Gayatri is the proud host of three different monthly book clubs and we organise other special events too.

Ubud Book Club takes place on the last Sunday of each month from 11 am to 12.30 pm. It is hosted by Bagus Ari Saputra. If you want to come to the next one, please email info@gayatri.org to confirm.

Baltasaarin kirjakerho is a Finnish language book club. It meets on the second Sunday of each month from 11 am to 12.30 pm. If you want to come to the next meeting, please email info@gayatri.org to let us know that you are coming.

Bedah Buku Ubud is an Indonesian language book club. It meets on the third Sunday of each month from 11 am to 12.30 pm. We want to be part of the creation of a reading culture in Indonesia. Authors featured thus far include Eka Kurniawan, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and Leila S. Chudori.

On 24 December, we host our annual Christmas Party.

On 6 December, we host our annual Finnish Independence Day Party.

On 17 August, we host our annual Indonesian Independence Day Party.

Upcoming events:

  • Saturday 14 July 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pmBaltasaarin kirjakerho (Finnish language book club). The book chosen for the next meeting is Lang by Swedish-speaking Finnish author Kjell Westö. It is a compact story about a double divorcee TV presenter man going through a mid-life crisis, in the midst of which he falls for the much younger Sarita. The critic Joni Pyysalo of Suomen Kuvalehti has called it Westö's finest work. This is Baltasaarin kirjakerho's first dip into the world of Finnish literature written in Swedish and promises excitement and darkness in equal measure. As usual, a copy of the book is available to borrow from Gayatri (email info@gayatri.org to request it) and cake and tea is on us. See you in July!
  • Saturday 21 July 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pm. Bedah Buku Ubud (book club in Bahasa Indonesia). If people read more in Indonesia, there would have been less bloodshed (it's hard to aim a rifle when you are reading Eka Kurniawan), less social inequality (because information is power), and more joy (because reading is fun). All Indonesian speakers out there come to Gayatri on the third Saturday of July to discuss Tanah Surga Merah by Arafat Nur (obviously read it first). It is a story about a soldier of the Aceh Independence Movement returning to his home village from the front and having to face uncomfortable truths there.
  • Sunday 29 July 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pm. Ubud Book Club – our original English language book club open to all. After last month's fairly one-sided and sycophantic biography of Indonesia's second president, Soeharto, it is appropriate that the book chose for this month's meeting is Truth Will Out: Indonesian Accounts of the 1965 Mass Violence. It is a compilation of essays, interviews, and first-hand witness testimony of what happened in Indonesia in the last months of 1965 put together by a group of university students from Yogyakarta led by Baskara T. Wardaya. What makes the work especially compelling is that it contains testimony from witnesses who were neither perpetrators or victims, which helps us to understand more deeply the historical context of the events, as well as accounts from survivors of the human rights violations. The stated aim of the book is to provide stories and narratives from "below", that is the voices of ordinary people engulfed by the events in question, which were for decades subject to heavy censorship by the New Order regime. The book was written for an Indonesian audience but has been translated into English by Jennifer Lindsay and is published by Monash University Publishing as part of the Herb Feith Series.
  • Friday 17 August 2018, 12 to 5 pm. Indonesian Independence Day Party. Come to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia's proclamation of independence by attending our party of food, culture, and fun! There will be the traditional panjat pinang (greasy pole climbing with prizes for anyone who makes it to the top), a speech about how Indonesia ended up an independent country in 1945, live symphonies from a gamelan orchestra, dance performances from a local gamelan troupe, and singing by an Indonesian singer yet to be announced. The centrepiece of the event will be a banquet for kings in the Indonesian style: suckling pig, chicken satay in peanut sauce, yellow rice, beef in rendang sauce, mie goreng, tofu in coconut curry, a selection of sambals, and much more besides. If you are in Indonesia for this independence day, now you know where to spend it. Thank you, you say? You are most welcome.

Past events:

  • Saturday 30 June 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pmUbud Book Club. At this meeting, we turned our attention to history in the form of O. G. Roeder's seminal biography of Indonesia's second president, The Smiling General: President Soeharto of Indonesia. The first biography of the controversial man, published at a time (1969) when there was scant information about him publicly available in English, Roeder's account is based on interviews with the general-turned-president himself, as well as his inner circle. It is an oft-cited work in later research but with less than three hundred pages of content was chosen also because of its accessibility.
  • Saturday 23 June 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pmBaltasaarin kirjakerho. The book dissected in this meeting of Indonesia's only Finnish language book club was the Finnish translation of Julian Barnes' hit book Flaubert's Parrot (Flaubertin papukaija). It is a novel about a retired doctor with an obsession for the masterful French novelist, Gustave Flaubert. The book is an eclectic collection of different writing styles, ranging from historical fiction, travel, biography, dictionary, and literary criticism, all tied together by Barnes' idiosyncratic rapier wit and delightful turn of phrase. The basic premise is that the protagonist is in the process of creating an account of the life and work of the author he so admires, but along the way the reader experiences the pleasure of Barnes' musings on the contemporary literary scene, solitude, genius, and the value of the personal in art. It is a stunningly original book and a real turn-on for anyone with a literary bent. Note: this was actually the March 2018 meeting of Baltasaarin kirjakerho re-scheduled (from 10 March 2018).
  • Saturday 16 June 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pm. Bedah Buku Ubud (book club in Bahasa Indonesia). This edition of Bedah Buku Ubud was the critically acclaimed 2012 novel by Laksmi Pamuntjak, Amba. It is a modern re-imagining of the love story between Amba and Bhisma from the Hindu epic, The Mahabharata, set during the political turmoil in Indonesia in the mid-1960s.
  • Saturday 9 June 2018, 11 am to 12.30 pm. Baltasaarin kirjakerho (Finnish language book club). Our Finnish book club took a decidedly academic twist this June, as the book chosen was Elämä: Tutkimus José Ortega y Gassetin filosofiasta. It is the book version of the PhD thesis in theoretical philosophy by the Finnish academic Pekka Lempiäinen. José Ortega y Gasset was a Spanish philosopher and intellectual who lived from 1883 to 1955. The writer looks how the philosopher's thoughts changed over time and the implications of his conclusions. The work has a wide scope and includes, among other things, discussions about history, art, technology, religion, and morality. Thus the title, Elämä (Life).
  • Saturday 26 May 2018, 1 to 2.30 pm. Ubud Book Club. At this month's edition of our original English language book club, the book was A Maggot by John Fowles.
  • Saturday 19 May 2018, 1 to 2.30 pm. Bedah Buku Ubud (book club in Bahasa Indonesia). The book for this meeting was Dari Ngalian Ke Sendowo by Nh. Dini.
  • Saturday 12 May 2018, 1 to 2.30 pm. Baltasaarin kirjakerho (Finnish language book club). The book chosen for this month's meeting was Ihon Aika by Anja Kauranen.

 

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