Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two Books to finish up February

I did well with my reading this past month of February. I finished 7 books this month! I finished up the month with A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Without A Backward Glance by Kate Veitch.

I have felt quite left behind in not reading A Thousand Splendid Suns before this. I know a good number of people who have read it and really liked it. I know why I resisted. I don't usually care to read books about other countries. I know this says something about me, but I'm not sure what! However, witha lot of countries, I know that I get very confused with foreign (to me) names (proper names and city names) and that is a big part of why I avoid "foreign" books. I will admit, though, that I really enjoyed reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, and felt as if I really learned from it about some of the country of Afganistan.

The book came out in 2007, and I feel as if I was the last person on earth to have gotten around to reading it. (As an aside, I have a number of "old" books that I want to read, and came to the conclusion the other day, that is what retirement is catch up on all the books that I haven't been able to get to!). Anyway, if you haven't read the book, it is the story of 2 women, who end up married to Rasheed, a very abusive man. The older woman, Mariam, married him when she was young and was not able to have children. About 20 years later, he marries a young woman, Laila, who marries him in order to have a father for her unborn child. She pretends that the child (a girl) is his, believing that the real father is dead. She later becomes pregnant by Rasheed and has a son.

The story was somewhat upsetting to me, just because of all of the abuse that was portrayed. It is also a story of great love, especially when either Mariam or Laila attempt to protect each other from Rasheed. In the end, Mariam sacrifices everything for Laila and her children.

It was a very good book and I do recommend it. And I thank my daughter for recommending it and loaning it to me to read!

The other book that I just finished was Without a Backward Glance. It was a simple read, yet I really enjoyed the story and have thought about it often since finishing it. The story takes place in Australia and it is the story of 4 children whose mother left them on Christmas Eve one year, when they were all quite young. She disappeared and was never heard from again. Their father, Alex, struggled to raise them and the oldest daughter, Deborah, was put into the role of taking care of the children and the house.

Now it is many years later, and Alex is struggling with the beginnings of dementia. One night at a dinner party, James, one of the now-grown children, relates the story of his mother leaving and is aware of one of the dinner guests appearing rather upset by the story.

I don't want to tell too much of the story, but James finds their mother and all of the years of pain, suffering, questions, etc. come to surface for the 4 children.

It was really quite a good book, and portrayed family relationships very well.

This was a book that I got in a sale bin at a bookstore.

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