Drowning in fiction, soldiers deployed to Iraq have to rely on the Internet or family and friends to send them non-fiction books because AAFES books shelves at Iraq Post Exchanges have few non-fiction options.
Photographer Chris Maddaloni and I have taken an informal survey of the five AAFES BX/PX we’ve visited during our embed in Iraq. Look at the picture to the right because it features the one non-fiction book we’ve found so far.
That’s right, the Oprah biography written by Kittey Kelly is the one and only non-fiction book we could find. Not a biography on any former soldiers, a history on World War II or one of the many books written on Iraq or Afghanistan. No, the one non-fiction book soldiers can buy at their local PX is one on the talk show queen.
Is this what soldiers want?
Full disclosure, we haven’t contacted any AAFES officials to ask why they don’t stock any non-fiction books, but the typical answer is “that’s what soldiers want.” So we ask you: Are these romance novels and sultry fictions what you want to read on a deployment.
Sitting in my fair share of PAX terminals it seems most soldiers are reading a non-fiction paperback.