Clare Morris, volunteer for The Cambodia Charitable Trust gives us her top 5 books to read!

Clare Morris, volunteer for Cambodia Charitable Trust, believes that education is a human right and that reading shouldn't be restricted to those with privilege.

As a child she and her sister received a book for every birthday and Christmas, a family tradition that continues in adulthood. Originally from Scotland, Clare attributes a lot of her love of reading to the wet and cold weather there. "There's nothing nicer on a dreary day than to lose yourself in a good book and a cup of tea." She says.

Clare believes that reading not only helps with basic literacy skills but also provides different points of view to think about.
"You get taken on a journey through someone else's eyes and as a result become more open- minded. I often finish a book inspired to be a better human. Reading is my therapy, meditation and one of my main passions."

The one constant in Clare's life.... A book is always on her. Here are Clare's top 5 reads... (In no particular order and part of a MUCH more extensive list)

My Top 5

1. 'To kill a mockingbird' - Harper Lee

This book changed my life. It took me out of my comfortable life in white suburban Scotland and thrust me into the southern states of the USA and confronted me with what systemic racism looks like. Written from the point of view of young 'Scout' (9 year old Jean- Louise Finch) the story spans a summer in the Deep South of the 1930's. Written with warmth, compassion and humour this book made me question my own privilege and opened my eyes to a world I had never had to deal with before. I first read this book back in school and have recently re-read it. 20-odd years makes no difference with this book. It's heart-breaking, inspiring and thought provoking. Harper Lee's follow up book 'Go set a watchman' is equally brilliant and thought provoking.

2. 'Rebecca' - Daphne du Maurier

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" the opening line gives no indication of the intrigue and suspense within the pages. Also made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock, this book starts on the French Riviera and takes you on a journey to the English countryside, a beautiful country manor and a mysterious woman named 'Rebecca'. This tragic tale is a love story, an obsession with a dark tone. It keeps you guessing and wondering throughout. Who is Rebecca...? You'll just have to read it to find out. This has been a firm favourite of mine since I was a teen.

3. 'The Handmaids Tale' - Margaret Atwood

This dystopian novel is set in near-future North America, in a totalitarian Christian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government. What would life be like if your only purpose as a woman is to breed? Margaret Atwood never fails to provoke and prod at societal views and put a different spin on them. A firm favourites with feminists, this book explores what could happen when a woman's body autonomy is removed. Scarily enough, it's not too far from reality in some ways...

4. 'Little women'- Louisa May Alcott

Set during the American civil war this story of the 4 March sisters beguiled me as a child and continues to do so as an adult. I always felt Jo March was a kindred spirit and loved the way she so fearlessly defied societal norms as a female. All the sisters inspired me in their own way in the 'coming of age' story but Jo in particular. So much so that I wanted to change my name for at least 2 weeks as a child. This book makes me feel like I'm wrapped in my Mums knitted blankie in a safe cocoon, tucked away from reality. I must have read this book more than 100 times and I still love it as much as the time I first read it. Written in 1868, this book has stood the test of time.

5. 'Half the sky' - Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn 

This book explores the most pressing human rights issue that we face today... Gender inequality.  Kristoff and WuDunn take you through lives and experiences of women in developing countries and it can be extremely harrowing. Each chapter deals with a difference face of gender inequality from life expectancy, education, economics to war. Women all over the world are de-humanised, under-valued and disrespected however this book gives hope where there might have been none. In each area there is an individual or organisation that are trying to re-dress the balance and raise women up. After all, we do hold up Half the Sky. This is the most inspiring and motivational book I've ever read. It's challenging and confronting, takes you to the depths of human despair then pulls you back out with hope and the astounding strength of the human spirit.

The call to action at the end of the book was what finally made me book my tickets for a 3-month volunteering sabbatical in Cambodia. This book is important and inspiring and I recommend everyone should read it! You will want to be a better human after reading it. 

It helps you understand the BEST ways to give and how to do it most effectively. It also confirmed my view that CCT work in such a transparent way with great integrity and purpose. We are so proud to be part of a charity that works tirelessly to help give people choices to get themselves out of the poverty they happened to be born into.

100% of all donations and profits from any event go directly to CCT. Come along and support CCT while enjoying a fabulous evening at Ataahua garden venue. The Global Reality Experience is a dinner with a difference and starts with a Cambodian market then enjoy a feast style 3-course meal with inspiring speakers, finishing with some live global music. Be prepared to be nudged outside your comfort zone as you are entertained.

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