Vortex Doughnuts shows support for ‘Kite Runner’ with free books

Image courtesy of Vortex Doughnuts

The publishers at Riverhead Books have partnered with Vortex Doughnuts in an effort to raise awareness of the recent controversy over Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner at A.C. Reynolds High School.

In anticipation of a public meeting that will be held by the Buncombe County Board of Education on Tuesday, June 30, Vortex Doughnuts, located at 32 Banks Ave., will be giving out free copies of the book to customers from Monday, June 22 until Sunday, June 28. The meeting will present the final decision on whether the book will return to the curriculum.

After being contacted by employees at Riverhead, the owners of the popular doughnut shop decided to “bring awareness to how books are being banned,” says Benjamin Myers, co-owner of Vortex. Vortex wanted to present a platform for literature and knowledge expansion by distributing the book to community members, Myers explained, adding that he had a previous relationship with Riverhead.

Vortex is considering giving away banned books as a seasonal event to bring awareness to the issue, Myers added.

The Kite Runner was removed from a 10th grade honors English class reading list after Lisa Baldwin, a former member of the Buncombe County Board of Education and a mother of a Reynolds student, wrote to the administration on April 29 with concerns over adult subjects within the book, including rape and language that could be considered degrading to women. Reynolds students completed the semester by reading All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque instead.

Vortex Doughnuts along with Riverhead Books are encouraging the community to write to local school board members in support of the book before the June 30 meeting. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Buncombe County Schools administrative services building at 175 Bingham Road.


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21 thoughts on “Vortex Doughnuts shows support for ‘Kite Runner’ with free books

    • chris

      Again, Tim, this time with _meaning_. Any meaning. Give us a sense that you aren’t just stringing words together in a fashion that pleases you.

    • bsummers

      Yes, it’s obviously partisan – couldn’t possibly be because The Kite Runner is worthy of being studied in High School because it is a great book, and that it is beloved by people across the political spectrum.

      What’s that? You didn’t know that President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush stated that they “really loved” The Kite Runner, and recommended it and it’s author to the nation at the National Book Gala in 2006?


      Never mind – you probably did know that, but chose to ignore that which undermines your juvenile partisan opposition.

  1. Jahan Sagafi

    Kudos to Reynolds and Vortex for supporting reintroduction of an excellent book that can expand students’ minds by introducing them to a very foreign culture and challenging ideas of morality and the dangers of abuse of power that exist across societies.

    It’s particularly impressive that a donut shop will take a stand for intellectual and moral development for young people. It’s easy for businesses to duck controversy and miss a chance to use their power for good.

    Btw, Chris and BSummers, it’s unclear which side of the controversy TimothyPeck is referring to – could be the removal of Kite Runner in the first place.

    • bsummers

      You’re not from around here, are you? Mr. Peck’s self-appointed role in Asheville is to attack anyone and anything on the political left, whether there’s a coherent reason to do so or not.

      His first post makes clear which “side” he is disparaging – those showing “support” for The Kite Runner.

    • “It’s particularly impressive that a donut shop will take a stand ”

      They’re not taking a stand. They’re helping a friend unload overstock of a dog of a book.

      ‘Somehow, pulling a book from a required reading list for children in public schools means it is banned. Such is the case with Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Child education advocate Lisa Baldwin said the book is filthy, and I don’t have to risk polluting my few remaining brain cells to see if she was correct. However, the book’s publisher, Random House Publishing, has partnered with Vortex Doughnuts to raise awareness about the “banned” book. The publisher contacted the doughnutery to see what they could do to help unload inventory. It seems strange until one learns Benjamin Myers, co-owner and GM of Vortex, “had a previous relationship with Random House.” Anyhoo, the doughnutery will be giving away free copies of the book on a date you can research yourself if you want one. Leadership at Vortex hopes this will be a first in helping Random House unload inventory from canceled orders – er, banned books.’ -Kulba

      • bsummers

        “a dog of a book”

        Don’t let facts get in your way, by all means:

        “Hosseini, 47, is one of the world’s most popular authors, with his first two books selling more than 38 million copies. “The Kite Runner,” his debut, came out in 2003 and became a word of mouth sensation and book club favorite in paperback, spending two years on The New York Times’ best-seller list.”

        • I guess that’s why they had a few thousand lying around and were looking for a place to unload them. It makes sense somewhere.

      • bsummers

        Ms. Kulba doesn’t cite any evidence for this allegation that the motivation here was to “unload” copies of the Kite Runner that weren’t selling, rather than the stated motivation of sparking a conversation. Did she interview the folks at Vortex? Did she get someone at Random House on the record? ‘Cause I don’t know this for certain, but I’d bet that a big publishing house like Random probably has lawyers.

    • Big Al

      “…an excellent book…introducing them to a very foreign culture and challenging ideas of morality and the dangers of abuse of power that exist across societies. ”

      It was also a brilliant story of personal redemption, of the immigrant experience in America, and of a son’s complex relationship to his father and his extended family.

  2. Tracy Rose

    Xpress encourages lively discussions, but ad hominem and personal attacks are not permitted on the website. Please stick to criticizing the ideas, not the people. Thanks.

  3. Dionysis

    I’ve read and re-read the back story, this letter and the posts, but am unable to find any substantiation for the notion that what the publishing firm and the doughnut shop are doing is in any way “partisan.” One parent objected to some of the contents of the book, based upon the parent feeling some of the content was ‘appropriate’ for her child. This wasn’t the Communist Manifesto being forced on little comrades, and while others may know of the unstated political leanings of this parent and of everyone involved in this joint response, the casual reader would be hard-pressed to see anything partisan about the matter.

    There is no reason NOT to accept that the declared reason is to “bring awareness to how books are being banned”. It really has little, if anything, to do with the book per se, but instead, the pernicious effort to ban books.

  4. Dionysis

    Correction…what the parent felt was “inappropriate” for her child.

  5. RedHotPoker

    businesses that promote ideologies like this do NOT get my business…it’s NOT their business at all…shame on them.

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