The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

You’ve all been anxiously waiting to hear what I thought, haven’t you? Well…I’m kind of undecided.

By the end of the first paragraph I was telling the Romgi that this was a really well-written book. On the whole, I love books that catch my attention so quickly, whether with the plot or the writing. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. The story was fascinating.

So why am I undecided? Good question. It isn’t because of the uncomfortable (and heartbreaking) much-talked-about rape scene. It isn’t because of the backdrop of Afghanistan politics and wartime. I’m not exactly sure what it’s from…when I finished reading I felt some emotion that seemed to be a combination of (but not the same as) depression, heartache, sadness, loneliness, sickness…I’ve been reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier at the same time, and maybe it just gave me too negative of a view of humanity.

I think that’s it — how am I supposed to save the world when the world is like The Kite Runner?

Still, despite that, I’d recommend it. Like I said, I’m torn!


Is this a svithe?

L. Tom Perry, “Let Him Do it With Simplicity

Henry B. Eyring, “Remembrance and Gratitude

In Relief Society this Sunday we covered two talks from the most recent General Conference, only one of which I’ll mention here. It was Elder Perry’s talk about simplifying our lives. He discussed Thoreau’s time spent at Walden Pond and subsequent conclusion that we have only four basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. Elder Perry pointed out that by focusing on these four needs we can relieve stress in our lives, since they are so basic and many of us are abundantly blessed with them.

I wanted to tie that in with part of Elder Eyring’s talk from 1989, where he stated that learning “how to control our wants” will in turn “increase our gratitude and generosity.” He gave the example of the small town of Orderville, Utah, which was established mainly by refugees from a nearby town that was destroyed. The refugees had nothing when they came to Orderville, so any prosperity they experienced ought to be enormous in comparison with their humble beginnings – yet the town members seldom seemed satisfied with what they had, even during times of great wealth. Elder Eyring said, “We so easily forget that we came into life with nothing.”

Very true – we came with nothing, and we require so little, but most of us have material and spiritual blessings far beyond what we really need (or maybe deserve). Instead of complaining about what we lack, this week in particular we should realize that we’ve been given infinitely more than the basic necessities. It really does seem like a time to give thanks.

(A svithe, through Sposita through Thmazing who has a site called The Weekly Svithe, is nicely defined at The Weekly Svithe. Check it out on the right-hand menu.)

Movies I love that Critics Hate

Every now and then there is a movie that I really enjoy. I think that it accomplishes whatever it was that it set out to do, and made me enjoy the journey. These movies are not always movies that critics enjoy, but you can’t always trust what critics say!

1. Stranger than Fiction
I love this movie. I may have a slightly rosy view of this flick because of when I saw it. The night I proposed to Roni, we were on our way to see this very movie. This is a movie about a guy who hears voices. Not just any voices though. This is a person narrating his life, as it happens. It turns out that a local author is writing a novel about a person who she believes is fictional, but who is very much real. I like this movie because it is not your typical Will Ferrell movie. It is (I think) a very original idea for a movie, and does a very good job at making the movie not only fun, but somehow believable.

What they gave it: D (67%)
What I give it: A

2. Secondhand Lions
Family movies are a tough sell. You have to make it interesting enough for kids, funny enough for the older kids, and entertaining enough for the adults. This is a movie that I feel does all of those things very well. It is sweet without being sappy, and I think it has a great story. This movie is about a young boy whose mother drops him off to live with his eccentric uncles for the summer. It has humor, adventure and just about everything in between. If you want a family movie, this is one I strongly recommend.

What they gave it: F (52%)
What I give it: A+

3. Alien Vs. Predator
Action movies. Are they supposed to have plot? Barely. Are they supposed to be believable? Not Really. Should they have aliens, or better yet, TWO types of aliens trying to kill each other?? Most definitely. This isn’t a great movie, but it is a great action movie. I don’t think you can blame an action movie for be an action movie. In all honesty, I enjoyed this movie more than I enjoyed Dark Knight.

What they gave it: F- (29%)
What I give it: A- (as an action movie)

Do you guys have any movies that should go on this list? Movies that you love, but critics hate? If you do, then leave a comment!