If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What I'm Reading Next: Three Cups of Tea

I just finished reading True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. I came upon it through my habit of scanning through the lists of award winners on Amazon and picking a couple that seem interesting. In this case, Carey won the Booker Prize for his novel about the famous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.

The premise of the book is that Kelly has written the story of his life to his young daughter in order to explain himself to her, so that she will not believe the lies that established society has spread about him, but will know that her father was a good man doomed by circumstances. In order to create the voice of the uneducated bushman, Carey forgoes the use of much of the punctuation, which takes some adjusting to at first, and would be a great project to teach kids how proper punctuation makes communication clearer; but once the reader gets into the flow of the text, the book is absolutely mesmerizing.

As a protagonist, Ned Kelly is always appealing, always believable, and easy to empathize with. The story of how his life is directed by the poverty into which he is born, and by the corruption that surrounds him, makes for great tragedy. Before we ever start reading Kelly's manuscript, we are shown his eventual capture by the police, and the rest of the novel is like a runaway train, accelerating towards that moment. I finished the book wishing I could reach in and redirect the path somewhere along the line, so that Kelly could find the redemption he is seeking. It's a great book and I recommend it highly.

Next up: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
When I first sent out emails telling all my friends about this blog, my friend Georgia responded that the project was very "Three Cups of Tea" of me. At the time, I was vaguely aware that it was a reference to one of those books that educated teachers all knew about, but I didn't know much more than that. A few weeks ago, my school had its spring book fair, and there it was with the other books for parents and teachers. I bought it, trusting Georgia's taste in books. I'm sure I'll find some blog related inspiration in its pages.




Posts about previous titles:
Lolita
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

1 comment:

dkzody said...

Our entire school is or will be reading "Three Cups" this summer and next year. We are attempting a school-wide fund raising drive for the Afghan schools as one of our teachers has been on military duty there and has many stories to share of the Afghani children and their desire to learn.

Gregg Mortensen will be in Sacramento (about a 3 hour drive for us) after school starts and one of our teachers is looking into getting some of her students to go and hear him. Please check out http://ibdossetti.wordpress.com/ for her website.

I have been buying every used copy of the book that I can find to add to my school library. And, I have been picking up every penny I find to add to the collection.