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Good morning, readers and book lovers!  Here we are again with no contributing diarist for the forum today. [Cue tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth.] Three paragraphs are all it takes to write a diary about a book that changed your life, people, so let’s get busy. Feel free to kosmail me after the discussion this morning—or even during the discussion, if you like.

For breakfast on this cold February Friday we have delicious citrus bread with real butter and strawberry jam, plus strong Assam tea with milk and sugar.

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 Do help yourselves (be careful, the bread is quite crumbly) and follow me into the parlor, where we will discuss today’s topic.

Which book do you really regret not buying when you had the chance?

Every week or two I receive catalogues from Daedalus, a purveyor of books, DVDs, and CDs in neighboring Maryland. (In mythology Daedalus, the architect of the labyrinth, was also the father of Icarus, the overconfident teenager who flew too close to the sun. The hot rays melted Icarus’ wax wings, so he fell into the sea and drowned.)

One day, while reading the children’s catalogue, I saw a description of an interesting-sounding book called The Endless Steppe, by Esther Hautzig.
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As with all Daedalus products, it was offered at a very low price. I’m always looking for interesting books about courageous and talented girls to read to my granddaughter when she’s older, and on that count this book qualified admirably. The Endless Steppe recounts the story of Esther and her family who, like many Jews in Soviet territory (in this case, Vilna in Poland) were uprooted in 1941. The Rudomin family was shipped by cattle car to Siberia. There Esther spent the six years of the war, attending school and trying to scrape a living. After the war she came to the United States to begin a new life.

I’m not sure why I didn’t hasten to order this book. Perhaps I was suffering from a sudden fit of penuriousness—you know, when one’s inner voice suddenly proclaims, “You’ve spent enough already, do not buy another thing.”

So I didn’t buy it. A few months later Mrs. Hautzig’s obituary appeared in The Washington Post, which made me regret not buying the book even more. Of course, I could easily obtain a copy from a real or online bookstore, but it wouldn’t be that edition from Daedalus at that time.

So that was the one that away. Which one got away from YOU? Tell us, we’re all ears!

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