An open letter to the club

Dear Imaginary Book Club,

This month we read A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was recommended by In the Trenches of Mommyhood and Jurgen Nation. And pretty much everyone else I know that's read it for that matter. Because Khaled Hosseini is like so way talented it's almost unfair.

Sometimes I think maybe I need to drive to his house and toilet paper his yard. And maybe write something in shoe polish on the windshield of his car. The rest of the time I just wish he lived next door to me so maybe I could invite him over for dinner. Because in my head, he seems like he'd tell really good stories with a glass of wine in his hand while I'm clearing the dishes. And that would be cool.

Although I'm sure I'd blow it by rambling about how much I love his books and then he'd feel awkward and say he needed to get up early the next morning and rush out the door. And then he'd be too busy to chat whenever we'd see him going to the mailbox and then he'd pretty much never speak to us again and then my husband would let our dogs go to the bathroom in his yard and refuse to pooper scoop just to teach him a lesson. Not that we're like that. I'm just saying it's sort of how it might go down. Because I really like his writing.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is Hosseini's second book and like his first one, Kite Runner, it's set in Afghanistan. It tells the story of 2 girls. One of the girls is born to an unwed mother and her life is the equivalent of the short end of the stick. The other girl has a pretty good life going until everything goes to hell in a hand basket. And eventually their lives intersect.

One of the most impressive things to me about Hosseini's writing is that he can make a place I consider very foreign to me feel really familiar. Even though I've never been to Afghanistan and know very little bit about it, he makes it feel like an old friend. But he does it without making the book feel like a travel book or a history lesson. And it's a quick read. I started it before bed one night intending to read one chapter and I ended up reading 79 pages.

The thing that will linger with me the most from this book is how lucky I am as woman not to have lived under the Taliban. I'm a modern girl with lots of loud mouthed opinions. As I read about the rules that restricted women under the Taliban I wondered how I would have handled it. My first thought was that I'd be dead. I just didn't know how it would happen. Because I'm sure I would have committed infractions and gotten in trouble so maybe they'd have shot me. But I also figure I'd be so miserable I'd want to kill myself.

Except somewhere along the way I wondered if I wouldn't be like the rest of the women there and just learn to deal with it and hope it improves. Especially if you have children. Because children are such a powerful motivator. I know I couldn't leave mine. So I guess I'd just stay. And that makes me sad. Sad that people are stuck like that. What would I be willing to endure to protect my kids? What if my husband made me take my kid to an orphanage so he wouldn't have to pay to feed them? What if my husband was a total scumbag and I couldn't stand the sight of his face but he's all I had? Stuck and powerless. That's what the women are. It's powerful to think about.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a very good book. I was genuinely surprised on page 293. I wasn't the least bit surprised on page 311 and I liked the ending a lot. I don't know that I liked it better than Kite Runner though. I gave Kite Runner to my mother to read when she asked me to loan her a good book. And it's still the book I'd give her. But I'd tell her to read A Thousand Splendid Suns, too.

And because good things are meant to be shared I'm giving it away. Free. Even shipping. Honest. Just ask Heather who won my free copy of The Glass Castle and is already halfway through the book and loving it.

So if you want a lovely used hardback copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns leave a comment and say so by Saturday, January 26th. That's all you have to do.

Next up, the Imaginary Book Club is reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Christine at Sippy Cups and Blackberries claims it's better than Kite Runner. I know. Them there are strong words. We'll be the judge of that. And by we, I mean, the Imaginary Book Club. And by Imaginary Book Club, I mean me. So I'll let you know. But the possibility has me excited.

Hugs and kisses,


Anne said...

Water for Elephants is on my list, but for some reason I always hesitate to buy it. I enjoy reading about your imaginary book club, and please enter my name in the drawing.

McQuestionable2 said...

Great description of a thousand splendid suns. I was trying to explain the plot to a friend without giving it all away and had a hard time. Glad you enjoyed :)

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

It's on my list to read too. I could so be a member of your pretend book club!

Jessica T said...

I have been meaning to read this book, too, so please enter my name in however you plan on doing the selection. I haven't read a "good" book in a long time, and I really enjoyed Kite Runner. Thanks!

Shan said...

That sounds good. I'd like to read it!

heather said...

Really free. Honest. :)
And I finished the book last weekend and I did love it. This book sharing thing is awesome... You rock!

carosgram said...

I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. Haven't read The Kite Runner. I'll try Water for Elephants.

Kristi S said...

I have REALLY been wanting to read 1000 Splendid Suns! I found your blog through Heather's, but I think we would enjoy the same books. My recent books are all in the left sidebar of my blog if you want to check them out! http://www.sweetsauer.com

cardiogirl said...

Really? All I need to do is leave a comment to get a free copy of the book? That seems way too easy.

Okay on to my real comment I was thinking this and then you wrote:

"Except somewhere along the way I wondered if I wouldn't be like the rest of the women there and just learn to deal with it and hope it improves."

That's what I think would have happened to me, should I be so unfortunate to be born in and live under the Taliban.

I loved your description of what it would be like to live next door to the author and invite him over and the the awkward slide to frien-emies with him, you and your husband. Fun!

Jerseygirl89 said...

I've read Kite Runner and Thousand and loved them both. But I hated Water for Elephants. Hated it. Please post about it as soon as you're done - I'm dying to know what a person who does thorough book reviews (as opposed to mine) thinks of it.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might like this website www.paperbackswap.com. It is a great way to share books and read reviews.

a happier girl said...

anne - I'd seen it in the store and hestitated to buy it before too. It was good. I've been meaning to write about it for two weeks now.

mcquestionable - Yeah, I really didn't want to give away too much of the plot. I spent the first half of the book trying to figure out where things were going. I didn't want to ruin that for someone else.

in the trenches - Get off my wavelength!

jessica - If you liked Kite Runner you should definitely try A Thousand Splendid Suns. It's good.

Shan - Congratulations! You were the lucky winner. I got your email and dropped it in the mail last week! Hope you like it as much as I did!

heather - Thanks! Aren't you sweet! And it feels really good to give a good book to a good home. I'm glad you're The Glass Castle on too. I love that so much I can barely stand it!

carosgram - Read Kite Runner. You'll be glad you did.

kristi - I agree! We do seem to have similar taste in books! Go, us!

cardiogirl - Frenemies is like the perfect word. I'm going to start using that!

jerseygirl - Wow. I can't believe you actually hated Water For Elephants. I finished it like two weeks ago and haven't gotten around to writing about it yet. I liked it. But I didn't love it. But I'm dying to know what you hated about it now! We need to do the internet equivalent of lunch or something so we can discuss!

anonymous - Thanks for the link! I'm thinking of trying it out for some of the books I have sitting on my bookshelves.

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