Based in Clifton Park, N.Y., Books for Troops was formed in April 2010 by retired school teacher Ellen Keegan to gather books to send to U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Keegan wanted to send “care packages for the mind,” providing a variety of books to soldiers that help ease their fears, loneliness, boredom, and stress, and to allow them a temporary escape from the horrors that they see and live daily. She also hoped to raise awareness of the sacrifices, both big and small, that our troops are making to protect us and to remind them that they are not forgotten. Her organization ‘s primary expense is postage to ship boxes of donated books.
“When I learned of Ellen’s group I wanted to help,” Bailey said. “I read every night to unwind before bed. I can’t imagine anyone who needs to unwind more than our soldiers. Some of them literally re-read the same few books because they’ve got nothing else. Books for Troops is a great way to help them and let them know we appreciate them.”
Bailey, who lives in Greece, N.Y., set his novel in Durham, N.C., where he worked for the famed Durham Bulls while in college in the early 1990s. He later moved on to Baseball America magazine, where he spent six years covering minor league baseball. He tapped into his experiences, peopling his novel with composites of real-life characters he encountered working in ballparks, from program vendors and bat boys all the way up into the front-office ranks.
The Greatest Show on Dirt, which follows a young man surviving his first season working in minor league baseball, has been reviewed and featured by the Raleigh News & Observer, Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews, and Los Angeles Daily News, with the colorful characters and realistic backdrop frequently lauded in particular. It is available in both print and ebook format, from all online retailers.
Learn more about Books for Troops at http://www.booksfortroopscp.webs.com/
Learn more about James Bailey at http://jamesbailey.us/