Something Good #91: Let's Do Something Good
This is a proudly money-losing newsletter; always has been, hopefully always will be. But while I resist monetization, I’d like to do something good with my few thousand followers, particularly in this moment when the world’s burden is heavy and it feels like we have no individual power to lighten it. At the same, I’ve wanted to do Something Good merch of a kind for a while now, but I’ve lacked a really strong motivating reason to go through the hassle. But what if I combined the two impulses?
During the month of December, Something Good will be holding a fundraiser for the wonderful organization Doctors Without Borders, who for more than half a century have been providing vital medical support all over the world, its volunteers frequently putting themselves in danger in order to help those in need. Today you can find them supporting displaced civilians in Gaza (where two of their doctors were recently killed in a hospital bombing), receiving Sudanese refugees in Chad, treating malnutrition in the DRC, and doing good work in countless parts of the world less visible in the media. With your help, I’m hoping to raise at least $2,000, and hopefully more, for this wonderful organization.
Your good works will not go unrewarded. Every donor will receive a very special gift in exchange for their contribution.
Here’s how it’s going to work: go to the Something Good fundraising page and donate what you can. (Everybody’s in a different place, so as long as you’re acting in good faith I’ll leave the how much up to you, no judgment whatsoever.) In return, I will mail you1—at my expense no matter where you are in the world—a set of bookplates designed by longtime SG collaborator James Braithwaite, who designed much of the branding for this newsletter and, and whose Dangerously Prancy project was featured here earlier this year. James once again amazes with an illustration that is just perfectly Something Good. And yes, you can find an image of the bookplate design at the top of this post!2
SIDEBAR: What’s a bookplate? It is a label, stamp, or in this case, a sticker that you affix on the inside of your books to prove ownership and prevent theft. “Ex Libris,” roughly meaning “from the library of,” is commonly printed at the top, under which you pencil in your name. These labels derive originally from medieval book curses, which purported to perform the same protective function via supernatural means.
Using them is easy: just remove and safely dispose of the book’s dust jacket and then affix the plate on the inside cover or page. (They should fit most paperbacks too.) Then write your name in the space provided, and your book will be duly protected. These particular designs will be printed via the intriguing risograph method, somewhere between a screenprint and a photocopy. They are going to look so good.
You can do whatever you want with these bookplates, although affixing them to books you acquired because of this newsletter or Barely a Book Club would not be the worst idea. I will be sending you multiple, though I can’t say quite how many yet; it’ll depend on how many donors there are.
I’ll also be keeping you up to date on how the fundraising is going with slightly more frequent, more bite-sized newsletters this month. Expect playlists, end-of-year-lists, all kinds of holiday treats.
IMPORTANT: I’m running this through a non-profit called Canada Helps, but you can give from wherever you are in the world, (although the donation will be processed in Canadian dollars).
Once you’ve done so, please make sure to email me at email@example.com with the name you associated with the donation and, of course, your address (the fundraising site won’t share it with me). I should expect to have the printed plates ready around Christmas, but they probably won’t go in the mail until the new year. For that reason, I’m keeping the fundraiser open for the entire month of December. I will also be matching donations up to a certain amount, probably about $1,000 total.
If you have derived any enjoyment or value from this newsletter, and ever thought about giving back in some way, this would be how. $1 from each of you would easily blow past our goal (though please donate more than $1 if you can). Thanks in advance for even considering this.
This week’s #nojacketsrequired comes courtesy of reader Jessie Jones, who describes it as “a book published in Japan in the 60s about fashion worn on Ivy League campuses and, like any snappy dresser, is committed to the look, top to toe.” As usual, send me your finds, and if you can dig up anything holiday-related, I guess that would be cool.
A bonus track that feels specifically made for me:
Feel free to share the fundraising link around! I’m totally OK with non-subscribers contributing and getting ‘plates. Once again, you can donate here.
You’ve been reading Something Good. If you like what you’ve read here, please give, and tell a friend, and subscribe below if you don’t already.
While supplies last. There will be plenty of supplies.
There is a possibility the design or colours may change slightly from the example above due to the exigencies of printing, weird risograph stuff we didn’t anticipate, etc.