A ‘1984′ book giveaway is fueled by protest


A bookstore in San Francisco’s famed Haight-Ashbury district is in the news because of a gift from an anonymous donor, a contribution that has some people reading and other folks coughing up money for more giveaways.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

George Orwell’s “1984″ is required reading for most high school students, and in recent weeks, the classic dystopian novel has been selling out at bookstores across the nation.

On Friday night, a “mysterious benefactor” purchased 50 copies of the book to be given away free at Booksmith in Haight-Ashbury. According to store owner Christin Evans, the generous citizen lives in the neighborhood.

The free books were accompanied by a sign that said, “Read up! Fight back! A mystery benefactor has bought these copies of ‘1984′ for you if you need one.”

Copies of the novel were snatched up within a couple of hours, but another benefactor soon stepped up to purchase copies of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts” for the public.

The independent bookseller recently made headlines for refusing to stock copies of Milo Yianopoulos’s book upon customer request.

Evans called the book donation a “fruitful, constructive form of resistance,” and said that multiple other benefactors had already expressed interesting in purchasing books to give away at the store.

Were we rolling in flighty lucre, we add another to the giveaway pile, Terry Southern’s The Magic Christian,  a superb satire on the darkest traits of American culture and a big, arrogant blowhard who uses his fortune to get folks to do insane things.

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