Issue of January 29, 2012

Some parts of the country are still snowed under, and will be for some time to come, but where I live and where Nicki lives, each of us on separate coasts, spring is beginning to peek its head out. Seed catalogs are arriving. Dirt is being fertilized. And the pull of certain books, lighter perhaps than those chosen in winter’s darkness but no less intriguing, is affecting our reading choices. To that end, we have some essays and reviews that should help bring a little bit of spring to your reading lives—even in snow-white surroundings.

Books read in high school, most often involuntarily, involve classics that may or may not later turn into favorites. Exploring why that happens and what caused one to do so for Nicki Leone is something she explores in Why I am Reading Moby-Dick.

Bookmarks of old often have rich looks that are missing today. Among them are extraordinarily beautiful engravings. Laine Farley found three that, though different, had unusual scenes and a similar style. Could she discover their history? Find out in Little Landscapes of Daintiness and Elegance.

Luminous reading is not nearly as common as book blurbs would lead one to believe, but Katherine Hauswirth found, in Look Again, two books that fit that word perfectly by being “cheering reminders that the world . . . is worth our attentive study, ready to repay our efforts with new insights and ever-evolving perspective.”

Guest columnist Mike  Yawn returns with an interview with Jane Leavy to talk about one of her favorite sports people and the subject of her popular biography in 2010 in Sandy Koufax: Dodger Legend.

Can one ever have too many dictionaries? Elizabeth Creith ponders that question not necessarily for herself—since she has more than two dozen—but for those who think a woman’s shoes should outnumber her dictionaries in The Dictionary Queen.

Most of us have seen pictures of books arranged by color. But does anyone really do that? And would it work? Lauren Roberts has. In Coloring Books, she shares why she made the decision to go colorful and how the process seems to be working.

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