Lincoln never fails to inspire me. He’s more than just my middle name, although he is that as well. He’s the inspiration behind several things I’ve written in this space. And when I’m in a bookstore, as I was yesterday, I always know what subject to look for. And, fortunately, Lincoln books are always available to be had.
I was in a bookstore on Cape Cod yesterday. It’s the kind of place that couldn’t survive in too many places anymore. But, fortunately, a mix of locals with a literary bent, and an influx of tourists like me who want something to read at the beach, conspire to keep the place going. And that’s the sort of a world I want to be in, to be honest about it.
Wal-mart comes in and puts book chains out of business. Or Amazon comes along and gives readers a whole lot more choices than even the largest used bookstore can offer. Or, most disastrously of all, words printed on a page lose ground–slowly but steadily–to e-readers and other electronic devices. All of these factors put pressure on a book store like the one I was in yesterday. But they keep going, as if to thumb their nose at the forces arrayed against them. And I say good on them for doing so.
I had a range of perhaps five or six Lincoln books to choose from, and I wanted to get more than the one that I got. But I picked out Lincoln’s Sword by Douglas L. Wilson, and I’m working my way through it, whenever time at the beach or late nights in the summer cabin allow for it. I’ve already learned some things I didn’t know, such as that the version of Lincoln’s Farewell Address to Springfield in 1861 isn’t actually the way he delivered the speech to the people assembled on that day.
I have another week here on Cape Cod, which should be more than enough time to finish off the book. And, if possible, I’ll go back and pick up something else on my way out of town. It’s for a good cause, after all.