Unfortunately, it appears that a good number of the packages I sent through Media Mail went astray. I chose to use that service because it was the most reasonably priced. First class mail would have cost me upwards of six thousand dollars, and certified much more than that. Apparently, however, Media Mail is cheap because they don't actually deliver the mail. They simply pile it behind the post office and periodically strike a match to it. Or something.
If you did not receive your box of books, and if you donated at a time when the website said that you would get books (scroll down to see the dates of the entries when I said that we were out of books but of course would be glad to send your money to Obama anyway), please email me so I can send you more books, if I can prevail upon the writers to send me more, or work something out with you. Unfortunately, the Obama campaign can't refund your money.
—Ayelet, November 12, 2008
The BOOKS 4 BARACK fundraiser is finally and officially over. For real. We are out of books, and we sincerely thank everyone for their support!
—Ayelet, October 15, 2008
Due to an influx of books from generous authors, we have only TEN FIVE more BOOKS 4 BARACK bundles (comprising books and tote bag) to give away. The drill is the same. Donate $250 here at Ayelet's MyBarackObama page, then e-mail me your receipt and your address, and the books and the tote will be on their way.
If you received fewer than 10 books when we were running low and want more, feel free to e-mail me as well.
The BOOKS 4 BARACK tote bags alone are now sold out. Thank you so much for your support!
—Ayelet, October 13, 2008
BOOKS 4 BARACK is officially over. Done. We are out of books. (Authors, thank you so much for your support — we no longer need books!). Please continue to donate, because this is the most important election of our lives.
—Ayelet, September 29, 2008
I cannot thank enough all the readers and writers who have transformed this ridiculous idea of mine into a resounding success. But in the interests of my own sanity and that of my postal carrier (can you imagine how much the poor woman hates my guts by now?) I'm shutting it down. My house looks like a cross between a fulfillment center and Gray Gardens.
I'd like to urge you to consider donating even without the incentive of a bag of awesome signed books. Well, actually, there is one incentive. On November 5th, the world will wake up and find that the face of America is Barack Obama, son of a single mother and an African student. That a black man is now the leader of a country no one believed would ever have the grace and confidence to elect him. There's your incentive. That's what's getting me up in the morning right now. That and the children whose future we all hold in our hands.
President Barack Obama.
Think about it.
See you on the Mall on January 21st.
Yes We Can.
—Ayelet, September 25, 2008
Response to BOOKS 4 BARACK has been overwhelming. We really want to be able to send books to everyone who has donated to this campaign, so from now on, we will send out 5 books instead of 10. Thank you to everyone for their continued support!
—Ayelet, September 25, 2008
When the idea for BOOKS 4 BARACK first occurred to me, I hoped to raised two or three thousand dollars for Barack Obama's historic campaign. In my wildest dreams I never imagined that the figure would be close to $40,000. Thanks to all of you, this ridiculous project has been a resounding success. We've sold more bags than we have books, a boggling feat, considering how many books are spilling out of boxes in my living room. We won't be taking anymore book bag donations for the next few days, but we urge you to please consider donating anyway, even without the books. If enough books arrive, we'll start sending out them out again. Writers, keep sending your books in. Please. We need lots more to fulfill the orders we already have.
The response had nothing to do with the idea, or with me, and everything to do with the historic candidacy of Barack Obama. All of us feel a profound sense of urgency. For the first time we can imagine voting not just against a person or a party (although, God knows, there's a lot to vote against), but for someone. For someone who demands of this country that we rise to his example. That we become our best selves.
Since our children were small, Michael and I have been telling them a story about America. We've been telling them that this complicated nation has a complicated history. That just as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and the Wright brothers figure in its history, so do slavery, the Trail of Tears, and Korematsu v. United States. We've described our country's history as a heroic struggle for change inspired by leaders like Susan B. Anthony, Medgar Evers, and Chief Tecumseh. Because of their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of ordinary people, America left behind those ugly days, we tell our children, and today we live in a better place. We've told these stories with our fingers crossed behind our backs, because even as we celebrate progress, we think of Guantanamo Bay and Pelican Bay, and even as we celebrate change, we think of the fact that a woman still earns 77 cents to a man's dollar.
On January 21st, my family will be standing on the Mall where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the speech that inspired generations, watching Barack Obama raise his hand and take the oath of office. At that moment, the America of our myths and stories will come true. At that moment, we will uncross our fingers, raise our hands to the sky and begin another story.
Meet us there. We'll be the ones wearing the Hope T-shirts over our winter coats. And I'm willing to bet we'll be crying.
—Ayelet Waldman, September 24, 2008
BOOKS FOR BARACK is the brainchild of novelist Ayelet Waldman, whose impassioned — and expletive-laden — e-mail to politically like-minded writers went, as she put it, "viral." Ayelet's solicitation for signed copies of their books for a fundraiser for Barack Obama's campaign has touched a literary nerve, yielding an outpouring of over 500 750 1,000 books (as of Monday, September 22) from across the country.
This incredible collection — including rare, first-edition, and highly collectible copies — continues to grow every day. Here are just a very few examples of the remarkable volumes available through this fundraiser:
- Madeleine Albright, Memo to the President Elect (hardcover, first ed, $140 est. value),
- Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter (hardcover, first ed)
- Judy Blume, Wifey (hardcover, first ed, $95 est. value)
- Michael Chabon, Yiddish Policeman's Union (hardcover, first ed, $85 est. value)
- Hilary Rodham Clinton, Living History (hardcover, first ed)
- Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me (hardcover, first ed, $100 est. value)
- Dave Eggers, What is the What (hardcover, $120 est. value)
- Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club (hardcover, first ed, $85 est. value)
- Alan Furst, The Spies of Warsaw (hardcover, first ed, $100 est. value)
- Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha (hardcover, $35 est. value)
- Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (hardcover, first ed)
- Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (hardcover, $75 est. value)
- Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis (hardcover, $1379 est. value)
- Stephen King, Duma Key (hardcover, $375 est. value)
- Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth (hardcover, first ed)
- Ursula LeGuin, Tehanu (hardcover, leatherbound limited ed)
- Dennis Lehane, The Given Day (hardcover, first ed)
- Greil Marcus, Dead Elvis (hardcover, first ed, $100 est value)
- Steve Martin, Born Standing Up (hardcover, first ed)
- Terry McMillan, How Stella Got Her Groove Back (hardcover, first ed)
- Lorrie Moore, The Collected Stories (hardcover, first ed)
- Ann Patchett, Bel Canto (hardcover, first ed, $200 est value)
- Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart (hardcover, first ed, $100 est value)
- Richard Price, Lush Life (hardcover, first ed, $100 est value)
- Alice Sebold, Lovely Bones (hardcover, first ed, $500 est value)
- Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin (hardcover, first ed, $125 est value)
- Lemony Snicket, Complete Set (hardcover, box ed)
- Amy Tan, The Bonesetter's Daughter (hardcover, limited ed)
- Anne Tyler, Digging to America (hardcover, first ed, $125 est value)
- Tobias Wolff, Our Story Begins: New & Selected Stories (hardcover, first ed)
So how do I get one of these books and help Obama at the same time?
It's really quite simple. If you donate $250 or more to Barack Obama's campaign through Ayelet's MyBarackObama website, you will receive a mystery bag of 10 books, all in a canvas tote printed with the BOOKS FOR BARACK logo. The bags will be assembled randomly and tied closed so that no one — not even Ayelet — will know the contents of any specific bag. Your bag could contain a signed first edition copy of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, a signed first edition copy of Stephen King's Hearts of Atlantis or a fine collection of poetry by a writer you've been waiting to discover.
Books will be mailed out starting Friday, September 26.