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I’ve been in what’s vaguely referred to as ‘the book business’ for a fairly long time. I’ve been a book reviewer, of course, but also a retail bookseller, a copy editor, an Arts & Entertainment writer, a Books section editor, and, as you see, a Books columnist.  

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Once the new year was well underway, I resumed making the rounds of second-hand bookshops and charity shops – as bookish people do, despite any New Year’s resolutions they might have made. I’d been gone from the book-buying scene for a couple of weeks, so I was curious to know what new-old g…

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Back in 1947, Macmillan brought out an odd, earnest little book called “How to Use Books.” It was written by a man named Lionel McColvin, a once-famous 20th century librarian who quite literally devoted his life to books. He traveled the world, visiting libraries big and small at their invit…

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If you’re lucky—and if you aren’t selflessly devoting your time to things like emergency medical services or highway safety or the long-haul trucking on which so much of the rest of the season depends—the holidays represent an island of rest. True, you might have lots of traveling to do, fam…

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You come back home from Little League coaching and see the cat lolling lazily in the sunlight. You notice that you still have your game whistle hanging around your neck. 

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I’ve had an infectious quote ringing in my head for weeks, one of those quotes that robs you of your peace—and just won’t go away.  

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Around about the 1950s, the American literary establishment—never exactly nimble on its feet—noticed its world had changed a decade earlier.