Thursday, October 21, 2010
We read and discussed this biography of Paul Farmer, a Christ-like character who has set about to provide health care for the world starting with the most impoverished of nations, Haiti. Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder wrote this in 2003 after spending many months traveling with Farmer and interviewing his friends and colleagues.
Paul has almost literally given himself over to the lifetime pursuit of patient care of the world's poorest people and advocating for treatment and prevention of large scale epidemic class diseases like TB and AIDS at the expense of normal family life, comfort, safety, and general ease of living. Paul Farmer sets his own rules and plays by a set of standards that treats the poorest of the poor as though they were entitled to all the medical care that middle class white people are. He does not apologize, take no for an answer, or apparently sleep. He writes individual thank you notes to donors of even $25. He hikes for 7 hours to bring a patient medication. He understands that the cultures and traditions of a country help you treat their sick people.
This story is a remarkable tale about a very unique and inspiring man. I encourage you to read it in your book group.
"As you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
"This is a volume of wishes, lies and dreams, each and every
page containing the makings of a story untrammeled
by anything except your willingness to invest in it."
Ammon Shea has written a quirky homage to the book that everyone uses but no one reads. I heard him interviewed on NPR last week and I picked The Phone Book up at the library as it sounded well..quirky and fun.
The first 50 pages or so are dedicated almost exclusively to the history of the telephone and communication systems as we began to enter the 20th century. Questions of how people started to acquire phones have always fascinated me. Why should I get a phone? Who would I call? No one else has one. Of course once people started to subscribe to this new device called the telephone, people began publishing lists of who subscribed. This seemed funny to me. Picking up your phone directory list, lets see, who can I call? Who else has a phone? But this is probably precisely what happened.
After an early history of the book itself, Shea discusses all manner of odd tidbits about the phonebook, and its uses in our lives. He meets phone book collectors and investigates whether or not Strom Thurmond really read the phone book as part of a filibuster on civil rights legislation. He investigates the phenomenon of phone book ripping and has a marvelous anecdote about John Dewey and the phone book. He clearly is fascinated by this odd book. Shea's love of the white pages and endearing words about the place of the phone books in our culture made me a little wistful. Could I too, sit down and read the phone book?
But it does not matter. All sorts of plans are afoot to rid our planet of this scourge called the phone directory. It is really highly unnecessary in this day and age. Will it or won't it dissappear? We shall see Mr. Shea concludes.
"I'm not dead yet!" says our friend the phone book.
Monday, October 4, 2010
|Fun book I found|
|Inscribed by the giver. Remember to Laugh!|
|Remember diagramming sentences?|