Most of us read to be transported to another place. As a child it was a place of excitement and welcome. I think most children go through a phase of feeling that we don’t quite fit in with our families, and that we might even be some kind of cuckoo, deposited in another nest to be raised, and that sooner or later our ‘real’ family will arrive to claim us.
No? Ah, just me then …
In times of stress or unhappiness, the world presented by a good book can be a place to step into, to be enveloped and even comforted. It offers some kind of order out of chaos. You open a crime thriller in particular knowing there will be satisfying resolution. That the murder will be solved, the mystery unravelled, the disaster averted, and the bad guys will get their just desserts. However horrific the crime, the hero will prevail and there will be justice done.
It’s hardly surprising then, that crime thrillers are popular reading among people faced with senseless violence on a daily basis. It is their safe haven and their escape.
This is why I am devoting today’s blog to an appeal for books for our service men and women in the front line. Last Christmas, the Historical Writers’ Association launched their Books For Heroes appeal in the UK, but there’s a similar one going in the States.
Last year’s donations when down extremely well, although apparently the helicopter making the delivery to service personnel in Afghanistan came under fire and had to jettison boxes to make an emergency exit, then go back for them later with mine sweepers.
And you thought you were a serious book lover …
I know it seems very early to be talking about Christmas, but don’t forget that we’re not talking about getting them to people in the least hospitable places where even UPS won’t deliver. And they need to be as-new books. The kind of thing you wouldn’t mind giving or receiving as a Christmas present rather than something that’s about to be donated to the nearest charity store.
Paperbacks only are appreciated, rather than hardcovers, because when you’re airlifting cargo, weight is a serious consideration. I hope you’ll seek out the appeal in your area, or your country, and make the time to donate a book or two. Those that don’t go overseas to service personnel on the front line are likely to end up in the hospitals or rehab centres for the returning injured.
Whether you agree with the war or not, the people who are out there serving their country and the rest of us deserve some small sign of our appreciation and consideration, especially as Christmas approaches. What better way than to give them the freedom of a book?
So, fellow ‘Rati, do you have a favourite book that’s seen you through a difficult time? Care to share?
This week’s Word of the Week is monger, usually used in combination with another word, meaning a dealer and—except in a few instances, such as ironmonger— a person who trafficks in a petty or discreditable way, or in unpleasant subjects, such as warmonger, or gossipmonger. From the Latin mango -onis, a furbisher or slave-dealer, from the Greek manganeuein, to use trickery.
PS More news on the new Charlie Fox book very soon, I promise!