Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attention, please

Some good ideas only work if people are aware of them. Two examples, wildly differing in importance:

1) Stimulating Reading is still in effect - click here for my explanation of the project, by which you translate the controversial "stimulus payments" into real economic impact by helping me to create a local independent bookstore. I know lots of us haven't gotten our stimulus checks yet -- and in this economic climate we may be needing them for necessities. But if you've got some to spare -- or, if you've got time and link love to spare in spreading the word -- well, support! You'll be rewarded with good swag, and the irreplaceable feeling of doing something good in the world.

2) Indra Sinha, the author of the well-reviewed novel Animal's People about a chemical disaster in Bhopal, is putting his money where his mouth is. Dow Chemical, which owns the pesticide plant where a toxic gas leak killed thousands and continues to contaminate water and kill more by disease, is on the verge of being exonerated by the Indian government, and little to nothing is being done to address the continuing disaster in Bhopal. Sinha and many others have gone on a hunger strike in protest. I read about this in the Guardian this morning thanks to BookNinja (though his take on it is a little funnier). Let's get lots of other people reading about it too. I'm inspired by authors whose commitment to social justice goes beyond the page; I hope lovers of literature can help give this campaign the attention it deserves.