I'm looking forward to donating to Michael Palin's Reverse Book Club after reading this short story published in the Guardian as part of a celebrity auction being held shortly in Britain to raise money for Book Aid.
As far as I know there is nothing like it down here. What I like about this effort is that direct donations are converted into appropriate, often purposely published materials for recipients, and donations of surplus books are only taken if they meet stringent requirements...
I've just about had enough of the hit-and-miss efforts of the wellmeaning school stationers I buy my youngest child's books from. The last time I left books with them to donate to World Vision, I encountered another parent from my daughter's school scrounging through the donations box...she stopped just short of asking me what I was giving away, remarking politely what good condition they were in!! and waited patiently for me to go on into the store so she could continue rummaging.
'Four Books for Five Pounds, and you'll never receive any of them!' Being this selective with my aid dollar of course means I still have a pile of old textbooks by my bed...as well as a dead CPU, a terrific box of Thomas engines and dinosaurs to clean and put away for posterity, and some soft toys awaiting similar treatment. (Cleaning, that is - not disposal. Not in this house.)
Very little happening in the reading of fiction for me at present - I read The Sea after picking it up cheap at the Virgin Blue terminal at the airport, of all places, and found it a tad derivative and a little too elegiac. I am not a big Banville fan, I'd like to see him drop the intense focus on one character as I find most of his central characters far too cold and self-absorbed. (At least I think that's the problem for me.) Dipping back into Richard Ford's Sportswriter I'm finding a first person narration sleight of pen that is well nigh miraculous, and the book is as deliciously detailed as I remembered, and more. I'm almost afraid to touch another book of Ford's after Independence Day, in case it's a let-down.