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The things we read

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Looking for ideas for summer reading? How about the reading lists of authors and celebrities? How about if you could then donate those books to U.S. Service Members and communities in need of new books?

Things We Read, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit incorporated in the state of New York that aims to do just that.

In 2011, a couple of platoon leaders in Iraq had begun collecting book recommendations from their unit leaders to help soldiers get ideas of new books to read. They then founded www.ThingsWeRead.com, to continue the literacy effort back home.

At the site you can browse the reading lists of people like Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe, Big Bang Theory (and Blossom) actress Mayim Bialik, Reading Rainbow and Star Trek TNG actor Levar Burton, and many more. There's even a theoretical list of what JFK would be reading if he were alive today.

Through donations, the group purchases the books and ships them overseas and to communities in need here in the U.S. Their latest effort is the Young Leader Series, a partnership with The Lightning Press that will donate, over the next 6 months, $100,000 worth of SMARTbooks and leader books to cadets at West Point and ROTC programs nationwide.

Schools and organizations interested in participating should contact hello@thingsweread.com. You can learn more about the organization, suggest a booklist, or suggest a community in need at their website.