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New & Noteworthy - The New York Times

Category: Art & Culture,Books

PENGUIN CLOTHBOUND CLASSICS. (Penguin Classics, $23 each.) For the past decade, Penguin has been producing handsome hardcover versions of their classics. The designs, by Coralie Bickford-Smith, are foil stamped into cloth. Over 60 editions have appeared so far and they’re both elegant and quirky in shocks of bright color — including the newest, among them a Thomas Hardy in plum purple and an orangey “Don Quixote.” BIBLIOPHILE By Jane Mount. (Chronicle, $24.95.) As a “shy, dorky kid with few friends,” Mount turned to books and fell in love with them as physical objects. They also became her muses and she began drawing covers, hundreds of which she offers here, a testament to her abiding affection. 1,000 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE By James Mustich. (Workman, $35.) The title says it all. Mustich, a longtime bookseller who worked as vice president for digital products at Barnes & Noble, presses book after book into our hands. LITERARY LANDSCAPES Edited by John Sutherland. (Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99.) Part of the attraction of most classic novels is their strong sense of place. Sutherland, an emeritus professor at University College London, delves into the geography, location and terrain of 50 beloved books — from Joyce’s Dublin to Harper Lee’s Monroeville, Ala. THE NEW YORKER ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CARTOONS Edited by Bob Mankoff, foreword by David Remnick. (Black Dog & Leventhal, $100.) This two-volume collection brings together 3,000 of the magazine’s cartoons, searchable by subject matter and stretching back to the 1920s. Just the encyclopedia you need for a quick hit of pith and wit.

“I read plenty of leaden books about economics, so I take special delight in the exceptions — like EXIT, VOICE, AND LOYALTY, a sharp little piece of intellectual swordplay written way back in 1970 by the economist Albert O. Hirschman. The basic argument is that people with choices are less likely to seek improvements; they just head for the exits. Parents with money, for example, don’t fight to improve urban schools; they move to the suburbs. From that simple model, however, Hirschman draws a host of surprising insights and implications. It’s the kind of book that sheds new light on even the most familiar parts of life. My beloved Boston Red Sox won the World Series this fall, which meant my wife spent a lot of time wondering aloud why I care so much about a baseball team. Well, here’s Hirschman’s answer: ‘Loyalty is at its most functional when it looks most irrational, when loyalty means strong attachment to an organization that does not seem to warrant such attachment because it is so much like another one that is also available.’”

— Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington correspondent


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