James Patterson is at it again. The best-selling author sent another round of donations to independent books stores around the country.
This time, he doled out $473,000 to 81 shops in a third round of donations, according to the Associated Press. Patterson has donated more than $1 million since he launched the program a year ago. Initially, Patterson had intended this third round to be the last, but that may not be the case. According to the AP, he will offer more in 2015 along with an “ambitious plan to help school libraries.”
The grants were awarded to shops based on proposals. A bookstore in Arlington, Va., won $9,000 for a mobile bookstore (picture a food truck for readers). Square Books in Oxford, Miss., requested $9,700 for a Teens Reads fair next spring, which will include the author, with part of the money being used for publicity. The Strand in New York City wants to fund field trips to bring in students from low-income areas.
This is a just a small sampling of what many of the bookstores plan to do with the grants.
Patterson seems to be on a crusade as of late to get more people to read. He put out a video last month where he burned books to inspire people to read more. He lashed out at President Barack Obama asking people to sign a petition that asks President Obama to be seen in public carrying a book, visit a local library and go on record saying he is concerned about the state of reading in our nation.
So far, the petition has received close to 6,000 names since Nov. 24. The goal is 100,000 in 30 days.
An author very visibly giving money to bookstores? Patterson is one smart guy. We can be certain his books will move to eye-level and to a display near the front of many bookstores, even those who don’t get his money.
But calling on Obama to carry a book about in public puts Patterson years behind the times. The luster has worn off that particular impulse purchase. “Hope and change” has become “How long until he is gone?” Even if Obama were seen with a book, everyone would know it was merely for show. In fact, that’s precisely why Patterson is calling for it.
Pitiful. One of the besetting flaws of our age is an obsession with symbols and mere words (“go on record saying he is concerned about the state of reading in our nation”). In reality, they mean little and accomplish less.
No, it’s deeds and accomplishments that matter. In fact, that madness about symbols and mere words is precisely why we got stuck with Obama. People were charmed by his words and failed to notice that his resume was so thin, it wouldn’t have gotten him a job running a grocery.
That’s also my chief gripe about the otherwise excellent Hunger Games. Its author confuses symbolism with substance. She seems to think that defeating the Capitol requires little more than a symbol (the mocking-jay) and a figurehead (Katness), with a slight bit of assistance from bows and arrows. Sorry, but that is not plausible.