Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SECOND SUNS by David Oliver Relin

David Oliver Relin was intending to tell the story of a man who had climbed Everest more than anyone---twenty times. The Sherpa wasn't seeking fame, but wanted to talk about his work in local schools, and about global warming. But within weeks of his arrival, the author found an even more amazing story---that of two doctors who were helping to restore sight among a population of Himalayan poor, who are afflicted more than any people on Earth with cataracts due to higher exposure to UV rays and inadequate medical care or nutrition. One of the two doctors, Geoffrey Tabin, is a Harvard educated adrenaline junkie that had been among the group who invented bungie jumping. Together with local doctor Sanduk Ruit, they founded the Himalayan Cataract Project, which achieved the remarkable cost-lowering goal of performing surgery at $20 per operation. . . which is even more astonishing (and worth telling) than climbing Everest 20 times. Despite a few minor audio glitches, SECOND SUNS (by the author of Three Cups of Tea) is a well told true story narrated by Rob Shapiro, whose listenable voice and engaging tone amplify the often very descriptive text. This is an inspiring story made better by Relin's command of language and careful attention to detail. If you're looking for a book that will expand your horizons in the way that travel often does, this is that book. Since it succeeds on so many levels, (as biography, travelogue, and in conveying the emotion of children given their sight back,) it is my choice as Audiobook of the Month for June. There are more mountains to climb that just the obvious, and this book shows that where there is a will, there is a way. Also intriguing: QUEEN OF THE AIR is the unusual true love story of the early 20th Century's renowned trapeze artists Lilian Leitzel and Alfredo Codona. Written by Dean Jensen and read by Emma Bering, it is both history and romance under the big top, a tale that ended tragically in death for both star-crossed lovers.  

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