Dec
11
2009
1

Stones Into Schools, I’m Reading Now

Stones Into Schools

Stones Into Schools

We met Dr. Greg last night! I was so excited to meet him, that my very patient husband and I waited in line for over an hour to have our copy of his new book signed. It was worth the wait! Our local bookstore, Warwicks, along with several other local groups organized an evening with the best selling author of Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson. His latest book, Stones Into Schools, was released on December 1, 2009. After reading Three Cups of Tea this past summer, I was eager to read Greg’s new book. Stones Into Schools picks up where Three Cups of Tea left off in his journey to promote peace.

There are several things that I took away from the presentation and book signing event yesterday evening. First of all, hearing Greg speak and meeting him in person reinforced his message for me. Change is not created by addressing the negative, it is inspired by hope. And in this case, the hope for peace specifically.

Three Cups of Tea: One Mans Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time

He spoke specifically about the subtitle of his first book. And talked about why the subtitle reads “one man’s mission to promote peace…” and not “one man’s mission to fight terrorism…”. What I also appreciated about meeting Greg in person is that I got to fully experience his brand. Let me explain. If you have read the books you know that Greg is a modest and often quiet person. He is not one to place emphasis on the material things in life and he does not particularly take pleasure from the sales aspect of his profession. Hearing him speak last night I took note of his mannerisms and appearance. He was dressed nicely but he did not dress the part of a well polished business person in a well tailored suit. That just isn’t part of the Greg Mortenson brand. Nor should it be, after all this is a man who gives tirelessly and selflessly to a higher cause. His work has been so influential that his books are now required reading for many military personnel and he has even recently been nominated for a Noble Peace Prize.

Image from Three Cups of Tea, Greg reading to school children

Image from Three Cups of Tea, Greg reading to school children

But appearances aside, the biggest illustration of the Greg Mortenson brand is the smile that he is always wearing and his strong bond with children. At last night’s event there was a group of school children in the front row. The children had raised over $2,500 for Greg’s Pennies for Peace organization. You could tell by the way that he spoke to and involved the children in his presentation that he truly does draw strength and inspiration from working with kids.

I also appreciated his message that we all can make a difference in our communities, and that there has been a bigger movement in recent years to make our communities a better place. One such example that he gave was about an 11 year old boy from Florida who created a non-profit called The Little Red Wagon Foundation. He raised thousands dollars to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness among kids in his city. Next year he plans to walk across the country to raise a million dollars to bring awareness to the issue across the country. He sounds like a truly remarkable kid.

Me with Greg Mortenson in La Jolla

Me with Greg Mortenson in La Jolla

When I finally got to meet Greg at the book signing, it was well worth the wait. I shared with him that as someone from Montana, I also appreciated hearing about his time in Montana as well. Even though it was almost 10pm and the line was still hours long behind us, he took the time to shake our hands and make us feel important. I think that is the charm of Dr. Greg, he has a calmness to him and an ability to connect with people on a very basic level. And in these days where we are all rushing from place to place and communicating mostly in digital worlds, Dr. Greg reminds us of the importance to actually spend time with people in person and build relationships. Thanks Dr. Greg, for all that you do.

Oh, and my apologies to the Warwicks crew, we told them we wanted to have my husband take a non-posed picture of Greg signing my book for me (posed pictures were not allowed), and somehow it turned into a posed photo. My face turned so red, I felt like I was breaking the rules! Sorry Warwicks! But while we are on that note, I have to say that Susan McBeth and her team that helped organize last night’s event are owed a huge round of thank yous for a fantastic evening. Here are the links to buy the books from Warwicks, as of last night they still had some signed copies of the children’s book Listen to the Wind, you may want to contact them to see what signed copies they might have left:

Stones Into Schools (hardcover)

Three Cups of Tea (paperback)

Three Cups of Tea- Young Readers Version (paperback)

Listen to the Wind (children’s edition of Three Cups of Tea)

Nov
03
2009
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My Next Read

Stones Into Schools

Stones Into Schools

If you haven’t noticed, I try to keep my blog updated with my latest books that I have read. Unemployment has been great for “sharpening the saw” as Franklin Covey would say. I have read a variety of books over the last few months, but one of the most interesting and influential was Three Cups of Tea. (click here to read my book review) You can imagine my excitement today as I learned that not only is the author, Greg Mortenson, about to release another book where the first one left off; he is also going to be in San Diego to speak and sign copies of his new book.

His latest book, Stones Into Schools, will be released on December 1st, 2009. You can purchase an advance copy of the book from our local bookstore, Warwicks, which will also include 2 tickets to a book signing event on December 10th, 2009 in San Diego. Visit Warwick’s website here to learn more about the event.

You can also purchase the book from our Amazon store as well, here.(I know its a shameless plug of my own site, but hey the small commissions help pay for this little blogging hobby of mine!) Plus if you don’t live in San Diego and don’t need the tickets to the event, the Amazon price is a little cheaper.

Happy reading!

Sep
22
2009
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Three Cups of Tea, A Book Review

One Mans Mission to Promote Peace...One School At A Time

One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School At A Time

I recently finished reading the non-fiction book, Three Cups of Tea, One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School At A Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. The book came recommended to me by my Mom and Dad, who had just finished reading it. They both gave it a glowing review and I decided to give it a read.

Every now and then you come across a book that affects you in profound ways, Three Cups of Tea is no exception. The book chronicles Greg’s experiences in Pakistan and Afghanistan while trying to spread the opportunity of education to remote, and often secluded, villages. What I found amazing was that Greg didn’t start his journey by setting a large goal of building hundreds of schools throughout the region. In fact, the need for schools in these small villages came to him by accident.

After a failed attempt to climb K2, Greg stumbles into a remote, poor village in Pakistan. What he discovers there is (more…)

Sep
01
2009
3

Bubbles and Nibbles at Hotel Solamar

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion

We attended Slow Food Urban San Diego’s August Mixer Farm-to-Bar Cocktails & Book Event last Wednesday at the LOUNGEsix at Hotel Solamar. The event showcased the farm-to-table cuisine of Chef Christian Graves of Jsix Restaurant and the launch of local food writer Maria Hunt‘s new cocktail book, The Bubbly Bar.

From an event planning standpoint, I was impressed. Not only did the event draw me to purchase a book that I might not have otherwise heard of, it also introduced me to a great organization, Slow Food Urban San Diego (SFUSD). The event produced by SFUSD appeared to promote the not only the event’s host, venue and the book, but also a local bookstore, and a set of other participating companies such as alcohol distributors.

bubblyThe event was free to attend and included samples of 3 select cocktails from the book as well as tasty seasonal bites from the JSix kitchen. We got a autographed copy of the book for $20, which also included 3 full size cocktails. I have to say, I had no idea just how many things you can mix with sparkling wine. We tasted the 3 cocktails showcased at the event, which were all very different. I most enjoyed the Lava Lamp, which had sparkling wine mixed with PAMA Pomegranate liqueur.

It’s always fun to discover new venues and events, but even more fun to take in a well organized and apparently successful event.

Jul
21
2009
2

My Summer Reading Program

outliersI have found that I often am drawn to business books throughout the year, and in the summertime especially it is nice to vary the reading routine and incorporate some leisure reads. This summer I have read so far only one business book, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell has written other thought provoking business books that I have enjoyed immensely, The Tipping Point and Blink. I found Outliers to be one of my new favorites. Gladwell dissects why some people are more successful than others; are they really outliers or is there a explanation for their so called success? Gladwell digs deep into several modern day perceptions about successful individuals and groups. I found this book a quick, interesting read and I highly recommend it; especially if you have read and enjoyed his other books. His latest might be his best yet.

a tree grows in brooklynSo, now on to the the other non-fiction and fiction leisure reads on my summertime reading program. After doing some spring cleaning, I discovered some classics in our collection that I had not read yet. I started with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I was truly engrossed in the characters of this book. Smith introduces us to a little girl, Francie, growing up in Brooklyn at the turn of the 19th century. The story is as much a historical depiction of immigrant life in America, as it is a character portrayal of a girl growing up in a difficult environment. I was surprised to learn of the similarities between the character of Francie and the author’s real life. It almost made it seem like Smith shared a little of her own life with the reader. One of my favorite things about Francie, and my favorite take away from the book is that in life there will always be someone telling you that you cannot succeed. There will always be events that stand in your way. But the strong will endure and thrive. Just like the tree that grows in Brooklyn. No matter how little it is cared for, and how many times someone tries to cut it down, it somehow grows tall anyway.

Anas Story

Ana's Story

Perhaps it is a coincidence, but after reading about a fictional Francie and her struggles, I then moved onto two non-fiction books about children fighting back against adversity. I just finished reading Ana’s Story: A Journey Of Hope by Jenna Bush. Through her work with UNICEF, Jenna encountered a young girl named Ana and was moved enough by her story to share it with the world. Ana is a young teenage girl that shares her story of poverty, abuse and her battle with HIV. Through it all she continues to lead a life of hope. Through the publishing of this book, Jenna hopes to inspire others to take part in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I know I certainly felt like I got to know Ana as a person in this story, not just another victim. And I even learned a few things about HIV that I didn’t know before. The book ends with a list of resources for anyone who is interested in getting more involved, even at a very basic volunteer level. My only question after finishing the book is – where is Ana now? I’m curious about what happens, since the book is written during Ana’s lifetime and her journey still continues.

TheyPouredFireOnUsFromTheSkyI came across a copy of They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky By Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsian Deng, Judy Bernstein. It is the true story of three “Lost Boys” from Sudan. During the civil war in Sudan in the late 1980’s, thousands of young boys were forced to flee their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, as their homes were destroyed and families murdered or sold into slavery. They became known as the “Lost Boys”. I only just started this one, but after reading the first chapter I doubt I am going to be disappointed!

What books are on your reading list? Please leave us a comment if you have read any of these books listed here, or if you have some more good reads to share.

May
22
2009
2

Babycakes NYC in San Diego

cookbookcover-smallLast night I attended the book signing and talk with Erin McKenna, founder of the famous NYC bakery BabyCakes NYC, at Warwicks in La Jolla, CA. Rarely do I actually read a whole cookbook in one sitting, but last night I found myself fascinated by her healthy recipes for cupcakes, muffins, cookies and other sweets. All of her recipes are Vegan, most are gluten-free, and all are free of refined sugar. She created the recipes in her newly released cookbook, BabyCakes, in the hopes of creating healthy alternatives to traditional sweets recipes, and due to her own wheat, dairy and sugar sensitivities. Fortunately, I do not have any food allergies, but I am fascinated by the idea that a cupcake can be made without butter and milk and still be tasty enough to win New York Magazine’s coveted Best Cupcake Award in 2006. I’m off to start experimenting, let the baking begin! Oh, and for those of us on the west coast, Erin talked about a new bakery that will be opening in downtown Los Angeles very soon. Road trip!

Erin McKenna and her new fan, Ali

Erin McKenna and her new fan, Allison

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