I excelled in English classes throughout high school. Seldom did I skip a reading or fail to highlight the frail pages of various paperbacks I eagerly purchased from my local bookstore. When reading for pleasure I loved to lose myself in the writing, get to know the characters , and by the end of the novel become attached to the storyline. However, when I began to read the books assigned to me in high school I was barely able to connect to the stories and characters. As I continued to read with analytical eyes and churn out meticulously edited papers, I couldn’t help acknowledge the fact that reading was becoming more a task that I longed to complete than a nightly adventure.
I read Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man twice and each time was able to deliver insightful analytical commentary in class. But, in truth I found Joyce unappealing and his lack of morality sickening. I had no way to connect to him. Many of my peers developed a fondness to Jane Eyre, but once again I found myself on the outside looking in, failing to find interest in the densely written book. Looking back, I wonder if my experiences in English would have been more enriching to myself and my peers if we were able to read and converse about books more relatable to ourselves and our cultural identities.
Over this very long summer, I finally had some time to read. One book I was especially anxious to start was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The plot centers around the friendship of two boys, with the unraveling of Afghanistan serving as a compelling backdrop to the story. My father was born in Kabul just as the main character and author, so naturally I had grown up hearing various stories of life in Afghanistan. If anything, The Kite Runner put each story into perspective as I was able to relate to this book on an incredibly deep level, while opening my eyes to gaps I had in understanding my own culture and identity.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read. Not only will you enjoy a beautiful story, but also better understand a country that has gone through so much and still is today.