[Monday Reading] Graphic Novel Adaptation of Bestselling Novels “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

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Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Award Winning Books Reading Challenge for 2015 (#AWBRead2015)! It’s that time of the year to set new reading goals for the coming year.

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Here is the sign up page and the May-June linky if you already have reviews up. One randomly-selected participant would receive a copy of Lone Wolf, courtesy of Pansing books.

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Click here to view my announcement post to learn more details.

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These two graphic novels called out to me from the bookshelves while I was scouring the library for possible books to feature given our reading theme. I was surprised to discover that these two novels which I have read years ago have a graphic novel format, and so I immediately borrowed them. The National Library Board also has a Double Up Your Reading for the June holidays! Those who are in Singapore, do take advantage of this and borrow as many books as you can to read over the summer!

IMG_1547The Alchemist

Written byPaulo Coelho Adapted by: Derek Ruiz Artwork by: Daniel Sampere and Others
Published by: HarperOne, 2010
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

It has been quite awhile since I read Coelho’s The Alchemist. I don’t remember much of the storyline except that it has to do with one’s personal legend and realizing one’s destiny.

The setting of the book is perfect for our current reading theme as it takes the reader to the Al-Fayoum Oasis in Egypt:

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to the Andalusia countryside in Spain where the reader meets the protagonist of the novel, Santiago:

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to Tangier in Africa:

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then the Middle Eastern desert and the pyramids in Egypt:

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The art is beautiful, although the women here are portrayed as the typical, slinky, largely-generic females. This would have been the perfect opportunity to highlight the beauty of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern women in the non-traditional-bombshell sense. My favourite female image actually is that of the gypsy – and the Christian elements that are interwoven along with the pagan quality of fortune-telling and reading one’s palm (see image below):

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Regardless, Coelho’s message of being true to one’s self, being mindful of omens or signs, and allowing the universe to open pathways for the actualization of one’s personal legend remains distinct.

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And this was before Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. I can still recall how the actual novel spoke to me when I was quite young and empowered me to pursue my dream and allow my inner geek to come out and play. There was one image that spoke to me as it spoke about what it means to ‘come home’ after journey’s end:

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I think of this graphic novel adaptation more as a companion to Coelho’s novel. I would still recommend reading the actual novel before allowing the graphic novel images to distract one from the essence of Coelho’s message, no matter how snake-oil-peddler it may seem.

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Written byKhaled Hosseini Illustrated by: Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo
Published by: Riverhead Books, 2011
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

It was with a measure of trepidation that I picked up the comic-novel adaptation of Hosseini’s The Kite Runner as this has been one of my all-time powerful reads. I was pleasantly surprised though by how much I enjoyed this graphic novel. Unlike other comics with confusing panels that seem to be all over the place, this one is fairly straightforward, allowing the reader to read the narrative sequentially with the aid of glorious images that enhanced the story quite beautifully.

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The setting of the novel takes the reader from San Francisco to Kabul in the early 1970s and to Pakistan. My heart was once again torn from my chest as I read about how the Pashtuns regard Afghanistan as their land and how they perceive the flat-nosed Hazaras as polluting their homeland, and so the latter are treated as slaves and less-than-humans by virtue of their ethnicity.

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Seeing Assef, the misguided and arrogant villain in this story, gave me goosebumps. I was also struck by how Hosseini captured the human condition in all its frailty, in all its attempts to do good and the self-loathing that comes when one is not able to stand up to one’s beliefs and convictions.

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The protagonist’s redemption also came with a revelation that shook his entire being, even as he realized its truths, as he is given a second chance on being good again. The image of Amir’s father dying in their humble home in the United States was the art that made me sob out loud despite myself – perhaps because its rendering required no words – grief captured so poignantly in these wordless panels:

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This graphic novel moved me once again to tears. I am hoping that even reluctant older readers would be inspired to read the original novel after reading this. The artists have done Hosseini’s words justice.

Currently Reading…

Last week was Asian Festival of Children’s Content here in Singapore, and so many things happened – I moderated quite a few sessions and had two book launches! It was great to catch up with friends and to meet many new people from all over. I also managed to be quite productive with my reading as I finished the two graphic novels I shared above. I have also finished reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I will be on a 12-day vacation in the Philippines – and will be spending an entire week in Boracay. These are the books that I hope to finish reading before I leave this Wednesday: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman.

I am hoping to bring a few adult novels while lounging around listening to the waves and hopefully get to  finish reading two Andrew Smith novels by end of next week: Winger and The Alex Crow. I shall update you on my progress by Monday next week while I am at Boracay (there’s wifi!).

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The Kite Runner Graphic Novel: Nominated 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association

#AWBRead2015 Update: 49 (35)

5 Comments on [Monday Reading] Graphic Novel Adaptation of Bestselling Novels “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

  1. I had no idea that The Kite Runner has been written as a graphic novel, Myra. I’ll see if the library has it. I’m glad you had a wonderful week last week. Congratulations on your two books! And happy vacation!

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  2. I loved both The Kite Runner and The Alchemist. I’m glad the graphic novel adaptations do justice to the originals. I can still remember the impact reading The Alchemist had on me. I turned the last page and immediately flipped back to the beginning to read it again.

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  3. I have put The Kite Runner (Original) on my list of books to read when I retire. What did you think of The Perks of Being a Wallflower?

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  4. Those are 2 graphic novels I’ve actually read since I loved the novels. They were good as refreshers. I haven’t been to Boracay. Enjoy!

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  5. crbrunelle // June 9, 2015 at 12:30 pm // Reply

    I had no idea there was a GN of Kite Runner. I’m glad to hear that it’s well done. Have a wonderful time in the Philippines!

    Like

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