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Author, A. J. Llewellyn » Pulling for the Troops

Pulling for the Troops

Current mood:  blissful
Category: Life

It is my turn to blog ar Seven Wicked Writers today and here is what I posted:

I volunteer each month at my local library’s book sales and yesterday as we packed up our boxes and broke down the tables after another packed event, I was given an unusual request:  pull two boxes of books for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pulling books is something I do regularly for the various organizations I volunteer for: Union Rescue Mission, a couple of animal groups…but pulling for the troops turned out to be a very tough order to fulfill.

What do you send a group of men at war?

I was given strict guidelines and this made is easier, yet harder….oh…let me explain. Library book boxes carry 30-40 books. I had trouble filling one box, let alone two.

I was told not to put in any fiction or non fiction pertaining to either of these two conflicts. This cut out some interesting paperbacks such as The Sewing Club of Kabul, Jarhead, and 90% of the current non fiction being published.

Our troops have access to DVD players. I was told not to pack anything violent or with any sort of female nudity (I assumed this was because they are being shipped to Muslim countries).

This left an old Shirley Temple movie, Curly Top.

“But you can see her knees,” one of my co-workers said. “Wouldn’t that be considered provocative?”

We did have a good laugh (sorry, but the idea of Shirley Temple offending anyone was kind of bizarre). It soon emerged that the woman who had asked our library volunteers for the donations is a bit of an old fuddy-duddy, so I relaxed my search requirements a little.

I did find a DVD documentary that I could never personally watch in a million years – a hidden, hideous expose on the devastating lives of shelter dogs. I pondered packing something that might perk up a soldier if he thinks he’s not the only living creature in hell. Then I remembered that sadistic puppy killing Marine in Iraq and I abandoned the idea.

Do you send a soldier self- help books? He’s Just Not that into You or what about Why Me: How to deal with life’s Crises? How to Make ANYBODY Fall in Love with You? Nope, I don’t think so.

Angels and Demons is still hot fiction. The Da Vinci Code we don’t even bother to sell anymore we get so many copies and they go on the free cart for cheap/broke library patrons. I tucked a copy of each in case the troops care about Jesus and Mary doing the hokey-pokey and moved along the rows.

Nothing political. This cuts out Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh – two huge authors in the re-sell market.  Humor. Hmmm…I found a book that we all thought was hysterical and I hope the troops do too: Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same. Somebody with a wicked-good sense of humor photographed fake chickens in a variety of life situations. A great deal of care and thought has gone into this book and it made each and every person I showed it to, laugh out loud. Yep, that one was a keeper.

I pulled some music CDs: Mary J. Blige, the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, Lara Fabian, Kelly Clarkson, Soul II Soul, a DVD of one of my favorite movies, Chocolat, Lawrence of Arabia, Little Miss Sunshine and Aloha, Scooby Doo.

I pulled some YA fiction because we do have young men on the battlefront. I sent some hot titles such as Harry Potter and a spoof Harry Plodder and the Twilight series. I do hope vampires are not considered violent.

I sent over some brand new Mad magazines. What, me worry?

I sent some Calvin and Hobbes, Doonesbury, a few Tom Wolfe novels, Ice-T’s autobiography and then quickly found myself pondering the sports books. Baseball. Basketball. Who doesn’t love Michael Jordan? I found some blank journals destined for the free cart and swiped them and tucked some pens into the boxes. Who knows, maybe they want to take notes?

 I closed the lids and sent a silent prayer to our troops and all they have sacrificed for us.

For the guy who opens up the first box and finds Carmen Electra’s deluxe four volume Stripper Workout  DVDs, you are so welcome!

 I wish I could be a fly on the wall when this one changes hands. I’m not into chicks and it even looked hot to me!

If you could send a book, CD or movie to a soldier, what would you send him and why?

Aloha oe,

AJ

Currently listening:
Colour Moving and Still
By Chantal Kreviazuk
Release date: 2000-04-18

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