Borders Books and Music around the corner from my apartment for some of our Yom Kippur minhag in January. (You can read about our earlier Yom Kippur minhag adventures here and here.) Once in the warm and inviting store, we perused the catch-‘em-at the-door selections before weaving amongst the fiction and history shelves to compare notes on treasured favorites and to discuss new possibilities.
My father quickly pointed out Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which I’m currently reading, now that my focus and concentration are slowly starting to return. Others that we thumbed through include The Killer Angels, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Michael Shaara, a 1951 alumnus of Rutgers College, and, in that same section, the nearly-1500-page novel A Suitable Boy. We chuckled as we remembered that this particular tome was my sister’s book of choice during a solo business dinner during which a guy at the other end of the bar bought her a beer, telling the bartender, “That is the biggest book I’ve ever seen!” Also in the category of “big books” are Ayn Rand’s classics Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, both of which we browsed and talked about reading. Topping the big book category is Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, the unabridged version of which we also perused and, ironically enough, about which a friend asked this morning on Facebook: “Is it REALLY worth READING?” I don’t know. I haven’t read it...yet.
As is our custom (perhaps to balance out the many books we haven’t read?), we also pointed out and reminded each other of the many books we have read as we passed them on the shelves. This list includes several each by Philip Roth, Emil Zola, Wallace Stegner, David McCullough, W. Somerset Maugham and Barbara Ehrenreich. My own list of “previously read” includes The Scarlet Letter and a few volumes by Faulkner, among others, while my father’s more extensive “previously read” list includes Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, as well as works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Graham Greene. (For more information about my reading lists and to share yours, visit goodreads.com.)
With plenty of our own unread books at home and having had our fill of browsing, we wrapped up our afternoon with weather-appropriate bowls of steaming noodle soup from the neighborhood place across the street…a move that’s definitely not part of our Yom Kippur minhag!