Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review - Life Is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman - Review

Sometimes, the people with the least in life actually have the most.

If you loved Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, you will enjoy Life Is So Good.

It is the inspiring and heart-warming memoir of George Dawson.

Who? I hear you ask.

George Dawson is a seemingly ordinary 101 year-old man. If you haven’t read this book, you’ve probably never heard of him.

That’s a pity, because George is quite remarkable.

He was born into poverty in 1898, the grandson of slaves. He grew up in the deep south of America at a time when racial discrimination was rife. He never went to school and started working as a young boy to support his family. He worked on farms and in a sawmill and helped to build the railroads and the Mississippi River levees.

And he taught himself to read at the ripe old age of 98.

In Life Is So Good, George – with the assistance of Richard Glaubman – tells us his life story, provides an eyewitness account of 20th century America and shares pearls of wisdom he gathered along the way, most notably:

“Life is so good. I do believe it’s getting better.”

He’s a glass half-full kind of guy.

This book is a great pick-me-up. I read it several years ago and I still think of George to this day. It demonstrates the power of the human spirit, the importance of focusing on the positive and left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Would you like to read Life Is So Good?

Here’s where you can buy it online:

Fishpond Australia

Book Depository US
Book Depository UK
Amazon US
Amazon UK

*Please note: You won't pay any more if you buy this book via these links, but they will give me a small referral fee (5%).

Thank you for being part of The Reading Experiment. Happy reading!

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Book Review - The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

Chick lit meets the Taliban in The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul (also published under the title A Cup of Friendship).

This unlikely pairing creates a warm-hearted read with a serious message about the treatment of women in modern day Afghanistan.

It tells the story of five women – two Americans, one British and two Afghans – and the friendship they forge in a little coffee shop in the centre of Kabul.

It’s evident that American author Deborah Rodriguez loves Kabul, the city she called home for five years during the 2000s, and that she has a lot of respect and compassion for its people.

I like what she has done with The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul.

She gives us an insight into the lure of a country like Afghanistan for foreigners, the harsh realities of life for Afghan women and the struggles of the older generation who can remember life before the Taliban.

She also gave me a greater appreciation for the people of Afghanistan and their country, culture and traditions.

She does so using a writing style that is very easy to read.

I didn’t love this book, but I liked it a lot.

It’s not as haunting as Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, but there are similarities between the two. Both authors draw attention to violence against women in Afghanistan, albeit using different genres.

If you’re looking for a an easy and warm-hearted read that gives an insight into the struggles of women living in a country with a culture that is far different to ours, then The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is worth a read.

Postscript:

As I was reading The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul I became quite intrigued to learn more about its author.

This is the second book by Deborah Rodriguez about life in Afghanistan but her first work of fiction. It follows on the heels of The Beauty School of Kabul: An American Woman Goes Behind The Veil, a memoir of her time there.

Rodriguez went to Kabul as part of disaster relief efforts following the fall of the Taliban in 2002. While she was there she established a beauty school to provide employment and business opportunities to local women, ran a small coffee shop like the one in this book and married an Afghan. 

She also established Oasis Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation that continues the work of the Kabul Beauty School in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

Following the success of her first book in 2007, Rodriguez was forced to flee Afghanistan after rumours surfaced of a plot to kidnap her son in order to extort money from her.

She’s an inspiring woman who is doing good things for other women.

If you’d like to learn more about her, check out the author interview at the end of the book and here at www.debbierodriguez.com and www.oasisrescue.com

Would you like to read The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul?

Here’s where you can buy it online:


*Please note: You won't pay any more if you buy this book via these links, but they will give me a small referral fee (5%).
Thank you for being part of The Reading Experiment. Happy reading!