Friday, March 02, 2007


I told you about the book Three Cups of Tea about a year ago in a VINO email when it was published. I know many of you have read it and understand why it is such an incredibly important book. I also know many of you haven't. With the release of the paperback version, it seems a good time to urge everyone again to grab a copy. Written by local Portland author (and my good friend/consigliere) David Relin, it tells the story of Greg Mortenson and his seemingly Quixotic quest to build schools for girls in the extremely male-dominated, remote, and ultra orthodox northern regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Besides being an exceptionally well written, page turning read that I promise you won't be able to put down, it more importantly shines a much needed light onto this greatly misunderstood area. By replacing guns with education (gee, much like what is needed in our "developed" country), Mortenson has been able to change perceptions and ideas that have been in place for centuries. Relin's telling of this grand adventure story, while not a political manifesto of any kind, also can't help but highlight how our failed foreign policies (and not just under the current administration) have alienated an entire region and peoples.

Besides being a New York Times bestseller in both it's hard and softcover incarnations (currently #10 on the NYT Paperback Bestseller list...kudos Mr. Relin!), Three Cups of Tea has received numerous book awards, including Time Magazine's "Asian Book of the Year", and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers "Book of the Year" Award, it has also just been selected as one of five nonfiction finalists for the prestigious International Kiriyama Prize, which recognizes "outstanding books that promote greater understanding of and among the nations of the Pacific Rim and of South Asia".

Whatever side of the political fence you are on, it's hard to overstate how important it is for everyone to read this book. You can buy it directly off the Three Cups of Tea website (where a portion of each purchase goes to Mortenson's foundation), or at Powell's, or Amazon. It doesn't matter where, it matters that you do!

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