Here in my new home, I have with me the books that have meant the most to me in all my previous life. I moved about one-third of my personal library to keep with me here forever, and some others have been selected from the rest to help stock the new library at The Legacy Midtown Park. But for some reason, I was uneasy today: Do I actually have ALL those very few books of greatest importance to me? Might I have mistakenly left some behind? And so I began to check for them: on the six shelves of the very tallest bookcase that I brought with me…on the much shorter but double-shelved case…and on both sides of the small table that is actually a double bookcase itself. And, praise be: I’ve found them all! These are the ones I must keep, and keep reading, for the rest of my life — and I sincerely recommend that you join me, if you can…in reading these, or in selecting and keeping those of such value in your own lives:
A children’s encyclopedia, printed in England so many years ago that I can read in it about early “aeroplanes,” spelled just that way! A cousin of my father from New York presented it to me during a visit when I was only six, and had inscribed it: “The world is yours, to improve and enjoy.” My children — their children — and their grandchildren have already shared it with me…
“Precious Bane,” a Shropshire novel by Mary Webb — the story of a young woman who overcomes a very visible handicap. When I saw a first edition in a bookstore, I bought it immediately for $40, which I didn’t really have at the time to spend on any book, but I spent it, anyway…
“The Dwarf” — a frightening tale about a king who falls under the pernicious influence of a trusted adviser; it comes with this warning: “Every king has his dwarf…”
“Generation to Generation: Personal Reflections of a Chassidic Legacy,” by acclaimed psychotherapist Dr. Abraham Twerski.
“Dreamers of the Day,” by Mary Doria Russell. An amazingly thoughtful and revelatory fictionalization of the most influential Middle East policymakers before Israel came to be a nation.
Harriet Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.