family

READ THE WORLD – Afghanistan: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Ten-year-old Abdullah and his little sister Pari live with their family in the small village of Shadbagh in Afghanistan. They are as close as two people can be but when circumstances outside of their control separates them they both go different life-long journeys, where they struggle to keep their connection alive.

I’ve had And the Mountains Echoed sitting unread on my shelves for a couple of years now, but it was only when I got the audiobook (narrated by Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban and Shohreh Aghdashloo) from my library, that I finally got around to reading it and I’m so glad I did.

Khaled Hosseini is probably most famous for writing The Kite Runner, but this is the first book I’ve read by him. It was a very enjoyable book that’s often devastating but does offer a sense of hope. The writing is really good, there are so many touching and thought-provoking quotes, and the way Hosseini gets you connected to these characters is to be admired as there’s a lot of them.

And the Mountains Echoed not only follows Abdullah and Pari, but characters related to them or characters they’ve met briefly at one point or another. It’s sometimes a little disorientating as each chapter is from a different character’s point of view and at the beginning of each chapter its not made clear, whose perspective we’re now in. In a way, this makes And the Mountains Echoed a bit like a mystery. You are given different perspectives of different events, that all somehow relate to the main plot-thread but it’s up to you as the reader to figure out how these characters and events are all connected.

You don’t just get to see how characters change over time in And the Mountains Echoed, but countries and their people too. The book spans almost 60 years, starting in 1952 and the last chapter taking place in 2010. Through this time, you get to see Afghanistan as a country evolve. Characters live through prosperous times and times of conflict, it is often everyday life for them as it’s their home. While for other characters who have emigrated and then returned, they don’t always feel at home there anymore.

And the Mountains Echoed is about family, heritage, culture, and the connections people make with others and places. It’s finding about finding loved ones and a place to call home. It’s a touching story that while is often sad, as it follows the all to real traumas of everyday life – sudden death of a loved one, old age, and disagreements with family – it also has moments of light-heartedness and optimism about life. 4/5.

Advertisements

Alzheimer’s and Me

In three weeks I will be taking part in the Memory Walk in Brighton to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and to raise awareness for the disease. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so here. But this isn’t just a post begging for money, I also wanted to talk about why I’m doing the walk and how Alzheimer’s has been a part of my life for almost ten years.

Dementia is the broad term for a persistent disorder of the mental processes that are caused by brain disease, like Alzheimer’s disease, or a brain injury and that causes memory problems, personality changes and impaired reasoning.

My grandad got diagnosed with dementia when I was fifteen. While there had been various instances that we were all noticing leading up to the diagnosis, when we look back now we can see that things hadn’t been right years before but no doctor or anyone had said there was anything wrong. Looking back, my grandad had a couple of strokes when I was very young, only about six or seven, and when he was in the hospital bed he’d say there was a bird sitting on the end of it or there were rabbits running around the ward. We all found it funny and as he was otherwise fine and had no physical problems from the stroke we all thought nothing of it. Now we think that that might have been a sign of dementia but then we were unaware that such things as dementia and Alzheimer’s even existed.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the past ten years is that dementia and Alzheimer’s are words used much more frequently, before my granddad was actually diagnosed doctors just said it was a man getting old.

(more…)

Thoughts on… Moving House

I am now technically homeless. Let me explain, yesterday everything was completed on the sale of my family home and we don’t have a property to move into until the middle of April so we’re now staying with family friends till then.

This whole moving house thing has been a bit chaotic and (for my mum at least) pretty stressful. The only time I have moved house before (not counting the four years I was at University so it was just a portion of my stuff moving each year) was when my parents split up when I was nine. When we moved into our new home (the one we’ve now just left) we just had all of mums belongings, my belongings and bedroom furniture, and a dining table, chairs and matching cabinet we got off a family friend. So we basically moved in with a small van.  (more…)

Why I Love… My Mum

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK so I thought I’d use this time to talk about why I love my mum so much.

I could be cheesy and say that my mum is my best friend and I suppose in some ways she is. I like to think we are not the super cheesy mother and daughter relationship that’s all over Facebook – I knew a girl from Uni who had that sort of a relationship with her mum and it just would be a bit weird after a while seeing another comment on all Facebook statuses and photos but if that’s how it works for them, fair enough. My mum is friends with me on Facebook mostly because of when I first went to university and it was just a precaution really in case I hadn’t text or phoned or emailed her in a while, she could have a look at Facebook and see when I last posted a status or when photos of when I last went out with my new friends were uploaded. She’s never commented or liked anything and we both worked well with that system of her just be able to check up on me but not really get into in that part of my life. (more…)

My Favourite Christmas Things

Now in my family we don’t have many traditions or anything when it comes to Christmas. This is probably because my family is ridiculously small – if we don’t have friends round for Christmas dinner it’s just me, my mum and my gran. But there are something’s I love about Christmas even if it’s a small affair.

Putting up the Christmas tree
This has always been “my job” at Christmas. Even when I was little I’d always decorate the tree. When I was at Uni, my mum would do it because I’d only get home a few days before Christmas but the last few years I’ve been home I’ve done it and putting together the tree (we have a fake one) and decorating it is what makes me feel all Christmasy.

Favourite Christmas Film
We don’t have any Christmas films we have to watch each Christmas but the one that I will stop and watch if or rather when it’s on TV is The Muppet Christmas Carol. Michael Caine is great in it, Rizzo the rat is my absolute favourite and the songs are so catchy.

(more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Fictional Families I’d like to Celebrate Thanksgiving with

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. In honour of Thanksgiving (which I know nothing about really because I’m a Brit) this week I’m going to list the ten fictional families I‘d like to celebrate with, these families are going to be from books, films and TV shows and my favourite trope of “Families of Choice” will almost certainly be making an appearance.

The Pevensies – The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Sure the Pevensies don’t always get along but they always come together and sharing a special dinner with them, and maybe some other characters like Mr Tumnus and the Beavers, would be nice.

The O’Connell-Carnahan’s – The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
This family is #familygoals. Rick may be the only American in the family so he might have to persuade his wife, son and brother-in-law to take part in Thanksgiving but I’m sure they would and then Ardeth Bay could join in too.

The Baggins’ – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
Whether it would be a small dinner with just Bilbo and Frodo, or if Pippin, Merry and Sam were there too, it would be a great meal because Hobbit’s know their food and how to party. (more…)

Favourite Grandparents in Film

This month I continued with The Lunar Chronicles (Re)Readalong aka #TLCReadAlong on Twitter run by BookAddictsGuide and read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – I ended up enjoying this book even more than the first one. As a part of The Lunar Chronicles (Re)Readalong there’s bonus posts you can do and I’ve chosen to write about some awesome grandparents in film. Scarlet’s grandmother is pretty great, she used to be in the military, won’t be bullied and has a great relationship with Scarlet. So here’s some other great grandparent relationships.

The Princess Diaries Princess Diaries ElenaSquareEyes
Queen Clarisse Renaldi is the Queen of Genovia and isn’t perhaps the most maternal grandmother to start with, she’s incredibly prim and proper but that’s just because she cares what happens to her country. Still, after spending time with Mia, they get along really well, she even discovers the joys of corndogs and the funfair, and will do her best to protect Mia from the press and anyone else who tries to hurt her.

gammy elenasquareeyes The Proposal 
Grandma Annie is hilarious – Betty White plays her so of course she is. Her 90th birthday is the reason Margaret and Andrew are up in Alaska pretending to be in love and engaged. Gammy dances for the Gods, she has a cute Pomeranian and she’s the one who realises that Margaret really does love Andrew and even fakes a heart attack to help them actually talk to each other. Gammy is the best. (more…)