Thursday, December 04, 2003

Dear Reader

I've always believed in the cliche that books can save lives...and sometimes, literally. I subscribe to "Chapter A Day" e-mails for both fiction and non-fiction. That's what it used to be called--now it's "Dear Reader." Each day's selection is preceded by a "Dear Reader" note/essay written by Suzanne Beecher, the woman in Florida who founded these book clubs. It's a wonderful service, and Suzanne seems to be a wonderful person. She has thousands and thousands of readers all over the world, but always takes the time to respond--personally--to the e-mails she receives from her readers. (I know that from first-hand experience.)

Today in her "Dear Reader" remarks she included a link to a letter she received from a soldier in Baghdad about a book he received from the book club that saved him from some serious harm. He was hit by shrapnel, but it was stopped by a paperback he had in the pocket of his cargo pants; it saved his leg.

Most of us who are avid readers won't ever have a book play this dramatic a role in our lives, but I still believe that books can save the most profound yet fundamental and intellectual and emotional ways. If you, too, love to read, please check out

When the war in Iraq first began (and let's face it, our soldiers are still "at war"), I read about "Books for Soldiers," an organization that was taking book requests from enlisted personnel in all branches of the service and asking people to fill the orders with either new or used books. Boyfriend (who's not a reader) and I selected a request from a Sergeant with the 101st Airborne and we sent him a box full of my used paperbacks and some golf magazines (boyfriend's contribution). They're still accepting book orders from service men and women, but I don't know if they're still asking people to fill the orders. I do know that they're seeking contributions to send books to Iraq for the holidays. If you'd like to donate, go here. Who knows? Your donation could be used to purchase a book that just might save a life.


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