Friday, September 2, 2011

Better World Books Book Club

I missed the Atlanta Better World Books Book Club meeting Thursday night because I underestimated the time I'd need on a project for a client. I hated to miss. The next morning I looked at BWB's Facebook pictures where everyone looks to be having so much fun. Then I read their blog post about the event and then I knew for sure they'd had fun without me. Oh, well. I'm hoping to participate in next month's online book club for one of my top five books from 2010, The Help.

I read this month's book club selection, The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novograntz, and it was interesting and made me think a lot. However, there was a lot more I wanted to know about Novograntz's childhood and adolescence. What steered her toward philanthropy and microeconomics? We got glimpses of this but nothing concrete enough for me. Also, I have to admit I grew frustrated each time I read that Novograntz went out jogging again and again alone. When that's something I'm very careful about in the American suburbs, it was hard for me to grasp why she kept going out alone. I felt so sorry for her, though, when she did relate her experience being mugged in broad daylight while others were close by. Also, I liked that that didn't break her spirit and wasn't enough to send her packing back to the safety of the United States.

Much of the book focused on Novograntz's early experiences with philanthropy in African and Asian countries and the challenges she faced as a young, white American only beginning to understand the cultures of these other places. Then there was a big jump to her present life as the founder and CEO of her nonprofit organization, Acumen Fund. I imagine there were some experiences in the middle part of her career that steered and molded her. What were they? I hope she'll write another book and tell us all about it.

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