Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dorothy Must Die

So, that was different. Amy Gumm is different. She's not exactly angsty. She's angry. She's had a hard life. She's not some family-loving, idyllic, country girl. She's lived through bullying, abandonment and poverty. Anger fuels her, but deep down, I think she's a good person. Being a good person is something she's clung to even in her most depressing times, living in her trailer with no wheels.

Once Amy met Ozma, I totally called what was going to happen with them. However, Dorothy Must Die has many surprising moments. Deaths I didn't see coming, the question of loyalty, hearts being cut out. Author Danielle Paige puts Amy though a lot, creating situations I don't if another author would for their main character. There's a lot of knives and bloods. Also, magic fuelled by anger. I wonder what fuels all the magic users we've encountered.

My only qualm is that Amy seemed to accept everything a little too quickly. Though, I imagine if you wake up in a strange place after a tornado, Oz probably would seem like a good guess. Maybe I just read the book too fast. If I put a little more time between chapters, would everything seem to have taken longer for Amy? Maybe, but that's not going to slow me down.

I'm also wondering if I should be reading the Oz books now. I've seen the movie, I know the story, but Paige seems to take a lot of things from the original texts. I've been meaning to read L. Frank Baum's stories for a while, maybe now is finally the time.

I'm excited to read The Wicked Will Rise and Yellow Brick War was recently released. There are also a lot of novellas to read before I read the end of the series, two paperbacks' worth. I'm intrigued by the stories, based on these crazy characters (the Tin Woodman, Lion and Scarecrow are nuts) and I wonder how they became who they are in Paige's story. Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die is a unique twist on an old tale.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

I have to be honest. I enjoyed Batman V Superman. I know that critics have definitely not liked it. It's not a short movie and there is a lot of fighting. But I thought Batman V Superman kept the story moving and kept the audience engaged. It was entertaining and I definitely did not feel the length the way I did with Man of Steel. Henry Cavill was a good Superman. Ben Affleck was a good Batman too. Gal Gadot was a good Wonder Woman. She might have been the highlight of the movie for me. She was tough, definitely a warrior, with her own story to tell. I'm looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie.

Was the movie perfect? No, but most movies aren't. I don't think people should go in expecting a Marvel movie. This is DC/Warner Bros. playing catch up. They want to create there own superhero universe. The way they introduced some of the other characters though, I thought was really good. It didn't take up a lot of story time and I think it kept the movie from being too crowded. It also gave us a hint of what's to come. Honestly, the hints we got of Aquaman and Cyborg were clever, just a taste, but intriguing. I feel like I'm going to enjoy the Flash. I love Grant Gustin's Flash on TV, so the new guy has big shoes to fill, but those images of him and the Batman thing, I thought was good. I know like a lot of people, I wasn't a fan of casting Ben Affleck as Batman, especially after Christian Bale, but I think he did a good job. He was brooding when he was supposed to be, he showed caring for his people and some charm around the ladies. He isn't a young Batman either, Alfred says that he got too old to die young. He has armour to support his continued fighting and he has grey hair. All good choices for the role.

I have never seen such a big difference on Rotten Tomatoes between critics and audiences. What did the critics expect? What did anyone expect? The fighting was good. The effects were good. The use of 3D during the Wayne sequence at the beginning was well done. The 3D overall could have been used better, but I've had that complaint with every movie except Star Trek: Into Darkness, so whatever. I liked the foundation created for Bruce and Diana's relationship. I liked the hints from Luthor about what's to come. Lex Luthor is the catalist for the future. He gathered the files. He was on the ship. I wonder what he'll be up to next.

I  feel like I'm defending the movie. I've read so many bad reviews that I think are just nit-picking and snarky. I think word-of-mouth is going to work just fine for Batman V Superman. Even with critics hating the movie, it still made over $400 million on the weekend. I've talked to enough regular people who feel the same way me and my Hubby do, so I think the DC Universe will do just fine. I was not disappointed with the movie and I am looking forward to more DC comic book heroes being brought to the big screen.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Shadow of Night

I love the All Souls series so much. I don't know what it is about it. It's historical, paranormal, romantic, literary and mature. There's family, love, loss, betrayal and magic. Shadow of Night was everything I wanted in Deborah Harkness's sequel to A Discovery of Witches. It might even be better. There was an amazing flow to the story, it took its time, but had a sense of urgency.

I loved the introduction of the new cast of characters. I loved Gallowglass. I loved Annie and Jack. I really enjoyed the interpretation of historical characters. Elizabeth I was fantastic. Christopher Marlowe was nuts. I wonder if they're going to talk about what happened to them in the next book.

The next book! I can't wait to read Book of Life. Shadow of Night was a perfect second book. Yes, it left me with questions about the overall story that started with A Discovery of Witches, but the story of just this novel completed nicely. Matthew and Diana arrived, then they left. There wasn't a crazy cliffhanger ending, which I appreciate. There's so much left to discover though.

This story had me hooked from the beginning. Every time I opened it up, I read for longer than I intended. Shadow of Night had me up late every night. I just had to know what happened. I'm still itching to know. I could totally stop what I'm doing to dig into the next book right now. I'm in for a serious book hangover. But I should have a break between books, because I can't keep ignoring life for Diana and Matthew's story.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On The Extra Stories In A Series

I read my fair share of Young Adult Fantasy and Science-Fiction series. They're fun, entertaining and some full of interesting ideas. I ready Adult Science-Fiction and Fantasy too, but I'm going to stick to YA right now. I'm thinking about all these series that have companion short stories. Some are prequels, some are re-tellings of scenes from another character's point of view, some are about what has happened in between novels. Not all series have them, The Hunger Games, for example. It's three novels, that's it, the end. Then there is a series like Delirium with so many extra tales, that though originally published as ebooks (as all these extra tales first are), they published a paperback edition too, though most leave their companion tales as ebooks, like the Grisha trilogy.

Though there are other series that leave out the extra bits (like Uglies from Scott Westerfeld), I feel like there are more who have at least one ebook tale (like Legend, by Marie Lu) and an increasing amount of others who are publishing their multiple ebook shorts in paperback form (Shatter Me, by Taherah Mafi). Why am I thinking about this?  Recently I read Red Queen. It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm itching to read Glass Sword. I own both novels. I picked them up recently (at a very good price). However, Cruel Crown was not available to purchase. If it was there, would I have purchased it? Probably, yes. While I have skipped companion ebook short stories in the past, when there is more than one, I feel more of a pull to get them. What might they reveal about the characters I love, the ones I hate, the history of the world? With Red Queen a recent read, I'm left wondering if I should buy the paperback, the two ebooks separately (a cheaper deal) or just skip the stories.

As I type this, read what I've written, I think I might be feeling companion story burn-out. Why do the majority of series (at least the ones I've read lately) have these extra bits floating around? Some of the short stories I've read have been brilliant, like Leigh Bardugo's The Witch of Duva and Little Knife. Others I've been less fond of, like alternate perspectives, where I know what's going to happen (I like a little tension or mystery in my stories), especially if they don't tell me anything I didn't already know. I have a similar problem with prequels, a story is nice, but I want to learn something. The Assassin's Blade was a collection of prequel stories done right. They had their own plots and we learned a lot about the main character and even had hints about what could happen in future novels. I guess I am just wondering, why can't their be more series like The Hunger Games? A bunch of novels I loved. I'm not saying just trilogies either. Uglies is a series of 4 books. I just... I don't know... There are just so many... I want to be able to pick up the books and read them, without having to search online to see if any other stories exist. (I have to say, I do appreciate the ones that are free.) But why can't it be bam, bam, bam, done? If I hadn't joined Goodreads, I probably would have missed most of these stories (Thanks, Goodreads, for links on where to read them too.) It's just burn-out, that's all it is. Right? Bah! Whatever.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Avengers: The Enemy Within

Yes. This. So awesome. I love Captain Marvel. Avengers: The Enemy Within, might be an Avengers title (third in an Avengers Assemble arc), but this was all Captain Marvel. The Enemy Within concludes the story started with Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight and continued with Captain Marvel: Down. I think that there's enough backstory that you can probably get away with not reading the two Captain Marvel titles, but everything makes so much more sense if you do. Also, they're awesome.

Basically, I am gushing about The Enemy Within. It's a total love fest. I loved the story. Kelly Sue DeConnick continues her amazing writing about my new favourite hero. I loved the art. The artist of the last comic within the graphic novel hasn't been my favourite over the series, but the style is so recognizable and familiar to me now, that it seems connected with Captain Marvel's story.

Also, the cover, paired with the title is a little misleading. That's all I'm going to say about that.

This does make me want to read the other Avengers Assemble stories. There are so many great characters. The more I read of Spider-Woman in these books, the more I want to read her stories too. She even makes a joke with Captain Marvel about having "Spidey-Sense", which she actually doesn't. Her personality leaps off the page and I have really enjoyed her easy friendship with Carol Danvers. Also, her fighting with the Hulk was pretty cool. Abigail Brand was really interesting too. I really liked when Bruce Banner stopped by Carol's apartment and made a joke with one of her friends about being confined in tight spaces. The action, art and humour combined to make The Enemy Within a thoroughly entertaining read.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I kind of loved Kingsmen.  I loved Harry, Roxy and Merlin. Valentine was great. Eggsy was amazing. Kingsmen did some things I didn't expect, which I appreciated. I love having a moment where I gasp out loud because of what has happened. It was a sad, awful, shocking moment, and one I did not see coming.

I totally forgot Samuel L. Jackson was in the movie. He's so awesome. Totally not Nick Fury in this one. Kind of reminded me of his Pulp Fiction character, I don't know why. Maybe the swearing? It got my Hubby thinking about Pulp Fiction too. The whole thing had a bit of a Tarantino-esque vibe to it. The style was definitely it's own thing, the amazing action sequences, very visually gripping. No time to look away. They were quick, but slowed down at the right moments. It was more about the way people died, limbs cut off, being sliced in half, bone. Maybe the combination of that, plus Samuel L. Jackson had me thinking Pulp Fiction. The woman with the sword legs though, that was brilliant and totally unique. Also, why not? If this is who you were, then you lose your legs, why not attach swords to the prosthesis. It makes sense (in the story world).

I liked the plot too, the boy who lost his father, and is trying to take care of his mother, thereby can't live up to his potential. I also love the way the story comes full circle. My problem with it is the mother. Was she so heartbroken that she shacked up with any guy? Did she need money or security? Why didn't she make better life choices for her and her son? I wouldn't have minded a little more story, just a quick conversation of what happened between husbands. We know what Eggsy did, but not about his mother's choices. I know I'm being picky, but it bothered me a bit when watching the scenes of her in their apartment with the new husband.

I really liked the end. The sequences of heads, the colours, the music, it was all really good. The bar scene also, the suit. I'm glad I finally got around to seeing Kingsmen and I look forward to any sequels they conjure up.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Little Prince

Why had nobody told me about the ending? Why had I never heard of it before? Of course I'd heard of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's, The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), but I had never read it growing up. I knew it was a classic children's book, published in French, but translated into many languages (the most translated French book, apparently). I'm always looking for books to share with my children and based on language level alone, I thought this would be a good one to read with my daughter. Plus, there's a movie now (and you have to read the book before you see the movie). But the ending! The ending! It was so unexpected, I almost cried.

The Little Prince tells the story of the Little Prince, a boy, stranded in the desert with a crash-landed pilot. As the pilot fixes his plane, the Prince tells the story of how he came to be in the desert, that he's from another planet (asteroid) and visited other planets (asteroids), before deciding to come to Earth. He also tells the narrator of the discoveries he makes once getting to Earth. He's so innocent, but holding back. There's something he's not saying and it frustrates the pilot that he doesn't answer questions. I love that the Prince must have his questions answered though, like a child asking and asking the same thing until you stop to answer them. The Prince is curious, kind and full of imagination.

Will I read The Little Prince with my daughter (and eventually my son)? Will we all see the movie? Yes. Once I get over my heartbreak.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Red Queen

I totally jumped onto the hype-train and picked up Red Queen. It was definitely worth it. I had to pull myself away more than once, so I could deal with real life (those children aren't going to feed themselves). Red Queen was just so immersive, sucking you into Mare's story, wondering along with her about Cal and Maven, thinking beyond her about Cal and Maven, Kilorn and Farley, Shade and so many more. Victoria Aveyard created a complete, full world, that you get to discover as Mare moves through it. As she moved from place to place, I realized that this wasn't just a fantasy world. There was technology present. There was a map of the world from "before". The world changed long ago. It makes you question where the Silver's abilities came from? Were they magic or mutations? Was this world fantasy or dystopian? Both? The more I think of it as dystopian, the more it makes sense, especially if I give it a post-apocalyptic, X-Men spin and imagine Magneto won dominion over the humans.

Some of the relationships in Red Queen reminded me a bit of Shadow and Bone and as with Shadow and Bone, I was hoping I was wrong. I also wonder if we'll have a death scene like at the end of Ruin and Rising, though from what I've seen, the Red Queen series will be more than three novels. The relationships, all the relationships, Mare and her family, the princes, Farley, Walsh, Lucas, were more than what they appeared on the surface. Cal and Maven too, they acted one way, but felt another, about each other and the people around them. I am excited to see how they grow and change over the series.

I know I have compared Red Queen to other stories (I could probably continue to do so). I think that with the media, books and movies, that surround us now, it's easy to draw inspiration from other stories, whether they be comics, fantasy or science-fiction, and everything else out there. It's also easy for a reader to understand a "telkie" or "magnetron's" ability because of those stories. While Aveyard does describe what the characters can do, when she says, a burner controls fire, we really don't need much more information than that to understand what is going on. Maybe Aveyard pulled from everywhere, from every fantastical story to stir together and create this intricate world.

The ending was great and I love a good ending. The novel finishes nicely. The story concludes, but with an ending that makes you excited for the next book. I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger though. It's more of an enticement. This is where Mare is heading, this is how she feels and this is what she wants to do. You want to continue the story with her, but you aren't frustrated by where Aveyard concluded this tale. I think Red Queen was amazing and the perfect read for me right now. It deserves all the hype and praise it gets.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game was heartbreaking. I don't know why I waited so long to watch it. It was a brilliant film. I think it was worth every bit of acclaim that it has received. I loved Benedict Cumberbatch. I think I get why everyone loves him now. I haven't watched Sherlock, but I'm interested to see more of him. Everything about the way he portrayed Alan Turing, brought the character and time to life for me, was fantastic. I loved his relationship with Keira Knightly's character, Joan. I loved Joan, her struggles to be thought of as an equal, the sadness because her mind wasn't getting used.

They worked so hard, Alan Turing, Joan and the whole team, to break Enigma and end the war (World War II). They succeeded in their goal, even though there were doubters, people who didn't believe a machine could break the code. Their relationships, the ups and downs, the Russian spy, I wonder how much of that is true and how much is artistic liberty. It also makes me think such a brilliant mind lost, because of "hormonal therapy" to change his "predilections". You might as well try to "pray the gay away." I know it was a long time ago, but it makes me angry. I also feel like someone, a friend, the guy from MI6, should have helped him. What more could have come from the mind that invented computers if he had lived? (I know that the potrayal of Turing isn't the only theory regarding his death, but it is commonly held.) I'm going to stop being angry and instead be impressed that a film could make me feel so strongly. If you haven't seen The Imitation Game, you should, it deserves to be seen.

Monday, March 07, 2016

The Spin Number Is....


Which means I have to read Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens by May 2nd. That's probably the book on my list I wanted to read the least.  I'll do it though. I mean, I do want to read it. I own a copy. I guess after Middlemarch I'm just not in the mood to read something else so Victorian. I did enjoy David Copperfield and Great Expectations when I read them, though. I'm sure it'll be fine.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Time For Another Classics Club Spin!

I love the Spin. (Rules are here.) My list of 20 was generated by Tomorrow the Spin results will be in. Which book will it be?

1. Medea, by Euripides
2. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
3. Grimm's Fairy Stories, by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm
4. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
5. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
7. Sherlock Holmes #1: A Study In Scarlett, by Arthur Conan Doyle
8. Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
9. The Stone Angel, by Margaret Laurence
10. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
11. Tales of Angria, by Charlotte Brontë
12. Dracula's Guest, by Bram Stoker
13. The Cat In The Hat, by Dr. Seuss
14. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
15. Under The Knife, by H.G. Wells
16. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
17. Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, by Hans Christian Andersen
18. Queen Mab/The Daemon of the World, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
19. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe
20. Daisy Miller, by Henry James

I'd like the first book that came up. Medea would be a re-read, but it's been so long! I also want to read more Vonnegut.  Some poetry might be nice too. I'm not really feeling the Dickens though, after just finished Middlemarch and there are two of his books on the list!  I suppose we'll see what tomorrow brings.


Middlemarch is a total soap opera.  There’s relationship drama and political intrigue.  It takes place during an interesting political point in history, where part of the political problems come from the “Reform Bill”. The business subversion and debt is abundant. Money and love seem to motivate everything, whether wanting or lacking. I could see Middlemarch done in 4 or 5 seasons… or one crazy mini-series.  (It has been done.)  I don’t think it could ever be a proper movie, there’s way too much going on.  So much so, that I would occasionally forget who a minor character was and have to look them up (thanks, Internet). Middlemarch was not an easy read, but it was worth it.

What kept me reading was George Eliot's brilliant characters. I loved Dorothea Brooke and Will Ladislaw, emotionally invested in the outcome of their lives. Their relationship was so natural and grew through genuine affection. The relationship was a huge contrast when compared to Lydgate and Rosamond. She frustrated me so much! I felt so sorry for Lydgate. Mr. Brooke was so doddering. I really liked Farebrother and wished I could have known how his life ended up. Bulstrode was a perfect character. For me though, it always came back to Will and Dorothea. They were my favourites, eager to find out what would happen to them. Eliot contrasted Dorothea and Rosamond quite a bit in the novel. One dark-haired and one light, but maybe the darkness represented Dorothea's depth of thought and emotion, while the light was Rosamond's feelings, her shallowness. I was excited when the two finally encountered each other.

Middlemarch takes place in the past for the narrator/Eliot, as she refers to how things were and the "Reform Bill". It's an interesting perspective on 1829-1832 from someone who is living in the 1870s. There are moments of apology for things happening 40 years earlier. I wonder what kind of social changes happened in those 4 decades for Eliot to occasionally take that tone. 

I also liked the cheeky tone that Eliot sometimes used: "Society never made the preposterous demand that a man should think as much about his own qualifications for making a charming girl happy as he thinks of hers for making himself happy. As if a man could choose not only his wife but his wife's husband! Or as if he were bound to provide charms for his posterity in his own person!— When Dorothea accepted him with effusion, that was only natural; and Mr. Casaubon believed that his happiness was going to begin." Was this something women and men had started to think about? About each other's happiness and not just it being one-sided?Were men regarding women's feelings? I think this is something Lydgate and Mr. Casaubon should have thought of. Fred Vincy seemed to consider it.

Let's talk medicine for a minute. Lydgate's professional goals were all about discovery and explanations for things. Why didn't people like that back then? Superstition? He seemed so much more advanced than the other medical men in Middlemarch. "He not only used his stethoscope (which had not become a matter of course in practice at that time), but sat quietly by his patient and watched him." Just, wow. Why wouldn't it be used all the time? From Eliot's comments, in the 1870s, stethoscopes were commonly used, but why did it take so long to catch on? People knew where their hearts were, right? Why wouldn't you want to have a better listen too it? This really caught my attention.

Though I kind of hated Mr. Casaubon, I felt sorry for him too. He just didn't get it. He didn't understand Dorothea. He didn't understand what marriage was, I think. Why did he ever decide to marry her? So he didn't have to hire an assistant? He had no faith in her, but she was so trusting with him. She never had bad intensions, but he couldn't see that. "Dorothea told him that she had seen Lydgate, and recited the gist of her conversation with him about the Hospital. Mr. Casaubon did not question her further, but he felt sure that she had wished to know what had passed between Lydgate and himself. "She knows that I know," said the ever-restless voice within; but that increase of tacit knowledge only thrust further off any confidence between them. He distrusted her affection; and what loneliness is more lonely than distrust?" It is so true, what is more lonely than distrust in a relationship? 

Will and Mr. Casaubon speak of the same woman: "I have not spoken too strongly now," said Will, leaning back against the angle of the wall. "There are certain things which a man can only go through once in his life; and he must know some time or other that the best is over with him. This experience has happened to me while I am very young—that is all. What I care more for than I can ever care for anything else is absolutely forbidden to me—I don't mean merely by being out of my reach, but forbidden me, even if it were within my reach, by my own pride and honor—by everything I respect myself for. Of course I shall go on living as a man might do who had seen heaven in a trance." One see the woman as heaven, the other with distrust. Why are their perspectives so different? Is it age? Life expreiences? General disposition? I don't know that Casuabon ever was really socialized with the world beyond his studies, where Will was all about the world. They are so very, very different.

I loved the language of the novel too. Eliot could craft a sentence, pour emotion into metaphor, "the years had been perpetually spinning them into intricate thickness, like masses of spider-web, padding the moral sensibility". Though it was a long read, with many devoted hours, phrases like that grabbed me, had me waiting for more.

I first read Middlemarch a long time ago, back in University, but honestly, I couldn't remember anything about it, except that I liked Dorothea and Will. I am so happy to have re-read it. It is definitely a novel I can see myself reading again in the future and it's one I would recommend to those who like a good story.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Of Triton

Of Triton was not totally what I expected.  I expected more of what was happening in the beginning with Emma and her mother. I expected Nalia to be involved in something more nefarious. Instead, I think something nefarious happened to Nalia and Grom, but we don't know what. I'm also saddened by what Emma learned about her parents. I thought this whole drama was going to be a larger part of the book, but it was set-up, I think. Not in a bad way. We learn through this adventure at the start of the novel, more about Nalia, Grom and their relationship. We see Emma have doubts and what she does with them. She loves her mother, though she wants to believe in Galen. Anna Banks definitely surprised me with where the story went after the car ride.

The meat of the story, that was an adventure. Life under the ocean is more complicated than the Royals even thought. I liked that there was less moody romance and more active adventure; there were things the characters had to figure out. Though Emma and Rayna got left behind for a while, we got to spend more time in the water and learn about the Syrena people. The display of the gifts at the end though, that was nice. It's not just about Emma. I also thought I'd get to see a little more ass-kicking from Nalia. Galen did supply her with something she could have used, though maybe she didn't want to hurt one of her subjects. I'm wondering what the future holds not just for Galen and Emma, but for the undersea kingdoms. I also feel like there's more to the mystery of what happened in the mine field with Nalia and Grom. Though Of Triton felt like a complete story, I'm eager to find out what happens in Of Neptune.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Why Haven't I Read The Kite Runner

I was just thinking about this today, I don't know why. Maybe because A Thousand Splendid Suns caught my eye on the bookshelf. I have read both A Thousand Splendid Suns and And The Mountains Echoed. Both novels were brilliant. A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of my favourite novels, I think Khaled Hosseini is an amazing author. He has only written three novels, why haven't I read his first? The Kite Runner put Hosseini on the map. I passed by it on a display table in a used bookstore!

After considering why, I think it's the "box of tears". At the end of both the novels I have read, there are these containers (boxes). In them are things that represent what has happened in the novel. All the sad, terrible, emotional things. These are things that can bring you to tears. When it showed up in And The Mountains Echoed, I might have actually said out loud, "not again!"

So, why haven't I read The Kite Runner? Because I haven't been in the mood for a cry? I just expect to cry. I expect the end to be sad. I expect to love the characters and then to have my heartbroken with some kind of loss. I just think I'm going to be sad. I don't want to know I'm going to be sad. I'll read it eventually, but I'm just going to have to work up the emotional stamina to read The Kite Runner.