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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb


June 5, 2008

Dense Books

I donít quite know what to call them so I have decided that they are Dense Books. These are books that take more time to read because they are full of esoteric terms, or unfamiliar names, or have connections that must be kept track of (yes, I know that sentence ended in a preposition. Dense blogs are too much trouble).

I think almost all Russian books are dense since one must keep track of their names, the names they are called and the relationships to people. Lately, it seems, I have been reading dense books. I am reading The Sewing Circles of Herat. It is set in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I wish I could discuss it with my sister-in-law, who lived in Pakistan. She would have enjoyed it and would have told me the back story of many of these incidents. I am enjoying it, but it is dense. I have to look up the family trees and maps. I actually love maps in books, since I ask myself, where in relationship to Kandahar is Spin Boldak and Quetta? And where is the Khyber Pass? And where is Herat?

Summer is not the time for dense books. I read a book on Sunday that was really fast reading. It isnít the kind that deserves to be bound in leather but it was quick and fun. It was actually a Christian Romance novel. It contained very little heavy breathing. I met the author at my doctorís office and she sent me a couple of her books. She had obviously done background work and it was pretty authentic, set in Denmark during World War II.

I have read another dense book (The Lost) recently and one that was rather fun (In the Woods). Kay can pick out books for me that I like a lot. I have a stack of books beside my bed ready to read. Most of them are from Kay and Gary. Some of them look rather dense.

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