From Broadway Books in Portland, OR:
On Inauguration Day 2017, Broadway Books gave away copies of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This gesture was so well received, we decided to select a book to give away on this year’s Inauguration Day.
After much deliberation, the book we selected is Wendell Berry’s Think Little. This slim collection of two essays (first published fifty years ago and reprinted in 2019 by Counterpoint) is a timeless call-to-action, connecting the personal to the public, the little to the big. In both essays, “Think Little” and “A Native Hill,” Berry sows the seeds of responsibility as caretakers of the land, the environment, and the community, addressing the personal integrity of each person’s life and urging that people observe, respect, appreciate, and value them.
“But the citizen who is willing to Think Little, and accepting its discipline of that, to go ahead on his own, is already solving the problem. A man who is trying to live as a neighbor to his neighbors will have a lively and practical understanding of the work of peace and brotherhood, and let there be no mistake about it—he is doing that work.”
“We must abandon arrogance and instead stand in awe….It is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that we will be able to remain in it.”
We decided to do the Inauguration Day book giveaway in part as a way to give back to the local community in gratitude for customers making intentional decisions to buy books from a local independent bookstore during the pandemic. With climate change leading to raging fires that are causing so much destruction in the West, and a pandemic that is equally raging and threatening lives and livelihoods, a marvelous little book of wisdom counseling personal responsibility and accountability seemed appropriate.
Berry urges people to look not solely to government or organizations to solve pressing issues but to “think little” and find meaningful steps each person can take to be a better neighbor, a better community member, and a better steward of the land. It is a beautifully written book, poetic in its descriptions of the earth and its gifts, such as the music of streams and the joy of a heron’s flight. We hope that people getting this book will find both solace and inspiration within its pages.
On Wednesday, January 20th, beginning at 10:30 am Broadway Books will give away copies of Think Little to the first 100 people who come to the store and request a copy. Customers should line up from the door, safely distanced and wearing a mask, down the block to the west, toward 17th Avenue. One book per customer only. This is an in-person-only giveaway.