Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Book Review: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

Author: Greg Mortenson
Title: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World… One Child at a Time
Publication Info: Tantor Media (2006), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
ISBN: 1400102510

Summary/Review:

I’m probably the last person in the United States to read this book but here is my review anyway.  This memoir/biography tells the story of Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer who after a failed attempt at summiting K-2 is received warmly in a remote village in Pakistan.  As a means of paying back the people of Korphe for their hospitality he promises to build them a school.  Fulfilling this promise is wrought with many challenges but leads Mortenson to a new mission in life, eventually founding the Central Asia Institute to support education in the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially for girls as a means of promoting social change and peace.  This is a nice, inspirational work and if you haven’t read it, check it out.

Favorite Passages:

“In times of war, you often hear leaders—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—saying ‘God is on our side.’ But that isn’t true. In war, God is on the side of refugees, widows, and orphans.” — Greg Mortenson

Recommended books: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy, and A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.
Rating: ***

Book Review: Salt and Saffron by Kamila Shamsie

Around The World For a Good Book selection for: Pakistan

Author: Kamila Shamsie
Title: Salt and Saffron
Publication Info: Bloomsbury USA (2000)
ISBN: 1582340935

Summary/Review:

This contemporary novel tells the story of Aliya, a Pakistani woman of an aristocratic family who becomes reacquainted with family members – first in London and then in Karachi – after being away for four years at a university in America.  Aliya thinks of herself as a family historian and a storyteller, but over the course of the novel she becomes aware of aspects of her family’s story she never knew, especially that relating to the Partition of India which also divided the family.  It’s easy for me to get lost in this book, both by the complex family relations and the many Urdu terms sprinkled through the text.  On the other hand, unlike many Around the World for a Good Book choices, Salt and Saffron is funny.   I knew this right from the start when Shamsie writes: “Confused?  Would you rather I changed the topic to yak milk production?”

The plot feels a little flimsy and soulless as if its there merely to serve an intellectual exercise about genealogy.  The novel has its moments and overall I’d say its a good but not great book.

Recommended books:
Rating: ***

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