book world…

It guess it started when I moved back to Liverpool -almost 3 years ago now – and Lauren, Harriet and I began a book club.  Mostly it was an informal affair which was an excuse to meet up, eat food and chat but we did read books and discuss.  It got me reading again and I am finding myself becoming more and more immersed in the worlds within my books.

Most of my reading actually gets done when I’m at the gym trying to distract myself from the monotony of various bits of cardio equipment… and it works, too!  I feel I have to share with you a few things from my most recent reads….

I have just read two books by an author called Khaled Hosseini.  The first was called “The Kite Runner” (released in 2007 as a film and nominated for an Academy award).  It is based predominantly in Afghanistan and provides an insight into the violent history of the country – from a *people* point of view.  I find it quite easy to detach myself from what’s going on in the rest of the world when I listen to the news.  Completely selfish, I know, but somehow it doesn’t seem *real*.  Or it is all about statistics and tactics like how many troops, how many bombs and square footage of destruction.  Less about a family being “relocated” as their generational home is taken over without regard by those in charge.  Or a father losing a limb during a blast.  Or a friends sister being raped.  Or a mother being executed.  While reading the book, these individuals become my friends and had my entire attentions and sympathies.  I felt right in the middle of the country’s troubles as I followed the main character throughout his life.  I felt scared when he talked about the fighting, fleeing the country and the Taliban.  I was shocked as the methods that were used to scare and control were described.  I highly recommend this book.  It spoke to me a way that the news never can.  I look forward to watching the movie soon too.  But the saying usually goes, “The movie wasn’t as good as the book…” so I’ll try not to have too many expectations about that.

The second book was called, “A Thousand Splendid Suns”.  Again, based in Afghanistan, this novel focuses on the lives of two women living in the country.  I have never felt so fortunate to have been born in Canada – or probably more accurately, to have *not* been born in Afghanistan.  The things that I worry about in my daily life faded into insignificance as the women in the novel were beaten, suppressed, ignored and treated not even as second class citizens….something far worse than that.  This is a must read.

To support this reading *habit*, I have joined the local library.  It’s about time, I know… especially with many of the libraries on the Wirral closing to save the council money.  The Birkenhead library is in a beautiful old building with great space, character and lighting.  The first book I borrowed was a Margaret Atwood novel called Oryx and Crake.  Although the reader was left hanging at the end, I couldn’t put down and it made me think about the “what if’s”… this time associated with out of control bio-engineering.

And finally, moving on to the book that I have just started called, “Sunbathing in a Body Cast”.  This book is written and published by someone Becky Rine-Stone – who was Brent’s roommate for 6 months those 10 years or so ago when he and I first came to England with no money and no real plan.  Becky used to come up with Brent to visit when I lived in Moreton and we used to hang out when I visited London.  We have some funny memories particularly of going up Moel Fammau, hanging out in Hoylake and ringing in the New Year in 1999 and we are now in touch via Facebook.  Her book is a series of funny short stories about things that have happened in her life.  Check it out…