The Annapolis Bookstore

A short block from Maryland’s historic State House, down a white brick street narrow with specialty shops, The Annapolis Bookstore is exactly what a bookstore ought to be: jammed with literature, old and new, on shelves that climb from creaking wood floor to high plaster ceiling.

Close with the antiquated must of well-turned pages, yet alive with browsers hunting the wild assortment, the store is heavy on maritime lore and diverse literary classics. The shelves hold everything from a tattered Bantam edition of Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche to that big leather-bound tome in just the right color yellow to set off your living room decor.

So what if you can’t read Danish?

Owner Mary Adams runs the place as an eclectic extension of her personality. Where else will you find a shopkeeper who brings ’em in with ukulele lessons and the annual Take a Book to Bed week,  a ‘read-in’ featuring a bed in the shopfront window where customers entice wandering tourists and passing readers back to their passions. (According to the Capital Gazette, last February featured “Dangerous Ladies: Take a Book to Bed”; on Valentine’s Day, Adams added lingerie to the mix; once, a frisky couple was asked to leave!)

How fortunate for me to have an Aunt and Uncle living just down the street, willing to make an introduction that opened the shop’s doors to my own work. So at precisely something past 7 on Friday evening (tight parking in the narrow passages inspires ‘Annapolis time’) Mary assembled an intimate group of residents for a chat about my novels, Patchworks and Two Pumps for the Body Man.

As is always the case, I learned a few things about my work from the discussion. Foremost, the answer to that vexing question — So, what is your book about?

Also learned: time to follow up on those audio versions.

Also: support for America’s diplomats in the Foreign Service, respect for our mission among private citizens, is heartfelt and sincere.

And this. Assault rifle owners can be likened to Mustang owners. The industry will gladly sell them all the after-market goods they want, accessories to personalize their merchandise after the style of their owner. Practically no two are alike. Assault rifles are extravagant commodities, less useful, sporting tools than expressions of some greater egotism and personal self-image.

Which isn’t to say that one’s gun is proof of one’s personality. Rather, it’s to affirm that the possession of these superfluous, but no less deadly, luxury items has nothing at all to do with utility and the 2nd Amendment, and everything to do with vanity.

Just the product for the boastful yet cowardly scaramouche of Italian burlesque.

Annapolis. There George Washington shaped the nature of our Republic by resigning his commission as Commander-in-Chief after the Revolution rather than assume the role of king and despot. There we learn the true strength in our union comes of laying down arms. Not bearing them.

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