Sunday, October 18, 2009

Monday book review (sort of)

Let's connect a bunch of dots.

What do we Friends do when we aren't having our famous biannual (twice a year) book sales? Just like you, we read. Lots and lots of books and papers.

I was reading the Washington Post the other day (Thursday, October 15, editorial page) and saw this article. It was an amazing, "hey, I'm reading that book! I know who they're talking about." kind of moment. Nothing is given away here by briefly trying to summarize the underlying book,

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time

as Greg Mortenson's mission to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan to educate children. There is a rich set of stories around the cultural encounters he has to try to work peacefully with the local population. They're initially suspicious of his motives, but he ends up getting endorsed by local warlords and even the Islamic clergy. Although there are date references, it's a pretty timeless story that's still playing out today. You can see more of what his Central Asia Institute (CAI) is doing at their website.

One of our volunteers, Lorraine, has started a separate program to help Darfur refugees with BookWish. She hasn't written a book about it yet, but the program is doing amazing things.

And yes, I found that book at the Friends' sale for $1. Although I'm torn about keeping and rereading it occasionally, I'll probably end up donating it back to the Friends for the next book sale, because it's a story more people need to know. If you ask, we'll try to set aside copies.

Have you read this book? What did you think?


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