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Aug 14, 2009

Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder. Hope and Cynicism.

Mountains beyond mountains

He turned and gazed out the window.  A large sign was affixed to an airplane hangar across the tarmac.  It read PATRIA ES HUMANIDAD.  An internationalist assertion -- the only real nation is humanity.

"I think that's so lovely," Farmer said.

"I don't know," I said. "It seems like a slogan to me."

He looked away. "I guess you're right."

I felt as thought I'd punched him.  Among a coward's weapons, cynicism is the nastiest of all.  "No, it is lovely," I muttered.  "If it's really meant."

-- Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains -- The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. 2003.

A question for you: whose voice do you hear when you're reading a book?  Is it the voice of your high school English teacher, Ira Glass, Walter Cronkite?  Oprah Winfrey, Lee Smith, Sarah Vowell?  I sometimes have to push hard to get Dick Gordon out of my head.  Fortunately for this book, you can learn the voices of Kidder and Farmer right here at Cambridge Reads


Note 1: I read this book at a friend's place where I'm housesitting.  She finished med school in 2005 and this book was inscribed, "You did it! And now for a little inspiration to chang the world -- rearrange the world!"

Note 2: Cambridge Community Television is not your average community television.  

08:03 PM in Quotables | Permalink


Who do I hear? Hmm. I had to ponder this. It's not my own voice, or even my brain's voice. I guess it depends on the author/characters. If female, it's something along the lines of Kathy Bates or Mary Louise Parker; if young male, it's Edward Furlong-ish and if older male, it's John Goodman-ish. Is that what you mean?

Posted by: ACW | Aug 14, 2009 9:36:50 PM

Yep - that's exactly what I meant!

Kathy Bates and Mary Louise Parker -- those are some fine voices.

I "read" Forrest Gump as a book-on-tape back in the 90s and looved it. I think it was read by Will Patton, but the actor seemed much older. Who knows -- maybe Will Patton is just that much of an ass-kicking reader.

Posted by: Phil | Aug 14, 2009 11:50:01 PM

Oh god, if I heard Sarah Vowell's voice it would really put me off reading ;-)

I'm trying to think of whether I hear any voice when I read ... I've never thought about that before. Something to try ...

Posted by: Lisa B | Aug 15, 2009 7:56:24 AM

I have not read the referenced book nor do I imagine that you or your readers have or will, but watching Bea Arthur read from Pamela Anderson's novel is quite amusing. NSFW. :)


Posted by: Toastie | Aug 15, 2009 5:16:00 PM