Friday, July 11, 2008


54. A Case of Need by Michael Crichton
So this is apparently Michael Crichton's first book, written back in the late 1960s under a pen name. It wasn't the best written book, I think you could tell it was by a first-time author, but it wasn't too bad. It is basically about some doctors involved in doing abortions before Roe v. Wade, and was mostly interesting to me as a historical piece. It was crazy to see how much scandal and legal problems were caused by these doctors doing abortions in some cases, but also how much the medical community kind of accepted it as well. It was kind of like watching an old movie, in which it is hard to judge a lot of the characters as they live in a world so different from our own (all the doctors had wives who stayed home with the kids, and did whatever their husbands said. LOTS of smoking.) So it was interesting, but I don't say rush out and read it.

55. Three Cups of Tea: One man's mission to support school at a time by Greg Mortenson
Three Cups of Tea is the story of how Greg Mortenson started the Central Asia Institute, which helps communities in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan build schools, especially in places where girls do not have access to education. It is an inspiring story and I am so glad an organization like this exists. The book did its job in that I plan to give money to CAI, but it wasn't good as a book, IMO. I thought there really was no arc of a story, and it is strange that Mortenson was one of the authors, yet it is all in 3rd person. It seemed like the book should have been shortened and been a New Yorker piece. I think if you are going to write an autobiographical book like this, you need to be willing to plunge a little deeper into your own inner life or something, to make it a more interesting read. Anyway, it was also really interesting to juxtapose this book with Infidel. This book makes the argument that Islam is an inherently peaceful religion, that most Muslims (at least in Pakistan and Afghanistan) are not terrorists and also want the best for their daughters, which is kind of the opposite of Infidel. It is good to read this book to learn about CAI, but not for the book's literary merit.

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