n i c e h e a r t

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I have wanted to read A Thousand Splendid Suns since I’ve read only good reviews about this book. But I have been hesitant to buy a book at $16.00. So last month, I was checking the bargain shelf at McNally Robinson and lo and behold, the title was on sale at $7.99. They’re only slightly damaged, black markings on the bottom edge of the books. I bought myself a copy.

A Thousand Splendid Suns was written by Khaled Hosseini, the same author who gave us The Kite Runner. I’ve seen the movie The Kite Runner before I read the book. I loved the movie. I loved the book even more. A Thousand Splendid Suns, I loved it much more!

I’ve never had any idea of the plot of A Thousand Splendid Suns before I read it. All I knew was that it was about Afghanistan. And I just loved the experience I had in reading this book. The story unfolding before me as I read it. Without the expectations of, “oh maybe this is the part where this thing will happen.” I usually give out spoilers when I write movie or book reviews. But you know what, I think I will spare you with any spoilers so you will also have that same experience that I had with this book.

Well, maybe I’ll just give you a little bit of something so you can decide whether you might want to give this book a try. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini tells us about the life of people in Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of two women. He tells us about their joys and sufferings and the ugliness of war and poverty. It’s heartbreaking. But what touched me the most is how these two women, so different from each other, bonded and banded together against the person that hurt them the most.

It’s always interesting to learn about the way of life and culture of other people. But as I have discovered over and over again, we may all be different, but we are all the same when it comes to our joys and pains. We all have that same exhilarating feeling when we experience our first love and when we learn that we are carrying a baby inside our body. We all have that same crushing feeling when someone we love hurts us or when we lose a loved one.

And what I like about stories like this is that it reminds us that no matter how you think your life sucks right now, is that there is always hope. Things will look better tomorrow…

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

I like Hosseini’s style of writing. It’s very simple and easy to read, yet it’s so beautiful.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Books, movies, music, TV | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Four good reads

Reading on the bus on the way to and from work is working really well for me. I never would have thought. I have finished four books in two months. That’s a record for me. I thought I’d write about them before I forget what I have read.

Angels & Demons

I only got interested in reading this book when Wil mentioned it in one of his posts. That’s the power of suggestion working on me. :) I wonder if I have that same influence over others. Do readers of this blog also pick up a certain book or movie because I wrote about it?

Angels & Demons was actually written by Dan Brown before the controversial novel The Da Vinci Code which I’ve also read and couldn’t put down once I started reading it. And that being said, I think Angels & Demons is a lot more interesting and thrilling than Da Vinci.

In Angels & Demons, Robert Langdon was called to a Swiss research facility to analyze a symbol that was burned on the chest of a physicist that was murdered. This physicist was secretly doing experiments in an attempt to reconcile science and religion. But what he created was a substance called antimatter, which if it got in the wrong hands, could be a deadly weapon of destruction. And of course it was stolen. And so Langdon, together with the physicist’s beautiful daughter, went on a race against time trying to retrieve it, and at the same time, try to save a few important hostages in the Vatican.

I think it’s interesting that as I was reading the book, I kept seeing Tom Hanks in my mind as Robert Langdon. That’s probably because I’ve seen the movie The Da Vinci Code. And this was before I’ve learned that they’re filming Angels & Demons. And yes, Tom Hanks is once again starring as Langdon. I just hope that he’s sporting a short hair this time.

The Kite Runner

So I was able to find a cheaper copy of The Kite Runner at $11.99 at Coles bookstore downtown. It’s a pocket book size paper back. I’m only going to touch lightly on this one, as I’ve already written about the story when I watched the movie. Actually I just want to say that I’m glad that I’ve read the book. There were a lot of parts that were missing in the movie. And I’m also glad that I’ve seen the movie first. Because it was such a good movie and I didn’t come out of it with dissatisfaction.

I just want to share one of my favourite parts of the book that didn’t make it to the film. This made me teary-eyed, and I was sitting in a bus full of people when I got to this part. And I don’t usually cry when reading a book, only when watching a movie.

This is a conversation between Amir and his childhood friend’s son, Sohrab.

“Do you think Father is disappointed in me?”
“I know he’s not,” I said. “You saved my life in Kabul. I know he is very proud of you for that.”
He wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt. It burst a bubble of spittle that had formed on his lips. He buried his face in his hands and wept a long time before he spoke again. “I miss Father, and Mother too,” he croaked. “And I miss Sasa and Rahim Khan sahib. But sometimes I’m glad they’re not … they’re not here anymore.”
“Why?” I touched his arm. He drew back.
“Because —” he said, gasping and hitching between sobs, “because I don’t want them to see me … I’m so dirty. He sucked in his breath and let it out in a long, wheezy cry. “I’m so dirty and full of sin.”
“You’re not dirty, Sohrab,” I said.
“Those men —”
“You’re not dirty at all.”
“— they did things … the bad men and the other two … they did things … did things to me.”
“You’re not dirty and you’re not full of sin.” I touched his arm again and he drew away. I reached again, gently, and pulled him to me. “I won’t hurt you,” I whispered. “I promise.” He resisted a little. Slackened. He let me draw him to me and rested his head on my chest. His little body convulsed in my arms with each sob.

Where the Heart Is

My niece gave this book to me as a birthday present three years ago. I didn’t take an interest in it right away. But when Barbara, the author’s cousin, suggested that I read it, I told her that it would be next on my list. Again, that’s the power of suggestion. And I must say that I enjoyed reading it. And she was right. It was an easy read.

It’s about a 17-year old pregnant girl who was abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart store. She only had $7.77 in her pocket. She lived in Wal-Mart secretly until she gave birth, right there at the store. She became a news sensation. And the people of the town adopted her. She found a home in a town where people loved her. Because after all, home is where the heart is.

There is also a movie based on this novel. It stars Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. I haven’t seen it yet.

My Sister’s Keeper

I found this book on sale at $7.99 at the new McNally Robinson bookstore at Polo Park. It’s slightly damaged, but it looks alright to me.

This is about Anna, a 13-year old girl who’s suing her parents for medical emancipation so that she could have the right to make medical decisions for herself. Because you see, Anna was conceived in order to find a genetic match for her older sister Kate, who has leukemia. At first, the doctors were only to take Anna’s cord blood from the umbilical cord that usually gets thrown after birth anyway. It wasn’t going to hurt. Kate went into remission. But later on, she relapsed again. And then Anna had to donate lymphocytes (white blood cells) and then bone marrow. And now that Anna’s 13 and Kate, 16 and her health deteriorating, their parents want Anna to donate her kidney.

This is such a powerful and heartbreaking story. I thought that it would make a good movie, and a controversial one, too, I suppose. After a quick search on the internet, I found out that they are filming a movie based on this novel. Starring Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin. Dakota Fanning and her sister Elle were offered the parts of the sisters, but Dakota declined when she learned that she will have to be bald in the movie. That was interesting to know. There are actors or actresses who would grab a good role taking vanity aside, but hey, Dakota’s still very young and I can understand why she wouldn’t want to go bald.

This is also the only book I’ve read so far where the story is told from different points of view. The story is narrated by six, or I should say, seven different characters. I like it. I think it’s very interesting.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Books, movies, music, TV | , , , | 14 Comments

   

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