Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pumice Feet Return.

Our ever popular pumice "feet" from Bali are now here. Just in time to start thinking about stocking stuffers.

Also, new "Happy Feet" and Floral gift sets. Each gift set comes with a pumice stone, soap and nail brush.

Two New Divine Chocolate Flavors

Divine Chocolate's newest flavors: Dark Chocolate (70%) with Raspberries and a Milk Chocolate Toffee Crunch.

New Putamayo Titles

European Playground and Picnic Playground for the kids. Brazilian Cafe, Espana, and India for the adults. All CDs $15.

New Prints for Fair Trade Aprons

We have new prints on our Balinese aprons. This is a gorgeous two-sided apron of brown with accents of orange. Others in stock are full length aprons. Brown polka-dots for one, green leaves for another and finally a bright fuschia with mums.

New Tableware from Bali

Sustainably harvested Palm Wood is beautifully carved to make our new bamboo inlay trays and coasters. Natural resin is colored and poured over a pattern of cross-sectioned bamboo. Lovely for a housewarming, wedding or hostess gift. Also, new colors of our Capiz Shell Salad Servers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

15 Must-Read Books: Non-Fiction

Here is a list of 15 books which have taught me an amazing amount about the world:

  1. Mountains Beyond Mountains--Tracey Kidder. This book describing Paul Farmer's mission to treat the poorest of the poor in Haiti opened my eyes to the inequalities of health care. This book has made the rounds amongst friends and family.
  2. Half the Sky--Nicholas Kristof & Sherly WuDunn. Just finished this page turner exploring the oppression of women and how many around the world are turning that into opportunity. Discusses sex slavery, obstetric fistulae, female genital mutilation, and more. Also gives inspirational stories of people who are helping women and girls around the world.
  3. The Color of Water--James McBride. I read this book years ago and it still tugs at my heart. A beautiful homage to McBride's mother examines race and the dedication of one mother.
  4. Deep Economy--Bill McKibben. In a globalized economy, McKibben argues for creating deep roots in our local economies to lessen our environmental impact, return to community and create resilient local economies that weather global storms.
  5. Three Cups of Tea--Greg Mortenson. Most people may have already read this story of how one man can make a difference. Mortenson's account of connecting with villagers in Pakistan and promising to build schools for the children is inspiring (might be an over-used word in this post!).
  6. The Blue Sweater--Jacqueline Novogratz. A banker indulges in her philanthropic tendencies to provide sustainable funding for projects around the world to bridge the gap between rich and poor. The sweater in question is Novogratz's and she finds it in a far away place.
  7. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha--Sarah Erdman. This story of a Peace Corp worker's time in the Ivory Coast is a thoughtful memoir of one woman's two years volunteering in a small African village. Anyone thinking of volunteering abroad should read this first.
  8. Blessed Unrest--Paul Hawkin. By tracing the environmental movement, Hawkin discovers in his examination that the strength of the movement lies in the millions of people working in tandem to help the earth and its people. He looks at not only the environmental issues, but the human issues of equality, responsibility and fairness. Great book for activists.
  9. Not on Our Watch--Don Cheadle & John Prendergast. This fact laden book on the Genocide in Darfur helps armchair activists everywhere empower themselves to affect change. Reading this was an epiphany for me: I finally realized if I want change, I have to hold those I help elect (or even the ones I don't) accountable. At the end of the book, there are very practical ways of going about ending the genocide in Darfur, and these tips help you with any issue you are passionate about.
  10. King Leopold's Ghost--Adam Hochschild. A gritty look at the Congo and Belgium's brutal colonization of the area for the exploitation of its riches and terrorization of its peoples. A great historical account of how colonization brutalized a land. Gave me more insight into the current conditions in Africa, as well.
  11. We Are All the Same--Jim Wooten. A moving account of one boy's story in South Africa and how one woman embraced this HIV-positive youngster while fighting the system and for better care and treatment of HIV patients. Another story that shows the power of one determined person (but in this case, it's two people.).
  12. A Long Way Gone--Ishmael Beah. A harrowing account of a boy becoming a soldier in Sierra Leone, and his journey back to civilian life. His ability to overcome and survive provide hope.
  13. Confessions of an Economic Hitman--John Perkins. What an eye-opening book this was! We all really know that in a capitalistic society, the mega-corporations are corrupt, but this account shows us how they achieve what they want--no matter the cost (human, environment or financial). Perkin's tells us about the IMF and World Bank, and how he fought his way out of being an economic hitman to become a world activist tied into native cultures. After meeting him in Incline Village at a READ Global fundraiser, I was even more inspired to stay committed to fair trade and activism.
  14. The Desert Queen--Janet Wallach. Another older book that really broadened my understanding of the world. This biography about Gertrude Bell, a Victorian explorer, focuses on the Middle East. While bringing Bell to life, Wallach gives the history of the Middle East and shows how current day countries were formed.
  15. Brothers Under the Skin--Christopher Hope. This hard to find book (it hasn't been published in the US. Found it in the UK a few years back) examines why dictators are the way they are. By focusing mostly on Mugabe in Zimbabwe, he explains the perfect conditions and personality which produce a tyrant. If you can get your hands on it, you'll enjoy this book.
Well, I could have listed about another 20 books in the non-fiction genre which are amazing reads to help explore the world from your armchair, but this post is long enough. Maybe next will be travelogues. If you see a heavy preponderance of tomes on the African continent, please forgive me, I am very interested in its past, present and future. If you have any recommendations to add, please add a comment. We're always looking for the next best book.

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