Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Salon: The Year of Readers

I still had a bit of jetlag at the beginning of the week so I didn't get a whole lot read this week, but I did finish the 6 short stories in Rashomon and other stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. I enjoyed all of the stories and I'm glad to have finally read this modern Japanese classic. Now I'm reading Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton which I'm quite enjoying so far and I'm looking forward to getting back to it in a little while. It's for a Pump Up Your Book Promotion blog tour and my review will be up later this month.

I meant to join The Year of Readers earlier but with the holidays and everything I didn't get around to deciding which charity I wanted to read for. Click on the button for more info but basically the idea is to choose a literary charity to support in 2009. Here's what Jodie, the creator of the challenge, had to say:

In 2009 I want to spread my love of reading throughout the world. The Year of Readers aims to bring people who enjoy books together to have fun bringing literature into the lives of others. From the 1st January 2009 until 31st of December 2009 I will be running an international read-a-thon that will be open to anyone who reads. It doesn’t matter what kind of books you read or how many you read as long as you’ve got your nose in a book in 2009 you can join in.

As you know, Natasha hosted a month of Reading and Blogging about Darfur last year. In conjunction with that I read The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari. I'd heard only a little bit about Darfur before that so it was very moving and eye-opening to learn how atrocious the situation there really is. And if you haven't already, you can read this recent guest post at Diary of an Eccentric, by a survivor, one of the lost boys of Sudan.

So I've decided to read for the Book Wish Foundation. One of the main efforts of the foundation is to provide teaching materials and textbooks to the refugees of Darfur so they can learn English in the hope of a better future. The fact that I'm an English as a Second Language teacher myself made it feel like the right choice.
My personal pledge is to donate $1 for every book I read in 2009, as well an additional $1 for each book I acquire in 2009. I'm fortunate to have such a selection of books available to me. And it makes me feel rather guilty to have so many books lying around unread when others have none. So this is my small way to help change that. I'm not going to pester you to sponsor me but if you'd like to help in any way, (pennies do add up!) or join the Year of Readers yourself, that would be really great!
Have a good week!

Week in Review:
Mailbox Monday: Canadian Book Buying Extravaganza
2008 Reading Year in Review
More challenges...


  1. This is a very different reading challenge, and I'm seriously considering joining up myself. Thanks for mentioning it - this is the first place I've heard about it!

  2. Lorraine KleinwaksJanuary 11, 2009 12:33 p.m.

    Hello Tanabata,

    My husband alerted me to your posting and decision to choose the nonprofit, Book Wish Foundation, for your Year of Readers book challenge. I'm one of the co-founders, and I must say I was so touched by your decision to choose Book Wish among the other worthy causes that I began to cry. I only wish you were able to attend tomorrow's event at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC about the role of education/books in peacebuilding for the Darfur refugees: I believe it is the first time that such a talk about the Darfur refugees will be held at the Library, and a unique chance to hear firsthand about the critical role of education/reading in peacebuilding for people whose lives have been so disrupted by war. There are 60,000 Darfur refugees living in the three refugee camps your support focuses on! Since May 2008, just from the ESL books we sent to the refugees funded by people like you, the numbers of refugees studying English has jumped from 400 to 800 (as of July 2008) to now 1,180! The demand is huge, because the refugees view learning English as their "road to freedom."

    I have heard people wonder why support books, instead of food and medicines? Clearly, life saving humanitarian aid is of the utmost priority -- but then what happens afterwards to help people improve their lives? Book Wish Foundation sends 100% of any support received directly to the refugees and all the funds go 100% to reading related projects.

    I'm open to any ideas you might want to consider to help spread the word about your decision to support the reading needs of the Darfur refugees! May I suggest a few ideas: If you were interested and able to make a video about what you are doing, why you are doing this, books you are reading, we could put your video up on our YouTube nonprofit channel. Perhaps there might be an interest in creating a discussion group? Or, maybe we could find some way to keep track of all the books read supporting Darfur refugees on our website ( Just some thoughts, but absolutely NO pressure because what you have already decided to do is fabulous and so appreciated! Thank you! Happy New Year and Happy Reading! Lorraine Kleinwaks, Vice President, Book Wish Foundation,
    PS The Translator was an incredibly moving book.

  3. That's fantastic that you're participating in The Year of Readers...I really should too. I love giving to charity and what better way to do so! Glad to hear that Rashomon was good! I've always loved the movie, but I've yet to read the short story.

  4. It's wonderful that you're doing that, tanabata.

  5. Wow, $1 per book is great. I hadn't heard of The Year of Readers, but I'm going to check it out. That sounds like a really good idea.

    Happy Sunday!

  6. I've always meant to read Akutagawa. I have a copy of The Translator and haven't got to that yet either. Too excited by new fiction sometimes to read non-fiction, my bad when it's a subject of importance like this. I've always thought if I had money I'd support the camel bookmobiles of East Africa after reading Masha Hamilton's The Camel Bookmobile and following her site about it. Thanks for having a button that clicks right through to the Year of Readers. I'm confined at home and would probably have to sponsor myself but I do read a lot, 143 books last year but it's often more. I think I will, thanks.

  7. The Year of Readers sounds like a great way to give back. You are doing such a kind thing.

  8. The Year of Readers is a really great thing!! And I think what you are doing for the Book Wish Foundation is really commendable. I wish I had the money to give, but this year it's not going to happen. I do however plan on donating some time the Dream Center this year (a shelter) and to my church. As you know, time is a luxuary for me, so I'm hoping this will make up for what I can't give in dollars!!

  9. Florinda - It's nice because you can completely choose how you want to do the challenge, which charity to support, if you want to donate yourself or get sponsors, etc. I look forward to seeing if you decide to join. :)

    Lorraine - Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I've browsed around the website a bit and have enjoyed hearing the stories and seeing the pictures of the refugees with their new textbooks, all smiles.
    I hope the small amount of money I raise will help make a difference. I'll keep a running tally of books read and acquired in my sidebar. I'll think about your suggestions though and email you soon.

    Chris - You can adjust how you want to participate so it really is a great idea. Hope you decide to join if you can.
    I'm definitely going to have to finally watch the movie of Rashomon this year!

    Nymeth - Thanks. It seemed like a nice way to give a little back.

    Shauna - Well, I only read 56 books last year so it's not as generous as if I read much more than that like some. But I figure every little bit helps and it's completely up to you how you want to participate.

    Sandra - Now that I've read these 6 stories, I'd like to read more by Akutagawa. I'll have to see what I can find. And I know what you mean about getting distracted by new fiction instead of reading non-fiction as I'm the same.

    Also, I see that you've signed up for the Year of Readers! I'm never very good at asking others for money so I'm probably just sponsoring myself too. Glad you decided to join. :)

    Wendy - Well I figure I'm kind of spoiled with all these books so it would be nice to give a little back. Gives me a nice excuse to buy more books too! ;)

  10. Thanks for making me aware of the Book Wish Foundation. Also, thanks for linking to Joseph's guest post.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  11. Stephanie - With everything you have going on, your time is certainly worth more than money! You're amazing for doing that on top of everything else!

    Anna - You're welcome. :)

  12. Thanks so much for posting about The Year of Readers. I'm so excited that we are still getting people join up - hope to see more of you over there and don't forget anyone who signs up becomes eligible to enter our monthly prize draws for bookish goodness.

  13. Jodie - I'm glad to have helped spread the word a little bit. :)

  14. This is wonderful! Good luck to you and I'm sure you'll do great.

    I think Jodie is putting together a fabulous challenge. I need to get my act together!

  15. Iliana - Thanks! I figured I'd be reading anyway so it's kind of nice to be helping others simply from something I already love doing! :)


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