05 November 2013

Leaves...of Absence, of Trees, of Books

Last week, I went to a seminar, a day long thing on human resources issues for non-profit organizations. Because, in addition to being one of the accidental techies in my office, I am also the accidental HR person. And, while most of the time, I'm good with making it up as I go along, sometimes I think I ought to have a bit of practical knowledge.

It was useful enough.

But my absolute favorite moment during the day was an unexpectedly poetic PowerPoint slide title:


Is that not beautiful? All around, the leaves are changing falling crunching swirling, falling swirling crunching changing, and now it is darker earlier earlier, and soon it will be winter. Of course, they were talking about a different sort of leave altogether.

* * * * * * * *

I've been reading a lot. Right now, I'm in the middle of three books, one fiction, two not. As happens, as it always happens, there are odd parallels and coincidences among them.

Though I'd read Tracy Kidder's profile of Paul Farmer in the New Yorker, oh, 13 years ago, I'd never gotten around to Mountains Beyond Mountains. Wow. It's kind of fabulous and now I feel a little bad that Partners in Health went on my bad charities list because they sent me way too much mail. Paul Farmer's administrative partner in Partners in Health is Ophelia Dahl (as in, daughter of Roald, but that's just an interesting aside). And because I am easily amused, I find it funny to be contemporaneously reading Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. There's no real connection between the books, other than the Ophelia, but how often do you run across an Ophelia in your day to day life? The fiction rounding out my current reading is The Poisonwood Bible, and it ties closely back to Mountains Beyond Mountains - it's in the Congo, everyone is poor, lots of people are sick. But it also resonates with Reviving Ophelia, what with those four daughters, growing up.

* * * * * * * *

Books. It comes around. My sister-in-law is helping raise money to buy books for a children's library in Africa, Zambia, to be precise. Clearly, my current reading and her current project have a connection - books, children, Africa. "It is a proven fact that higher levels of literacy are associated with the availability of classroom libraries with a sufficient quantity of books, providing children with the opportunity to read." Won't you help? Melissa set up an Indiegogo campaign, which you can get to by clicking the photo, right there, to the right.

And when you're done, you can have a book for your troubles. My friend Emily wrote an irreverent guide to Disney World called Princess Wishes and Monorail Dreams. She's giving the book away - but asking that people donate to charity in return. So I've got it a little backwards here, by asking you to donate to charity and then go "claim" your copy of her book, but I think we're on the same page in spirit.

* * * * * * * *

Books. Each page is a leaf. Turning leaves, turning pages, and so the circle continues, unbroken.


Emily said...

YES! This is the spirit!!!

Julia said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains is awesome. Paul Farmer is one of the very few people who can see both the big picture and the day-to-day at the same time. I found the book inspirational. But I did decide I was grateful I hadn't married someone that obsessive.

Bibliomama said...

Yes, the Ophelia thing would tickle me too. And The Poisonwood Bible - I commented on a review of it on Goodreads at least a year ago, and I still get periodic updates because the review (and the book, I guess) was SO divisive. I quite liked it - will look forward to your perception.

alejna said...

I love the way you make all of these connections between the things, especially with the related words...interleaving them, as it were.

The library project your sister is involved with sounds wonderful. I will check it out.

I love The Poisonwood Bible. It's one of those books that has really stuck with me. (It might help that I saw Barbara Kingsolver do a reading when it was new, and she talked a lot about her experiences writing "the damn Africa book," as her husband called it.) Some of the scenes from that book, though, were really compelling. And then it was a book we discussed back when I led a book group. I should re-read it.

And I am reading and enjoying Emily's book!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I have read and enjoyed all those books. I loved Reviving Ophelia and I know it helped me raise my girls to take a different path than just boys, boys, boys.

heidi said...

I'm fascinated by the Roald Dahl part. I need to know more about Ophelia. Someone gave us a collection of her father's books, and it has been the most useful set of books we have had in these past few years. When the kids need a go-to-book that they KNOW they will enjoy, they dip right in & pull one out.

Nina said...

Nice! I read Mountains Beyond Mountains as well as Poisonwood Bible and liked both of them.