Thursday, August 14, 2014


I love so many things...reading, cooking, working, running, my garden, sewing, music, writing, time with family and friends, my efforts to spread hope and knowledge for those with melanoma. There hardly seems time to do it all.  However, I have enjoyed some of my reading so much this summer, that I thought I would share a bit of it with you.

I Am Malala  By:  Malala Yousafzai
     Malala began writing about life under the Taliban, in Swat Valley, Pakistan for the BBC when only 11.  In 2012 she was targeted and shot in the head by the Taliban in retribution for speaking out for the education of girls and continuing to attend school herself.  Her willingness to stand up for what is right, while still indulging in the desires of a young girl for pretty hair and fair skin, is shared in high relief.  The book provides a clear picture of Pakistan, it's beauty, history - Hinduism in India, the departure of Muslims from India to Pakistan, Hindus returning to India.  Ahmadi Muslims who are not recognized as such by the Pakistani government.  The Muslim split between the Sunnis and Shias, the Taliban, ISI.  Veils and punishment in the street.  An unthinkable situation, yet the only life that exists for so  All told by an amazing young woman.

Other related incredible reads:
Three Cups of Tea:  One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time
By:  Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin  Though some controversy bubbled up about the organization, expenditure of funds collected, and accuracy of some bits of his is still a good read and vivid portrayal of life in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Desert Queen, The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell
By:  Janet Wallach  The story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) who explored, mapped, and excavated Arabia while other women never ventured beyond their doorsteps alone; playing a major role in the British Empire, as they drew lines in the sand to create the modern Middle East.

Cloud Atlas  By: David Mitchell
     An amazing compilation, six incredible stories with unique characters, really.  Yet, all strangely connected, as we all are, if we just pause to see it.  A treatise on race, equality, consumerism ~ hidden in beautiful prose.  So many unforgettable lines. One, you've already heard me use:
"Do whatever you can't NOT do."

"Truth is singular.  Its 'versions' are mistruths."

" is attitude, not years, that condemns one to the ranks of the Undead, or else proffers salvation.  In the domain of the young there dwells many an Undead soul."

     And while I most often hold more with the phrase above, I have seen life become such that the following becomes plausible.... 

"People are obscenities. Would rather be music than be a mass of tubes squeezing semisolids around itself for a few decades before becoming so dribblesome it'll no longer function."

"List'n, savages an' Civ'lizeds ain't divvied by tribes or b'liefs or mountain ranges, nay, ev'ry human is both, yay."

"I got to live with not knowin'....I ain't the fist un who lived so, an' I ain't the last neither."

" strata was demarked, based on dollars and, curiously, the quantity of melanin in one's skin."

"Because you cannot discern our differences, you believe we have none."

"What precipitates outcomes?  Vicious acts and virtuous acts.  What precipitates acts?  Belief.  '...only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!'  Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"

Beautiful and true.  No? - c

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