Friday, September 19, 2008

Something I think You Should Read

Every now and then, I'll read a book that really influences the way I think, sparks new interests, opens my eyes, or just really has such a tremendous impact on me that I just have to share it with everyone.

This can be said of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

(Do not click on the above link if you don't want to know all the details. This link contains a plot summary and will spoil the ending if you haven't read the novel yet)

The Kite Runner tells the tale of a wealthy Kabul merchant's son, Amir. Amir comes from a world where the divide between social castes is very apparent. Amir's father is a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Amir's childhood friend (and only true friend) belongs to a caste that is considered the lowliest and most despised one. Hassan is a Hazara and friendship or any kind of connection between the castes is frowned upon. Not only is Hassan a Hazara, but he is also Amir's servant.

Amir struggles with his decisions regarding his friendship with Hassan. In a country that is in the midst of rising religious, ethnic, and political tensions, Amir lets his friendship with his only true friend fade away as he alienates himself from Hassan.

As the Afghan monarchy begins to fall and with the Soviet Invasion and the rise of the Taliban regime, Amir and his father (like many other refugees) decide to flee. Some refugees went to Pakistan, and others to the United States. Amir and his father flee to California. Left behind are his old life, the memories of his childhood, and the friend who was almost like a brother to him. Amir severs the ties he has with his friend and leaves Hassan to suffer a terrible fate.

Many years later, when Amir is an adult, he receives a phone call from Rahim Khan, an old family friend who is now in Pakistan. Rahim Khan asks that Amir return to his home country as a favor to the dying man. Amir has to right what has been wronged.
Amir learns some overwhelming news that forces him to realize who he really is.Throughout the remainder of the novel, the phrase "There is a way to be good again" is repeated several times. It is a reminder to Amir that he must make things right for his only true friend and be courageous for the first time in his life.

This is a novel of overwhelming sadness, yet in the end we see that there is a glimmer of hope. I found myself crying at several points in the story. I could not believe how angry and disgusted some parts made me. Though this is a work of fiction, it really stirs up and provokes deep emotions regarding humankind, human suffering, the injustices suffered by people who are not in the ruling caste, and the terrible results that can come out of the abuse of power.

Though some parts were so vividly descriptive and graphic, it is a wonderful read. I read it in 9 hours! Remember I have been suffering from insomnia this trimester? Perhaps Baby is preparing me for the the potential lack of sleep I may be getting in a few months? Hubby jokingly says, "No! Our baby is going to sleep through every night!" Let's see about that! :)

I read 5 hours on Monday (went to bed at 2AM) and 4 hours on Tuesday (went to bed at 1 AM). Ha! I don't know how I was still able to function and do any work! Crazy!

The Kite Runner is such a gripping tale. I just could not put the book down and was so sad when I realized I had finished reading all 391 pages.

Have you ever read a book that was so good that you just never wanted it to end? What is one book that has left an imprint in your mind and in your heart?


Sharon - Mom Generations said...

The book that has had the most impact on me... ever... is Mutiny on the Bounty. It was assigned reading in my freshman (high school) English class. When our teacher introduced the book, we 14-year-olds all looked at each other like, "OK. Not for me." But from the first chapter (42 years ago), until now, I have been captivated by the story of William Bligh and Fletcher Christian on the HMS Bounty. The history. The journey. The conflicts. The loyalty. Fear. Nature and her elements. It all got into my heart and my mind and has lived there ever since. Our teacher offered a tremendous amount of extra credit for anyone who completed the trilogy by reading Men Against the Sea and Pitcairn's Island. I did. I would have finished the trilogy for no credit...

Great post. Great recommendation.

J at said...

I loved Kite Runner, but it broke my heart, and I don't feel brave enough to see the movie.

The Lovely Bones was similar, as far as modern books go. And The Road. The Road was AMAZING, but there are some images in there that I do NOT want to see on the big screen. Ugh.

Deb said...

I read this a while back and loved it! The movie depicted the book very well also...i was very pleased.

I love the Twilight series. Sounds very immature and childish...but I could not put the book down! all four of them! I read all four books in a matter of 4 days. I never would have thought I would love this book series so much since it is geared toward young adults, but you must give it a try!

I also read Nights in Rodanthe in one sitting last Sunday and it was wonderful as well.

Other books that have been great reads for me this year include: "Eat, Prey, Love"; "The Glass Castle" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" ...just to name a few. :)

Deb said...

oh oh! I my all time favorite is The Stranger by Albert Camus...I read it in high school and it has been the one book that has always stuck with me for reasons I don't even know.

To j at I love Lovely Bones as sad but so great. I think a movie was or is being made about it.

C said...

First off: I've got to say that I LOVE having blog friends who love reading as much as I do!

It may sound a bit odd, but among my most prized possessions are my books! I love my books!

I will have to look for that one! :) Thanks for sharing! I remember some of the books we had to read in school and while others thought it was a chore to read them, I absolutely loved them! It came to no surprise that I chose to major in English Literature in university :)

C said...

You know, I LOVE all the books that you review on your blog. You always make me want to go out and catch up on my reading!

After reading The Kite Runner the next book on my list is Three Cups of Tea. Here's the link:

I don't know if you've read this one, but in university I took a Women's Literature class and we had to read Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. It was such a disturbing, horrible story, but a very good read. I made the mistake of watching the movie. Some details are better left unseen. They didn't go into all the gory details, but still...When it comes to children and abuse, I cringe.

C said...

Oops! That link was cut off. Here it is again:

I also love reading your book reviews! Your love for the Twilight Series reminds me of my love for V.C. Andrews novels when I was a teenager. I loved the Dollanger Series. I think Flowers in the Attic was one of my favourites as a teen.

I don't usually enjoy watching the movies after reading the books because I always find the movies don't do the books justice in many cases. However, the movie made for Flowers in the Attic was equally haunting as the book.

Uncivil said...

I wish I had rime to read:(

C said...

Hey, Jimbo! I used to read A LOT more than I do now :( I don't seem to have much time to read as much as I'd like to (uhhh...yet I seem to have time to blog! LOL!). The only reason I've been able to read a few books this past month is because I seem to have problems getting back to sleep at night. This baby's got me going to the bathroom every morning at crazy hours like 2AM or 4AM and then I'm up for the rest of the day (I'm talking wide awake and no hope of getting back to sleep). I discovered the only way to tire myself out enough to get back to bed is to read a novel or watch infomercials! Ummm...The infomercials make me want to buy things that I know I won't use! LOL! I think I'll stick to reading books! :)

How are Ab & Em doing? Oh, and how are you? XO

japanmanpete said...

Do not laugh at me, but one of the books that I really enjoyed years ago was "The English Patient".

I have not been able to read much these days, but I have saved up some days off (with pay!) and will be going to go somewhere to chill. I think I will try to find "The Kite Runner". I may have to order it from one of the bookstores here that sell English books. Thank you for the suggestion.


Palm Springs Savant said...

I know EXACTLY the feeling you mentioned. I am a voracious reader and sometimes wish for certain books to have another hundred pages or so. At the moment I can't recall exact titles and authors, so I'll just share your sentiment C.

Cara said...

It has been a while since I visited your blog. I've had lots of catching up to do! Congratulations on your pregnancy! You will be a fantastic mom!

Reading your recent posts, I can honestly say that it is so nice to see how you can go from really funny and lighthearted to really cerebral and pensive. What a great potpourri of thoughts you've got on here.

All the best with your pregnancy. I'll be back for updates.

hellomelissa said...

so many people i talk with about this book agree that it impacted them for LONG after they read it. since then, i have read few that stay with me. i loaned my copy out a year ago, and am wishing i hadn't since it looks like it will be a book of no return. hopefully i can find another copy at a book sale sometime.

lisaschaos said...

Yes, I have been unable to put a book down. I know once I read a Stephen King book in a day, I just kept reading and was so close to finishing it I had to keep going til it was done then I was sad it was over. :(

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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