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Animal Rights Book Swap: Saving the World, One Good Read at a Time

By Jasmin Singer — July 12, 2011

I can’t even begin to explain to you how many animal rights books and vegan cookbooks we have. Mind you, we live in a 380 square foot apartment, and we’re constantly trying to optimize our space by making regular runs to the thrift store to donate dishes that don’t match, clothes that don’t fit, and tchotchkes that we’ve inexplicably acquired — despite our frugal and sensible buying habits. Yet every time we make our thrift store run, I refuse to get rid of any of these books. They are, in so many ways, my precious stones. But the better part of me knows that donating them to the Goodwill — or the Housing Works Bookstore, which is nearby our apartment, or even to the library — is much better advocacy than my holding onto them. Yet, when it comes to these books, I don’t budge. I just can’t.

Vegan/Animal Rights Book Swap for Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

However, miraculously, I think I might’ve found a compromise to my “problem,” something that will at the very least rotate the books with which I cannot part, allowing me to still have my share, but spread the wealth a bit. Here in NYC, there is an upcoming Vegan/Animal Rights Book Swap that is being organized by NYC activist superstars, Jamie Hagen and Olivia Lane. The Facebook invite for the event is titillating:

“Calling all veggies and friends of animals with dusty, crowded book shelves! Please join us for an evening swap of inspiring vegan cookbooks, theory books, how-to dvds, and all other media related to vegetarianism and animal rights. This event is open to all whether you are a hardcore vegan with a dozen books (and tattoos) or a veg-curious passerby.”

While I clearly fall within that tattooed hardcore vegan category, when it comes to this event, and animal activism in general, I could care less about people like me. It’s the “veg-curious passerby” that has my tofu in a scramble. Even as I gaze at my overstuffed animal rights bookshelves, and my egg-replacer caked vegan cookbook section of the apartment (yes, they have a section), I am intrigued by the idea of spreading these compelling words that everyone really must read.

So I’ll go to that swap. And I’ll bring some of my treasured books. And yes, I’ll cry a little in the process, but perhaps I’ll swap them out for some I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet acquired. Or maybe I’ll just donate them, for nothing in exchange, and hope that whoever gets my treasures finds their own vegan enlightenment, and goes out to change the world for animals.

This event is brilliant, really. The remaining books will be donated to the Housing Works Bookstore (so I can have visitation rights). And there will even be a raffle that will benefit the fine work of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. They will also have Lula’s Sweet Apothecary on hand, so you can have your cake batter vegan ice cream and eat it too.

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