Khaled Hosseini

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Banned Books 2017 – JULY READ – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Published July 31, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.” 

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to the seventh banned book of 2017! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. If you would like to read along with us, here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of the year:

AUGUST – Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

SEPTEMBER – Scary Stories – Alvin Schwartz

OCTOBER – ttyl – Lauren Myracle

NOVEMBER – The Color Of Earth – Kim Dong Hwa

DECEMBER – The Agony Of Alice – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

But back to this month….

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

First published: 2003

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2008 (source)

Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: This book was first published in 2003, which is fourteen years ago (I can hardly believe it!) but in the grand scheme of things I don’t think attitudes have changed that much in that time. I am however interested as to why it took five years to appear on the banned books list (2008) if it was published five years earlier and some people obviously had a problem with it. Hmm…interesting. If anyone has any ideas I’d be intrigued to know! So let’s start to talk about some of the reasons why it has been challenged/banned. Firstly, offensive language. Well, I’m not too easily offended but I can’t really remember any instance of foul language in this novel – if there was, I have clearly forgotten. It certainly wasn’t over-run with expletives in any way, shape or form, I would have remembered that!

CHRISSI: Like Beth, I can’t believe this book was published almost fifteen years ago. I don’t really understand why it was banned several years after it was published. That’s a bit odd to me. To be honest, when we were thinking of the books for the challenge this year, I wanted to read this one to work out why it made the banned/challenged list. I’m still a bit stumped. The language wasn’t that offensive. I guess the sexual content could be a bit much for some, but I don’t think this book is necessarily aimed at younger readers.

How about now?

BETH: In my opinion, there is no reason on earth why this book should be challenged or banned in 2017. When I read our banned books, I tend not to look at the reasons they were banned until I come to write these answers, I like to try and figure it out myself while I’m reading the story. When I was reading it, I was struggling to be honest and the only thing I could come up with was the ONE sexual scene which is not overly graphic (but is still quite horrific, I have to admit) and then I thought, perhaps there was a bit of a problem with the religious aspects? This isn’t my view, I hasten to add. Reading the last reason though has me completely stumped. Unsuited for age group?? I’ve been struggling with trying to research this on the web but I don’t think this book is actually aimed at younger readers anyway. The violence and sex scene may be inappropriate for youngsters but I think older teenagers would get a lot from a book like this.

CHRISSI: I really don’t think it should be challenged or banned in 2017. There is definitely a lot more explicit content out there. I think Young Adults could gain a lot from this book. I think it’s incredibly educative and something that shouldn’t be challenged at all. I certainly think it has a place in a high school/college library, with just a recommendation that their is some sensitive content within the story (some violence/sex scene).

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I’ve actually read this book before and have written a longer review of it on my blog. I gave it five stars when I read it three years ago and I give it five stars today. It’s a hugely important and emotional story about friendship, family and war that taught me a lot when I first read it and reminded me of a lot of things I had forgotten when I read it for a second time. Everyone should read it!

CHRISSI: This isn’t the first time I’ve read this book. It was interesting to read it back once more. I initially gave this book five stars, but I would say it’s a strong four for me as a reread. I think it’s so beautifully written and an incredibly emotional, moving read. I think it’s such an important book!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

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Join us again on the last Monday of August when we will be talking about Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Banned Books – The Titles For 2017 Revealed!

Published January 3, 2017 by bibliobeth

bannedbooks

Happy New Year everyone! I’m pleased to say my sister Chrissi Reads and I are going to be continuing our banned books series in 2017 and these are the titles we have chosen:

JANUARY – Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out – Susan Kuklin

FEBRUARY – The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time – Mark Haddon

MARCH – Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

APRIL –  Habibi – Craig Thompson

MAY – Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan – Jeanette Winter

JUNE – Saga, Volume Two (Chapters 7-12) – Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

JULY – The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

AUGUST – Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

SEPTEMBER – Scary Stories – Alvin Schwartz

OCTOBER – ttyl – Lauren Myracle

NOVEMBER – The Color Of Earth – Kim Dong Hwa

DECEMBER – The Agony Of Alice – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

As always, we will be publishing our post on the last Monday of every month so if you want to read along with us, feel free!

Banned Books – The Titles For 2017 Revealed!

Published January 3, 2016 by bibliobeth

bannedbooks

Happy New Year everyone! I’m pleased to say my sister Chrissi Reads and I are going to be continuing our banned books series in 2017 and these are the titles we have chosen:

JANUARY – Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out – Susan Kuklin

FEBRUARY – The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time – Mark Haddon

MARCH – Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

APRIL –  Habibi – Craig Thompson

MAY – Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan – Jeanette Winter

JUNE – Saga, Volume Two (Chapters 7-12) – Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

JULY – The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

AUGUST – Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

SEPTEMBER – Scary Stories – Alvin Schwartz

OCTOBER – ttyl – Lauren Myracle

NOVEMBER – The Color Of Earth – Kim Dong Hwa

DECEMBER – The Agony Of Alice – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

As always, we will be publishing our post on the last Monday of every month so if you want to read along with us, feel free!

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Published October 8, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashums. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.

What did I think?:

I can’t believe I have only just got round to reading this fantastic novel. I’ve had it on my TBR pile for so long, and have actually read the authors two other books without having read his debut and arguably most famous work. The story involves two friends Amir, the boy from the rich side of the tracks and Hazara who lives in poverty with his father as Amir’s fathers servants. The boys are of a similar age and are brought up to play together although it is instantly obvious with whom the power lies in the friendship. Hazara worships the ground his friend Amir walks on and even though he is not given the same opportunities, would do anything his friend asked of him. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Amir, and he takes advantage of his elevated status on a few occasions. On the worst occasion (don’t worry, no spoilers here for those that haven’t read the novel), Hazara is involved in a terrible incident and Amir stands by and does nothing. This turns out to be a mistake that will haunt Amir for the rest of his days, even as he grows up and moves to America, forging a successful career for himself in writing. When an opportunity arises for Amir to redeem himself (although perhaps too late?), he seizes it, rescuing Hassan’s son from a terrible and unimaginable future with some familiar faces.

This book has absolutely everything I consider a great novel to be: drama, tension, heroes and villains and bags of emotion. This is set against a war-torn Afghanistan crumbling as the monarchy is abolished and hopeful for a new start as the Taliban regime is implemented. I love a book where I can have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and customs and everything feels so authentic, as if the reader is smack bang in the middle watching everything unfold around them. Some reviews have criticised the character of Amir as being selfish and spoiled, and yes, of course he is, but it is his efforts to try and right a wrong carried out years ago that redeem him in my eyes and give him that flawed, imperfect and “normal” feeling I love in a character. The father-son relationship between Amir and his Baba was also really intriguing which I enjoyed analysing as the story went on. This is truly a very emotional read, and at parts, I actually had to put down the book and take a few breaths before I continued and when finished, I was emotionally drained but strangely satisfied. There is obviously the horror of war in a way that a lucky Westerner like myself would find hard to understand but I felt almost grateful to the author for bringing it to my attention, reminding us that we are fortunate in so many ways. Beautiful and unforgettable, I think this novel will haunt me for a while and I fully intend to re-read it at some point. My only question is: why on earth did it take me so long to read it in the first place?!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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WWW Wednesday #50

Published August 13, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

 

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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I’ve wanted to read this book for so long and my sister and fellow blogger ChrissiReads gave it to me as a present for Christmas. Thank you Chrissi! I’m currently doing a “Real Book” challenge on my blog for August and this is one of them.

What did you recently finish reading?:

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Again, another book I’ve been meaning to read for so long as I’ve really enjoyed the authors other two books. This book absolutely blew me away and I urge everyone to read it, read it!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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This book is part of my new Banned Books feature that I participate in with fellow bloggers Chrissi Reads and Luna’s Little Library. This is our August read and was chosen by Luna! Very intrigued to start it.

What are you reading this Wednesday? Leave your link and I’ll come visit you! Happy Reading Everyone!

 

August 2014 – “Real Book” Month

Published August 1, 2014 by bibliobeth

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I am a lover of “real books.” Oh yes, you remember the things…with actual pages? Not that I don’t love my Kindle or admire its convenience especially on holidays, but there’s just nothing like the feel, smell and satisfaction of enjoying the real thing. Sigh! Anyway, before I get carried away, I’d like to tell you about the plan I have for the month of August, attempting to reduce the amount of books I have in my house – which are starting to take over by the way! So here are the books I will be attempting to get through this month…

Do No Harm: Stories Of Life, Death and Brain Surgery – Henry Marsh

The Shock Of The Fall – Nathan Filer

Delusions Of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference – Cordelia Fine

The Kiterunner – Khaled Hosseini

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

The Vanishing Witch – Karen Maitland

The Private Blog Of  Joe Cowley – Ben Davis

Season To Taste or How To Eat Your Husband – Natalie Young

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA – Brenda Maddox

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

How To Build A Girl – Caitlin Moran

Talking About And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini with Chrissi

Published June 7, 2014 by bibliobeth

 

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What’s it all about?:

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: And the Mountains Echoed begins with Saboor and his children, Abdullah and Pari, and a heartbreaking event which divides them. Discuss the structure of the novel – how effectively are each of the stories linked?
BETH: There are a lot of storylines within this novel which I didn’t realise at first were connected until a character showed up who was the relative or friend of the character in the previous chapter and things would automatically click. I did love that we got to know a bit more about certain characters who had relatively minor roles previously and I thought everything slotted together perfectly. At first, I assumed that I would only be learning about Saboor, Abdullah and Pari and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were a variety of characters to enjoy.
BETH: Which parts of this novel did you find most enjoyable?
CHRISSI: I absolutely loved the story at the beginning. I found it immediately engaging. I have to say one of my favourite elements of this story was the beautiful writing. I find the author has such an amazing way with words that even if I’m not completely loving the story, I’m in love with the way in which it is told.
CHRISSI: What did you make of the different types of media used in And The Mountains Echoed? E.g. the interview transcript and letters.
BETH: I think I could have seen a lot more of these to be honest! I do enjoy any different way of telling a tale and thought the interview transcript and letters was a refreshing and interesting way to tell parts of the story. It also gives the reader a bit more of an insight into a character’s particular way of thinking and/or behaving which can be compelling.
BETH: How did you think the relationships between siblings and between families were explored?
CHRISSI: I thought the relationships between siblings were at the core of this story. It was a very real look at how sibling relationships can bring you much joy, but also a lot of heartbreak. I thought it was an incredibly refreshing take on just how important your siblings are in your life.
CHRISSI: The story begins in Afghanistan, moves from France to Greece, and ends in America. Many of the characters in the book are displaced. Discuss the theme of exile in the novel.
BETH: I think the theme of exile begins right from the very first pages of this novel. Saboor is walking alone through the desert with his two children, Abdullah and Pari and the reader is left feeling slightly unsure about where they are travelling to and why. Separations occur throughout the novel – between siblings, between whole families and even cross over to other countries like France, Greece and America. Situations are not always resolved in a perfect manner, but I think all the whole this novel evokes strong imagery on the importance of family.
BETH: What did you think of the character of Nila and how her life ended up?
CHRISSI: I felt sorry for Nila. It’s hard to describe why without completing spoiling the story. I hated how Nila was treated. Her marriage certainly seemed to me, like it was a marriage for convenience, it was certainly keeping up appearances. I felt resentful of Nila’s father, for being so disapproving of Nila’s talent. Nila expressed her female desire and that was just too controversial for the time and culture she was living in. Nila’s relationship with her own writing is a struggle throughout her life. I was quite satisfied with how Nila’s life ended up, even though I think it had elements of sadness. I think she had an experience that not many Afghan women had available to them.
CHRISSI: I know you’ve read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author, you haven’t yet read The Kite Runner, does your experience reading And The Mountains Echoed make you want to ‘bump’ it?
BETH: Most definitely! I know you loved The Kite Runner and I’ve been making you slightly crazy not having read it yet but I plan to read it very shortly. The author has such a beautiful way with words that reading one of his books feels like a real treat.
BETH: I found this book to be quite an emotional read. How did it feel for you emotion-wise?
CHRISSI: I agree that it was an emotional read. I think the writing plays a huge part in that. It’s incredibly lyrical and touching. I felt a wide range of emotions. I think the author really tugs at your heartstrings!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star Rating (out of 5):

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CHRISSI’s Star Rating (out of 5):

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