Happy November! As the holidays draw near, we hope books are on your list to give! That’s why, in honor of #GivingTuesday, we’ll be donating one book to Big House Books for every book purchased from our website this month.

Big House Books is a non-profit, volunteer organization that sends free books by request to prisoners in Mississippi correctional facilities in order to promote literacy and be a vehicle of change for prison reform. George Malvaney, author of the forthcoming Cups Up: How I Organized a Klavern, Plotted a Coup, Survived Prison, Graduated College, Fought Polluters, and Started a Business, shares his thoughts on Big House Books below.

“I was sweating profusely as I strolled through the outdoor booths at the Mississippi Book Festival in 2015. It was a typical August day in Mississippi—hot and muggy. I had just exited the main tent filled with aspiring authors hawking their books when I noticed a booth, located in the sweltering sun, that caught my attention. The logo on this booth had caught my eye and drawn me in. It appeared to be an open book with bars on it and a person standing behind the bars and looking out.

An odd feeling came over me as I approached this booth and asked the volunteer manning it what they were promoting. She introduced herself as Kelsey, a representative for Big House Books, and began explaining that they promote literacy in prisons and work to get books into prisons for convicts to read. Kelsey was trying to educate me on the need for convicts in Mississippi prisons to have books, but I was hardly listening. I was drifting back in time over thirty years ago to a time when I was a convict behind bars starving for a book to read. I was vividly reliving the terrible feeling of being locked in a cell with nothing to do and nothing to read when Kelsey handed me a three-ring notebook filled with hand-written letters from convicts asking for books. I politely pushed the notebook of letters aside without ever glancing at them and told her, ‘I already know exactly what they say.’

By this time the odd feeling that had come over me as I approached the booth had become an eerily emotional feeling. I dropped a $100.00 bill in the donation jar and went on my way, thankful that there are organizations like Big House Books working to get books to convicts who, like I once was, are filled with despair and starving for books to read.”

George Malvaney is best known for his work following British Petroleum’s oil spill in 2010. He spent more than fourteen years with a nationally recognized environmental contracting firm overseeing sales, marketing, and filed operations. Prior to that, he worked as an environmental scientist at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Today, he is a partner at Enhanced Environmental and Emergency Services (E3) and Malvaney and Associates. Cups Up: How I Organized a Klavern, Plotted a Coup, Survived Prison,Graduated College, Fought Polluters, and Started a Business will be published in May 2018. Find it at your local bookstore.