Once upon a time, I earned a Master's Degree in Literature and was a Professor of Literature and Composition. I had a wonderful time writing my Master's Thesis about Children's and Young Adult Literature, and I considered earning a Ph.D. so that I could continue to pursue the written word, including British, American, Latin American and other Global Literatures, Children's and Young Adult Literature, all types of genres and occasionally even poetry. But life takes you in unexpected directions, and so now I am working for a non-profit agency (you can read about that on my other blog, A Little Bit of Wonder). Although my job keeps me too busy to post as many book reviews as I would like, Recommended Reading is a place where I can continue to share my literary discoveries and knowledge as time allows.

Please note that I post reviews for books that I recommend reading, just like the blog title says. This means that I typically won't post a review for a book that I completely dislike. This isn't because I shy away from making negative comments, but rather because I don't want to waste your time or mine (I won't even bother to finish a book if it's not any good). For more on this, see the explanation of my Rating System.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox: Match Your Book Buying

I'm not posting the goodies that arrived In My Mailbox this week. You'll have to come back next week to see my latest acquisitions. Instead, I'm offering a challenge.

In times of disaster, Amazon has dedicated homepage placement and donated use of their payments technology to the American Red Cross. Amazon.com customers have contributed more than $35 million to global relief programs since 2001.

2001: $6.9 million contributed for 9/11 relief in the U.S.
2004: $15.7 million contributed for tsunami relief in South/SE Asia
2005: $12.4 million contributed for Hurricane Katrina relief in the U.S.
2008: $180,000 contributed for Cyclone Nargis relief in Myanmar
and earthquake relief in China
2010: More than $750,000 contributed for earthquake relief in Haiti

$6.9 million for 9/11 relief is amazing. $15.7 and $12.4 million even more so. But why only $180,000 and $750,000 for Myanmar, China and Haiti? Can't book lovers do better than that? And can't we rally our book-buying dollars now, in the wake of the massive earthquake(s) and tsunami in Japan?

Let's think about this for a minute: how much money do we spend on books each month... each week? Do we even want to admit how much? Couldn't we each match our own book purchasing total and/or give up a week or two of book buying to help ease the suffering and devastation in Japan?

Some of you who are regular participants of In My Mailbox may not have much money some bloggers post mostly ARCs, library books, gifts, etc. I challenge you to give what you can. Even just text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10. Most of us can probably spare the cost of a single new book.

But those of us who have jobs (even low-paying jobs at libraries, non-profits, elementary schools, etc.) should think about this: if we have money to splurge (as we do) on books, can't we give up our indulgences every once in a while to help when a need like this arises? Many of us buy anywhere from four to twelve books a week that we post when we participate in IMM.

I'm going to go examine my Amazon credit card bill, determine what I spent on books within the past few weeks, and match the amount, donating to the Red Cross Fund for the victims of the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami through Amazon.

I’m not posting this because I want a pat on the back – I’m posting this because I want you to join me. Figure out an amount that you can give, then donate. It could be the cost of a single book or your whole book buying budget for a week or two. Then come back and leave a comment here for me, letting me know that you've decided to give up book buying for a week or two in order to help someone in Japan that just lost her home, her family. Survivors have been left without electricity, proper food, and even lack drinking water. They need some clean H20 more quickly than we need to get our hands on the latest copy of so-and-so's novel. No guilt, just a fact: we can always buy that book next week or the week after.

Please consider helping any way that you can: you could donate, repost this idea or a link to this post on your own blog, and/or pass this idea on to other book bloggers in any way that you can come up with. Retweet my idea. Let's see how many book bloggers can make a difference for the victims of the earthquake(s)/tsunami. And again, please drop me a note; I'd love to know how we all are trying to help.


  1. I will be donating too over the next couple of days. Such an awful thing to happen :(

  2. Great post. I donated a little to the Shelter in a Box fundraiser that Maureen Johnson had. I love how thoughtful the book community is.
    My IMM

  3. I hope to be donating too where ever I can over the next few days. I think that with everything that has gone on in Japan, the rest of us don't really have any problems. At least we are alive and have our families and homes. It is just devastating to see what has happened over there.

  4. Great post! I'm looking into donating as well. I can't even imagine what they are going through.


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