SUMMER OF LOVE
Lately the shrieking heads on the news and a general feeling of divisiveness amongst Americans had really been getting me down. Even in my small town, public communication was breaking down into shouts and accusations. But then in one week we received boxes of books from Jack Lewis, Kevin Maurer and now Ashley Merryman (update on her donation later), snapping me out of my funk. I have no idea about anyone’s personal political feelings; if their books are any indication, our dozens of authors are from all over the spectrum. But none of these people required any proof that I or the other donors had the same opinions about the wars or politics before they agreed to participate. The publishers donating on their behalf similarly have shown no agenda. Everyone just wants to do their part for the troops, however small. And together we have made a lending library of thousands of books in over a dozen cities in four nations.
So, just like I’m limiting videogame time for the kids this summer I think I need to limit my time watching 24-hour news channels and stop reading those awful online reader comments altogether. Yesterday I watched Ghostbusters 2 with my two boys, and it occurred to me that we are living in a time of pink political ectoplasm, giving it more power with every angry word and hateful thought. Help me spend my summer collecting books for our troops with the time I used to waste being offended and outraged. Instead of posting the latest Weinergate photo, post a link to our Facebook page. Instead of watching throbbing forehead veins, learn about these generous and talented authors – and buy their books! (Warriorlibrary.org has an Amazon store to make it easy.) Instead of being dragged into argument with a troll, write to your favorite authors and tell them about us. Or if you are an OWL donor, write all your author/editor/publicist/agent friends. And join me in my quest to start paying more attention to individuals instead of interest groups.
Individuals like the great Colonel George Reynolds, who inspired us to start Operation Warrior Library. Like his wife, who kept house and family together while her husband served five deployments and missed birthdays and holidays and tucking in his kids at night. Like Jack and Kevin and Ashley – and YOU – who use the Internet to support instead of tear down. Like the truck drivers who pick up our many boxes of books for free and haul them down to Georgia even as gas prices soar. Like those who bravely fight in the sand for their country, who even more bravely put their lives back together after coming home missing their limbs or their memory, who die at age eighteen or twenty-seven or forty-five.
The pink slime only needs a little goodwill to turn things around.
“Your love keeps liftin’ me higher than I’ve ever been lifted before…”
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers, from the 877th Engineer Company, based in Augusta, Ga., recently accepted book for Soldiers through the Operation Warrior Library program.
The 877th is conducting mobilization training at Fort McCoy, Wis., in preparation for deployment to support Operation Enduring Freedom and will transport the books to Soldiers stationed in Regional Command East, Afghanistan.
Operation Warrior Library donates new, recently published, bestselling books with a mission to provide Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan books for a few hours of escapism and to foster relationships between authors and our troops through a common interest.
Are you an author or publisher interested in making a donation? Contact us at email@example.com.
A Veteran’s Day shout-out from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives author, Guy Fieri!
Inside Operation Warrior Library
Soon after The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril was published, Paul received a fan email from Col. George Reynolds of the First Army. He was shipping out to Iraq shortly, and was hoping for a signed bookplate before he left. They began a correspondence, and Paul figured he could help out in a really, really small way by shipping a few boxes of TCDCP to the Colonel, to be distributed to troops under his command. While Paul was happy to buy the books using his author discount, Simon & Schuster was even happier to donate the books to the cause.
Which gave Paul an idea. Why not get other authors he knew to donate books? Not used books, or some box of remainders a bookstore was trying to get rid of? We’re talking recently published, amazing, top-notch, bestselling books. Ones they won’t just come across in a bookstore in Baghdad. Books that could provide our soldiers with a little escapism for a few hours. Not surprisingly, those other authors were happy to help. The Colonel and his staff quickly set up a system that gets the books from Fort Gillem in Georgia to various Morale and Welfare nodes throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. Paul also sends a shout-out to every author on his blog.
Meanwhile, the Army has officially given the effort the really cool and pulp name of Operation Warrior Library. Starting with the second shipment of books, each author will have their own forum in which they can keep in touch with troops overseas.
Authors: If you’re an author and you would like to help out by donating a box of your books, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We are also thrilled to accept boxes of mixed author books from publishers.
Supporters: We are not accepting donations at this time, but, you can support these authors who have made generous donations by buying their books. If you buy them from the Operation Warrior Library Shop - all proceeds will go to cover OWL costs.
Meet the Authors:
Many thanks to our first battalion of OWL authors:
And here’s the second group:
Jon Fasman * Tess Gerritsen * Meg Gardiner * Jason Pinter * Charles Bock * Daniyal Mueenuddin * Trish Ryan * George Mastras * Bob Drury and Tom Clavin * Lewis Robinson * Tiffany Baker * Jon Guenther * Robert Buettner * Angie Fox * Chris Ryan * Lily Burana * Lawrence Goldstone * Valerie Malmont *
11/10/09 – Even more authors deliver!
Plus audio books and DVDs for our troops in the hospital from:
…and more to come!
And even bigger thanks to Colonel Reynolds, for letting us feel like we are doing something to help out. But most of all, thanks to the brave men and women stationed overseas.
PHOTOS OF OPERATION WARRIOR LIBRARY BY COL. GEORGE REYNOLDS