There was a piece on CNN this morning about Hollywood celebrities who support Barack Obama (Barbra Streisand, Matt Damon, plus a multitude of others) versus those who support John McCain (a shorter list, including Sylvester Stallone and James Caan.) But there was no mention of literary stars and where their votes are going.
In the case of Ayelet Waldman ("Love and Other Impossible Pursuits") there is no question. Waldman is currently heading up a project (being run out of her living room) called "Books for Barack." She is using her connections to well-known authors (including husband Michael Chabon – "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," "The Yiddish Policeman's Union," etc.) to solicit copies of signed books, including some rare and first-edition copies.
For every $250 a donor gives to Obama's campaign through Ayelet's MyBarackObama website, he or she will receive a mystery bag of 10 of the books Ayelet has collected. (She promises that the picks will be assembled randomly and not even she will know which 10 books go to which donor – although she tantalizes on her website by suggesting that "your bag could contain a signed first edition copy of Alice Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones,' a signed first edition copy of Stephen King's 'Hearts in Atlantis' or a fine collection of poetry by a writer you've been waiting to discover.")
It beats the heck out of a bumper sticker as far as I'm concerned.
Books will be sent out starting on Friday, Sept. 26.