Books for the ladies

September 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Imagine, just for a moment, your life without books.

I don’t just mean life without shelves full of books. I mean no e-reader, no library card. I mean your life with no easy access to books.

Imagining that possibility is painful for me, but for many people who are homeless, it’s a reality. Sad, isn’t it?

The last project I completed at work included the design and construction of a new home for Mary’s Place, a day shelter for homeless women and their children. They do great work, tending to the daily needs of women while trying to help them get off the streets and into housing and jobs. Marty Hartman, the executive director, always calls her clients “the ladies,” and after working with Marty for a couple of years, that’s how I think of them. Although my younger feminist self bristled at the term, I now like the sense of dignity it conveys, especially for women who have lost so much.

After attending a Seattle 7 Writers event at which donations were collected for the pocket libraries they create for folks who have limited access to books, I thought about giving some of the books I’ve been purging from our library to Mary’s Place. When I emailed Marty to ask about donating some books for the ladies, she replied:

“The gift of reading is an incredible gift and one we treasure! It allows us to escape our struggles and explore new worlds! Such a welcome relief from our journey through homelessness. We love paperback books of all kinds! Hard backs are a little heavy to pack around.”

I know all about escaping into a good book, though my struggles are small compared to those of the ladies. I hadn’t thought about how the weight of a hardback might add to the struggles of someone who carries everything she owns with her each day, but Marty has, and I’m glad she clued me in.

Do you have some paperbacks that are looking for a new home? Please think about giving the gift of reading to the ladies (and their children) who seek shelter and support at Mary’s Place (or, if you’re not in Seattle, your local shelter).

These are the books I dropped off at Mary’s Place today:

  • Douglas and Sylvia Angus ed., Contemporary American Short Stories
  • Ruth Ashby, Tigers (Jane Goodall’s Animal World)
  • Melissa Bank, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing
  • John Barnes, One For The Morning Glory
  • Thad Carhart, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
  • Lowen Clausen, Second Watch
  • Douglas Coupland, Microserfs
  • Charles De Lint, Trader
  • Dorothy Dunnett, The Game of Kings
  • Earl Emerson, Vertical Burn
  • William Gibson, Pattern Recognition
  • Judith Guest, Errands
  • Judith R. Hendricks, Bread Alone
  • Pam Houston, Cowboys Are My Weakness
  • Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
  • Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
  • C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Laura Lippman, Charm City
  • Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs
  • Robert B. Parker, Shrink Rap
  • Sharon Kay Penman, The Queen’s Man: A Medieval Mystery
  • Julie Powell, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
  • Ian Rankin, The Falls: An Inspector Rebus Novel
  • Linda Raymond, Rocking the Babies: A Novel
  • Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Sharon Shinn, Jenna Starborn
  • Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
  • Alexander McCall Smith, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafn, The Shadow of the Wind
  • Laura Zigman, Animal Husbandry

Mary’s Place also gratefully accepts donations of materials, money and your time.


§ One Response to Books for the ladies

  • Marianne says:

    Mary’s Place was one of the organizations that Jewish Family Services focused on last year, so I heard a bit about them at the benefit that Harvey and I played klezmer at in 2012. Thank you for the reminder — I hadn’t thought about donating books like this, but it’s a great idea!

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