A Rarefied Pedigree Exposed in Salt by Mark Kurlansky

The only mineral we eat is so ubiquitous as to be invisible in the context of the modern home. It is relegated to a shaker in most houses, a grinder in rare other occasions, but in general, salt is given no place of high praise. Lambasted for its effects on the heart, added to recipes in pinches and tastes, salt is too mundane for most authors to contemplate beyond the mise en scène. Not so for Mark Kurlansky.

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Writer John Gimlette Has Much to Offer Armchair Travelers

Armchair travelers have a lot to see in the books of John Gimlette. A British barrister based in London, Gimlette has produced a handful of excellent travel books concerning some of the most unexpected places in the world. His skill and meticulous research reveal how absolutely fascinating these infrequently traveled locales turn out to be.

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Undercover Magic in Lauren Groff's Florida

There is a deliberate magic drawn from the ordinary in these eleven short stories by Lauren Groff. Florida presents the sunshine state to her audience as if it were something dragged from the swamps, glistening and stinking of salt and violence, yet beautiful in its indifference. Something that prowls and blooms and learns to bear the savagery of heat.

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Reading Roundup with the MSB Staff

You've seen your booksellers around Main Street. Although they don't don a uniform, you can recognize them by the dazed expressions they wear. It is the consequence of living somewhere between the real world and the book world. This is a fuzzy place where Holden Caulfield sometimes sips coffee in Summit and Elizabeth Bennett strolls through Fisher Farm, a hazy enclave informed by whatever book your bookseller is currently reading. Here's a snapshot of their bookshelves and a peak at the half-world they currently inhabit.

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