Something Good #94: Holding Back the Dark
This is it. Your last chance to dance. There are only a couple of days left in 2023, which means the Do Something Good fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières I’ve been running all month is close to its end date, December 31. You may recall that the original idea was to raise $2,000 for this extremely worthy charity, which has been saving lives and aiding suffering people around the world for more than five decades now. Thanks to your generosity, we have blown past our first two funding goals. I now have my eye on $5,000, a nice round number with which to end the year.
You may also recall that your reward for donating (besides a brief but well-deserved sense of satisfaction) is a set of Something Good bookplates designed by longtime newsletter contributor and friend James Braithwaite. I can happily say that the plates are now at the printer, having gone through various iterations and colour combinations until we landed on a version that would look the most glorious when printed via the risograph method. They should be ready in January, fingers crossed, shortly after which they will make their way to you.
I’ve said it before, but because it’s the last time I’ll say it one more time: if you’ve ever wondered how you could support this free newsletter and its equally freespinoff, this is the way. I’m thrilled with the 60 or so subscribers who have answered the call, but with a readership in the thousands, I know we can do more.
All you gotta do is:
It’s that easy! Thanks to everybody who’s helped so far, everybody who’s about to help, and everybody who reads this newsletter but can not afford to help this year—I appreciate that you’re here regardless.1
This arrived in the mail the other day; a complete, battered boxed set of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence. Sets like this used to be almost-literally a dime a dozen; now it’s hard to find copies without horrible new cover art. I wrote recently about my deep love and admiration for the BBC World Service adaptation of the novel that gives the series its title, but I’ve never read the whole thing.
I’m looking forward to doing so in January, which by the way, is the worst month. It always feels like December is all about building a bulwark of festive feelings, food, music, and fellowship against the winter months to come, vast swaths of cheerless weeks without barely a holiday or day off in sight. (Valentine’s Day? Are you kidding me?) The dark always rises in January. Let’s cling to whatever can use to hold it back.
Side note: I used to always confuse The Dark Is Rising with a young adult fantasy book I was fascinated by as a kid called The Marrow of the World, by one Ruth Nichols. It is really hard to find anything about this book—from what I can gather by reading the few reviews on Goodreads, it was Canadian, and roughly contemporaneous to Cooper’s series. If you ever read it or know anything about it or its author, please let me know.
One thing you could do to hold back the dark is join our free, very low-stakes book club. We are currently reading Patrick Leigh Fermor’s luminous A Time of Gifts, a darkness-dispeller if there ever was one. Pick it up, or any of our other selections, and be sure that we’ll be waiting for you, suspended in the comments sections of our asynchronous reading group.
Bonus tracks: “I Wanted to Leave,” Something Good patron saint PJ Harvey’s farewell to 2023 playlist:
Thanks for reading. Thanks for giving. Thanks for everything.
If you like Something Good, please donate, tell a friend, subscribe below, or any combination thereof.
And I will send you bookplates if you really can’t afford it, especially if you’ve been hit by layoffs this year. Just email me, no questions asked.