Every year, fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss uses his Worldbuilders charity to raise money for Heifer International, an organization that works to "provide families with livestock, seeds, equipment and training in sustainable agriculture." (Actually, Rothfuss does more than that—all year, the money from his online store, the Tinker's Packs, goes to Worldbuilders.)
Despite only having published two books—to be fair, two incredibly popular books—Rothfuss is a big deal in fantasy, which means he has no shortage of fans to help make his annual fundraiser a similarly big deal—last year, Heifer International got a check for over $300,000. That's enough to buy a lot of cows. And goats. And ducks. And bees. And there's perks for those who donate, too—things like super-rare, fancy-pants editions of books, signed ARCs, and swag from Rothfuss and his nerd royalty friends.
Last year, as part of the whole Worldbuilders deal, Rothfuss teamed up with artist Lee Moyer to put out a Literary Pin-Up Calendar, which "each month featured a pin-up based on a classic literary figure." This year they're doing it again, with a focus on fantasy and a whole lot of big-name authors, from Neil Gaiman to Ray Bradbury, giving the project the thumbs up—a few days ago, even George R.R. Martin took time off from writing about football to alert his readers that Cersei Lannister would be a part of the calendar. The calendars are at once totally ridiculous and totally great, straddling that weird pin-up line between campy and sexy, and I suspect that, with strategic distribution, they could solve overnight the whole problem of "Why don't teenage boys read books?"
You can see more about the 2013 calendar here, and I'll just say that one of these would make an excellent gift if somebody wanted to buy a certain Mercury blogger a Christmas present. Just something to keep in mind.