Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Kite Strings (No Spoilers)

I finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner the other day. It was a good read. I’m not going to get into any storyline specifics, in deference to those still reading, but I will mention two strings of thought this book elicited from me: insights into the Muslim world…and the war refugee/immigrant experience.

This is a timely book. I’ll confess that I never really understood life in Afghanistan, nor what happened there. Hosseini paints quite a picture. I never understood the Taliban. Now I see them as power-hungry ideologues/criminals…eerily reminiscent of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge. I didn’t understand the dynamics and animosities between the Pushtun/Master/Sunni’s and the Hazara/Servant/Shi’a minority. I’ll confess that I was clinging to a few wisps of hope that Iraq may…somehow…embrace democracy, and bypass Afghanistan's suffering. After reading this, I can’t see how. The Muslim world both fascinates and horrifies me. I find much in their culture to admire…but, Jeezapete, they scare me! The barbarity of war fuels the barbarity in people, and our troops are standing right in the middle of bitter hatreds that go back centuries. Damn.

Then there’s this war refugee/immigrant fixation of mine that’s been growing. By coincidence, I read Kite Runner right after Middlesex. Both books describe the war refugee/immigrant experience. To that, I’ll add my own. I am the child of war refugees and I am, myself, an immigrant. What I came to see were the similarities and commonalities of our individual experiences. It really doesn’t matter what your culture, religion or roots of origin are…refugees/immigrants have a tough life. To be sure, some immigrants flourish and prosper early (it’s the American Dream, after all). Still, most don’t. Most suffer the humiliations, torments and frustrations of every refugee in history. I grew up in that world. I saw that world again in Middlesex, and once again in Kite Runner. These books dredged up a lot of memories – good and bad. Refugees suffer in a thousand ways. Is it any wonder that practically all of my close friends are children of alcoholics (refugees/immigrants)? We’ve seen suffering. We’ve experienced some of it ourselves.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Simple Pleasures

So...I wander into my local Books A Million word emporium, and find Kite Runner on sale - 30% off! Ah! And...oh...lookee here! Kafka on the Shore by Murakami! I pay for my little pleasures and walk away a happy man. It doesn't take much nowadays...

(by the way...I talk to cats, too)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New "Reader's Choice" Selection for Spring 2006

It's The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Edited from the publisher's website:

"Khaled Hosseini's stunning debut novel The Kite Runner follows a young boy, Amir, as he faces the challenges that confront him on the path to manhood—testing friendships, finding love, cheating death, accepting faults, and gaining understanding, while living in Afghanistan in the 1960's. ... Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. The son of a diplomat, his family received political asylum in the United States in 1980. He currently lives in California where he is a physician. The Kite Runner is his first novel."

As always, feel free to post discussion questions or comments whenever you're ready. If you're giving away secrets, don't forget to put SPOILERS in the subject line of your post.

I would have been happy with any of the nominations, and I'm looking forward to this one. Enjoy.

Oh, and if you can respond to the post just below, please help -- thanks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm looking for a book blog

It dawned on me today that I am kind of a book junkie, and kind of not a tv/movie junkie, but that I know more about celebrities and upcoming movies than I do about anything vaguely literary. It also dawned on me that I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet and this could easily be remedied. Can anyone suggest a good book blog? A simple google search turned up a Guardian article featuring 10 good book blogs, but I'm betting that at least one of you reads something that would satisfy me. I need to read something slightly more edifying than Gawker everyday. Do you read a book blog? What is it?