The 2005 Santa Monica Citywide Reads selection is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Published by Riverhead Books in 2003, the novel is set in Afghanistan and California over a period of three decades
The story of the relationship between two boys of different social strata and the complicated relationship between a father and son, it is the first Afghan novel to be written in English, and includes an examination of the turbulent, recent history of Afghanistan as well as the cultures of the people of Afghanistan and Afghan-Americans.
Citywide Reads encourages people who live, work or visit in Santa Monica to read the same book and gather to discuss it, and features related events. It will take place April 12 to May 21 this year.
Hosseini was born in Kabul in 1965, and immigrated with his family to northern California in 1980, where he has been a practicing physician since 1996.
The Kite Runner is his first novel and was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. It won a 2004 Alex Award as an “adult book that appeals to teen readers,” and a Borders Original Voices® Award.
Hosseini will appear at Santa Monica College on May 21.
Sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library, with support by the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library, the Santa Monica College Associates, and community, educational, and business partners, Citywide Reads has scheduled the following moderator-led public book discussions:
Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 1201 Third Street Promenade.
Tuesday, April 19 at 1:30 p.m. Ken Edwards Center, 1527 Fourth Street.
Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. Montana Avenue Branch Library, 1704 Montana Ave.
Monday, April 25 at 2:15 p.m. Emeritus College, 1227 Second Street, Room 407.
Saturday, April 30 at 11 a.m. Cafe Bolivar, 1741 Ocean Park Boulevard (Teen book discussion).
Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m. Borders, 1415 Third Street Promenade.
Thursday, May 5 at 11:15 a.m. Santa Monica College Library, Room 193, 1900 Pico Boulevard.
Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m. Fairview Branch Library, 2101 Ocean Park Boulevard.
Wednesday, May 11 at 7 p.m. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 1426 Montana Avemue.
Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 3150 Ocean Park Boulevard.
Thursday May 19 at 7 p.m. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 200 Santa Monica Boulevard.
Book club members are urged by Library officials to read The Kite Runner and discuss it with their group, using a Citywide Reads Resource Guide available at all Santa Monica Public Library locations and on the Citywide Reads web site www.smpl.org/cwr.
Special Citywide Reads events include:
“What is it that Empire Steals?: U.S. Foreign Policy and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, a talk by Political Science Professor Larry George of California State University, Long Beach, about the novel in the context of Afghanistan and international politics over several decades, on Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m. Fairview Branch Library.
Kandahar, a screening of the 2001 film, written and directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, that follows an Afghan émigré’s perilous journey back home during the Taliban reign, introduced by Amanda Roraback, author of Afghanistan in a Nutshell, on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m.
The Arohi Ensemble performs traditional music of southern Asia at the Santa Monica Festival on Saturday, May 14, from noon to 12:45 p.m. Children will have an opportunity to decorate their own kites in a craft workshop that runs continuously from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Library booth. The Festival runs from noon to 7:00 p.m. at Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Park Boulevard.
“Khaled Hosseini: In Conversation,” the author of The Kite Runner, will read from and discuss his book, as well as take part in a Q&A session, on Saturday, May 21 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at Santa Monica College Concert Hall, 1900 Pico Boulevard.Citywide Reads book discussions and events are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Santa Monica Public Library (310) 458-8600, or visit www.smpl.org/cwr.