I wanted to take an opportunity to thank Andrea for setting up the Book Club Blog. I think this is a fantastic idea for an expansion on our original club idea...even allowing us to discuss BOOKS! We all know that sometimes book club ends up being more of a social meeting and we almost completely forget to discuss the books themselves.
Since Gerrit and I moved to Columbus, my reading has increased exponentially. Apparently I am replacing you guys with books. Smart enough, I have replaced Joseph Beth with the Columbus Public Library. It is actually a fantastic library system, even winning awards. They have this cool function where you can log-on to their computer system, put together a list of books you want to borrow, and they will pull them from the shelves and have them ready for you to pick up when you get there. Now, I haven't actually done that for an entire list of books, but plenty of people do. Typically I only use the service to pick up my book club books, otherwise I browse to find something new and interesting.
I'm still reading Pope Joan, which is to say that I mistakenly picked up another book before finishing the last three chapters of Joan. The book I'm reading isn't even that good, but I keep finding myself passing up Joan, which is weird because I liked it so much better than the new book. I really enjoy Joan's character and her passion for learning and independence. Not being Catholic, or even Christian, I have to say that the controversy of a female Pope doesn't really do much for me. However, the idea of a woman having to hide her true self in order to pursue education was an incredible story for me. Even today, women are trying to have it all and having problems figuring out how to do it.
The other book I am currently reading is Better than Chocolate by Susan Waggoner. I need to get Anne to teach me how to enter pictures and stuff into the blog, but I can post the synopsis from Amazon.com:
Be careful what you wish for. . .
Food writer Annie Wilkins is on an express elevator to fame and fortune, thanks to research scientist/husband Tom's remarkable invention: fat-free, carb-free, calorie-free chocolate that tastes better than the real thing! Once reduced to writing walleye-on-a-stick articles for Minnesota Menus, now she's living large in showcase houses and hobnobbing with the hoi polloi. Annie and "America's Sexiest Scientist" Tom happily accept their new status as the nation's most happening Fabulous Couple.
But as a high-profile spokesperson, Annie's got a corporate responsibility to change her hair, her style, and lose twenty-five pounds. Her kids are becoming too worldly too fast -- and Tom's in demand for a lot more than just his candy. If this is the American Dream, Annie needs to wake up -- because all of a sudden her marriage and her sanity are in jeopardy. . . and she's about to bottom out on top!
Ironically some of the same concepts of "wanting it all" are found here. I think it is logical from this synopsis to guess that the main character gets over involved in her "new life" to turn around and realize she has lost control of the things most special to her. To be honest, I'm finding the book overly predictable and a little too "ordinary" to really find it special. I don't think I'd suggest it for anything save a beach read, but why read rubbish when you could read something fantastic, even at the beach!
That being said, I'm really excited for everyone to read The Kite Runner. I read it in early 2005 and absolutely loved it. The story is spectacular, and while it doesn't revolve around the kites too heavily, it reminded me so much of our trip to that part of the world.
When I was in Pakistan in 2000/2001 I was told about the national past time of kite flying. At first, I kind skeptical that it was a "sport" or even that enjoyable. I mean, it is really kite flying!!! We in the States do it once in a blue moon, enjoy and afternoon and move on! But nearly every day I was there, we would go up on the roof to look around and you could the kites flying in the distance. There is a festival for kites held in Lahorem, Pakistan every year called Basant. The festival is in celebration of the new spring, and thousands of kites are put up into the air, There are competitions that involve battles of kites with crushed glass glued to their strings. They are able to maneuver the kites in such a way that they cut one another free and the last man standing wins. The painting below was a card that I bought which honors Basant. It reminded me of the home where we stayed and a fantasy of what being at the festival would be like. Hopefully it will give you a good mental image while you're reading!