Well folks, we’re almost halfway through May, which means we’re almost halfway through Mental Health Awareness Month. Personally, I am a big advocate for mental health awareness at any time of the year, but if you’re looking to do something for the cause before the month ends, then here’s your chance to buy books and show your support at the same time.
The Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Book Fundraiser is organized by a group of authors who have agreed to donate a portion of their May sales to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This year marks the fundraiser’s sixth year, and there are over one hundred and fifty books from a total of thirty-seven authors available as a part of the campaign. Many of the books are romance, but there are also other genres included, such as dystopian, memoir, and women’s fiction.
Image Via Goodreads
These authors have already raised $2,600 for the fund at Wicked Book Weekend. You can help them raise more money by purchasing a book, or, if you prefer, you can raise awareness and show your support simply by sharing any of the custom photos that the authors post on their social media. In fact, creating awareness about mental health might really be the most important goal of the fundraiser. In an interview with USA Today, author Drew Elyse said:
I am honoured to work with the Keith Milano Memorial Fund to help open up a conversation that we need to be having, because silence and stigmas only hurt. It’s past time for us to end them, and raising awareness is the first step.
If you would like more information about the fundraiser or the available titles, you can find it here on the fund’s official Facebook page.
Jojo Moyes recently donated enough money to save Quick Reads Initiative (UK), a collaboration between publishers that provides an adult literacy program, from shutting down. Quick Reads is aimed at adults with literacy issues and those who don’t read very often. It provides short books written by bestsellers and celebrities, hoping that these adults will find a new joy for reading. Having written a Quick Read herself and recently visited a women’s prison, Moyes says that she would be dismayed to watch a program that helps so many people achieve literacy simply fall by the wayside.
While Quick Reads is very excited and grateful for the lofty donation, Moyes does not want this to be looked at as a simple one man fix.
My aim is to give them a three-year window, so hopefully I can encourage other people to support them. My intention is to make publishers take a bigger role as well, because if we don’t feed the seedbed of reading then frankly we’re not going to have readers. It’s in their interest to have this scheme not just survive, but flourish. (Via The Guardian)
Image Via Reading Agency
Literacy programs like this are crucial. Being literate opens the door for so many critical things you need to survive. It can spark creativity, providing emotional outlets. It can bring families together through reading before bedtime. Literacy doesn’t just affect those who are struggling; it can be beneficial to entire communities.
In Rock County, Wisconsin a book drive is underway to collect books for inmates at the Rock County Jail. They’ve currently collected over 1,700 books, with over fifty people contributing to the drive. Major proceeds for the book drive have been funded by the inmates themselves and the sheriff’s office.
Image Via Drexel.edu
The goal is to help provide a better environment for prison staffers as well as helping to rehabilitate and prepare the inmates for their eventual release and re-assimilation into society. Some of the books deal in parenting, spiritual and religious guidance, and various self-help practices. The sheriff’s office recently put out an appeal to citizens to donate books since the jail’s current library was outdated and its books were in poor condition.
The jail is only accepting softcover books, as many other varieties could potentially cause liabilities for the jail and its inmates. For instance, magazines contain staples which can be used to create stick-and-poke tattoos which cause infection and hardcover books are too difficult to search for forbidden items, as well as the fact that searching these books could likely cause damage to the book itself. Any hardcover book donations are being sent to second-hand bookshops where they are likely to find other well-suited homes.
Image Via Good e-reader
It’s certainly nice to witness humanity’s good nature bestowing the gift of reading to those who do not currently have access to outside world!
Did you know The Da Vinci Code‘s Dan Brown has a love for obscure religious and occult books and artifacts? Hey, me neither, but considering the author just donated €300,000 to Amsterdam’s Ritman Library, also known as the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica House of Living Books, it’s safe to say he does.
The generous donation will allow the Ritman to digitize thousands of “pre-1900 texts on alchemy, astrology, magic, and theosophy,” reported Thu-Huong Ha, including the Corpus Hermeticum (1472), Giordano Bruno’s Spaccio de la bestia trionfante (1584), and “the first printed version of the tree of life: a graphic representation of the sefirot, the ten virtues of God according to the Kabbalah (1516).
The Ritman has called Brown “a great admirer of the library”. The author visited the library on multiple occasions while writing his novels The Lost Symbol and Inferno, and now he’s giving back. “Some 3,500 ancient books” will soon be available in an online archive called “Hermetically Open”.
Check out this trailer for an upcoming documentary about the Ritman, which was founded by Joost R. Ritman in 1984. The library holds over 20,000 volumes covering mysticism, spirituality, religion, alchemy, Gnosticism, and thanks to Dan Brown, a large portion of the collection will soon be available online!