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A Wintry Mix: Alan Cheuse Selects The Season's Best

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It's that time of year again — the leaves have fallen, the dark comes early, the air brings with it a certain chill — and I've been piling up books on my reading table, books I've culled from the offerings of the past few months, which because of their essential lyric beauty and power stand as special gifts for you and yours.

They sometimes seem at odds, the lyrical impulse and the narrative impulse. My own taste runs to the books that somehow combine the two modes, and when I'm considering what to give as gifts to people who live to read — and read to live — it's always those books that stand out in my mind as the best variety of gift.

We all have our stories that extend over time, but if the stories don't pulse at least now and then with the power of the lyric impulse, it's not really life in all its fullness.

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