Posted by admin on 01.30.2008 at 3:07 pm
(posted by Better World Books alum, Natasha Harris)
Since moving out to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago, I’ve helped out with a few volunteer events from time to time, but really haven’t gotten involved with my local community the way that I was involved when I still lived in Philadelphia (let’s call it transitional lassitude). Since returning from Cambodia a couple of weeks ago, I’ve decided to turn a couple of things around here and really focus in on ways that I can be more effective in my life, and also make my life more impactful on a greater scale. That said, this week I started taking yoga (some inner focus always helps), began a new class, and yes – signed up for a volunteer tutoring position at a local non-profit organization (orientation is tonight!!). From now on, I will be tutoring with this organization twice per week, and am really excited about it!
What I’m further excited about is the timing. Unbeknownst to me when I signed up – this is actually National Literacy Action Week! The NLAW celebration began on Monday, and campuses around the country are participating. Originating with SCALE (Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education) at the University of North Carolina, this week will feature workshops, tutoring and tutor recruitment, storytimes and book distributions, and other literacy awareness activities. For more information, click here.
Not that doing good deeds ever goes out of style, but I’m pretty proud of myself for being so with the times for once. Join me this week (and every week) by getting more involved in your own community – even little things can make a big difference!
Posted by admin on 01.29.2008 at 10:38 am
Tom Konrad, a financial analyst specializing in renewable energy and energy efficiency companies, has a good article over at Grist concerning the Presidential candidates on their policies and talk of environmental policy. Tom gets somewhat bogged down by his “If I Were President” excerpt, but his grades are interesting and important to anyone who cares for the environment considering the primary policy creator in the USA for the following four years is in question.
Or check out the more aesthetically pleasing and more comprehensive version, spurred on by Tom’s ideas.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, election, green for all, grist, off-topic
Posted by admin on 01.29.2008 at 8:16 am
Better World Books is a very interesting company. In my search for a career I came across many job descriptions that offered many things, but the substance that this company brings definitely has made this a great choice.
I truly believe that some companies have good intentions and want to do better for the world around them, but some how they get lost in the hustle and bustle of corporate America. Better World Books, however seems to really stand on their purpose and aims to create a better world for all through helping to fight illiteracy and through cultivating minds. I give Better World Books all the credit in the world and I hope that my presence here will help this company continue to accomplish all of their goals.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, new employees, will
Posted by admin on 01.28.2008 at 1:22 pm
I’m excited to say Khaled Hosseini has done it again! I just finished Hosseini’s second novel (the first being the excellent text-cum-movie: The Kite Runner), A Thousand Splendid Suns and it was awesome!
A Thousand Splendid Suns demonstrates the innate ability of humans to overcome the oppression of social order and war in order to find their own sense of worth and value. Following the lives of two women who have nothing in common but guilt for their own existences, the book brings to life the plight of women in Afghanistan during the past 40 years. The story begins in the 1960s and follows two women, Mariam and Laila, through the overthrow of Communism, the constant fighting between warlords, and the institutionalized sexism of the Taliban.
Hosseini has an amazing knack for story telling. His use of foreshadowing and ability to develop not just believable, but lovable and sometimes equally despicable, characters sets his novels apart from most. A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of those remarkable stories that encompass true friendship, lost (and found!) love, and the struggles that individuals in war torn countries face.
We in the United States hear frequently of Afghanistan in the news. We know the realities of Al Qaeda and the Taliban and terrorist training camps, but it is rare that we are exposed to the reality of Afghanistan as a country with a rich history and culture that has been beaten down repeatedly by war and violence. It is rare that we are exposed to the pain that millions have bared, not just since 2001, but for generations. Khaled Hosseini does not just tell us of Afghanistan’s recent history, he shows us how time has impacted the individual lives of its citizens. He turns the anonymous masses we see on the nightly news into souls that we can identify with, giving us a connection for compassion and a greater understanding of the complex political history that has led Afghanistan to the center stage of the 21st century.
And what’s great is you can support worldwide literacy initiatives by purchasing A Thousand Splendid Suns as well as Hosseini’s first novel, The Kite Runner from www.betterworld.com (click covers)
Posted by admin on 01.25.2008 at 11:13 am
Before I was writing here on the blog and running book drives around the northeast of the US and Canada I was busy being a music major, doing everything from conducting orchestras to playing classical guitar concerts to a regular Wednesday gig at a pub in Ireland. Even these days I’ve been known to write the occasional piece for a festival or dance.
Anyway, because of this huge part of my life, I tend to read books that either have to do with music or my other love (modernist literature, particularly turn of the 20th century British lit).
Luckily there has hardly been a better time to be into the former as there are a few great new books for me to suggest that you read (as usual click the cover to check it out at www.BetterWorld.com ):
The one most recently reviewed in the Sunday New York Times Book Review: Grand Obsession. This text, by Perri Knize describes her search for the perfect piano that takes her on a journey all over geographically and mentally. It’s an entertaining and engaging story that will have you longing to play, be it chopsticks or Chopin.
Not being a piano player didn’t take away from my enjoyment of Grand Obsession, but I certainly was more apt to pick up Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music. I’ve heard great thing but haven’t cracked this one open yet. I’ll review it soon for those of you itching for a book about a classical guitarist who returns after years away from the instrument (tell me almost everyone doesn’t regret not continuing their _____ lessons as a kid).
Last is a book I’m just getting through right now called This is Your Brain On Music. This book approaches music with a far more scientific approach than the previous two. This book deals with layman’s versions of how the brain works in it’s approach to listening to, reacting to and generally engaging with music. Anyone who can understand the haunting quality of a single note or chord or finds themselves playing the same songs over and over needs to check this one out.
Posted by admin on 01.24.2008 at 1:34 pm
Check out this interview with Xavier from Brightcove at Sundance.
For more info check out his previous post.
Posted by admin on 01.24.2008 at 11:34 am
I have a friend who is a special collections archivist who found some photos online and thought they would interest me. In turn, I think they’ll interest you, although they will likely sadden you, maybe even enrage you to an extent.
The Detroit Public Schools Book Depository has been destroyed by fires and weather for over 20 years since the city chose to walk away and leave it to ruin. Everyday here at Better World Books we deal in the business of getting resources to where they belong: to those in need. Meanwhile, here in our own country, there are pallets full of unopened textbooks from Houghton-Mifflin, piles of unopened workbooks or trees growing in the waste. How could a local government or a community’s leaders decide to let something like this happen?
The blog Sweet Juniper is responsible for this story and these photos, check out the full story there and get a little riled up, it’s good for you, and better yet it could be good for your community.
Posted by admin on 01.23.2008 at 12:47 pm
We’ve been getting a lot of requests to see photos from our Cambodia trip, so I thought I’d include a few below from our shared repertoire. Click on the individual link of any picture to make it bigger.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to say that I feel so lucky to be part of such a passionate and amazing team of people. Spending these weeks together visiting Room to Read projects was as reaffirming and incredible as I could ever imagine. You’re a great and talented bunch and I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to learn from each of you!
Posted by admin on 01.23.2008 at 9:16 am
Many a time we have featured the book throne here at the Better World Books Blog, (Sundance, Cover Exposure, etc…) but who knew that it was art? Perusing a gallery I found the following piece by David Byrne:
“Better World Books, purveyor of books with a triple bottom line and creators of fine art.” Perhaps the title needs to be shortened, but I like the concept…
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, art, book throne, david byrne, off-topic
Posted by Xavier on 01.22.2008 at 4:56 pm
What a crazy five days it has been! We arrived at the Sundance Film Festival the day before it started on January 16. We’d been asked to take part in The Giving Suite at Sundance Film Festival, which takes the concept of an exclusive celebrity gifting suite and turns it on its head. At this Suite, everyone is welcome, and people buy eco-friendly products (and books!) with 100% of proceeds going to charity.
We’re hoping to fund a lot of girls’ scholarships through Room to Read‘s “Room to Grow” program. We set up a mini-bookshop of about 150 carefully selected titles, and of course people could shop BetterWorld.com if they couldn’t find something on the shelves.
I’ll be posting much more from the festival soon. For now, a few photos:
Some new friends showing off their “Speak softly and carry a bag of books.” tote bags from Better World Books.
Well Read indeed! The Book Throne: it’s everywhere you want to be.
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