Friday, November 20, 2009


Every now and then I come across one of those news stories that completely outrages me. Today I found one of them. The United States Post Office has canceled their Letters to Santa program. It started back in the 1950s and has continued through volunteer efforts in North Pole, Alaska. Children who send letters to Santa Claus, North Pole, would have their letter read and a return letter sent by these volunteers. I remember receiving one when I was a kid, and I treasured it! Doogie and Molly sent several over the years and sometimes it seemed as though the writer remembered them from the previous years, making the letters personal and special. Mia has sent letters for the last couple of years, in fact I just mailed on Thursday her letter from this year!

But the USPS is bringing an end to that tradition, citing "security issues." Instead they will treat children's letters as waste and shred them. To me, that feels like a betrayal of every child who wrote a letter. While they may not expect a return letter, they most certainly do not expect their carefully penned message to be classified as garbage and destroyed.

The government has enough spare time and money to search my mail to make sure that I'm not sending computer games and labeling it as books, but not enough to continue this 50 year old program. Ugh!

Thirsty by Tracey Bateman is not exactly Twilight for Christians. Nina Parker is struggling with her newfound sobriety after years of alcohol abuse that has destroyed her family. Divorced and without custody of her two children, she returns to the hometown she abandoned seventeen years ago. Daugher Meaghan is going with her, which doesn't please Meggie one bit, to help repair the damaged mother/daughter relationship. Their recovery is pushed to the back burner when a series of graphically brutal murders terrifies the town. Bateman meticulously renders the battle of an addict; Nina faces constant reminders of her disease, which run parallel to another character's addiction in the novel. I hope that this isn't the only book Bateman writes about Markus and his disease; it deserves a fuller treatment with explanation as to origin and such.

Thank you for Random House for providing me with a copy of this book!

The winner of this book was Cheryl Vanden Heuvel. Congrats to her! I'm starting another contest on Sunday for a set of children's books you won't want to miss!