Friends--you may have heard in the news this week that the Washington Department of Corrections (very quietly) placed a ban on all donated books for those incarcerated in the state, saying that checking the books for contraband was too cumbersome for the system. Through its Pocket Libraries program, a non-profit group I belong to called Seattle7Writers has collected and donated many thousands of books to correctional facilities and other institutions without access. It's an absolutely vital service. Reading increases empathy. Empathy builds compassion. Who better to supply with books than the incarcerated? It's not only humane, it's an investment, since hardcore sentencing advocates seem to forget that 95% of all prisoners will one day be released. If you happen to have read the pieces I wrote on the Prison Industrial System at The Weeklings, you know this is something I really believe in. The ban is backward, heartless, and unnecessarily punitive. Please take a second to sign the petition (no matter where you live) and donate if you can. Also, in the comments below are links to an article about the ban, and information on how to contact Roy Gonzalez at the DOC directly. Thanks.
Yes, this killer event is tonight, at Elliott Bay Book Company! I get the pleasure of hearing Welcome Thieves interpreted as totally original music. So do Claire Dederer and David Schmader. Then, when the three of us have sat through the best part, apparently something they wrote will also blah, blah, blah. Doors 7pm. All $ to charity. Theme? Sex, Drugs, & Rock n Roll. What else do you need to know? You should so totally check it out.