Hosseini Moves Phoenix Readers

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Anja Asato, Editor in Chief

Over 600 Phoenix residents flocked to Dobson High School on June 9 to meet Khaled Hosseini, a New York Times Bestselling author.

He published his first book, The Kite Runner, in 2003 and went on to publish A Thousand Splendid Suns in 2007.  Last month, he released his newest book, And the Mountains Echoed.

Changing Hands, a local bookstore, hosted the event, where people had the opportunity to get their books signed and listen to a presentation.  During the presentation, Hosseini spoke with Tram Mai, a Channel 12 news reporter.

He spoke about his unexpected success and his foundation, the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. He wants to help people similar to the characters he portrays in his stories through aid and support for basic needs such as shelter.

Hosseini noted the surprising amount of people that attended the event despite it being the start of summer vacation on a brutally hot Phoenix day.

A wide range of ages and demographics attended the event. Anyone from grandparents to teens were present and excited to get their books signed.  The range of ages that are interested in the books is what makes his writing so unique.  “The subject matter is what appeals to children and adults. The writing style and emotion behind the words can impact anyone,” said Madelon Yarows, a fan of the books.

The highly emotional books are surprising to some people after they learn Hosseini was originally a doctor.  “He doesn’t sound like a doctor.  You would expect the writing to be more technical, but he gets into the emotional side and I find that fascinating,” said Sandy Futch.

Hosseini’s books center around life in Afghanistan, where characters experience abusive and war-torn situations.  Although most Phoenix residents have not experienced these events, many find a certain emotional impact that is both personal and moving.

One reason for this interest could be the amount the Afghanistan appears in the news and media.  “I think that with Afghanistan in the news so frequently, there is more interest in what life is like there,” said Sherryl Herzog, a Phoenix resident who attended the event.

Although people in Phoenix may not experience similar cultural and geographic conditions, the underlying themes of family and loyalty that are present through his books are what permeate with so many readers.