This year I've read a variety of books covering different eras and types of people. I've been exposed to authors I would never have considered before and finally got around to reading books that have languished on my bookshelf for years. I've picked 5 that have stayed with me for various reasons and which I now permanent additions to my bookshelf. I have a few Facebook friends and others outside of FB who are as keen readers and I look forward to their recommendations for new books to read (once I get through the about 150 book backlog on my bookshelf).
I'm not giving reviews here or telling you what the story is about. Just a brief overview of the book and what it has meant to me on my personal journey. I don't want to spoil a book if you wish to read it.
A few things I've noticed about my choices for this year :
- The central characters are all strong women
- 3 of the books are set in war torn areas
- 3 are biographies and 1 is a biography of sorts
- There is purpose in all the stories that have been told
- 4 of the books expose me to cultures I may never experience otherwise
It tells the story of 5 strong women. Their lives interlinked by the coffee shop in Kabul. Through circumstance a strong bond of friendship is formed between 5, all from very different backgrounds. The story unfolds and you are drawn into their worlds.
It is a contemporary book reflecting life as it is in Kabul. So while a novel you do learn about the culture of the land and see how various cultures come together and learn to respect each other and their differences yet still live alongside each other in harmony.
My surprise read for the year and thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended for an easy summer read. Will leave you feeling uplifted and hopeful that somehow in the world full of conflict there is still space for friendship, love and true happiness.
The story is bold, raw and you won't be able to put it down.
It's made me reflect on my life. While I may not have done the physical hike it certainly feels like I've done the emotional one. Yet I've survived. The storms, the lost nails, the long lonely nights. And I'm still standing. Dig deep - the courage you need is inside you. You just need to dig deep.
For whatever reason I've always bypassed this book. I think the younger abused me would not have understood the subtlety of the story being told. The path I've walked over the last while and the strength I've gained has allowed me to appreciate the book for its worth, rather than view it as another oppression of women.
Above all it is truly beautifully written. Again another book I simply could not put down purely for the flow of the writing. I find the more I write the more I look for and appreciate well written novels.
Sadly though the value of a lot of women has not risen much more then what is portrayed in this book. Still valued for her virginity. Still expected to please at the expense of her own feelings. The age old story....
Despite her hardships, despite everything she faced she still worked to bring her country out of conflict. She sacrificed so much for peace. And she continues her work today.
It is often said if there were more women leaders in the world there would be less conflict. I believe that is true. While men are out fighting it is the women left at home, treating the wounded, tending the children, trying to keep it all together. So while men are on the front line fighting it is the women who are fighting to try and have something for them to come home to. Perhaps women leaders would be more open to negotiate peace - knowing the great toll fighting takes on them and the children and how pointless the loss of life and destruction of all is in the end.
(I know there are men dedicated to world peace - this is my observation)
I've seen the movie, years ago. And this is the reason I always prefer a book to a movie. A movie can't do justice to a story. 90-120 minutes can't piece together an entire story. Plus some stories have details script writers and directors just won't touch.
The real story of domestic violence was evident in the book. While I understand her fear of being in Iran I think had the circumstances been different and her husband had remained the same man she married she may have been prepared to make it work. But to survive domestic violence is hard enough, to do it cut off from all support structures and in unfamiliar surroundings is horrifying.
More than that - she showed her daughter that abuse is never acceptable and that getting out - not matter how hard - is the only option.