Volume 1, Resources 22: 2020 Book Concierge & Ways to Do Some Good

Hi friends! First of all, Happy Hanukkah! I have it in my head that I’m going to try to make latkes from scratch for the first time using the recipe I learned about on Samin Nosrat’s podcast. I’ll report back. Also, December 13th is St. Lucia Day and someone I really, really like told me about Lussebullar/Lussekatter (depends on where in Scandinavia you are, I believe?) and they look AMAZING! (NYT Recipe | King Arthur Baking Recipe). 

I hope everyone is holding up as best as you can and staying safe. I’m doing alright. My county has gone into lockdown again, not that I was going out anywhere or seeing anyone. I’m less concerned about the lockdown and more concerned about people’s behaviors, which I cannot control. My day job told me that I am getting a salary cut via furlough days next year. They are doing a tiered system so those of us who don’t make a lot won’t take as big of a cut as those who are making more. Since I’m not high-level, my cut is small and we can work around it. It’s not the worst news, but it’s still a bummer.

That being said, I’m still finding joy in a number of places. Earrings arrived for me from this shop and though I’m not super big on Xmas, I am really big on kitsch and vintage!

Photo of Patricia wearing large earrings that are acrylic pink Christmas trees with lots of glitter. She is covered in rainbows made by suncatchers in her window.
Photo of Patricia wearing large earrings that are acrylic pink Christmas trees with lots of glitter. She is covered in rainbows made by suncatchers in her window.

I also practiced my gingerbread cookies again and they inadvertently came out looking like a crime scene:

I’m definitely learning some things for sure!

This week is a resource week so let’s get to it!

Resource #1: NPR’s 2020 Book Concierge

I wrote in detail about NPR’s Book Concierge back in May and I wanted to let you all know that 2020 has been released! I find it helpful not only for finding books I want to read myself, but also if you’re thinking of gifting a book, it can be pretty helpful in giving you some options and suggestions. I like to go through and add things to my TBR (To Be Read) list to return to… um… someday?

Resource #2: Get eBooks and Give to Charity with Humble Bundle

Most of the resources I give are free but this is not one of them. And I don’t even know if I would call it a resource? Humble Bundle offers “bundles” of thematic eBook downloads, games, software, and other digital content. The cool thing about it is that you determine what percentage of your purchase goes to the charity that is linked to that bundle. The bundles aren’t available forever, so if you see one you want you should jump on it. The pricing is semi-flexible with a “pay-what-you-want” flair. You not only get to decide what percentage of your payment goes to charity, but also what goes to the creators and Humble Bundle as well. As I mentioned, the bundles are thematic in some way. Often it’s because they’re from the same company/publishing house such as this bundle of Quarto Cookbooks. A couple years ago I got A TON of My Little Pony comics (digitally). There’s also currently this bundle that highlights authors/creators/characters of color and purchases benefit the American Library Association and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Resource #3: USPS Operation Santa

From the United States Postal Service site: “Now you can read letters from Santa’s mailroom and answer the ones he can’t. Adopt one today and make a holiday wish come true.” I don’t know if they realized how popular it would be because I often check for letters and the options are slim (at the time I am writing this, there is a single letter to be answered). Letters are uploaded each day. You can respond as an individual or adopt as a team (group of friends, coworkers, whatnot). I want to make it clear that this isn’t “responding to letters” as in “writing a letter back.” These are folks asking for gifts and the post office has made a way that you can buy the gifts and ship them “from Santa.”

Resource #4: TranSanta

Created by Indya Moore, TranSanta is connecting young trans people and their gift lists to folks who have the means to buy them things off their lists. Scroll through the TranSanta Instagram feed to read letters and then you can click the link in the TranSanta Instagram Bio to take you to the wishlist links where you can buy things and have them shipped straight to the young folks. I will share a few below (clicking through to the actual posts will give you the full texts). Grab the box of tissues.

A post shared by @transanta
A post shared by @transanta
A post shared by @transanta
A post shared by @transanta

Other stuff:

Shout out to my new pen-pals! Thank you for sending little bits of joy to my mailbox. If you want to send me mail, you can do it at the address below. If you also include your return address, I’ll definitely write back!

P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481

Speaking of mail, if you want packages delivered before December 25th and you are mailing from the United States, the Postal Service has a helpful web page with suggested dates. Hanukkah starts on December 10th this year so you may want to get those gifts into the mail sooner than later.

Books I’ve finished since last newsletter:

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Bookshop.org)

Books I’m currently reading:

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders (Bookshop.org)

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo (Bookshop.org)

That’s it for this week! If you enjoy this newsletter, please subscribe, share it with a friend, and/or give me a tip!

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