Thursday, February 4, 2010

"...on the third, you join our family..."

Three Cups of Tea
Who penned this work?
Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
How did this piece find its way to your nightstand?
My friend Cindy gave it to me for my birthday and then I put it there.
Number of Pages: 349
Time passed from start to finish: Less than two weeks, although the last 80% was consumed in about two days.
Describe the cover: Calming tones of stone, blue and red support a photo (taken by the author) of three young girls adorned with headscarves and books unfolded on their laps. There is nothing flashy or presumptuous about the cover, even as it boasts being a #1 New York Times bestseller and the Kiriyama Prize Winner as well as being graced by an inviting quote from Tom Brokaw.
In what section of the bookstore would a reader find this book?
At the store I am in right now, the book is placed in “world history”. However, I feel it could be placed in the biography, non-fiction, inspirational or the “this is one of the most amazing stories ever” section.
Summary of the basic plot/Background information on the story/author:
A young man who has already seen and endured much in his life survives a failed attempt at climbing K2 and mistakenly makes his way into a Pakistani village that has never seen a foreigner before. By the time he leaves, he is in love with these people and has promised to build them a school. Climbing the worlds highest peaks takes on new meaning as he pursues fulfilling his promise while living in his car and renting a typewriter to seek additional support. As time unfolds, this one man proves education an effective tool for peace as he returns time and again to a land where injustice and unrest are commonplace for people with golden hearts and emerges as a true hero in more ways than one.
What did you think of it?
Where do I start? I expected this story to be encouraging. My expectations were WAY too low. I have been moved beyond words. I didn't expect a thrilling survival story on one of the worlds highest peaks. I didn't expect a sudden love story that challenges the greatest I've ever heard. I didn't expect to learn so much about Pakistan, Afghanistan and India and want to learn so much more. I didn't expect to cry during every single chapter. And more than anything, I didn't expect to be shocked by the relevance of this story to the war we are "fighting" against terror. This book has fueled my passion against ignorance and for community, increased my desire to be educated and changed me forever. So, what did I think of it? I think it is one of the most amazing stories ever lived and shared.
Which page was your favorite? Share why.
I tagged about 30 pages in the process of reading, so the choice is not easy, but I think I will choose the last page as my favorite. Not only was I balling my eyes out for the millionth time as I read the poignant last sentence, but the realization that this was not the end of this amazing story flooded over me and sealed all of the hope, humility, frustration, passion, challenge and inspiration I had experienced through every page.
If the story was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
Hmmmmm……the main character would have to be able to scale mountains, keep promises and fall in love in an instant. He would need to posses massive amounts of both gentleness and strength. An Indiana Jones of sorts perhaps? I can't think of anyone besides Harrison Ford right now that could take on the role. (I just have to note that I did not notice the commentary on the back cover calling Mortenson a "real-life Indiana Jones" until about five minutes after writing this.)
Share a quote that was worth reading twice. Explain why:
"The Enemy is Ignorance"
I want to share handfuls of quotes, the whole text, really, but I am going to choose just one. The title of the 22nd chapter is quoted above and it is a phrase I will remember forever. Several pages into the chapter, the context presents itself:
"...You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise, the fight will go on forever."
-Brigadier General Bashir Baz of Pakistan, during a conversation with Mortenson in 2003.
Rating: Changed. My. Life.
The 7th sentence on page 22:
"Zindabad! Good! Mr. Gireg," Mouzafer said after the third cup, pounding Mortenson delightedly on the shoulder, clouding the tiny cave with more of Mortensons surplus of dust.