Sunday, June 30, 2013

Historical DVDs

I recently watched some historical documentaries about pivotal events that happened in American history. I'd recommend the following to history lovers:

Aftershock: Beyond the Civil War
By: The History Channel
Released: 207
Run Time: 89 minutes

DVD Description:
The end of the Civil War was just the beginning of a chaotic period of rebuilding and recovery. As this History Channel documentary illustrates, the Reconstruction was almost as bloody as the years of war.

American Experience: Triangle Fire
Released: 2011
Run Time: 53 minutes

DVD Description:
One of the deadliest fires in U.S. history occurred at New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911, killing more than 140 workers -- mostly young women who were locked inside -- and leading to profound changes in industry-labor relations. Historical documents and expert analysis detail how the resulting union strikes and government regulation advanced women's suffrage and addressed the plights of laborers in unsafe working conditions.

American Experience: The Great Famine
Released: 2011
Run Time: 53 minutes

DVD Description:
This installment of "American Experience" sheds light on the devastating 1921 famine that left millions of Soviet Russians starving, a pandemic that prompted then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover to mobilize Americans into action.

American Experience: The Civilian Conservation Corps
Released: December 8, 2009
Run Time: 60 minutes

DVD Description:
In March 1933, within weeks of his inauguration, President Franklin Roosevelt sent legislation to Congress aimed at providing relief for the one out of every four American workers who were unemployed. He proposed a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide jobs in natural resource conservation. Over the next decade, the CCC put more than three million young men to work in the nation's forests and parks, planting trees, building flood barriers, fighting fires and maintaining roads and trails. This program interweaves rich archival imagery with the personal accounts of CCC veterans to tell the story of one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments, positioning it as a pivotal moment in the emergence of modern environmentalism and federal unemployment relief.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Act Soon: Google Reader is discontinuing on July 1

About three months ago, I heard that "Google Reader was discontinuing on July 1, 2013." Then I didn't hear anything more about it, and I wasn't sure what Google Reader was. Apparently, it's where you "Follow" other people's blogs and then can see the new content on those blogs when you're signed into your blogger account. (Someone please correct me if I'm misunderstanding this.)

Anyway, 47 of you Follow me that way and will lose track of Different Time, Different Place and my posts on July 1, 2013 if you do nothing.

One option is to sign up to have my new posts sent directly to your e-mail address. You can sign up for this using the below form (which can also be found along the right side of my blog):

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

I'd told that another option is to continue using an RSS reader to receive blog posts using a free service called Feedly. Feedly will transfer all of your feeds from Google Reader in a pretty simple process, and it's free. You can download the Feedly reader from Feedly's blog. That Feedly post includes tips on importing your Google Reader subscriptions.

So if you Follow me, please act soon so that you'll continue to get my reviews and giveaway posts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Slumdog Book and Bag Giveaway

I've been participating in many Giveaway Hops over the last few years, but the coordinator of those hops has drastically cut back on the number she is doing. So this month I'm holding a giveaway just for the followers of my four blogs. It's for a book and/or bag.

Carefully read the rules as they are different that normal.

book coverNo Longer a Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan is a Christian nonfiction book. You can read my review.

"You girls stay here. I'm going to get something to drink." But after a few minutes, the train started moving again, and Mom still wasn't back! Our hearts were racing. The train kept going faster and faster. Where was Mom?

Those with no voice—the suffering children of Asia—tell their stories. K.P. Yohannan shares their stories of lives transformed, of families learning to love, of entire communities flourishing with new life.

If you are only interested in the book, you can order it for free from Gospel for Asia.

bags (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

These bags are made by widows in India to support themselves and their children. bag in useThey are used by Gospel for Asia missionaries and sold by Gospel for Asia for $15 each. It is the exact style of bag that GFA native missionaries use to carry the Gospel literature and Bibles they give out as they witness.

This contest is for USA residents only and ends on June 19, 2013 at midnight.

If you would like the book and a bag, or only a bag, you can enter by:

1) You can leave a comment to this post asking to be entered and naming what you want to win--the book, the red bag, the white bag, and/or the turquoise bag. You can enter for all four items if you are interested in all of them. (I have comment moderation on to prevent spam comments, so don't worry if your entry comment doesn't appear immediately. It will soon.) Please also leave some way for me to contact you--or follow this blog so you can see the winner announcement.

2) This giveaway is also on my other blogs, and you can also enter on my other blogs for a total of four entries. You can enter here on Different Time, Different Place, on Genre Reviews, ChristFocus Book Club, and on Adventures With Organics.

women's literacy3) This is not a requirement to win. You will gain an extra entry for every $1 donated for GFA women's literacy. When you donate, leave a comment giving the name you are using to enter this giveaway. That way I can credit the right person with the extra entries. I'm offering this option as a way to help make people aware of this program that I support.

When the giveaway ends, I will take every entry for the red bag across all four blogs (also counting donation entries), then randomly select a winner from that list and send that winner the bag and the book (if they asked for it). Then I'll do the same for the white bag, and then the turquoise bag. Winners can win only one of the bags, but all three can win the book.

I'll announce the winners on June 20, 2013 on all four blogs. You'll need to leave your e-mail address or check back to see if you won so you can e-mail me your mailing address. If the winner hasn't responded with a mailing address within four days, I reserve the right to pick a new winner.

I hope everyone has fun with this!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

book cover
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

ISBN-13: 9780061732478
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Released: March 20, 2012

Source: Bought at library used book sale.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Kamila Sidiqi's life changed overnight when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. After her father and oldest brother were forced to flee, she became responsible for providing for her five younger siblings. Banned from school, confined to her home, and armed only with determination, she picked up a needle and thread to create a thriving business that saved their lives.

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana tells the incredible true story of this unlikely entrepreneur who mobilized her community under the Taliban. A story of war, it is also a story of family, faith, and resilience in the face of despair. Kamila Sidiqi's journey will inspire you.

My Review:
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is a biography about a woman--and her family and community--in Kabul, Afghanistan. The book covered September 1996 to November 2001, roughly the period that the Taliban controlled Kabul.

While we do get some information about life before and after this period (with the last event reported happening in 2009), it was mainly a description of life for women before and during Taliban control. Women had to find ways to support their families even though they weren't allowed to work outside their homes. Kamila and her sisters started a tailoring business to support their family and to help provide jobs for other women in the neighborhood.

It was an interesting and suspenseful tale since running the business held many dangers, yet not doing so would mean starvation for many families. I found the story very readable and interesting.

I would have been interested in more about how life changed for women in Afghanistan after the Taliban left as I'm sure that held new and different challenges. But I understand the focus was intended to be on women entrepreneurs under the extreme challenges created by Taliban control.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Dream So Big by Steve Peifer

book cover
A Dream So Big
by Steve Peifer
with Gregg Lewis

ISBN-13: 9780310326090
Hardcover: 326 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: March 19, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher through

Book Description, Modified from Booksneeze:
Steve Peifer was a corporate manager who oversaw 9,000 computer software consultants in America. When Steve and his wife, Nancy, discovered they were pregnant with their third child, doctors told them that a chromosomal condition left their baby “incompatible with life.” The Peifers only spent 8 days with baby Stephen before he died.

Seeking to flee the pain, Steve and Nancy accepted a 12-month position as dorm parents for missionary kids at a Kenyan boarding school. This thrust them into a third-world setting where daily life was often defined by tragedy---drought, disease, poverty, hunger, and death. Their surroundings spoke to their hearts.

Steve wanted to end tears of hunger. Today, Steve helps provide daily lunches for over 20,000 Kenyan school children in thirty-five national public schools and maintains solar-powered computer labs at twenty rural African schools.

My Review:
A Dream So Big is a memoir by a missionary in Kenya. This is the story of why this family went to Africa on a short-term mission trip (which turned into a long-term one), about his work at the missionary school as a dorm parent, teacher, etc., about the differences between American and Kenyan cultures, and about their travels to various parts of Kenya. It describes how Steve's heart was touched by the sight of children faint and crying from hunger and how he started a program to provide free lunches (and, later, computer training centers) at nearby schools.

Kenya and its people are vividly described. Steve made me really care about the Kenya kids and missionary kids. The situation of the poor in Kenya really touched my heart. I wasn't aware things were so bad there or that that it costs so little to feed one child for a month. I'm glad Steve is providing a way for people to help the Kenya kids. I'd highly recommend this book to those who like stories about other cultures and/or missionary stories.

These quotes are a good summary of the heart of the book. From page 170: "I knew I couldn't do anything about world hunger. But surely, I thought, I can provide lunch for the kids in that one school. Not doing something would be making peace with the idea of hungry children--not starving, faceless children on the far side of the world but African neighbors who now looked so much like my own Katie and Ben."

And from page 322: "If [God] can use me, he can use anyone for his purposes. He can use even you. Wherever you are. Wherever you go. You don't need special talents, special training, or even a special calling to get your own story started. It's not that hard if you have eyes and ears. See the needs all around you. Hear the cries. Accept the gift of tears. And do whatever little thing he asks you to do, if only to feed a child lunch or to teach kids basic computer skills. I promise. Once you find his purpose for you, you too will discover a dream so big."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.