Gerald J. Prokopowicz’s Did Lincoln Own Slaves?
Quail Ridge Books & MusicEngland has Shakespeare and America has Lincoln: indestructible national gods that manage to survive the relentless exploitation of their images. If you’re looking for a President’s Day gift (and who isn’t?), consider Gerald J. Prokopowicz’s Did Lincoln Own Slaves? Set up in a Q&A format, the book is a peek at the icon’s different faces: as a boy, as a rail-splitter, as a president, as a man. The author represents Lincoln not only through the codes of politics but also those of celebrity. Did people think he was ugly? (Yes.) Was he manic-depressive? (Depressive, but not manic.) What kind of father was he? (Permissive.) All these questions use the signs of popularity and media hearsay as a means of deconstructing the mysterious image of Lincoln, from Mount Rushmore to the penny in your pocket. Bruna Zacka

Prokopowicz also appears Feb. 20 at Durham’s Regulator Bookshop. Both readings begin at 7 p.m.