“The Most Asian” Novel: My Experience with the Kite Runner

Few weeks ago, I read the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and it was amazing.

I will not spoil much but I will tell about my experience reading it. First, reading this novel in public place was a mistake. I brought the novel during my night’s watch duty in hospital and I had to hold back my tears many times. So I was happy when I could finally read it at home because I could cry ugly tears as I wanted.

Second, this novel is probably “the most Asian” novel I’ve ever read. The “Asian things” come in many forms: Asian pride, parent-and-child relationship, our attitude toward people of different ethnicity or religion, the gender biased norm, marriage, the taboo stuff, etc. Then I realise something: regardless of ethnicity, location, and religion, Asians are Asians. Some proud creatures we are. Well, maybe not all Asians but I live in another part of Asia and I can relate and understand those things.

This is one of my favourite quotes in the book which is also one of “the most Asian” quotes, “Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion. In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was going to change that. Nothing. But we were kids who had learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was going to change that either.”

I guess those “Asian things”, aside from the story line, are what make me love this novel so much. Because I could relate to it. Because it makes me cry and say, “Yes, right.”

What Makes Them Gryffindor?

Among all Hogwarts houses, Gryffindor is the most exposed through Harry Potter series because Harry Potter was a Gryffindor and his life was surrounded by Gryffindors.

Gryffindor’s most well known trait is bravery and Gryffindors, in my opinion, are brave to do what they think is right. And for that “right thing”, they’re willing to sacrifice what’s important for them, sometimes to the point of doing reckless or stupid things.

I know almost too many Gryffindors that I sometimes forget they’re from the same house. There are trouble-making Fred and George Weasley, smart Hermione, ambitious Percy Weasley, clumsy Neville, and flirty Lavender Brown. We also see the infamous Peter Pettigrew. The question is, “Are they brave enough to be Gryffindor?” 

Look at Percy Weasley. He’s smart enough to be Ravenclaw and ambitious enough to be Slytherin. Still, he was a Gryffindor. He was a Gryffindor who left his family and chose to work for the Ministry of Magic. How can a Gryffindor do such thing? I think Percy actually considered family important. Remember, even after he left his family, he congratulated Ron when Ron was chosen as prefect. Percy, at that moment, thought that Ministry of Magic was right and his family was wrong. Simple as that. He had the nerve to go after what he thought was right. He believed in Ministry of Magic, then he work there and left his family. After a while, he realised that his family was right then he came back to his family.

Hermione stated in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that the Sorting Hat had considered placing her in Ravenclaw but she chose Gryffindor because, as she said herself in her first year, “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!” She valued bravery more than cleverness. Also let’s just remember how many times Hermione was involved in breaking the rules for the sake of “everyone’s safety”.

Neville Longbottom was sorted into Gryffindor for his bravery although he didn’t realise it at first. I found a post that may have been reposted many times so I couldn’t find the original resource. The post was written, “I had a thought: Neville’s greatest fear was Snape. And for ten months of every year for seven years, he went back and faced that fear over and over and over again. It would be like tossing Ron into a nest of spiders every day. Or pitching Harry against a Dementor every day. Neville went back to Potions every time, never skipped out, never ran away. Kid was braver than anyone ever noticed from the very beginning, even before he started standing up for himself.” That post explains how bravery doesn’t simply mean not being afraid but it’s more about how someone deals with fear. Neville, in this case, faced his fear.

What about Peter Pettigrew? I guess the Sorting Hat thought this way, “Peter wasn’t loyal enough to be Hufflepuff. He wasn’t smart enough to be Ravenclaw, neither ambitious enough to be Slytherin. So let’s sort him into Gryffindor, muahahaha!!!” Ignore that “muahahaha”. Or maybe Peter was sorted into Gryffindor because he chose it, since he wasn’t brave enough to be Gryffindor. 

At the end, we can learn from Gryffindor that the act of bravery takes many different ways. Except from Peter Pettigrew. Really, I still don’t understand how he was sorted into Gryffindor.

P.S. I feel satisfied that I can finish writing this post. Really, I didn’t expect that writing about Gryffindor would be difficult. It was even easier to write the Slytherin post. I don’t even know why.

Book Hunting with Book Mate

I wanted to post this on Friday but my internet connection was poor so I couldn’t.

Last Friday, my book mate asked, “Is there any imported book Togamas bookstore?” I said, “I don’t know. But if you want imported books, I know a store that sells used imported books.” 

We then went to the store and spent hours there. She found many interested novel but ended up buying nothing. She actually wanted to buy a novel by Nicholas Sparks but she didn’t buy because the paper was not in good condition. I bought a book talking about pants (of all the books in the store!!). The book contains stories we know such as Trojan Horse but it adds annoying story about pants. It really is annoyingly funny.

We then went to my home to pray and take a rest. After that, we visited a library. The library was quite famous among bookworms in Solo and it was our first time going there. Arriving there, we gasped. We were overwhelmed. We were excited that we considered living in the library to spend our time reading all of the interesting books. Again, we spent hours with the books.

My friend borrowed four books (crazy bookworm she is). I didn’t borrow anything. I guess I will just come back again since the library isn’t so far from my home.

Note: I call my friend in this post “book mate” because we often talk about the book we read or we want to read. We don’t always like the same book. We just love to read.

A Book about Amazing Grandma

I found a post by Aggie. In that post, she wrote her New Year’s resolution. Her 5th resolution in the list is read. I then recommended “Saga no Gabai Baachan” by Yoshichi Shimada. It’s always the first book that comes to my mind every time someone asks for book suggestion.

The book is based on true story. It tells a story of Akihiro who lived with his grandmother, Grandma Osano, in Saga, Japan, after World War II. They live in poor condition but Grandma Osano Akihiro’s grandma always know how to be happy and cheerful no matter what. I don’t want to tell much about it because well, some people don’t like spoiler.

A memorable quote from Grandma Osano in this book is, “There are two ways for poor people: gloomy poor and cheerful poor. We are cheerful poor people.” The book I read is an Indonesian translation of the original Japanese version so if you read the English version, the words may be different.

p.s. I don’t know Japanese. The book actual title is “Saga no Gabai Bāchan”. My cousin, who can speak Japanese, told me that bāchan is read as baachan.