There are plenty of great causes that deserve your donations and your time. But here's a neat way to simultaneously support a local business and help others inform themselves in a grim situation:

From Michelle Robertson at the San Francisco Chronicle:

On Friday night, a "mysterious benefactor" purchased 50 copies of [1984] to be given away free at Booksmith in Haight-Ashbury. According to store owner Christin Evans, the generous citizen lives in the neighborhood ... Copies of the novel were snatched up within a couple of hours, but another benefactor soon stepped up to purchase copies of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" and Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts" for the public.

It's a small thing, but it could have a huge impact.