Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Bookstores: Our Yom Kippur Minhag

Photo:  FreeFoto.com
Last Saturday at the conclusion of the morning service, my father and I headed to Barnes and Noble for our annual Yom Kippur browse.  (We do our share of browsing together all year long, but we always browse together on Yom Kippur.)

Once in the store, though, we found ourselves distracted, inattentive and dismayed at how much of the merchandise we weren’t interested in browsing—calendars, bookmarks, stationery, teen fiction, Halloween books, games, puzzles and magazines.  Despite the coffee aroma wafting from the café, we did briefly peruse the classics, and I thumbed through The Emperor of All Maladies:  A Biography of Cancer.  When I indicated an interest in reading it, my father, who rarely discourages non-fiction, said, “No…you don’t want to read that.”  Still hitting a little too close to home, I guess.  A short while later, still distracted and unfocused, we headed back to temple, where we sat outdoors—enjoying sunshine and warmth—until the afternoon service.

The next day, Sunday, it was too beautiful to stay inside so we headed to Princeton, a great place to wander on a sunny, bright day.  We both knew we’d end up in Labyrinth Books, and a parking spot on Nassau Street directly across from the independent bookstore clinched it.  We didn’t spend much more time there than we had in Barnes and Noble the day before (I had to get back to the city), but oh how much more satisfying was the browsing!  I read a bit more of The Emperor of Maladies, as well as the first few pages of Anne Enright’s The Gathering, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize.  My father offered to buy it for me, but with so many unread and partially read books at home, I returned it to the shelf.  It’ll be there when I’m ready.

And now, a rainy chag gives me some welcome time to visit in Cairo with Loulou and her father in The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit:  My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

What’s your current read?