I love used book sales. When I lived on the Upper West Side, I used to stock up on books at the St. Agnes branch of the New York Public Library’s used book sales, which they held several times a year. Probably a good number of my books come from those sales.
So when I heard about the College Women’s Club used book sale last weekend, I shuffled my oldest child into the car and off we went.
We picked up two books for him, and a couple for his baby sister at home. Even though I have virtually zero time for reading these days (or anything else), I wanted to pick up a few books for myself, hoping that sometime in the next few months—or years—I will get to them.
Searching through the stacks of books, I nearly squealed in delight when I came across Bernard Malamud’s “The Assistant.” Now I already have a copy of “The Assistant” and have read it many times. But this one was a different size, and had a different copyright date and cover. And it is a book I love so much I just had to have another copy (plus, it was only a dollar).
“The Assistant” is a book I return to again and again. I cannot adequately describe the beauty of the book (I leave that to the book critics), but I will tell you that it is a deeply moving story of a struggling Jewish shopkeeper in post-war Brooklyn and a young Gentile drifter who comes to help him (for not such noble reasons…but that’s all I will give away).
I return to the book when I have tried reading others that I cannot finish for whatever reason. I return to it when I haven’t read it in a while, simply because I miss it and I know it will not disappoint. It is like an old friend I haven’t seen in a while, but with whom I can talk for hours.
“The Assistant” is what you might call my “go-to” book. (My second go-to book is “Gone with the Wind.” I have two copies of that one, too.)
What is your go-to book? Sing its praises in the comments below.
Photo from Anika Malone’s flickr