Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Myths about Contraception

Sometimes news articles are unintentionally humorous. I couldn’t help it – this statement:

Dr Annie Evans, Women’s Health Specialist at the Bristol Sexual Health Centre, said: “It is not surprising, given that Britain continues to have the highest unintended pregnancy rate in Europe.”

had me totally giggling. If you thought chicken skin would prevent contraception, you might have an unintended pregnancy, too! Hilarious. I thought as time passed, people would know more and more about these things. How can so many people NOT know?

Contraception myths ‘widespread’

By Sudeep Chand
Health reporter, BBC News

A UK survey has revealed that myths about contraception may be widespread.

One in five women said they had heard of kitchen items, including bread, cling film and even chicken skin, being used as alternative barrier methods.

Others had heard food items such as kebabs, Coca-cola or crisps could be used as oral contraceptives.

The survey questioned 1,000 women aged 18 to 50 and was carried out by market research company Opinion Health, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma.

Contraceptive myths have been around for thousands of years.
Ancient methods have varied from crocodile dung and honey before sex, to sea sponges and beeswax after.

Perhaps the most intoxicating was alcohol made from stewed beaver’s testicles.
However, it seems that a variety of unsafe and unproven methods might still exist in modern Britain.

Dr Annie Evans, Women’s Health Specialist at the Bristol Sexual Health Centre, said: “It is not surprising, given that Britain continues to have the highest unintended pregnancy rate in Europe.”

Other myths surround the use of oral contraceptive pills. One in 10 of the women questioned believed that it always takes a number of years to regain fertility after discontinuation of the pill. Others believed that the pill could protect them against HIV.

Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, commented: “This is alarming but not surprising.

“I’ve had complications with patients over the years that have concerned me.
“The more we can put appropriate information to the public about the availability of different methods of contraception, about their advantages and disadvantages, the better.

“It is important that access to advice is made as easily as possible for all ages.”

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September 7, 2009 Posted by | Health Issues, Humor, Mating Behavior, News, NonFiction, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 5 Comments

Obama and Dreams From My Father

It took me 20 days, but I finished Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father. I didn’t read it because he is President of the United States, although that would be a good reason, but I read it because our book club is reading it, and I know how busy the next few months are going to be, so I read ahead during the slower times of summer.

And the trick to finishing it was not allowing myself to read anything else until I had finished – I had a stack of really intriguing books to urge me on. “As soon as I finish, I can read . . . ” Even with all that incentive, Obama’s book is a slog.

Obama

He is a gifted orator. He is a plodding writer. There is also a problem I find with autobiographies by anyone – we all fool ourselves, we all position ourselves in a better light, and we have no idea how transparent we are when we do so. Fellow bloggers, do you ever read anything you have written a couple years ago and squirm with embarrassment, or even delete? To be an author is a very very brave thing, when you have a book published, there is no going back, your transgressions are all right out there, and the public can be cruelly critical.

What I liked about the book is Obama-as-Third-Culture-Kid, a man of mixed identity. Most kids who have grown up moving or grown up in different countries from their own, or who have immigrated, can tell you, being an alien is no fun. Obama learns how to adapt, how to look for clues to fitting in, how to pass. It’s a common theme in Third-Culture-Kids.

My favorite part of the book was his return to Kenya, his openness to his African roots, the open-armed love with which his Kenyan half-brothers and sisters welcome him and his response. He had some truly extraordinary adventures, working out just who his father had been as a person. He was blessed to recognize the richness of his inheritance.

The book plods along, but it was worth the time. For all it’s flaws, I find I like that man, and I understand more about where he is coming from. (for grammarians, I understand more about from where the man is coming.) 🙂

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Africa, Biography, Blogging, Character, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Interconnected, Kenya, Living Conditions, NonFiction, Political Issues, Social Issues | 3 Comments

Be Careful What You Wear in Qatar, and about Sharing Your Faith says US Embassy

This is from yesterday’s Peninsula. What is equally interesting is the article placement – front page of the newspaper, above the fold.

Recently, several families received notice that their employment was no longer required – or possible – in Qatar. All were members of the same church. They had 30 days to leave. The embassy got involved, and shortly before the required departure, the families got a second letter, this one saying “never mind.”

This is a conservative country.

Be careful with what you wear in Qatar, US tells citizens
Web posted at: 7/13/2009 2:28:8
Source ::: The Peninsula/ BY SATISH KANADY

DOHA: The United States has advisedd its citizens living and visiting Qatar against wearing revealing and ‘provocative’ clothes. It advised US citizens not to go about on public beaches in bath towels. The Mission also discouraged sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter tops and shorts.

Western bathing attire must be worn only at hotel pools and private beaches, it said. US citizens must also avoid visiting labour or work camps, an updated and revised country specific information for Qatar posted on the embassy website said. The warden message that reminded US citizens that it was Islamic traditions that provide the foundation of Qatar’s customs, laws and practices said: “Foreign visitors are expected to remain sensitive to Islamic beliefs and practices and not dress up in a revealing or provocative manner including wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter tops and shorts. Western bathing attire is to be worn only at hotel pools and private beaches”.

The embassy also cautioned US nationals about discussing religious issues, or answering questions about a religion. The warden message has strictly warned against conversion. “Religion and religious practices are quite sensitive issues in Qatar. Therefore, discussing religious issues should be treated with care and sensitivity. Proselytizing is illegal in Qatar. Attempting to convert a member of one religion to another, “sharing one’s faith” with someone of a different faith, and similar practices can be deemed violations of Qatari law, with deportation or even prison the consequence,” the embassy warned.

The embassy also issued strict guidelines to US citizens involved in charitable activities. “Charitable activities, both religious and non-religious, must be approved in advance by Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities (QACA)

THE PENINSULA

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, News, NonFiction, Qatar | 2 Comments

The Little Prisoner and Child Abuse

Of all the books our book club read this year, The Little Prisoner by Jane Elliott (not her real name) was the most troublesome. The first one to finish said it was boring and repetitive. The second refused to read it at all, that the content would have images that would polute her mind. Both were right, and at the same time, if we refuse to look at what troubles us, we collude with the abuser.

I hate bullying. A man who beats and plays sexual games with a child is a bully and worse – he is a betrayer of trust. Children come into the world pure, clean slates. They can create their own mischief, their own evil, but to be corrupted by an adult – that is the absolute worst sin.

Today’s Gospel reading in The Lectionary is about this very behavior – that betrayal and/or corruption of a child is a huge sin against God:

Matthew 18:1-14

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

8 ‘If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell* of fire.

10 ‘Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.* 12 What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of your* Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

The book was, in one sense, an easy read. It only took about three hours to read it. It was, as the first reader said, repetitive, but then once a bully has found a victim, the behavior does tend to be repetitive, and, as in the book, it also escalates.

The victim’s father bullied her, and he abused her sexually from the time she was four until she was seventeen. He terrorized his wife and other children, and he terrorized the neighborhood with his violence and threats of violence. To this day, the author and her family live far away, and fears her step-father finding out where she is.

I found the writer unlikeable. I wanted to feel more compassion for her than I did. I think part of my problem was that she stayed in the situation even into her teens, even into early adulthood, without seeming to rebel, without taking any steps to get herself out of the situation. She tells us straight away that she has personality defects, troubles with trust and betrayal, and that she sometimes turns to drink. A part of me knows that people who have been systematically abused over a long time can lose that ability to resist, rebel, to ask for help, but another part of me can’t understand it at all. A part of me is impatient with her weakness, I want her to stand on her feet and make her life a testament to her survival, I want her success in overcoming her childhood to be the sweetest kind of revenge. Unfortunately, life is more complicated than that, and her murky ending is probably the more realistic. Abuse leaves lasting damage.

The Little Prisoner is not an easy read in terms of content. There were times I felt she exaggerated to sell the book; to make hers just a little more interesting than the other ones out there with which her book is competing. There is a part of me that would prefer not to see, not to have those images in my mind.

We know, from all the literature, that children who are abused can grow up to be abusers. I have had friends who were abused who refused to have children at all, afraid they would perpetuate the behavior, even though they had a horror of the violence, and were gentle and peaceful people. How do we intervene, how do we break the chain of abusers begetting abusers? How do we change the behaviors? Can abusers really change?

The Little Prisoner brings up a whole host of uncomfortable questions. We can read, we can discuss – but if we choose to look the other way, aren’t we in a small way colluding with the abusers, allowing them to continue while we look the other way?

June 14, 2009 Posted by | Books, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Living Conditions, NonFiction, Relationships, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , | 4 Comments

The Richest Man in Town

This is from AOL’s WalletPop, their how to manage money series.

As I read through this very American tale of building wealth, I wonder . . . how does this apply cross-culturally? Do you think the richest men in the Gulf follow these guidelines? The richest in the EU? The richest Asians? Indians?

Review: The Richest Man In Town by W. Randall Jones
Tom Barlow
May 20th 2009 at 7:30PM
Filed under: Wealth

Some people dream of getting rich. Instead of dreaming, W. Randall Jones, author of The Richest Man In Town, set out to talk to the richest person in each of the 100 U.S. towns he visited for his study to see what commonalities he could find. From these interviews he found 12 attributes that ran rich within these mostly self-made magnates. Apparently, while God could get by with 10 commandments, the rich need a dozen; thus the subtitle, The Twelve Commandments of Wealth.

Let’s get those 12 on the table first (I paraphrase)-
Don’t seek money for money’s sake
Find your perfect niche
Be your own boss
Get addicted to ambition
Be early
Execute or get executed
Fail so you can succeed
Location doesn’t matter
Don’t compromise your morals
Embrace selling
Learn from the best and the worst
Never retire
I have the last one nailed.

Book after book about wealth and entrepenuership seem to boil down to these same points, usually derived from the same inductive reasoning that seems to underlie this book; watch what rich people do, then figure out the principles behind their success. What is missing, imho is the study of failed businesspeople. I often wonder if, for every multimillionaire that followed these commandments, there might not be a hundred who followed them yet failed. Everyone talks to the winners, but until you study the losers, it’s hard to know which commandments are the important ones.

Although the “secrets of the millionaires” genre is well mined, Jones does a particularly deft job of weaving the stories of a hundred people within the commandments structure. His many years of experience as a writer and founder of Wealth magazine are evident in the book’s engaging storytelling and brisk pacing. Many writers of similar books have taken the easier person-by-person approach,
which gives the reader more of the personality of the people interviewed but obscures the insights that the readers seek. Kudos to Jones for taking the hard road.

He also manages to land some very colorful subjects to interview, such as Hartley Peavey of Meridian, Miss. who told him “I believe that life is a test to see how much BS you can take.” Ron Rice of Daytona Beach was fired from six teaching jobs in eight years. Phil Ruffin of Wichita wants his tombstone to read, “This is his last real estate deal.”

For readers who are curious about how the richest man (Jones is apologetic about the use of the word man, but sadly, the richest person in most towns is one) in town came by his fortune, this book may well be best in class. And these commandments leave you free to covet all you want.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cultural, Financial Issues, NonFiction, Social Issues | Leave a comment

John Berendt and City of Falling Angels

When AdventureMan brought home City of Falling Angels for me, I thought it was another mystery by the author of the famous Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I had loved that book, full of unforgettable characters living in Savannah, Georgia, so I was a little puzzled with the immediacy and real-life feeling of this new mystery when I started it.

It’s set in Venice. The main “character” observes – much like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – Venice, and its population. He arrives just after the horrendous fire that totally destroys La Fenice, the opera house, and we meet a wide variety of characters right off, experience the fire through their first hand experiences. We smell the smoke, we feel their horror as the fire grows, and spreads. We are depressed when the fireboats cannot quell the flames because the waters in the canal have been emptied, and are too low in the others.

I kept waiting for Commissario Guido Brunetti, Donna Leon’s Venetian detective, to show up.

I was about half way through the book when I realized – this wasn’t fiction. It was John Berendt living in Venice, meeting with and interviewing all these fabulously interesting people. Yeh, sometimes I am so SLOW!

But I was hooked. I kept reading. The mystery is how did the fire at La Fenice start, who started it and why. In the end – and believe me this is not a spoiler, because this book is really only peripherally about the fire at La Fenice – people are convicted, but you are never really sure these are the right people, or if, indeed, there was really a crime, or if the crime was negligence – but how can negligence be a crime if it is part of the culture?

One thing Berent says that Donna Leon also implies – don’t go to Venice during tourist season! Go when tourists are not there – after carnival, when it is cold, when it is raining. Stay in Venice, and walk, off the paths the tourists on their one-day-in-Venice travel. Visit the small markets, drop in for a coffee where the locals are drinking, but most of all – walk. And walk. and walk.

This is not an exciting book. It will not hold you on the edge of your seat like some horror thriller, turning pages because you are afraid to turn out the lights. The horrors in this book are the gossip, the strivings of various people to enter into Venetian society, the cut-throat competition for invitations, and who gets the prime seats at the opening night at La Fenice.

On the other hand, I loved his attention to detail, the ease with which Berendt got people to talk to him, the clarity with which he captures their personalities. I loved his description of the interiors, and how he uses the voices of others to paint in a detailed picture of Venice today. I loved being inside the Venetian community, and hearing their innermost thoughts. This was a book I looked forward to at the end of a long day, it took me to another – and fascinating – world. I just wish Commissario Brunetti had showed up. 🙂

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Community, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, ExPat Life, Italy, NonFiction | 4 Comments

Bu Yousef – World Digital Library

Thank you, Bu Yousef, for your focus and your generosity. Because his blog(s) are special interest – photography, Mangaf, bird-photography – he passed along to me this information on the World Digital Library, which he heard about on BBC during his morning drive. Because my blog is . . . well . . . here, there and everywhere . . . he knew I would love to share this with you.

This is what the World Digital Library looks like when you go there:

world-encyclopedia

Of course, the first thing I had to do was go to the Middle East, where there are all kinds of early maps of the Gulf – and this! Look! The old trading routes through the Sahara!

sahara-trading-routes

WARNING! WARNING! You could lose hours of your life on this website!

Speaking of hours of fun, my friends, please go visit Neubronner, Bu Yousef’s new web page about his pigeons, and watch his movie of his pigeon, Charcoal, flying around his neighborhood. He even has a photo of a pigeon with the camera strapped.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, Education, NonFiction, Technical Issue | 7 Comments

William Dalrymple: The Age of Kali

Having read and loved In Xanadu: A Quest by William Dalrymple, and having received recommendations by friends who say they read ALL of William Dalrymple, I started on this second book, The Age of Kali. I didn’t like it, not one bit. I am proud to say I read it all the way to the end, because often if I don’t like a book, I will say to myself “I don’t need this!” and toss it, but I didn’t, I stuck with it. I am proud because it isn’t easy to stick with a book you don’t like, and I didn’t like this book.

age-of-kali

In Xanadu, Dalrymple was wryly funny, hilariously funny, and most of the humor was directed at himself. In The Age of Kali, there is nothing funny.

The Age of Kali is a series of interviews and adventures in India and Pakistan. The author did these interviews and took notes (some are published in slightly different forms as magazine articles) over a period of ten years and then strung them all together to form this book. There is little or no linkage from one to the other. They are grouped geographically.

Here is what I like and admire – this man achieves the most amazing interviews, many times just by asking the right person at the right time. He insinuates himself, asks easy questions, and then sticks in a hard question. He doesn’t seem to flinch from putting himself in danger, and he doesn’t stand on respect when asking his questions. I admire that he went difficult places, interviewed difficult people, and wrote the interviews up without fawning over the celebrity status of his interviewee.

What I don’t like is that he doesn’t seem to like anybody very much. There are no funny anecdotes. By the end of the first interview, I began to get an impression that he doesn’t like India very much (and I believe that is NOT true, as he lives part-time in Delhi) and that India is not a place I want to visit. He interviews corrupt politicians, descendants of the moghuls, Benazir Bhutto – and her mother, Imran Khan (the cricket player) and many others. In each and every interview, he maintains a distance that tells us he doesn’t like these characters very much.

Here are some quotes from early in the book:

These days Bihar was much more famous for its violence, corruption and endemic caste-warfare. Indeed, things were now so bad that the criminals and the politicians of the state were said to be virtually interchangeable: no fewer than thirty-three of Bihar’s State Assembly MLAs had criminal records, and a figure like Dular Chand Yadav, who had a hundred cases of dacoity and fifty murder cases pending against him, could also be addressed as the Honorable Member for Barth.

As he interviews Bihar politician Laloo Prasad Yadav:

I asked Laloo about his childhood. He proved only too willing to talk about it. He lolled back against the side of the plane, his legs stretched over two seats.

‘My father was a small farmer,’ he began, scratching his balls with the unembarrassed thoroughness of a true yokel.

OK, that was funny. I had to read it aloud to AdventureMan. One of the things that still unnerves me living here is that the men are always touching themselves – something so totally forbidden in my culture as to be simply unthinkable.

In his section about Pakistan:

These people – the Pathans – have never been conquered, at least not since the time of Alexander the Great. They have seen off centuries of invaders – Persians, Arabs, Turks, Moghuls, Sikhs, British, Russians – and they retain the mixture of arrogance and suspicion that this history has produced in their character. History has also left them with a curious political status. Although most Pathans are technically within Pakistan, the writ of Pakistan law does not carry in to the heartland of their territories.

These segregated areas are in effect private tribal states, out of the control of the Pakistan government. They are an inheritance from the days of the Raj: the British were quite happy to let the Pathans act as a buffer zone on the edge of the Empire, and they did not try to extend their authority in to the hills. Where the British led, the modern Pakistani authorities have followed. Beyond the checkpoints on the edge of the Peshawar, tribal law – based on the institutions of the tribal council and the blood feud – rules unchallenged and unchanged since its origins long before the birth of Christ.

When I read this, I think of recent headlines about the problems Pakistan is having maintaining order, fighting the status of “failed-nation”, and the chaotic administration of tribal “justice.” The old ways have endured – but as we learned in Three Cups of Tea, there are villages where villagers are eager to have modern schools, eager to educate their daughters, and they, too, are victims of the fanatics who burn the schools and throw acid on women attending school.

The author is told, time and time again by Indian citizens, that India has entered The Age of Kali, “the lowest possible throw, an epoch of strife, corruption, darkness and disintegration.” The book reflects the darkness, corruption and disintegration the author found. I only wish there were some moments of relief, of lightness, hope or humor to encourage the reader on his/her way, but the documentation of this lowest throw was relentless.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Law and Order, NonFiction, Pakistan, Poetry/Literature, Political Issues, Social Issues, Spiritual, Women's Issues | | 1 Comment

Brilliant Sunrise, 5 Apr 09

Goooooooooooood Morning, Kuwait! 🙂

It is going to be another gorgeous day in Kuwait. Don’t let this “heavy fog” deter you. When I got up, the sunrise was so bright, I couldn’t see the sun, it was refracted all over the sky. I was only able to get the shot by focusing on the reflection of the sun on the water.

00brilliantsunrise

It is going to be a fantastic week – sweet warm days and cooling off evenings, perfect for sitting outside and drinking coffee, visiting with friends – and a little later in the week, a chance of more rain:

00wea5apr09

AdventureMan and I saw Journey to Mecca yesterday, along with about 500 others living in Kuwait. The movie is still packing people in! The audience was about 3/4 full with children, and I thought “oh this is going to be great, crying children and people talking on their cell phones.” I was SO wrong. Although the movie theater was full, I did not hear a single phone, I did not hear a single crying child – the movie held us all spellbound. We loved the movie, and we loved seeing it in the IMAX theatre.

(There are special headsets for non-Arabic speakers, with the dialogue in English. We didn’t know; they just spotted us as probably-non-Arabic and handed us the headsets.)

Sometimes, I am just slow. My niece, Little Diamond, had recommended a book called Travels with a Tangerine: From Morocco to Turkey in the Footsteps of Islam’s Greatest Traveller, but it was not until yesterday that I got it – that Ibn Batuta was from Tangiers! Sometimes, I am just slow . . . sometimes I can grasp subtleties but the obvious escapes me totally.

tangerine2

You can buy this book from Amazon.com for a mere $10.17 plus shipping. Yes, I own stock in amazon.com.

You can also probably find it at the Kuwait Bookstore, that amazing store in the bottom of the Al Muthanna Mall, near the Sheraton Circle downtown.

April 5, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Africa, Arts & Handicrafts, Biography, Books, Cultural, Education, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, NonFiction, Travel | , , , | 7 Comments

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

I’ll admit it, I was looking for a quick read, and after resisting this book for months, I picked it up. As much as I love cats, I am not that much into cute, nor am I particularly sentimental, and I don’t like having my emotions manipulated. Just one look at the adorable cat on the cover told me it was going to be one of those slick, fairly superficial feel-good kind of books.

51vqjqdidrl_ss500_

See what I mean? Just look at that cover. Look how that cat just looks right into your eyes. This book is going to suck you in.

This book was a surprise. Yes, it was touching. Yes, it was about a tiny little kitten who almost died, stuffed in a below freezing book-return box in an northern Iowa country library in the middle of one of the coldest nights of the year, and yes, he ends up living in the library for almost 20 years and brightening the life of the people who come into the library. Yes, Dewey is adorable, and funny, and loveable. Yes, the book is an easy read.

It is also, surprisingly, an uncomfortable read. It is not overly sentimentalized. It is also the story of a woman, Vicky Myron, who grew up on one of the northern Iowa farms, and she tells us about the quality of a life that is no longer available in America, how the safe, secure, intertwined family life of rural Iowa has greatly disappeared. The hard times we are working our way through in 2009 is an echo of hard times suffered in rural America, as small farms are gobbled up by the more efficient super-farms, owned by conglomerates, not by families.

She tells us about her physical struggles with a disastrous childbirth, and its two year aftermath, and she tells us about how her marriage to a lovable alcoholic died, almost without her being aware it was dying. She doesn’t spare herself, as she discusses her problems, as a single mother, on welfare, trying to get a college education and raising her daughter, who couldn’t wait to move away from her. She talks about her challenges remodeling an old cement reading library into a modern, airy information resources center serving the town and the surrounding community, at the same time she is working on her Masters in Library Science. She describes her challenges dealing with the town bureaucracy. It is not always comfortable, or feel-good reading. It takes the book out of the superficial, and gives you something to think about.

Intertwined in all of this is Dewey Readmore Books, the cat who comes to live in the Spencer, Iowa, library, and who is eventually featured on TV shows around the world. He responds to requests that he pose, that he perform, he seems to know who needs a little love and is quick to give it – he is a great main character. For me, some of it was also uncomfortable, kind of a stretch – like that the cat would be in the window waving to her every morning when she came to work. Well . . . maybe . . . I’ve almost always had cats in my life, and few have every shown such consistent loyalty. Cats are . . . well, cats. It’s the way God made them. 😉

What I love is that this book is about libraries, and the amazing (mostly) women who run them. These librarians have had a huge influence on my life, and the life of AdventureMan, challenging us to explore outside our boundaries and supporting our aspirations, recommending new ideas and new ways of serving their communities. Librarians are part of the backbone of America.

I read this book in just a few hours. It just isn’t that complicated or challenging; it is an easy read. It has been a #1 New York Times bestseller, and copies of the book are still selling strongly. It currently ranks #105 in all time book sales on Amazon.com – can you imagine how many books that must be? The book is sweet, but #1? I can only imagine so many people are buying and reading it because it looks like 1) a Feel-Good book and 2) an easy read.

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Books, Building, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Friends & Friendship, Living Conditions, Local Lore, NonFiction, Pets | Leave a comment