Another very open ended challenge. In fact, as I commented on the challenge of reading a book by an author I loved, I tend to not repeat authors very regularly. More often I prefer to try something new, which was why I wasn’t really sure what to pick for this challenge. But I ended up just picking something that had long been on my reading list: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
The story follows a young boy named Amir living in Afghanistan. He and his servant boy, Hassan, enjoy reading stories, and seeing John Wayne movies, and participating in kite tournaments together, until one act of cowardice by Amir pulls them apart forever. The book follows Amir’s journey, to his new life in America, and then to his journey back to Afghanistan to redeem himself.
I think that’s the best description I can give, but I still feel it in no way begins to cover this amazing book. Even after a few days to reflect, I’m not sure I can even write a decent blog post, because I’m still far too overwhelmed by the mere thought of this story. It’s one of the books that has made me cry the hardest, but also one I was unable to put down. I stayed up well past midnight even with an early morning of work ahead, so eager to know what would happen. I felt really connected to the characters, and thoroughly invested in the story.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what goes into making a great novel. And to me, some of the biggest components are a good story, great themes, and a decent writing style. I think good books can have one or two of these. But to me, a really worthwhile and meaningful novel will have all three. I felt that The Kite Runner had a good writing style over all. First person narrators can be tricky, but it was well done. The story kept me motivated to keep reading. And of course, I thought the themes were very meaningful. About overcoming ones own flaws, about family dynamics, about justice and politics, wealth and poverty. The layers in this book seemed so rich to me, that I think it would require another more thorough reading to really peel them back.
Either way, I loved this book and it’s become a new favorite of mine. I would really encourage others to read it!
Do you often read books by the same author? What do you think makes a great novel?