The Daily

On the Shelf

Mourning Lincoln, and Other News

February 15, 2016 | by

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  • Happy Presidents’ Day! Martha Hodes’s Mourning Lincoln has won the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. The prize committee described the NYU Professor’s book as “a stunning and enlightening work that underscores the rage that Lincoln’s assassination fueled, the outpouring of grief that resulted, and how the anger and confusion that boiled across the country that summer influenced the failures of Reconstruction.”
  • Related: there are comic books devoted to the lives of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, and, obviously, Donald Trump. 
  • Irin Carmon, author of the recent Notorious RBG, discusses Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous cross-aisle friendship with her judicial adversary, the late Antonin Scalia. “Ironically, Scalia’s death has laid bare just how endangered such comity now is in Washington.” So don’t expect to see an ironic political takeoff of Unlikely Friendships at your local Urban Outfitters any time soon, which I’d been privately cherishing as a million-dollar idea. 
  • It’ll surprise no one that reading is good for the brain: a recent Emory University study found that “reading can heighten connectivity in the left cortex of the brain after the fact. The activity is potential evidence that while we imagine the events in a book, the brain activity allows us to feel immersion.” The buried heartbreaker? Apparently Pew finds that only 72 percent of Americans read a book in the last year. Which is, yes, a passing grade, but also a C-.
  • Speaking of! What do “millionaire entrepreneurs” read? According to this article, exactly what you’d expect: The Art of War, The Tipping Point, and, obviously, The Elements of Style. Quoth Leon Rbibo, president of The Pearl Source, “If you can’t write—if you can’t clearly and concisely express yourself, your goals, your objectives, and your strategy you’re not going to make it very far as an entrepreneur. Rewrite your elevator pitch after reading this book. I guarantee you’ll impress yourself.” Well, that too.