Community assets come in all shapes, sizes, genres and volumes. Some die as times and tastes and patterns change. Since 1969, against all odds, one asset has endured in spite of the mass-marketed allure of rapacious chains and the anesthetization of the American brain. Left Bank Books, born on Skinker near Delmar, now and for almost three decades at the corner of Euclid and McPherson avenues, is the best independent bookstore in the region, and one of the few with the necessary resilience and chutzpah to stay alive. Although its owners and investors are not averse to earning a buck, their commitment is to deliver good books and periodicals, as well as the good men and women who write them to the readers of the region. The atmosphere is relaxed; the staff is friendly and helpful; there is a resident cat. If something you want isn't on the shelves, it 1) probably isn't worth reading or 2) is out of stock and 3) will be ordered for you in a jiffy.