Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Should Be Required Reading: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Adult Fiction

Really, I should have expected strong emotion from this book.  The author's other book, The Kite Runner, is the only book I've been barred from reading.  I read that one during a long car trip and I was sobbing so hard, my husband took it away from me because I was distracting his driving.  He hid it until we returned from our trip.  (To be fair to him, I tend to have unnaturally strong reactions to books and can get riled up or depressed for days.)  This book was no different.  I loved it and hated it and can't get rid of it and can't bear to part with it.  It's a book everyone should read; some people more than others, perhaps.

There are some groups of people for whom reading this book should be required:

1.  All young women and men in modern, industrialized countries.  Truly, it should be required reading for seniors in high school and freshmen entering high school for two reasons.  First, while we might feel that the glass ceiling in America is unfair and antiquated, our feminist struggle, in no way, equates to what women around the world have to endure.  While I had read stories and seen news documentaries, this book showed how clearly that being born a woman in Afghanistan equates to being born a lower class of citizen, or gender.  To have no power over who you marry or how your children are treated--I've never read a book that shows how powerless women are, still, in modern society.  And, while we have all seen and heard about the war "over there", to read such an account of how the war affected every citizen and his and her hopes and dreams was so powerful.

2.  This book should be required for all women and men who think the feminist movement is over-rated.  I often hear women who say it is their duty of obey their husband follow them, or that women have achieved enough.  It's one thing to disagree with your husband and give in to his opinion, and entirely another thing to have no say in who you marry, where you live, what happens to your children--too read so vividly about women who have no rights puts the women's liberation movement into such clearer perspective for me.  It is an issue that is dire around the world and to rest after we've come so far isn't good enough.  We shouldn't rest until the treatment men and women receive are equal and just and fair.  Because the alternative is unthinkable.

3.  Finally, this should be required reading for those who are opposed to our involvement in wars around the world.  While I am certainly not pro-war in any way, I do see the vital importance in standing up for a group of people who are powerless to stand up for themselves.  The acts that are perpetrated on the powerless in other societies and our own must be stopped.  Albert Einstein said, "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."  There might not have been weapons of mass destruction, but the heinous massacre of citizens by zealous extremists was enough of a reason to intervene.

I love books like this--books that fire me up, get me righteously angry, make me cry and scream and rage. This is a that will stay with you forever, one you can read again and again and find something beautiful in every reading.

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