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The Bookseller of Kabul
by Asne Seierstad | Literature & Fiction
Registered by istop4books of Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Friday, December 01, 2006
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by bearyfriend): available


9 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Friday, December 01, 2006

8 out of 10

A look into the lives of one particular family in Afghanistan - not necessarily a sample of the median family, but nevertheless a great insight to the family and patriarchal dynamics of this one group. Reads like a novel, however it's written by a journalist who was allowed to live with the bookseller's family for a few months. Very well written.  


Journal Entry 2 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Sent in controlled release to my mother in Chile, South America. Should arrive in early April. 


Journal Entry 3 by wingAnonymousFinderwing on Thursday, May 24, 2007

8 out of 10

A great book - I loved the author's intimate understanding of day-to-day life in an arab society.

CAUGHT IN VIÑA DEL MAR CHILE 


Journal Entry 4 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Sunday, January 13, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Somehow this book made its way back to me and will now be offered as a ray. 


Journal Entry 5 by istop4books from Castle Rock, Colorado USA on Friday, January 18, 2008

This book has not been rated.

This is just about ready to embark on a journey around the world. Let's keep it moving and see how many miles it travels! You all know the rules - journal when you get it, after you read it and when you send it on. Try not to keep it over a month and have fun!

Here's the tentative list:
chambejd- US/US
Shroffland- US/US-Canada
hopi100 - US/anywhere
Verolyon- France/EU
Hippolein - Finland/EU<-----skip
Yellowbow- Portugal<-------skip
ETMadrid- Spain/UK or France
Ekranda- UK/ <-------asked to be skipped
SazzyMCH - UK/UK <-------asked to be skipped
Megmac- UK/anywhere
Gilla- Australia/anywhere<---------no response
Bearyfriend- Singapore <-------book is here
 


Journal Entry 6 by chambejd from Millbury, Massachusetts USA on Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This book has not been rated.

This arrived yesterday to start the ray. It looks great. I'll get to it soon! Thanks for sharing it with me! 


Journal Entry 7 by chambejd from Millbury, Massachusetts USA on Friday, February 22, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Thanks for letting me read this, istop4books. I really enjoyed reading it and learning about Afghanistan. I was frustrated at times with both the women and men and the limitations they both impose on women. Some of their traditions are just plain crazy. I will say that the Taliban did good in outlawing bird fights and the crazy game played with a cow corspe. I hope this nation can reestablish itself and thrive as it once did.

This was sent to shroffland on 2/27/08. 


Journal Entry 8 by Shroffland from Snellville, Georgia USA on Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This book has not been rated.

The book arrived today! Will start it as soon as I finish one of my current reads. Thanks for hosting this bookray!

Started reading on March 13th. Hope to finish within a week. 


Journal Entry 9 by Shroffland from Snellville, Georgia USA on Thursday, April 03, 2008

9 out of 10

I got completely involved in these people's lives, and feel as though I know each of them personally. Thank you for sharing this book; it is one of the most thought-provoking and heart-opening I have read in a long time.

I am mailing this on to hopi100, next on the list! 


Journal Entry 10 by Shroffland at to another BookCrosser in -- BOOKRAY, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Monday, April 07, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (4/7/2008 UTC) at to another BookCrosser in -- BOOKRAY, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

On its way to hopi100 - Enjoy! 


Journal Entry 11 by hopi100 from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Monday, April 14, 2008

This book has not been rated.

This just arrived in the mail! Thanks so much -- can't wait to get started! :) 


Journal Entry 12 by hopi100 from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Thursday, May 15, 2008

8 out of 10

I've enjoyed reading this book so very much. The opportunity to peer into the lives of an Afghan family in a post-9/11 world was so interesting and so revealing. It was truly a pleasure to get to know the personalities and dynamics of Sultan and his family -- and I really appreciate learning more about people in a part of the world I'm largely unfamiliar with. Thanks so much for sharing this!

I'll be sending this to Verolyon over the weekend. Enjoy! :) 


Journal Entry 13 by hopi100 from Alexandria, Virginia USA on Sunday, September 07, 2008

This book has not been rated.

After a long absence, this book has returned to the land of the living -- and came back to me over the weekend with no explanation whatsoever from the Postal Service! I'll be PMing Verolyon immediately after I post this JE and re-requesting an address so I can try again! 


Journal Entry 14 by verolyon from Arras, Nord-Pas-de-Calais France on Friday, October 17, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Received in the mail at last ! Thanks hopi100 for trying again and sorry for the trouble ! 


Journal Entry 15 by verolyon from Arras, Nord-Pas-de-Calais France on Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This book has not been rated.

I read this book at last - I apologize for the delay !
I enjoyed it a lot, it gives a thorough insight of the daily life of different members of an Afghan family. What I liked the most is the fact the author steps aside and leads you directly into the life of the people she deals with. Plus the fact that the narrative is full of subtlety and without any judgement.
Thank you istop4books and hopi100 for giving me the opportunity to read it.

I PMed Hippolein for his address, but he already got a copy of the book.
I PMed Yellowbow, who's next on the list, and she says she's too busy for the moment.
I PMed ETMadrid, and off it will be ! 


Journal Entry 16 by verolyon at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 5 yrs ago (1/13/2009 UTC) at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

It finally went off to ETMadrid today. Hope it will arrive safely ! 


Journal Entry 17 by wingETMadridwing from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, January 18, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Thank you for sending this! It's arrived safely (along with a couple of other bookrings) in London and I'll read it as soon as possible and let you know how I get on. 


Journal Entry 18 by wingETMadridwing from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, January 26, 2009

7 out of 10

I have just finished this and found it to ring true with the little I have myself experienced when staying with families in Algeria, where the effects of previously-imposed curfews and Islamic extremism still linger on and effect the way families and women in particular lead their lives.

When Mansur throws his empty coke cans out of the window, I remembered how a tv camera crew I was travelling with threw out empty beer cans onto the desert roadside.

Mealtimes, never-ending housework, hammam-visits, the hoping for suitable marriage proposals, the desire for plumpness, the staying overnight of dinner guests, these are all aspects of life that I witnessed there. There too, women never travelled into town unaccompanied by a male member of the family, although once there, the daughters can work (probably only until they marry and have children). Algeria is obviously a long way away but it's interesting to see how some aspects are so similar. But I did not have cause to be so deeply shocked by what I saw. It was almost the opposite - I appreciated the close-knit way the families worked together (there was only ever one wife in the families I met, simplifying matters somewhat!), and the daily rituals of cooking were for a short time a joy for me, coming from a world in which families rarely have time to dedicate to food in such a way. But I hasten to add that I enjoyed it as a visitor, and fiercely independent, would not last long if subjected to so many restrictions.

For the only 3 months that Seierstad was with this family, this is a very impressive piece of work, as her observations and understanding will not necessarily have always been easily gleaned. I understand that she got into legal complications as the family were very unhappy with the book - but I should look up what happened as I did not follow it. I can quite see that they would not be happy. For the generosity of accepting her into their lives, theirs is a fairly raw deal I can't help feeling. But we as readers learn a great deal and her portrait is a valuable one. I found it very readable - initially more like a long journalistic report and latterly closer to a novel.

What we don't learn is whether Leila marries her sister's step-son or not. Did the breaking up of the family put a (welcome) spanner in the works as far as that was concerned? I'd like to know, but alas I don't think there'll be a second installment.

Addendum: I have looked up the details of the dispute between writer and bookseller, and not found any details of a settlement. What can be found are copies of a couple of the bookseller's letters and, subsequent to reading celticstar's journal entry for this book, this article from the Norwegian press. In the author's position, I'm sure I could never feel truely at ease after publishing a book such as this. Ultimately I feel that she should have used her experience to create an utterly fictional tale and/or to bring to the forefront women's situations in a different manner that is not so injurous to this particular family.

I have always believed that equality should start in the home, and I do also believe that many of the examples of the lack of equality in today's European society stem from the fact that families (mothers in particular) do not always treat their offspring with the equality that they should. Most families have things that go on behind closed doors that they'd never wish the world to know about (despite their best efforts for this not to be the case), and the bookseller here certainly is no exception. When he opened his doors to this journalist, he was also displaying his trust in her. I guess that she made a very conscious choice to prefer to expose the way women often live in Afghanistan over preserving the relationship of trust that she had clearly built up with all the members of the family.

Sorry - this is a bit long-winded! But whilst I whizzed through this book and don't dispute the interest of its contents, I couldn't help imagining what I might have done, or what I might have decided I couldn't do, in the writer's situation. Trust is all important in relations in the culture about which she is writing, and it appears to be the one thing that she has betrayed. She is judgemental, sometimes understandably so, sometimes less so, and the more I think about this as the hours progress, the less comfortable I am with what I read. It's probably true to say that both parties were naïve when they became involved in the project, neither realising the potential repercussions. 


Journal Entry 19 by wingETMadridwing at Southwark, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 5 yrs ago (2/4/2009 UTC) at Southwark, Greater London United Kingdom

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Ekranda now has her own copy and SazzyMCH is too busy, so the book is now on its way to Birmingham, to the home of Megmac. 


Journal Entry 20 by Megmac from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, February 06, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Received today with a lovely postcard :-) The reviews abive are very insightful and I'm looking forward to reading this. I do have one bookring ahead of it. 


Journal Entry 21 by Megmac from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Thursday, March 05, 2009

This book has not been rated.

A compelling read. I closely follow the work of Equality Now who work for the rights of women and girls in countries like Afghanistan so the accounts of the women's lives in this book were of particular interest. I wasn't sure about the author's 'literary style' because she makes a lot of assumptions about her subjects' thoughts and feelings which made me a little uncomfortable.

Ultimately, the book is most effective when it moves away from the family itself. I am glad that this book is out there, it is too easy to lose sight of the fact that real people have had to live day-to-lifes in such an unstable country when its on the news so often it can feel like a movie.

have pm'd Gilla 


Journal Entry 22 by Megmac from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Monday, March 30, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Gilla didn't get back to me, so I will post on to Bearyfriend this week 


Journal Entry 23 by Megmac at Controlled Release, Controlled Release Singapore on Friday, April 10, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 5 yrs ago (4/9/2009 UTC) at Controlled Release, Controlled Release Singapore

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

sent on to Bearyfriend 


Journal Entry 24 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Sunday, April 26, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Got it, thanks. I'm not sure which exact date it arrived having just returned from a trip yesterday. Will pass it on after I'm done reading. 


Journal Entry 25 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Friday, June 12, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Having read few other books before this about the country and its people, this is another one which doesn't paint very nice pic of the place. I'm mad with the way the bookseller treated others, as well as how the women there had no freedom in their life. You see the way Sultan treated that carpenter who merely stole some of his postcards and he was so adamant in prosecuting him, and how Leila didn't even have the courage to voice up what she wanted in her life so as to keep peace in the family, and chose to sacrifice her own happiness. And also apparently before the bookseller invited the journalist to stay, he already knew she's going to write a book about the family, so I don't understand why he was so angry in the end when the book was printed. Maybe he thought it's going to be all roses written. He should have thought better. The person I pity most was Leila who should have gone with Karim.

Thanks for sharing the book. Eye-opening and informative, though a slow read. 


Journal Entry 26 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Thanks to istop4books for letting me keep the book or pass along as I see fit. I have forgotton it was actually a ring book. I'm putting this under Avail for the time being. 




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