Usually at airports, I buy magazines about home decor, travel or food and wine for entertainment during flights. But last week at LAX, I found in Hudson News something much more interesting — blank books. Yes, blank books! But they’re so much more than that.
They are journals created by the women of Made by DWC. DWC is the Downtown Women’s Center and 100% of the proceeds from their products go to programs and services for homeless and low-income women at the center. The Hudson News by gate 71 in the LAX United terminal has their products and you can visit the Made by DWC site for more retailers.
While I got journals, they also make soy candles with repurposed containers, newsprint picture frames, and recycled global/tribal fabric pouches for cosmetics and other little things.
The journals give new life to vintage book covers. The women learn the Japanese method of bookbinding, and they repurpose discarded and donated hardcover books into one-of-a-kind journals. I chose two journals with travel themes.
The red book is The Journey Among Warriors, and Made by DWC included a few pages of the original book along with a handful of fresh new blank pages. The original pages tell me that the book, published in 1943, was “manufactured under wartime conditions in conformity with all government regulations controlling the use of paper and other materials.” The Table of Contents show that the book’s chapters traveled through Nigeria, Cairo, Teheran, Russia, China, and India.
The navy blue book is perfect for me. It’s titled The Far East — a region of the world I’m drawn to — and it also says Michigan on the spine as it was published in 1958 by the University of Michigan, my grad school alma mater.
Googling the book, I learn it was written by a Far Eastern correspondent for the New York Tribune, who had lived in China for many years. A few maps and pages from the original book are mingled with new blank pages.
The circles on this map may be from nearly 75 years ago, but people are probably looking at similar maps of this region today, for a different reason.
This book also speaks of war: “In five months Japan had conquered a large part of a continent and stood on the border of India and in islands just north of the coast of Australia.” Other pages talk of the Japanese occupation of Nanking. Which reminded me of a book I cannot ever forget reading, The Rape of Nanking.
Oh boy, much heavier stuff than what I usually buy at Hudson News!
Really though, I’d rather buy something where proceeds will go to a cause, and more Hudson News locations should sell products that support nonprofits in their airports’ cities.
I look forward to doing something really creative and travel-inspired with these journals.