Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why DO You Read?

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll give me book I ain't read.
Abraham Lincoln

Okay, the big question I am asked is-how can you read so much? Easy, I love it. What else can you do that is so easy? Why do I read? Here are some of the reasons:

1) Relaxation-I sit back, grab a book and I find myself going ”ahhhh” as I lose myself in the pages of a book.

2) Increases my vocabulary- yes, I have a dictionary nearby when I read. I never know when I am going to come across a word that I don’t know, or understand the usage of it.

3) Never get bored-how can I be bored when I can pick up a book up to read?

4) Good for conversation-When I find I am at a loss for words, I ask “have you read any good books lately?” then we go on for hours.

5) Easily Portable-I can take my choice of entertainment wherever I go. Always handy for those waits in the doctor’s office, dentists, sitting at the beach, hair dressers, pedicures-I take a book everywhere.

6) Makes me think-anything that makes anyone think is a wonderful thing.

7) Education-I can’t count how many times I have finished a book and said wow-I didn’t know that!

8) Patience- best way to learn patience is to read a book. Books that catch my interest will keep me turning the pages until the end. I have been known to stay up until the wee hours of the morning to finish a book, patience.

9) Knowledge & Adventure-I go wherever the book takes me-fantasy, science fiction, history, romance, and humor.

10) Pleasure-the most important reason I read, it gives me pleasure. I anticipate the book I am going to sit down to read with pleasure.

While reading may seem to be solitary, believe me it’s not. One of the greatest pleasures of reading is you share your enjoyment with other people.

So-why do you read?
Reading is a vacation for the mind, can you think of a easier one to take? And remember:

Summer Lite.....

Read books.They are good for us.

Natalie Goldberg

I was on vacation for a few weeks and with vacation comes summer lite reading. What did I reach for when I wanted to lose myself in a book? I read Lynn Kurland. Kurland has several different series but the one I tried was her time-travel Highlander series. I have been a sucker for a good time-travel since I read Diana Gabaldon's the Outlander. Wow...did she take me on a trip back to Scotland in 1743. I also enjoyed Karen Maire Moning's Highlander series, so deciding to read Kurland's was a no-brainer. In the previous books it was usually the woman who accidently ran into a time-traveler and took the trips back, Kurland's series has had the woman and the guy traveling back and forth. The one I started with is With Every Breath. Sunny Phillips is relaxing at home in front of her fire wondering what her future holds and if she will ever find love with a good man when there is a pounding at her front door. When she opens it, it seems her dreams have all come true! There, at her door, is a Highlander- in full medieval regalia telling her she must come with him and he grabs her hand and out the door she goes. Outside her door things have greatly is 13TH century Scotland and the medieval laird has his horse waiting to take her to his castle! It is quite the adventure for Sunny and her Highlander with them coming from different backgrounds, so to speak. Here we have time-travel, romance, backstabbing, love, tears, bad memories....just the kind of book to laze away the summer days with. I liked it, not as much as Gabaldon's or Moning's, but I will pick up another Kurland, after all, summer isn't over yet.
Books mentioned in my blog------}

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns?

A real friend is one who
takes the hand of his friend
in time of distress and helplessness
Afghanistan Proveb

Having read both Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns I wanted to share what I thought about the two books. While the similarities are there, both set in Afghanistan, the takeover of Afghanistan by the Soviets and the Taliban reign of terror and the changes that took place during these events the main difference is with the characters.

The Kite Runner, as previously posted, shares the growing up of two boys and the turns their lives took. A Thousand Splendid Suns takes a look into the lives of the women of Afghanistan and how they had to live. I felt a connection to the characters in Kite Runner, I wanted to pick up the book whenever I had a spare minute and find out what was going on in their lives. The description of the kite running made me feel like I was there watching it.

With A Thousand Splendid Suns I felt like shouting at the main characters for things that happened to them. This is where the realization hits-that we have a choice and control over what can happen to us can get taken for granted. These women have to accept the abuse in their lives because they are looked upon as second-class, if that. I also wanted to shout-ENOUGH!!! I had to put the book down to take a break from the relentless description of the two women's lives.

So.....I loved the Kite Runner. I went "wow" when I put it down. We did this for a book discussion and it was one of the best discussions we have had. I did not feel the same about A Thousand Suns. Did I like the book? No. Would I recommend it, yes. Some people who read both books have come back and told me they liked/loved/didn't like one better then the other. Why would I recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns since I didn't like it? The history of Afghanistan, the description of the country and the people is worth the read alone.

I recommend both books and you judge for yourself. I would love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs/or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls"

17th century Afghanistan poet Saibe-e-Tabrize

Once again Hosseini takes us to Afghanistan and we are given insight on how life was under the Soviets, Taliban, post-Taliban and trying to become the country it once was. The lives of Mariam and Laila become intertwined through events that occur in a split second. The struggle for both of them to survive-sharing an abusive husband, raising a family, find some joy in life-all of this bonds them on many different levels. The way women were made live during the Taliban reign in Afghanistan was horrendous, animals were given more consideration. Since Mariam had not been able to have children she was treated worse then Laila by their shared husband. When a shock from the past occurs it changes everything and events take a turn that is heartbreaking for both women. While one woman will find happiness thanks to the other, the other will face her final days but come to realize that what she wanted all her life she did end up with.
Question-did I feel about A Thousand Splendid Suns like I felt about Kite Runner?
That is for another post.......

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Oh for a Book and a Shady Nook!
John Wilson

The book most talked about in 2004 was the Kite Runner by first time author Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini wanted to share with people the Afghanistan of before: before the Soviets; before the Taliban; before the repression; before it became the war-torn country it has become. You meet Amir and Hassan as young boys who have grown up together. Amir is from a privileged family and Hassan was born of servants of his family. It was years before they realized there was a difference between them. The big event every year in Kabul, Afghanistan was the kite-fighting tournament. The boys would spend the year designing and building the best fighting kite. Amir would fly the kites and Hassan would run down the streets and alleys to gather the kites that Amir would knock down. One kite-fighting tournament changed both boys forever. Amir went looking for Hassan when he took to long to return with the kite. When Amir finds Hassan he sees Hassan having unspeakable things done to him by the town bullies. Amir watches and does nothing to help his friend. The change in Amir toward Hassan puzzle him since he doesn't know that Amir witnessed what happened to him. The boys loss of innocence and the change in their friendship co-insides with changes happening in Afghanistan, which begins with the invasion of the Soviets. Amir and his father eventually immigrate to America after they lose everything, leaving Hassan behind. Amir is always haunted by how he stood by and did nothing to help Hassan that day. Amir will redeem himself, but it will cost him dearly. I found that I couldn't wait to pick up this book and follow what happened to the characters. There are some books, that when you finish, when you close the last page-you go "wow." This was one of those books for me. The Kite Runner is on my list as one of the best books I have read (so far) and recommend.