Issue of March 11, 2012

If flowers aren’t yet blooming in your part of the country at least you can comfort yourself with longer, lighter evenings. Later sunsets mean more time for reading outdoors, perhaps even different types of books. What kinds do you prefer? I like outdoorsy types myself, not necessarily those based on physical activity but certainly those with a sense of “otherness” or incorporating larger places, events, things, people. Our contributors have their own reading changes as we show in their columns this week.

James Baldwin was more than a great American writer. Nicki Leone found that listening to a 1961 interview with him changed her life “when his voice came over the radio and said everything that I had ever said to myself about the nature of art and identity, and said it so very beautifully” as she herself says in A Question of the Beat: Rediscovering James Baldwin.

A gorgeous bookmark gold gilt ornate letters on thick matte black card that advertised a nineteenth-century book caught Laine Farley’s eye and stirred her interest in the illustrator whose beautiful work received as great a notice as the author’s by the book’s reviewers. It’s a fascinating story: Taine’s Pyrenees: Useful and Beautiful.

For Katherine Hauswirth it was the melding of reading and eating, which she discusses in her review of two books with “good words” that revolved around “finely prepared food.” These two books reminded her of what “good food and friends can provide even, or perhaps especially, in a life that’s sometimes estranged from the very finest flavors” in Senses and Soul.

Can it truly be that Elizabeth Creith knows the real reason that we never have enough bookshelf space—no matter how many bookshelves we build or bookcases we buy? What is the deep dark secret? Find out in Out of the Dark.

What are your comfort books? We all know about comfort food but what kind of books do you turn when you need familiarity? Lauren Roberts shares what is currently comforting her in Restorative Reading.

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