Tom Eblen’s recent column about local bookstores addressed something most people in Lexington would agree upon: local book stores are invaluable. However, the article left out Black Swan Books and its owner, J. Michael Courtney. He is a local treasure; his store a true testament to the fight against the digital age.
Courtney is not only here to serve the community, but he also uses his endless knowledge and selfless dedication to Lexington to help local universities, aspiring scholars and people of all ages with anything relating to books, manuscripts and research interests.
I also frequent Morris Bookshop, but firmly believe the two institutions serve different purposes. Morris inundates the community with the newest books from the Bluegrass and the nation; it relentlessly supports local authors and academics as well. That invaluable function cannot be overlooked.
Black Swan, however, provides customers with an opportunity to engage with historical literature. Courtney’s display cases of rare and signed books give children and adults alike the chance to handle pieces of history that are typically found only at museums. Courtney is the curator of memories, tradition and the historical moment. Only one visit to Black Swan makes that evident to every patron. I hope everybody gets to make that visit.