Month: September 2010

What I’m Reading Now: The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

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Review from

After living for three months with the Kabul bookseller Sultan Khan in the spring of 2002, Norwegian journalist Seierstad penned this astounding portrait of a nation recovering from war, undergoing political flux and mired in misogyny and poverty. As a Westerner, she has the privilege of traveling between the worlds of men and women, and though the book is ostensibly a portrait of Khan, its real strength is the intimacy and brutal honesty with which it portrays the lives of Afghani living under fundamentalist Islam.

Seierstad also expertly outlines Sultan’s fight to preserve whatever he can of the literary life of the capital during its numerous decades of warfare (he stashed some 10,000 books in attics around town). Seierstad, though only 31, is a veteran war reporter and a skilled observer; as she hides behind her burqa, the men in the Sultan’s family become so comfortable with her presence that she accompanies one of Sultan’s sons on a religious pilgrimage and witnesses another buy sex from a beggar girl-then offer her to his brother. This is only one of many equally shocking stories Seierstad uncovers. In another, an adulteress is suffocated by her three brothers as ordered by their mother.

Seierstad’s visceral account is equally seductive and repulsive and resembles the work of Martha Gellhorn. An international bestseller, it will likely stand as one of the best books of reportage of Afghan life after the fall of the Taliban.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

My Thoughts On Mockingjay — SPOILERS GALORE!

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I have loved the Hunger Games series. The story was so original and could be read and enjoyed by everyone. My neighbor loves them, my sister just finished staying up until the wee hours of the morning so she could finish Hunger Games, my nephew likes them — they are great!

That said, I was disappointed by Mockingjay. And I know why. It’s because Peeta was not Peeta and it just was not the same without him. The smart young man who was brave and understood his role and his self-appointed mission (saving Katniss at any cost) was missing. And the story was not the same without him.

I was disappointed by the selfishness of Katniss. If the roles had been reversed, Peeta would work with her daily to make sure she ‘came back.’ She was so willing to let go of Peeta and even kill Peeta a few times!

And I did not understand the Prim storyline. Why was she there? It came out of nowhere! I was not a huge fan of Gale, but when he told Katniss that taking care of her family was the one thing he had going for him, I felt so bad for him. (But I was glad he moved along. . .)

As for the Coin “shocker”, I was glad that she did it. When Coin decided to do another Hunger Games, you just knew it was never going to end. It was sad. This book really needed a big hero.

No tidy endings. They’ve been through a lot and the ending reflects that. I like the part where she says there are worse games to play. And I’m glad she ended up with the guy she ended up with. She doesn’t deserve him, but what can you do?

What I’m Reading Now: Mockingjay

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Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.