Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Kite Runner Review

Lies. Love. Loyalty. Respect. War. Betrayal. Redemption.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (371pp) has it all .

There are many words to describe this book. Powerful, haunting, moving, innovative, astounding.

As I read this book, the sheer power of the emotion in the words had me laughing at some points, crying at others. On some pages, my heart jumped into my throat. On others, it nearly beat its way out of my chest.

The Kite Runner was so visual, so emotive, that I felt like I was right there with Amir through all his pain and guilt.

In the late 1900s, Afghanistan was thrown into turmoil. The Kite Runner is about two boys who grew up in Kabul during this time, their friendship, and their hearts.

There is so much to get from this book. Not only does the reader learn a little about the culture of Afghanistan and the country's recent history, but they learn about bravery, loyalty, and redemption.

"For you, a thousand times over..." - The Kite Runner

White Fang Review

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." - Eden Ahbez, Nature Boy (song, recorded by Nat King Cole)

White Fang by Jack London (252pp) is one of my personal all time favorite books.

It is the story of a 3/4 wolf, 1/4 dog that grew up as a loner and fighter. Named by Indian masters 'White Fang', he first learned to use his fangs in his own defense, then in the defense of his masters, and finally in offense.

White Fang is sold to a man who sets him against other dogs for entertainment. He was beaten and goaded and mistreated, and he grew to hate the humans that crowded around his cage... and he took it out on the dogs that he met.

But then White fang is rescued...

And he learns what it is to love and be loved.

White Fang is an amazing novel of mercy and kindness and the changes those two things can wrought in a pained heart.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Anthem Review

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Anthem is a book that I look at with duality. In my own opinion, this book is to be read with caution in mind and taken with a grain of salt.

The theme of standing up for your individual rights is one I applaud. However, the idea of living for one's own self is one that I scorn.

Equality 7-2521 was a rebel against a loveless, suffocating Communistic society. Equality stood against the suppressing power of what we call peer-pressure... only it was a pressure that promised death to those who defied it.

I agree that individuality is important, but I don't think that fellowship with ones 'brothers' should be abandoned.

True, in Anthem, 'fellowship' was a twisted means of control. But real fellowship (friends, family, colleagues) is essential. What must not be forgotten is the need for balance between the two: working together in a group without forgetting that every member of that group is a unique individual in their own rights.

Towards the end of Anthem, the word ego took on both its 'truest' meaning, as Ayn Rand put it, and the meaning we use more commonly.

I no more endorse this book than I do oppose it. Anthem was a story of hope and the importance of self, but it feels to me that Ayn Rand took her 'truest' meaning of ego just a little too far...

  1. the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its though
  2. egotism; conceit; self-importance

To perfect my world...

It's honestly hard to think of anything I could do to my own personal life any better than it is. I have great friends, a wonderful family, my pets. I always have what I need and most of the time what I want, too. My life is pretty great. Not perfect, maybe, but then who's is?

No, I happy with the way my life is. But the whole world in general? That could use some perfecting. There is not a single thing that could just up and fix the whole world like a snap of my fingers. No, that's not possible.

For the world to be perfected, to be put into balance, there would have to be a widespread breakout of compassion and understanding. Or love and the will for peace. Of kindness.

However, I doubt that that is going to happen anytime soon. After all, we're only human. Greedy, selfish creatures that we are.