Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lincoln, Power, and Library Cards.

About a week ago, I started reading Team of Rivals, a non-fiction book that biographically relates the "political genius" of Abraham Lincoln during his presidency as well as his rise to power. The book also gives back-stories on Lincoln's adversaries bidding for the Republican nomination in the Election of 1860: William Henry Seward, Salmon Chase, and Edward Bates... all brought up with ready access to superior educations, afforded them by their relatively well-off circumstances. On the other hand, Lincoln was the son of an illiterate father and could only afford any kind of formal schooling for a few years, after which he had to work to help support his family. From then on, he was completely self-taught through an incredible and insatiable love of reading. From those humble beginnings, he grew to become one of the greatest and most memorable leaders this country (and dare I say, the world) has ever known.

I am only about 100 pages into this very weighty book, but already I've been inspired by Lincoln's lesser-known past. Books are filled with knowledge, and as they say, knowledge is power... so, as evidenced by Lincoln and by logic, it would follow that reading is the greatest way to gain access to the power that any given person has brewing inside of them-- makes me think about Teach For America and how important their mission is.

TFA tangent aside (perhaps saved for another time), I have decided to tap into my potential with reading as my guide. A few days ago, I renewed my public library card... and today being a glorious (and free) day-off from work, I headed to that great building of books to take the first step toward improving my mind. I had to restrain myself from checking out every interesting spine that I saw! I am now the proud borrower of:

  • a set of Berlitz Beginning French audio cassettes (to be used in conjunction with my saved French I textbook and flashcards) Parlais-vous français? :)
  • 3 books on coffee-- I want to turn my current occupation as a barista into the optimal learning opportunity
  • 2 soundtrack CDs: Slumdog Millionaire and Juno (so excited!!)
  • and finally, a novel by an author recommended by a good friend (the best kind of novel in my book): A Pale View of the Hills
Again, this was me compromising with myself (and trying to be realistic about the number of books I can actually read in a certain time-frame). 

Now, I am sitting in a (different) Starbucks, bumming free wireless off the bagel shop next door, already two chapters into the very interesting Coffee: The Epic of a Commodity by German H.E. Jacob. Suggestible person that I am, I imbibed a deliciously caffeinated (and cheap!) Soy Cappuccino as I read... 

Goodness! I have missed reading. So glad college is done so I can learn on my own terms...

Back to the books for me. :)

1 comment:

  1. oh man. I just read Stones Into Schools, The sequel to Three Cups of Tea... SO GOOD... and available at Ocee library

    And here's some cutting edge coffee geekery, brought to you in part by my (former) classmates: