Photo Credit: Daniel X. O’Neil, Flickr.com
For those of you who do not know Ms. Amos, she is the former First Lady of the Marine Corps. During her tenure, she created a reading list to mirror the long-standing tradition of reading lists that the Commandant of the Marine Corps has long promoted for his troops. Remarked Terri Barnes in an article for Stars and Stripes in 2012, “Gen. Amos, like the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, maintains a recommended reading list for his troops. His book choices, also like those of the other chiefs of staff, are mainstays on exchange and library shelves worldwide. Bonnie Amos’s idea was to create a similar list – with similar clout – for spouses. The result, the First Lady of the Marine Corps Recommended Reading List, is not intended to tell people what they should read, but to make military family books more available on Marine Corps installations.”
Mrs. Amos selected a particular amount of books with the help of a committee of military spouses to help military families navigate this lifestyle and also books that were written by fellow spouses. Her reading list was welcomed and praised by spouses and service members across the branches.
So what is going on and why would they try to get rid of something so helpful? The MCX decided that the books were not making a profit and said they will no longer promote the reading list. This put a huge kink in the program.
In my opinion, I do not believe that these books have been promoted to the degree that they could have been. Books like, Heroes at Home and Life After Deployment can be very helpful to both service members and military spouses worldwide. They are written by those who have experienced the exact same thing that many of us have experienced, put into word what we feel but have a hard time expressing. I do not see how the Exchanges can dismiss them that easily without doing the proper promotion and marketing. How do they expect to make a profit if the books in question are stuck in a corner and not put out for the world to see?
The publishing house that took on this project is set to lose so much. Elva Resa Publishing knew they would not make a huge chunk of change but took on this venture to help the spouses find the resources they needed to have a successful military life.
The MCX has given a deadline of Friday, January 23rd (just TWO WEEKS after notification) that the books must all be sold or all left over inventory will be sent back to Elva Resa. The head of Elva Resa, Karen Pavlicin-Fragnito, a Marine Spouse, started Elva Resa as a way to give back to the military community after her husband passed away in 2004. The MCX would not lose any money if they were to keep the remaining inventory on their shelves, but sending them all back to Elva Resa will cause Karen to eat the cost at the tune of $9000 or so.
So I challenge you all to take a moment and search for the reading list and if you happen to see it on the shelf at your local exchange try to purchase it. Even if you don’t really want it you can always donate it to local libraries and book exchanges. I have learned that the voices of the spouses can be heard loud and clear and can make changes.