“I love the feel and weight and smell of books.”
“Save trees. Read ebooks.”
Finally, in desperation, I shout back at those annoying voices in my head, Can’t we all just get along?!?
And we can, because as you will discover once you own an ereader, too– it’s not a battle between ways of reading, it’s not an either/or, but a brand new “AND” way to read books. A way to read books that allows you to adjust the font to the most comfortable size, that makes an entire library lightweight and easy to take with you, a way of reading where nobody knows whether you’re reading classic or erotica, literature or genre, nobody can judge you by the cover of your book, just for starters.
Which brings me back to the disassembling and new creation of personal library. Paperbacks and hardcovers have gone to Half-Price Books and charities by the boxful. I still have 6 or 8 bookshelves, mind you. And some boxes of books. But as many as I still have, I did have three or four times as many. Today I brought out a box of “keepers” and realized out of 30 or 40, only 4 were true keepers, and those only until I can replace them with something more worth keeping.
One of those books is a battered, five-times read paperback, My Name Is Asher Lev. And in my ongoing effort to build a personal library that truly represents what I love and/or find fascinating (or need for research purposes) rather than every book I’ve ever purchased in my life, I am going to upgrade this paperback to a hardcover, once I find one.
I hadn’t added it to my goodreads library until today. This is what I said about it:
This book grabbed me by the throat with the first sentence, the first two paragraphs:
“My name is Asher Lev, the Asher Lev, about whom you have read in newspapers and magazines, about whom you talk so much at your dinner affairs and cocktail parties, the notorious and legendary Lev of the Brooklyn Crucifixion.
I am an observant Jew. Yes, of course Jews do not paint crucifixions. As a matter of fact, observant Jews do not paint at all–in theway that I am painting. So strong words are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated: I am a traitor, an aspostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, my friends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, a blasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousand years.”
As a writer who comes from a deeply religious family, I identified with the issues in Asher Lev’s life, though his struggles were more profound than mine. How many times did I find myself approaching an idea, a scene, an action, even a word, with the voice in my mind, “What is he going to say about this?” or “Wait until she reads this part!” and the 9-year-old girl cringed and the adult writer wrote it anyway. So yes, I identified so totally with the struggles, even as I was fascinated by the world and issues that were alien to me.
I was introduced to Chaim Potok by The Chosen, another favorite. But My Name is Asher Lev touched me in a deeper way.
And now, to find that hardcover.
P.S. It’s not too late to enter and win my contest for a free book of your choice from Book Depository!