Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul
Asne Seierstad
288 pages

This poor blog is suffering from a very serious case of neglect! I have to apologize for my long absence, but I have been trying to cut down on my internet usage and, quite frankly, I didn't really have anything to say. I have basically been hanging out at home, catching up on reading and movies that I've been meaning to see for years. I've also been taking on odd jobs, such as running music for my local bible camp and word processing for my mom's small business. Even so, I haven't really had any good stories to tell you all.

But today, I was catching up with some of my emails and such, and decided that I better take a quick peek and my blog. And to my horror, I discovered half set up pages claiming to be "under construction" and the newest post from June 9. So, I've decided that I'm going to start doing book reviews for the books I've read, as that is about the only thing I have to share with you.

Alright, I'm done rambling. I think. The first book I want to review is the novel pictured above, The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seirstad. She is a Norwegian journalist who, in 2002 decided to write down her experiences with an Afghan family in novel form. Thus, this book was born. I was pleasantly surprised; even though it has been translated into English, the language is beautiful, the descriptions intense and vivid. Although based on Seirstad's real experiences and conversations with the family members, it reads like fiction and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. I'm not much for nonfiction, unless it's ridiculously clever and amusing.

The story follows the family of one man, Sultan Khan, who runs a lucrative bookselling business in Kabul, Afghanistan. You really get a sense of everyday life in the city, and not just from a man's point of view. Seirstad spends a lot of time sharing the thoughts and feelings of the women in the family, who would normally be of little importance in Afghan society. The text is saturated in the history and culture of Afghanistan, and it really makes you think about how little we really understand the nation's culture and people. All in all, this book was an amazing read that I would recommend to anyone interested in learning more about life in the Middle East.

I have more books to review in the coming days, so check back soon!

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