Recommended by a friend

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Title: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World…One Child at a Time
Date Completed: 1/24/2011
Author(s): Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
Copyright: 2009, Puffin Books
# pages: 184
Genre: Autobiography
ISBN: 978-0-14-241412-5

A friend recommended this book, and I’m glad she did. It is the story of an American guy who went to Pakistan to climb a mountain and ended up spending a lifetime building the children of Pakistan schools.

After getting lost on the mountain and getting very sick, he made his way to a village where the local people took him in to recouperate. While he was there, he fell in love with the people and the village and made a promise that he would come back one day and build them a school.

The children of Pakistan generally attend a school where most of the children must learn outside in the dirt and sun. They use a stick and the ground to do their multiplication tables. Yet, they attend school with enthusiasm.

Greg Mortenson came back to the United States and started working on a plan for building a school. He determined that he would need $12,000, and set out to raise the money. He wrote 580 letters to celebrities and successful business people telling them of his plan and asking for donations. He got a $100 check from Tom Brokaw.

Not to be discouraged, he was eventually put in touch with a dot com millionaire who wrote him a check for $12,000 and included a note that said ‘don’t screw it up.’

The rest of the book is Greg’s journey to get that school, and many more like it built. It is a great story of perseverance and inspiration. You’ll also learn more about Pakistan, a country that most Americans knew very little about when Greg started his first school (1995). Although we are all more familiar with Pakistan these days, this book will give you a non-political, human perspective on the Pakistani people.

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Book 18 – Homesick!

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Title: Walking to Vermont

Date Completed: 12/26/09

Author(s): Christopher S. Wren

Copyright: 2004, Simon & Schuster

# pages: 273

Genre: Autobiography

 Any book that has Vermont in the title is bound to peek my interest.  One of the ways that I decide what book I’m going to read next is to just walk up and down the library gazing at the shelf until something catches my eye.  This is how I found my favorite book (Bill Ford’s High Energy Habits), and this is how I found Walking to Vermont.

 Christopher Wren was a foreign correspondent for the New York Times.  He and his wife were moving to Vermont for their retirement (for those of you who don’t know, that is my plan also!).  The day after he retired from the Times, he set off on foot to walk from his home in New York to his new home in Vermont.

 This is the story of the walk.  It was just over 400 miles, and took him five weeks.  Most of the walk was along the Appalachian Trail. Although the majority of the book is about his hike, there are times when he uses something that happens along the Trail to segue into a story about his adventures as a foreign correspondent. 

 I’ve read other books about hikes along the Appalachian Trail, and I also enjoy them.  There is something about the camaraderie that the hikers develop, while still maintaining their independence.  I also love the ‘trail magic’ that so frequently happens.  It has been written about in several of the books that I’ve read, so I know it is real.  Trail magic is when you’ve just run out of your last drop of water, with 10 miles to the next water source and someone has left a cooler filled with ice and bottled water and a sign ‘help yourself.’

 Although the blog is about the books I read, let me take one second of your time to encourage you to go to Vermont if you haven’t been.  It is the most beautiful, quirky, down-to-earth place you’ll ever find.  Although I am not from Vermont, I get homesick for it.  I can’t explain it, but there it is. 

 And, if you are going to go, let me know and I’ll give you all of my favorite places to see.   But, make sure you have some time, because it is a topic that I could talk about for hours!