21:04

Recently I finished reading The Kite Runner and also A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Both books were gripping with such an intensity that surprised me. I found myself reading the books in every situation I could: curled up in bed for the evening, on the bus to and from work, and squeezing in chapters before my shift. While not being particularly knowledgable of the culture, religion or background of the books I have found myself enriched through their teachings. The stories have given me a window into Afghanistan culture where the country’s wounds have been patched up time and time again. The hardships of the few in the books are in fact the hardships of many in reality. I found myself teary-eyed and empathising with the characters, rooting for them in their triumphs and sorrowful in their losses.

I am looking forward to purchasing the next book in the series. Hosseini writes in such an amazing way; a way which gets through all the emotion of a character and the nitty gritty details. These books have been a real eye-opener into another culture. They tell the reality of life in another land so strikingly different to my own. A well worthwhile read!

Advertisements

20:30

My most recent book venture was Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale. Sometimes it feels refreshing to break out of my usual book genres and to read something a little more extreme.

Takami writes with an intensity that is gripping. While the book boasts plenty of gore and violence, there is a depth to the character development and storyline which is enrapturing.

01:50

After a few solid hours of reading; I finished The Book Thief. I am so glad that I have a principle of always reading a book before its film adaptation, I can already tell that the film will not be a patch on the written words.

I liked the narration from Death and the flitting back and forth from characters. Liesel is written in a way which is relatable and Zusak really makes her character grow and develop throughout the course of the book. Rudy’s storyline (whilst intertwined with Liesel’s) stands on its own two feet and he faces hardships and suffering, and as a reader I didn’t dismiss his storyline as a secondary character’s. I felt Rudy’s passion and stubbornness as he changed from a youngster into an adolescent, and his emotions were so raw and true.

I loved the relationship between Liesel and her foster father, Hans Hubermann. Also, Liesel’s relationship with Max. I think the reason I love these two relationships the most is because of the underlying reasons why the characters grew to be so intimate. Firstly, the love of books – reading, writing, learning, absorbing knowledge and wisdom. Secondly, the ability to endure hardships together. Their resilience is astounding. This second point reminds me of a belief my friend once told me, ‘Friends don’t truly become friends if it’s smooth and happy all the time.’ What this means to me is that you can never truly know someone until you’ve seen them at their worst (or in a bad place). Liesel experienced much sorrow in her youth yet she also had to bear the burden of others’ sufferings too, she saw the hurt and loss of those around her and did what she could to help.

Reading through the ending was heartbreaking. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here! I had previously read in reviews of the book that there would be tears, and even on the back cover of the book itself various readers say it is a sad, moving book. I was unprepared for the emotions that I was to experience in the latter half of the book. The last group of chapters took me through happiness, shock, awe, surprise, sadness, heartbreak, tears and relief (not necessarily in that order). After reading the last page I closed the book and held it in my arms, closed my eyes and meditated on the words I had just read. It has been a while since a book has touched me in such a poignant way.