The Kite Runner

February 18, 2009

A number of weeks back now, I listed my favourite books and I realised that I had not actually read any fiction since LAST APRIL! So I decided that I would force myself to read something.

The Kite RunnerI was keen however that I was not to end my “book fast” with another disapointment, so I took comfort in numbers. I think I am probably the last remotely literate person on the planet to have read it, as I think everyone has recommended it to me at one time or another, but I finally decided to read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

I will start by saying that it was an incredibly powerful and compelling book, but not one to read if you want cheering up. Set against a potted version of the sad history of Afghanistan, the book tells the story of a Pashtun boy named Amir and his attempts to gain the affections of his father and his relationship with his Hazara servant/childhood friend Hassan.

Amir starts as a difficult character to like as we repeatedly see him make decisions that, be it through spite or through cowardice, would directly or indirectly cause harm to Hassan despite Hassan’s relentless unwavering loyalty. However over time I found that his circumstances and the heavy burden of guilt that he carried caused me to soften my dislike for him. It is hard for me to condemn someone for their poor decisions during childhood. (Not that I did anything all that bad, but we all do things we may grow up not be very proud of … )

There are however times when the story line seems to creak a little. For example there are numerous occasions where the story gives away Chekhov’s gun way too easily, and when the story’s true villain, “Brass Knuckles Assef” tells Amir that “This is not over” and “I’m a very patient person” the author seems to go beyond the realms of coincidence to make this seem like cunning foreshadowing.

Other than that… I hesitate to take my history from fiction, but as someone that had heard of Afghanistan but prior to 9/11 could not have even placed it on a map, I found the abridged history contained within the story to be fascinating. A story of a people oppressed by regime after regime in a horrifying downwards spiral reminiscent of an Orwell novel.

So despite the odd minor criticisms, this book is a real page turner. I will however point out that to say that this is not exactly an uplifting book would be like saying that the Mamiya DL28 is a bit pricey … a serious understatement, make sure you are in an emotionally stable enough place before starting out on this book 🙂

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A Little Daydreaming

February 11, 2009

I seem to have something against people reading my blog, in that each time I start getting new readers I then have an attack of life getting in the way and the next thing I know I have been absent for [insert large duration here] and I find myself back to where I was before.

So in an attempt to stop the blog from going any colder than it already has, I will do what I often do in these situations and unscrupulously steal borrow inspiration from somebody else 😆

Today Just A Mom asked

If you could take off for a day all by yourself where would you go and what would you do?(please click here … it will ease my conscience over the theft repay the gift of inspiration 🙂 )

I replied, with a scaled back version of what is below, but it got me daydreaming and I decided to share 🙂

Jardin-Du-LuxembourgFor me, there is a park in the centre of Paris called Jardin du Luxembourg.

Whilst being surrounded by the some of the most beautiful architecture and statues, with un-ignorable history in every direction, whilst being in one of Europe’s busiest cities as well as having many small children playing nearby, somehow this place feels like the most tranquil place on earth.

Chess in Jardin Du LuxembourgThis is where I would spend the day. With the aid of a good book and the odd trip to a local café for hot chocolate, I would spend my hours luxuriating in this blissful stolen peace, amongst the elderly French men playing chess and more fountains than you could shake a stick at.

I would round the day off by returning to the street restaurant on the Champs-Élysées that Mrs Geek and I visited when we were expecting Lisa, where I would once again sample their divine culinary skills by indulging myself with a very rare steak followed by crème brûlée.

I think the only thing to mar this day would be the fact that the original question stated that I was to be “all by yourself”, and as much as this would be an overwhelmingly good day, I think I would struggle to get past the fact that I wanted to share the day with Mrs Geek who I know would probably enjoy the above at least as much as I would.

While I am conscious not to wish my time away (quite the opposite), I do look forward to one day taking this particular daydream and turning it into a reality.

So am I just a freak, or do others have little snapshots of life that they have tucked away until a more suitable time?