Books and charity: perfect match


Some people live for the scent of pine on the air, the crisp smell of the mountains. Others crave the salty air of the beach towns. Not me. I crave the smell of books. Just walking into a good bookstore (preferably one with a coffee shop, to add in the scent of brewing beans) triggers an instinctual deep breath. It is like a spa experience. I feel looser, more calm, more truly myself when I am walking among books.

I went back to my “office” today, Barnes and Noble, as you can tell. I took a deep breath and realized what has been missing nearly all summer long. Books. Not just my books — I have plenty of those, delivered by Amazon and by Kindle to my phone — but books that encompass all of life. I love the feeling that there may be a book which will change the course of my life just on the next shelf. Sometimes, there are. Today I snatched up “The Suburban Nation” (see yesterday’s post) before I could change my mind on it once again, as well as several other interesting reads.

And then I sat in the cafe. I sat next two three twenty-somethings, one girl and two boys, earnestly discussing the new charity they are starting. The girl, apparently, is in charge of the website. The guy wearing a white T shirt was her client. And the other guy, a silent black kid who rarely spoke, apparently was the ultimate authority. Whatever he said — perhaps as a result of being so rare — carried the weight of the final decision with the other two. They made me happy, these kids. They have donors, a facility, funding. They are putting the website live in two weeks. And somehow they are making a small living off this project. In short, they are the perfect picture of my “Generation We” kids: young, interested in working for a greater cause, and doing it in new and fresh ways.

“It doesn’t matter that we’re young,” I heard the girl say. “It matters that we’re good.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

By Marla Saunders

I am passionately devoted to living my life in the places God has given me. Over the years those places have changed: from homeschooler to businesswoman, from consumer to storyteller. These days I'm focusing on building a new business and figuring out what it means to do everything with integrity and informed by faith.