In response to recent coverage of Donald Trump's aversion to reading, seen in the Washington Post, New Republic, MSNBC, and Entertainment Weekly, GW Creative Writing faculty member Aaron Hamburger has proposed an initiative to flood the White House with books on Valentine's Day. What better way to express your love of literacy on a day dedicated to showing affection to one's true love, English Majors?
Recently featured in The Huffington Post, The Readers are Leaders' facebook event, "Bury The White House in Book on Valentine's Day!" has rapidly gone viral, with 1,400 interested in attending, 927 committed, and dozens of posts documenting the types of books concerned citizens are sending to the self-proclaimed "Earnest Hemingway of 140 characters," ranging from witty to profound. Chosen tomes include classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, George Orwell's 1984, Beloved by Toni Morrison, as well as a variety of presidential biographies, The U.S. Constitution, Trump's own biography, The Art of the Deal ("because he's probably never actually read it"), and an assortment of children's books, which contributors on Facebook indicate seem best suited to his reading level. While our current Commander in Chief might not actually crack any spines, the hundreds of contributors will make a positive impact regardless by supporting local independent bookshops, as well as the publishing industry as a whole.
According to the Washington Post, Trump "[S]aid in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.” The ghostwriter of his autobiography, Tony Schwartz, expressed doubts to The New York Times "...that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.”
One supposed caveat to Trump's literacy loathing?
"I've read hundreds of books about China over the decades. I know the Chinese. I've made a lot of money with the Chinese. I understand the Chinese mind.”
Interesting in joining the effort? Here are the details from the Facebook event on how to go about it:
"In the New York Times, Donald Trump revealed he doesn’t read books. Sad! This Valentine's Day, share our love of literature and hopes for a better world by burying the Oval Office in a mountain of great books. In the process, we’ll support local bookstores and the publishing industry.Here’s how it works, in 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Buy a book you think President Trump should read at your local indie bookstore or favorite book purveyor. Step 2: Inside the book, write a note to the administration either explaining why you chose the book, and/or promoting an issue you care about. Anything of your choice.Step 3: This February 14th, Valentine’s Day, put your book in the mail to:
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500We’d like everyone to mail the book on the same day, so that they all arrive roughly at once en masse.Feel free to mail more than one book, but please mail each book separately to increase the volume of mail.Extra credit: for each book you send the White House, buy an extra one to donate to a worthy cause, like a local school or library.And please post which book you chose and why on our even page!"