Gift guides always seem to highlight the same stuff, year after year: fancy serving-ware for your hostess friends, scented candles for your bad-smelling friends, little tiny guest soaps that will never, never be used for the people you wouldn’t necessarily call “friends” but whom you certainly can’t pass over altogether in the big end-of-year gifting meltdown…
Here’s a suggestion–put together a fun little package with one of these witty, design-y t-shirts* and a few good books! Why not try one for each author? I recommend Hurston’s Go Gator and Muddy the Water: Writings by Zora Neale Hurston From the Federal Writers’ Project, Morrison’s A Mercy, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness by Alice Walker, AND (Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Yule comes but once each year, after all) Octavia E. Butler’s entire Xenogenesis trilogy, now collected in one volume! What a stocking-stuffer!
*The best thing about these wonderful t-shirts is that each purchase helps to support the Black Girl Project for another year, so you’ll be spreading holly-jolly cheer and assisting girls and young women become stronger, more self-confident individuals and community leaders at the same time! And when you pick up the accompanying works of these great authors, you’ll also be keeping your local independent bookstore afloat for another wintry season… ho ho ho!
Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen. (Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.) –Heinrich Heine
“NYPD destroyed 5,000 books at #occupy library, as well as tent donated by author and performer Patti Smith, which had been used to protect those books. The image of NYPD officers destroying books – tearing down a library – is one which should spark outrage around the world.” (source)
No matter where one stands on matters political, for book lovers and champions of learning and knowledge (as we believe all our wonderful customers and friends to be), there are few things as regrettable as the unnecessary destruction of libraries and the precious words they contain. Would this country have achieved the vibrancy of its democracy without those sparks to the heart and intellect that books represent? When we speak of free speech, do we believe that citizens can truly be free without unhindered circulation of ideas and undertakings, new and old–protected and presented to the public, one and all?
The past couple of months have been amazingly turbulent in the political sphere, with the Occupy Wall Street movement sprouting up in cities and towns here and across the globe; without getting too embroiled in potentially controversial declarations, I’ll simply note that democracy begins in the mind of every free person, and surely won’t be curtailed by the shuttering of a single park. As long as we (and I do mean the global, all-encompassing “we”) continue to believe that any person has the potential to make positive change in the life of our society, greed and oppression will never triumph.