Ruby Ramblings

A little late in the game. Joining the readathon in hour 18.
April 11, 2010, 5:59 am
Filed under: Books | Tags: ,

If this were a party, I’m sure I would dis-invited. As my book-blogging turned real life friend Bybee has pointed out, I am of an age, and hence decided to spend last night with some engaging, intelligent, beautiful, and handsome friends rather than do another read-a-thon. But as it is 2pm on a Sunday, and there is a little bit more time to go. I’m going to join in and read a little to at least add to the overall page count.

I’m going to start with a copy of a book that I had been wanting to get my hands on for years. It was my favorite book when I was in elementary school. The school library copy has the succession of my hand-writing from first to sixth grade, as back then you still signed the little paper card that got stamped with the due date. The copy I have now is a withdrawn library copy from Centennial elementary school in Winnipeg.

I recently found an affordable copy (as I’ve seen this book listed for as high as $120), and had it delivered to Korea, where it has hence sat on my bookshelf. Considering my early obsession with the book, and that the fact that I had been wanting to re-read it for a decade, I’m not sure where my ambivalence to this copy came from when it arrived. Today is as good a day as any to reconnect with the YA classic.

To Nowhere and Back by Margaret Anderson

I love books with maps at the beginning. Even if they are fake.

Pages for Charity

So my reading has gotten off to an incredibly slow start as I received two lengthy phone calls, and have been distracted by other people’s blogs since I started almost two hours ago. So far in Cork Boat, we learn about the author’s obsession with building things, particularly things that float, his sailing adventures in college, and his job as a Washington speech writer for the folks in the Clinton administration. At some point around the time of Clinton’s impeachment, Pollack becomes so disillusioned with politics that he decides to quit. Not just find a new job. Quit.

So far this is my favorite quote: “Worse yet were the press conferences that members held in the Radio and TV Gallery, standing in front of the shelves filled with fake books, just to lend some gravitas to their empty rhetoric.” Fake books! What! For how much money that is spent in Washington, they can’t go down the local thrift store and find some real books to put on those shelves. Who knows, some of those people might even start seeing titles that catch their eye, and slyly slip one into their briefcase and get a little dose of perspective. If you could pick a book to send to a Rep. or Senator to read what would it be?

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this myself, but on the official read-a-thon page many people are trying to raise donations for charities. I have recently taken on the task of becoming the international fund-raiser of a charity that is very close to me, as it is run by a couple of really good friends I met while living in Nepal.

It is a small non-profit orphanage that was started by a group of karate instructors and students to help out 20 kids that they knew who had become homeless and sometimes parent-less due to inter-caste violence, and from the civil war with the Moaists that has been happening in Nepal for about ten years. They rented a house and run the orphanage all from their own funds and some small local donations. Their bills have become higher than what they can raise locally, and they have asked me to help them find some new funding so they can keep the orphanage open.

Besides just providing housing, they also pay for all the food, clothing, and school supplies (public school in Nepal requires kids to pay for their own books and uniforms), so that the kids can lead as normal a life as possible.


Child Upliftment Center website.

I managed to get a paypal account set up for them to make it easier for people to make donations. No amount is too small, as even $5 goes a really long way in Nepal. The average yearly income is only about $250 US per person, and they are still at only about a 40% literacy rate for women.

Currently reading: Cork Boat: A True Story of the Unlikeliest Boat Ever Built by John Pollack

Pages read in current book: 28

Pages read total: 28

And it begins! With Cork Boat.
October 24, 2009, 11:26 am
Filed under: Books, Dewey's Read-a-thon | Tags: , ,

Cork Boat by John Pollack

So begins 24 hours of leisurely reading, tea, and enjoying being in my apartment with no expectation to be anywhere that requires a three hour subway ride, a backpack with “things.” I love Seoul’s public transportation, but I don’t feel the need to always be on it. Unfortunately, I went out with coworkers to the local foreigner’s bar last night, and feel about as bad as I’ve ever felt, so my participation in the read-a-thon may be even more leisurely than I had planned.

My first choice, as I finish up getting prepared to sit down and dig in, is Cork Boat, by John Pollack. It looks light, fun, inspiring, and fairly short. “A spirited and charming tale of a man who throws all away to fulfil a boyhood dream of building a boat made of wine corks.” Of course he had a lot volunteers and friends help him, and he had the money to not work for a period of time. It makes me wonder, how many interesting and fulfilling things people would get done if they didn’t have to work their lives away? I have been really fortunate in getting to incorporate lots of travel (my life goal), and great experiences with being able to pay basic bills as both an archaeology tech and an English as a foreign language teacher.  I wish everyone the same, and happy reading!

First sentence: “My first boat sank.”

Pollack was featured on a special about people following their happiniess.  The piece on the cork boat starts at 3:40, and shows them using the actual boat a little further in.