Friday, March 28, 2008
I just finished figuring out why some people had such a hard time enjoying Atonement, the movie, because nothing is as it seems and may not end the way love stories and movies should. Alternately, I think novels have more freedom for enjoyment once the reader decides that they are reading it because of the emotional attachment to the words and characters and not purely from an entertainment perspective. Granted I do frequently choose books that are, for lack of a better term, chick books. The difference is that when I start out reading one of those I expect lighthearted, happy endings. When I began reading Atonement, I did not read it for its entertainment value and expectations, but instead took in the epic love story and detailed descriptions of characters and beautiful scenery. In a sense Atonement is a book within a book and for that, the beginning can seem confusing and muddled, but once I worked through that I discovered once of my most favorite stories. I would recommend reading this book before seeing the movie, to dispel your assumptions and hopes and leave you watching the movie for the same reasons you would read the book: pure artistic appreciation. Not all stories need a happy ending or need to follow the map laid out for two star-crossed lovers, so remember this as you delve into a book rich with faith and love woven throughout a time of war that just might offer you another look at story writing.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Whew, what a thought-provoking and intense book. I think now since I have read it, I will never again read it for fear that I will feel the emotions even more strongly than I did the first time. I know this book is fiction and not a memoir, but I could not help feeling like I was reading the life story of many Afghan people which stirs a reaction in me like nothing else. The writing of this book draws the reader in and certainly catches your attention, whether it be for good or bad. There are multiple disturbing and horrific events written with all the gory details, so if you can get through those I think you can find the deeper meaning in the novel, but that is not easy to do. I had to put the book down a few times and walk away to catch some mindless tv just to get away but I think that is exactly what Hosseini wants to do with his story. He wants the reader to wrestle with the realistic danger and fear of the main character, Amir, and his life inside and outside of Afghanistan. Kite Runner is unlike any other book I usually choose to read since I tend to pick books that are uplifting. This one is truly intense and dark, but I would venture to say it is a necessary one to read in order to better understand the pain felt by so many throughout the world that we in America do not think about or simply choose to ignore. I am an avid believer that we need to embrace cultures around the world and do our part to better the lives of others who cannot help themselves. If this story is disturbing and gruesome, let it at least pull you to understand or stir a new emotion to feel even a little bit of what some Afghan people have dealt with for centuries. Obviously I can't pretend to feel or understand the life of someone so distanced from Athens, Ga., but I can at least acknowledge the need for all of us to think and question the treatment of others in countries where voices are not heard and lives are not given value.
Also, if you have seen the movie, feel free to comment on differences or similarities between book and movie, because I would love to hear them!
Monday, March 3, 2008
I just finished reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and had some very mixed opinions about it. I can see why it has been so motivational for women in the midst of an identity crisis or some other crisis that hits them after it seems like their stories are already written, but I think we need to take her freedom with a grain of salt. Obviously, being a college student, my life is still unclear and far out ahead of me so some parts were hard to relate to in her story. I did love the independence woven throughout the book and really enjoyed Gilbert's wit and humor even in her darkest times. That is something so incredibly important to learn about dealing with any struggle and for that, the book teaches a great lesson. I found myself continually catching myself having an adverse reaction to some of the religious convictions of Gilbert and how she portrayed them. Granted, she did offer a disclaimer at the beginning of the book to prevent readers from judging her based on her religious beliefs, so no one can really blame her. Eat Pray Love is an honest look at a woman who finds herself in a hole she can't see out of and, in some way, every person has felt pieces of that fear. I do not think this book deserves the cult-like fame it has acquired but do see the value of a book which gives readers an opportunity to look closer at themselves without claiming to be (or acting like) a self-help book. I appreciated the terms Gilbert laid out and felt like her personality carried the book through. Whether I agree or disagree with her choice to flee from her life and responsibilities (for the record, I don't), I see the value of her courage and finding strength to overcome her struggle against herself. If nothing else, it has made me evaluate my reasoning behind the things I do and say which is the purpose of learning and living anyway.
Well, I don't claim to be an expert on books or on knowing what everyone else should read, but I would love to share my thoughts with anyone who cares to listen. I also love hearing recommendations from others and really do take it to heart. One stipulation here: I sometimes pick the wrong books, or girly books, or cheesy books and that's ok with me. Just wanted to be clear on that before we all go and think I am picking the most literary, thought-provoking and influential books. Definitely not the case here. I just love the journey and figuring out more and more about what stimulates me and makes me want to pick the next one! Please use this site to throw around ideas, correct me when I'm wrong, and help me figure out what's next. Keep coming back for more!