Between the internet and my e-book reader, long periods of time can go by without me cracking open a book for pleasure. The other day while perusing a second-hand establishment set up in an old barn, I came across an old leather-bound 20 volume set of biographies. Published in 1904 by the University Society, it was titled “The Makers of American History.” The asking price was the princely sum of $18. I thought long and hard about getting them. Physical books take much more space, and care, than virtual volumes. Not too long ago I sent hundreds of pounds of books to the second-hand stores in order to squeeze into my new library. Also, who knows if they’re any good or not? It could be 20 heavy volumes of unreadable junk. I ended up getting them, and solving the quality evaluation problem by taking them over to my ma’s place, and asking her to take a look at them for me. She’s retired, and always has time to spare for a few books. Returning a few days later, I found out what she thought of them. She had chosen the volume on Jefferson to start with. She loudly opined “He’s a damn anti-federalist.” “Who,” I asked, “Jefferson or the biographer.” “Both of them. Never could figure out why the Democrats think Jefferson is such a hero. Always ranting about states’ rights. He really wanted to hobble the Federal Government.” She went on ranting for several minutes, while I thanked her and picked up the box of books. As I left I saw a gleam in her eye, and the slightest upturn of a smile. I have a suspicion she knows she torpedoed my planned fishing weekend. Sitting on the couch, the softness of old leather against my hand. The author, a professor from Yale, writes in a quaint old dialect. (English, I’m told it is.) The book even has a smell that computers and e-book readers can’t duplicate. Every once in a while I pause in my reading and let my eyes gaze out the window at the shipping traffic in the inlet.