Friday, April 23, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

Good Morning fellow Book Worms!

As I have mentioned before, I created a Book Club a couple of years ago and today I want to share with you some of my thoughts about the very first book my book club (Aventura Book Club - “ABC”) read.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you guys have seen this book everywhere because when it came out in 2006, for three years it remained a # 1 New York Times bestseller. And how ironic! For 3 years it was a bestseller and the title of the book is “Three cups of tea” :-) …just thought I would share that with you.

Anyway, “Three Cups of Tea” was written from David Oliver Relin’s perspective as an admiring journalist interviewing and observing Greg Mortenson. Relin did a good job compiling the book and mentioning a lot of specific details of Mortenson’s journeys, but it did tend to get a little boring. Some of the stories kind of steered away from the main plot and a few chapters were a little too long, so it lost my attention at times.
The book got a lot of praise, but one specific review is exactly how I would put it, and that was by Bookmarks magazine, and they wrote that, "Despite the important message, critics quibbled over the awkward prose and some melodrama. After all, a story as dramatic and satisfying as this should tell itself.”
But I must say that the overall story which describes Mortenson's transition from being a mountain-climber to a humanitarian, committed to reducing poverty and raising education to girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan was extremely inspiring!

You know, Mortenson was a very courageous man. He faced many daunting challenges in his quest and it takes a very dedicated and certain type of person to be able to do the things he has done. And still continues to do. He sacrificed almost everything in his life in order to fulfill his dream, but in the end it all paid off.

Over 131 schools in the most remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan were built, and over 58,000 women and children are now being educated. And you have to remember, that in these countries, the roles of men and women are very different from the way we American’s, in this society see it! The men are the “smarter” ones and “stronger” ones and “better” ones, whereas the women do the cleaning, take care of the kids and their husbands… less important so to speak (even though without the women, the men would be nothing). So imagine how these men of these small villages must have felt when they saw this big American guy coming in with his entourage, wanting to build bridges and schools, etc…

“Three Cups of Tea” is a pretty heavy book, but I would recommend you read it, simply because some of the issues such as educating children and women and the importance of building schools, are topics we normally are not aware of, or think about.

Are you wondering about the title of the book? You know, the title of a book can tell you a lot about the center point of any story. Well in this particular one, the book's title comes from a Balti proverb:
"The FIRST time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger.
The SECOND time you take tea, you are an honored guest.
The THIRD time you share a cup of tea, you become family…”
Pretty neat, no?

Anyway, the really cool thing about reading “Three Cups of Tea” with ABC, was that the very next week, Greg Mortenson came to Miami to speak about it. So we all went to his book signing and we had a great time! Here are some pictures:

I hope you enjoyed my review about this book and I would love to hear your thoughts about it.
Have you read “Three Cups of Tea”?
Did you like it?
Did it challenge you to make more of a positive difference in the world?

Aventura Book Worm

P.S. If you liked this book and want to read more about Mortenson and his journey, pick up the sequel titled “Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, In Afghanistan and Pakistan”.


  1. Wow! I didn't know you got to go to the signing. How cool! I agree it was hard to capture my interest at first. I have to finish it still, a year and half later. Love the picture collage of the books. :)

  2. you are too funny. staying away from the men versus women stuff.

    very impressive that one guy (or gal) could help so many people. we all can be more like that.

    while this doesn't like 100% about mountain climbing... i love mountain climbing books. "touching the void" by joe simpson is one of the most dramatic and unbelievable stories you will ever read, even if you don't like to climb. don't tell anybody but I actually found this book by seeing the movie first. the movie was so amazing I saw it twice in the theaters. It's a documentary-style of film but probably the most exciting documentary I've ever seen. It was made by the filmmaker who directed the oscar-winning 'last king of scotland'. Anyways, I wanted to learn more so I read the book. And then I ended up reading all of joe simpsons books. He is such a gripping writer, so efficient and sensual with words.... even if he is writing about visiting the rest room you would be on edge.

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  4. How exciting that you got to go to his book signing! I hope to meet Greg Mortenson someday; he's a true hero.