OK, so now for the other books I read this summer:
A Thousand Splendid Suns - I felt this book was stronger than Kite Runner in an objective, literary sense. It was less predictable and more believable. Subjectively, it had me crying relentlessly from the first chapter. The heartache and misery of the women in this story (and sadly what many real-life women experienced in that place and time), was almost unbearable. Even though there was some relief to the suffering at the end, it was still at great cost to one of the characters. This book left me with an insatiable desire for justice and equality. Sigh.
A Long Way Gone (memoirs of a child soldier) - this book was well written as a story and I found myself forgetting it was a memoir at times. It felt more like fiction (or maybe I wanted it to be fiction). There were tears of sadness and joy as I worked through Ishmael's story. I highly recommend this book. It shows that all sides of the conflict in Sierra Leone were evil. Ishmael was a soldier for the government, not the rebels (RUF). Not surprisingly, both sides employed the same tactics and human rights violations. A good reminder about the nature of war and how there are very few 'good guys' when the guns come out. Another book leaving a longing for more justice and peace in the world. Double sigh.
Locke, 1928 - this book takes place in the Chinese immigrant town of Locke in the early days after its founding. It is a fictional tale. The characters are interesting and well-developed. The central character is a white prostitute working in the town brothel as a result of some compounding back luck (or possibly bad decisions) that fell into her life. I liked this story, though a lot of the Chinese mythology woven into the story is outside my understanding and experience. There was a lot of good symbolism in the story - some of which I got and some I didn't due to my lack of exposure to the myths in question. This is a good, short read if you have a weekend away and want something different from the usual romance/mystery fare.