It's all a paradox, a cold that feels absolutely rigid but which nonetheless seeps through ill-fitting windows, between clapboards, and along uninsulated, pipe chases. People listen superstitiously to the sounds in their heating ducts, to the banging of their radiators, afraid of silence. They turn the keys in their cars with trepidation. It's an old world this cold week.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, The Rural Life

Sadly, Klinkenborg's "The Rural Life" column for the New York Times came to an end on Christmas of last year after a 17-year run. I always enjoy going back to those columns and the two books drawn from them, especially in January and February when reading takes up an inordinate amount of my time.

AuthorJohn Proctor