I am not an impulse shopper. Why? It is no great statement about my self-control. No, to be an impulse shopper you have to—wait for it, wait for it—shop. Shopping for fun sounds like having a root canal out for fun. It may be necessary, but that doesn’t make it fun.
I do, however, have a weakness.
Book stores! This weekend I started recent impulse buy When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. I turned it over and read on the back, “When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned 100 million books. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for troops to carry in their pockets and ruck sakes in every theater of war.”
This is the joy of impulse book buying, a door opens you never even knew existed and you get to go through it.
I’ve only just started it, so can’t give a full report. But in essence, Hitler thought, if you control ideas, you can control people. And he was right to a point. In France, he had radio campaigns before he attacked France and had them in an emotionally weakened state. He also created the EER and in “Eastern Europe the EER burned a staggering 375 archives, 402 museums, 531 institutes,and 957 libraries. It is estimated that the Nazis destroyed half of all books in Czechoslovakia and Poland, and fifty-five million tomes in Russia.”
The numbers are so staggering it is hard to wrap my head about it. I’m early in the book and the librarians are mobilized but people are donating stupid books. What solider wants to read about knitting? Or cutting edge theology of 1870.
The ability to read is a privilege I overlook basically all the time. The ability to read what I want is a privilege I overlook basically all the time. The power of ideas to educate and infuse hope is too often underestimated by me too.
In light of this, as I sat down today to draw winners from The Summer Reading Challenge, I decided that while not in the millions, the 64 books we collectively read matter. We read 64 books in 10 weeks. People, high five to us!!
We are all winners. So, if you entered, check your inbox and later today you will have a $10 Amazon gift card.
Take that Hitler. You may burn and ban books, but you can’t break our spirit. Tomorrow would be my dad’s 77th birthday. Since I no longer have the joy of getting him a present, I’m using the money I would have spent on his present to help those who entered buy more books. Happy Book Day to You!
To all, if you had $10 to spend, what book have you been wanting to get your hands on?