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Portland bookstore marks Inauguration Day by giving away 100 copies of 'Think Little'

Broadway Books in Portland gave away 100 free books to celebrate the inauguration of Joe Biden Wednesday. It’s a tradition they hope to continue every four years.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland bookstore is marking Inauguration Day 2021 with the gift of literature.  

For the second time, Broadway Books gave away free books on the same day the leader of our country was sworn in.

Words have the power to inspire and unite. As the country turns the page to a new chapter on Inauguration Day, Broadway books shared the wonder of words with their customers.

People lined up, socially distanced, Wednesday morning for a free copy of Wendell Berry’s "Think Little."

“I really respect Broadway Books and love their recommendations. So, if they think it’s worth giving out – I think it’ll be worth reading,” customer Rona Baker said.

Sally McPherson and Kim Bissell own the shop in Northeast Portland.

“Right at this moment, I’m feeling very excited, hopeful,” Bissell said Wednesday just after President Joe Biden was sworn in.  

“By reading the book we hope they find both solace and inspiration within these pages. That’s what I found when I read it,” McPherson said.

This is the second Inauguration Day book giveaway for Broadway Books.

Four years ago, customers lined up around the block to get a free copy of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

“We really liked the idea of building this tradition and we also wanted to find a way to thank our customers who had made intentional decisions to buy books from a local independent bookstore,” McPherson said.

“We’re doing this as a way to say thank you and to celebrate the fact that independent bookstores are a member of our community,” Bissell said.

"Think Little" was first published in 1972 and reprinted in 2019. It’s a collection of two essays with a message that resonates, perhaps, even more so today.

“The message was basically that we need to think little; we shouldn’t always be looking to government and corporations and organizations to solve our problems," said McPherson. "We need them as partners in solving the problems, but there’s also an element of personal accountability and responsibility. How can I be a better neighbor, a better community member, a steward of the land? And we really like that notion of what steps can we each take to make this world a better place to live?”  

Bissell and McPherson shared their favorite passages from the book with KGW.

“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.”

To learn more about Broadway Books visit broadwaybooks.net