I rarely get around to cataloging or chronicling the books I read — one of those things I always mean to do, but I wanted to make note of a couple of recent ones.

Juliet, Naked is Nick Hornby’s latest, and while I’ve appreciated his wit and nuanced understanding of human relationships a number of times before, I’d have to say this has been my favourite. Most likely because it was just the right book at the right time.

I mean, really, a couple who complement each other well but have never been a great romance getting jolted from their comfortable existence by assorted circumstances, etc. Sound familiar? 🙂 And it closes with hope, though not a saccharine, all-loose-ends-tied-up ending, which I do appreciate.

The other is Three Cups of Tea, which is fascinating and inspiring and probably the first and only book to make me think, “Hmm…” about climbing some of the world’s most perilous mountains. And that’s not even the point or most inspiring part of the story! 🙂

It’s the story of Greg Mortenson (co-written with David Oliver Relin) and his accidental life path change to begin building schools in the poorest and most remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I’m not even done this one yet, and am loving it. It’s incredibly evocative of the regions, the people, the poverty, the mountains.

One of the biggest benefits of his and his team’s work is that education and that sort of self-sufficiency and sovereignty for those people is one of the best ways to fight extremism. In the very areas that produced the Taliban. And not only are they turning the boys away from that life, they’re educating girls, too, which I support with every fibre of my being, unsurprisingly. Definitely something I’m happy to contribute to.

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