Tuesday, April 26, 2011


April A-Z Challenge: U is for Unimaginable

Unimaginable horrors are perpetrated against women all around the world. This is the main topic of a book I just finished reading: Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn. My book club read this one. It was excellent, however, it was very hard to read. This is a book about the horrible, abusive, unimaginable treatment of women and girls around the world. It focuses on things such as sex trafficking and sex slavery, rape, forced marriages, effects of childbirth at a too-young age, abuse and beatings that women put up with as a regular part of life in many places, lack of access to education and jobs. That list is way too long. It was a tough read, and I felt devastated reading about the awful lives so many women are forced to endure.

The good news is that the book also includes good things that are being done to help women and girls, to put an end to some of these awful practices. We all know these problems are enormous and won't disappear overnight, but we can make a difference, and to the women we can help, it is life-altering! I encourage everyone, men and women, to read this book. It is a great way to educate ourselves about what is really happening in the world. It is also an inspiration to get busy and DO something to help.

Just in my book group (4 women) we compared notes about ways we were inspired to help: sponsor a woman in Congo so she can recover from war atrocities, get some education, and learn some job skills (cost $27 per month), provide loans at Kiva dot org - When the loan is paid back, you can get your money back, or re-invest it in another borrower (cost $25 per loan), sponsor a girl so she can get an education (cost approx $150/year?), support a program that pays families $10 per month if the girl has perfect attendance in school that month (cost $120/year). All these options and many more are listed in Half the Sky.

Another book I just read was On Maggie's Watch by Ann Wertz Garvin. It started out a little odd, I thought. I didn't know if I would like it, but it got better as I read. It actually turned into quite a good book and a psychological thriller, kinda sorta... lots about marriage, relationships, fears, insecurities, friendships. I liked it.

As for my A-Z Reading Challenge for 2011, I am reading them by author this year. Here is the list of letters I have done and what I have left.

Alexander, Robert - The Kitchen Boy
Brown, Brene - The Gifts of Imperfection
Busfield, Andrea - Born Under a Million Shadows
Cheney, Terri - The Dark Side of Innocence
Cheney, Terri - Manic
Coelho, Paulo - The Alchemist
Danticat, Edwidge - Breath, Eyes, Memory
Eggers, Dave - Zeitoun
Garvin, Ann Wertz - On Maggie's Watch
Hawkins, Cheryl - Louder Than Thunder
Hoover, Michelle - The Quickening
Kristof and WuDunn - Half the Sky
Leavitt, Caroline - Pictures of You
Ollestad, Norman - Crazy for the Storm
Potter, Wendell - Deadly Spin
Skloot, Rebecca - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Stein, Garth - The Art of Racing in the Rain
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

I'm exactly halfway through the alphabet, though I've read more than one book in some of the letters. Letters still to read:
F, I, J, M, N, Q, R, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
Between my bookshelf and my Kindle, I will have no problem finding books to complete this list. Now if I could just find a few more hours in the day.

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