March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is an inspiring account of one man’s work to build schools in some of the most dangerous areas of Asia.
In 1993, Greg Mortenson, an experienced mountain climber, sets out to conquer the world’s second highest mountain, K2, in hopes of placing his recently deceased sister’s necklace on top. After his struggles to climb and his eventual failed attempt, Mortenson finds himself in the tiny city of Korphe, a town full of impoverished and malnourished children.
Greg can’t ignore the desperate attempts of the children to learn, as he watches them in the most inclement weather using sticks in the dirt to complete math problems. Determined to change the lives of these children and to repay the community for their honest hospitality, Mortenson dedicates himself fully (and I stress fully) to a promise of returning and building a school for its children.
After his return to America, Mortenson sends out hundreds of letters to the rich and famous, explaining his plan and asking for small donations to help. Jean Hoerni, a dying Silicon Valley pioneer, is the sole dedicator, writing Mortenson a check for 12,000, in exchange for a photo of the school before his death.
Greg spends the next few years traveling from American to Korphe, saving as much money as he can and balancing his new wife and child.
Three Cups of Tea will take you on Mortenson’s adventure and inspire anyone who believes that one person can make a huge difference.
January 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
Elizabeth Street, a novel based on true events, tells the story of the Italian immigrant experience at the start of the 20th century.
Using her own family history as a template for her story, Laurie Fabiano introduces the main character, Giovanna Costa, as a strong and independent bride-to-be.
Giovanna immigrates to America a few months after marriage to mourn the loss of her recent husband, Nunzio. Setting out to make a new life for his family back in Italy, Nunzio was killed in a dangerous construction accident leaving Giovanna to fend for herself. Desperately trying to move away from her suffering, Giovanna tries to see the beauty and promise that her husband saw in America.
In all of her anguish, Giovanna tries to make a new life in a brand new world. Trying to familiarize and save herself from fading into the fast-paced New York environment, Giovanna surrounds herself with familiar smells and sights of Little Italy in New York’s Lower East Side.
After exploring the streets of New York and recognizing her desperate need for companionship, Giovanna reluctantly settles into a second marriage with two children. Her marriage brings along a new and thriving business in which Giovanna proudly takes part of. Not soon after the business picks up, Giovanna and her husband are harassed by the undercover and notorious Black Hand. Giovanna resists the threats of the Mafia, desperately trying to preserve her newly constructed life.
Elizabeth Street paints a picture of an underprivileged Italian family and debunks any previously romanticized depictions of the mob.
By: Christina Paone