Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Cups of Lies?

New York Times-Three Cups of Tea

Amidst all the other problems facing the publishing industry at the moment, a new potential challenge is popping up.  The possibilities of false memoirs slipping past notice into publication.  Just recently the validity of Greg Mortenson's claims in his memoirs Three Cups of Tea were challenged by a CBS News report recently.  Mortenson dies any claims that his tale is false or that he does not actually support the schools he claims to support in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  We'll have to keep an eye out to see what the further investigations reveal.  

New York Times Most Recent Bestsellers!

1THE FIFTH WITNESS, by Michael Connelly. (Little, Brown.) The defense lawyer Mickey Haller represents a woman facing home foreclosure who is accused of killing a banker.1
23WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, by Sara Gruen. (Algonquin.) After his parents die in a car accident, a young veterinary student — and an elephant — save a Depression-era circus.11
34THE LINCOLN LAWYER, by Michael Connelly. (Little, Brown.) Routinely doing business from his Lincoln Town Cars, the bottom-feeding attorney Mickey Haller is asked to defend the scion of a wealthy family who might not be guilty of a murderous crime.5
4I'LL WALK ALONE, by Mary Higgins Clark. (Simon & Schuster.) A woman haunted by the disappearance of her young son discovers that someone has stolen her identity.1
5THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett. (Penguin Group.) A young white woman and two black maids in 1960s Mississippi.8
61THE LAND OF THE PAINTED CAVES, by Jean M. Auel. (Crown.) The latest volume in a series that began with “The Clan of the Cave Bear,” set during the ice age.2
744 CHARLES STREET, by Danielle Steel. (Random House.) The owner of a Greenwich Village town house takes in boarders and bonds with her tenants.1
8NAVARRO'S PROMISE, by Lora Leigh. (Penguin Group.) The Breeds said no harm would come to Mica Toler, but they never allowed for her fascination with the wolf breed Navarro Blaine.1
95MYSTERY, by Jonathan Kellerman. (Random House.) The Los Angeles psychologist-detective Alex Delaware and the detective Milo Sturgis work on a grisly homicide case.2
109THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, by Stieg Larsson. (Knopf Doubleday.) The third volume of the Millennium trilogy, about a Swedish hacker and a journalist.11
116LIVE WIRE, by Harlan Coben. (Penguin Group.) Myron Bolitar’s search for a missing rock star leads to questions about his own missing brother.3
1212THE PARIS WIFE, by Paula McLain. (Random House.) Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, narrates this novel set in Paris.5
138SING YOU HOME, by Jodi Picoult. (Simon & Schuster.) Picoult takes on the issue of gay rights in this novel about a music therapist who desperately wants a child.6
147TOYS, by James Patterson and Neil McMahon. (Little, Brown.) Hays Baker, a top operative for the Agency of Change and a national hero, suddenly finds himself a hunted fugitive who must fight to save humans from extinction.4
1510LOVE YOU MORE, by Lisa Gardner. (Random House.) Detective D. D. Warren must solve the case of a dead husband, a battered wife and a missing child.5

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Normally I love historical fiction, but this book topped the charts for me. The 9th century is not a familiar time period to most people but the Cross integrates all of her research in a way that makes the time period come alive for her readers. She also does not hold back in her depictions of gender roles which are really at the heart of the novel. Cross really highlights how impossible a choice Joan faces, one many women take for granted these days, to make a difference in people's lives or pursue love and a family. To have lived a life as a women in her age would have meant giving up everything that made her who she was: her brains. A difficult thing to give up especially after years of living with the freedom of a man. For centuries brave, pioneering women had to make similar choices to allow modern women to enjoy the freedoms they enjoy today.

Adding to all of this is the secret joy of imagining that a woman could actually have hoodwinked the entire male power structure of the Catholic Church of the time to ascend all the way to the Papacy and truly make a difference in the lives of people in the world. Usually what women learn of their past is a long history of repression, so its a refreshing change to hear such an empowering story. Even though she did have to live as a man. But it is cool to think if this story is true how many other women throughout history managed the same feat on a smaller scale. While even the author admits there isn't too much hard evidence to prove that there was in fact a female Pope during the 9th century in her historical notes, she does clearly highlight sufficient discrepancies in the historical records to show its not impossible, which is enough for some of us dreamers.