Tag Archives: Khaled Hosseini

Lawnmower in My Living Room

I read an interview with Khaled Hosseini in Time Magazine. He’s best known for the haunting ”˜The Kite Runner’ in 2003, but he was discussing his new novel ”˜And The Mountains Echoed.’

One of the things he said really hit home with me. “My first drafts are always rather flat and disappointing. It’s a little bit like when you move into a home. You haul all your stuff and shove it in the house; the things you need are there, but it looks horrible and doesn’t feel like a home at all. The subsequent draft is about saying, OK, this couch belongs here. Let’s get rid of this painting. Let’s put the armoire here.”

I love that analogy and it comes at a good time for me as I’ve just moved a new set of characters into their new home.

There are problems with the analogy, however. For one thing, with your household goods, you see them all at a glance, making it easy to survey your treasures and (re)arrange them. The couch gets too much sun there … try the other wall. Put the torchiere in the corner. Let’s try standing the coffee table on all four legs instead of propped against the wall. Ah, much better.

Second, and more importantly, you knew what belonged in the living room. You didn’t stick a bed in the corner, pile the flatware on a bookcase, and park the lawnmower under the picture window.

This is what my work-in-progress feels like to me right now. A lawnmower in the living room. I know it doesn’t belong there, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what to do with it.

Do I shine it up all sparkly and leave it there? Do I move it to the bedroom? Do I even need a lawnmower? Should I push it into the garage and set it on fire? Should I abandon it on the curb and pray some kind soul hauls it away for me?

Third, when you bought your new house, you knew what you needed. Four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, 2-car garage, fenced yard for the kids and dog. Easy peasy.

My characters’ house has eighteen rooms, no bathrooms, three kitchens and a bedazzled heliport. Plus a lawnmower in the living room.

Anyone want to help me move?

Challenged Books

Time to exercise our intellectual freedom and go read some controversial books!

Back in September, I posted the Top 100 Challenged/Banned Books 2000-2007.  Here are some more from the American Library Association. They’ve posted the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008.

1. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Anti-Family, Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2. “His Dark Materials Trilogy” (Series), Philip Pullman
Reasons:  Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint, Violence

3. “TTYL”; “TTFN”; “L8R, G8R” (Series), Lauren Myracle
Reasons:  Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

4. “Scary Stories” (Series), Alvin Schwartz
Reasons:  Occult/Satanism, Religious Viewpoint, Violence

5. “Bless Me, Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons:  Occult/Satanism, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Violence

6. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons:  Drugs, Homosexuality, Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group

7. “Gossip Girl” (Series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons:  Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

8. “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons:  Homosexuality, Unsuited to Age Group

9. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons:  Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

10. “Flashcards of My Life,” by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons:  Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

Six titles were dropped from the list, including: “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier (challenged for sexually explicit content, offensive language and violence); “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes (for sexually explicit content and offensive language); “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain (for racism); “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker (for homosexuality, sexually explicit content and offensive language); “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou (for sexually explicit content); and “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris (for sexually explicit content).

From their press release … For more information on book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books Week Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.

Have you read any of the 2008 Top Ten? What’s your favorite challenged or banned book?