A rambling post about books . . .

but not that one!

The Kite Runner is listed in my sidebar as being on my bedside table. It's been languishing there since last May (Mothers' Day, to be precise) but I just haven't been able to get myself to start it. It's getting down to the wire now, because we're going away to a family camp (doesn't that sound dorky? I keep picturing the one from Tommy: "I'm your uncle Ernie and I welcome you to Tommy's 'oliday camp! The camp with a difference, never mind the weathah, when you come to Tommy's, the 'oliday's forevaaaah, ha ha!") in a couple of weeks and one of the things happening there is a Kite Runner discussion. Of course, not attending a book discussion group is not an option for Bookworm.

The problem is, Kite Runner has been talked up way too much. I always have a hard time reading books that have been too highly recommended. I feel under pressure to like it. That's why I've never been able to finish The Magic Mountain, among others. And to make things worse, get a load of this:

My old pal Leslie has an interesting theory. Based on data gathered from conversations with a variety of people, she believes that people who liked Life of Pi don't like Kite Runner, and vice versa. She has no explanation for this phenomenon, but it's something she's definitely observed, and she can list a bunch of people who go one way or the other. No one she knows seems to like or dislike both.

Well, I loved Life of Pi. Absolutely loved it. It has all the ingredients for a Julie's favorite: natural history, religion, boats, a surprise twist at the end, and above all, different versions of the same event. I am such a sucker for books that describe the same event from different characters' points of view (for example, Atonement).

So I'm really afraid I'm going to hate Kite Runner. I think I'll try to set up one of those polls in my sidebar to test her theory.


  • I haven't read the Life of Pi so I can't really comment on that one but I did like Kite Runner. I fully appreciate not wanting to read a book after so much hype. Hype steers me away too because I always think I'm going to be disappointed.

    posted by Blogger Adrienne on 11:09 AM  

  • I haven't read either book. I guess I need to get both of them and test yor friend's theory!

    posted by Blogger Heather on 6:19 PM  

  • I loved Life of Pi, but haven't heard anything about Kite Runner, so I can't weigh in either.

    I'm like you, though, I tend to dislike books that have a great amount of hype to them -- I didn't "get" either Cold Mountain or Angela's Ashes... maybe I'm missing something?

    posted by Blogger Melissa on 9:55 AM  

  • I haven't read Kite Runner yet - would love to see if it's worthwhile.

    But, I already finished that book. It was great.

    posted by Blogger Fred on 6:52 PM  

  • Well, I don't know about your friend's theory, but I definitely have a hard time enjoying books - and movies, too - that have been praised to the skies. I had that trouble with COLD MOUNTAIN, for example (the book, not the movie.) Also THE CORRECTIONS. And I have no idea how to remedy this, because we'll always hear about the over-hyped books, and it's just not fair to those books that are worth the hype.

    posted by Anonymous Melanie Lynne Hauser on 7:34 PM  

  • I thought Kite Runner was definitely worth reading. But I liked the first 2/3 of it better than the last third. (I can't explain without giving away the plot.)

    posted by Blogger jo(e) on 6:30 PM  

  • Oh, I liked Cold Mountain too. I am so out of touch with pop culture that I tend to miss the hype, which makes things easier.

    Well, okay, I guess I didn't miss the Harry Potter hype. I mean, I don't live in a cave or anything like that. And I was disappointed with that book. Not nearly as good as the earlier ones.

    posted by Blogger jo(e) on 6:32 PM  

  • As a matter of fact, I have a hard time reading almost any book that I've read a review of, good or bad. I used to subscribe to the NY Times Book Review, and I always found that once I'd read the review, that was it. I couldn't read the book after that.

    This ties in with one of the things we talked about at our last book group. One of our members gets her books from a different library than the rest of us; her copy is always "bound to stay bound" with no dust jacket, whereas the rest of us usually have the benefit (?) of seeing the original cover. We talked about how the cover, or lack thereof, affects our perception of the book.

    I did finally start Kite Runner. I'm not very far into it, but so far, I like it pretty well...despite the hype!

    posted by Blogger Julie on 9:07 PM  

  • Interesting theory. I haven't read Pi nor Kite. Won't be able to read 'em before my oldest leaves for college- it's not really summer between her getting ready, us all working... i did read a few books in the last 2 wks, but in short spurts. (the only time i had available.)
    That's not an enjoyable way for me to read..... I 'll come in here and read yours and others' opinions.

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 10:07 AM  

  • I belong to a book club and our first book was Life of Pi. I was really not interested in reading it, too much talk about it, and, despite my complete devotion to books (and my participation in this book club), I don't like people telling me what to read. That being said, I really enjoyed the book. So much so in fact, that I am encouraging my husband to read it. To bolster your friend Leslie's theory, another friend in the book club hated Life of Pi, but loved Kite Runner.

    To see alpacas in Ann Arbor, take State Street past the Ann Arbor airport. Turn left at the first light past the airport (I think it is a flashing light). Go over the railroad tracks and turn left on Stone School, it is a dirt road at this point. Almost immediately on the right you can see the amazing alpacas of Ann Arbor!

    posted by Blogger NixieKnox on 1:23 PM  

  • I liked Life of Pi, so that's even more reason to avoid Kite Runner, huh?

    Is that Magic Mountain the German novel? Read that in college. Muy bizarro.

    A friend and I were saying the other day that it is always a bad sign when you read the back cover (or the umpteen pages of praise inside before you get to the story) and all the reviews talk about the author's OTHER book. Case in point: Mermaid Chair. I hate the way they include all that praise at the beginning, as if you were incapable of drawing your own conclusions. I'm the kind of person who skips introductions: just take me to the story. It's rare for me to like a "book club" book, but I don't think it's the hype, I think it's the fact that hype was needed--and that would lead into a discussion of how many bad novels are published nowadays, etc., and I should stop taking up space.

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 11:59 AM  

  • I haven't read either book, but someone gave me a paperback copy of Life of Pi, which I haven't gotten around to reading yet.

    It sounds great from your description, but I'm curious about what it says about religion. What's your take on that? Is it going to be another book that bashes Christianity? Just curious.

    posted by Blogger Muley on 12:31 PM