makes this book a welcome addition to the genre.

Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us)
Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us)
by Tom Vanderbilt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.54

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Traffic - an unending stream of facts, 1 Nov 2009
Traffic was recommended to me by a colleague and got raving reviews, as per the quotes on its cover. However, I only made it to page 80 or so and got tired of it. It's simply that the reader gets overrun by an endless stream of facts, research, more facts, more research and it is not brought in a way that keeps me interested. The research is well-done, but the way in which it is presented is just not gripping enough. Too bad, for the subject matter is worth reading more about.

Page: 1