The newsletter is a holdover from a more genteel age. Prior to Web site updates and (God forbid) online streaming media, if a business wanted to keep its employees and clientele abreast of new developments, said business relied on the humble newsletter. The more creative (or perhaps just more determined) employees usually assumed the task of writing informational blurbs about the business, then collating the information into a handy broadsheet to be posted on a bulletin board in-house and mailed out to loyal customers. Newsletters were entertaining and informative -- and if they helped sell a few more of the company's wares, then so much the better. Dunaway Books' seasonal newsletter is a credit to a dying art. Running six or seven pages, this letter is not so much an update on what's currently available in the store (although new acquisitions are proudly touted, when warranted; such was the case in June, when Julian Steyermark's The Flora of Missouri
appeared in the front window and the newsletter) as it is a celebration of the written word and its importance in everyday life. Peppered with season-appropriate quotes from Carl Sandburg and Kenneth Rexroth, sprinkled with links to interesting Web sites (Cahokia Mounds and a Washington Post
article), sometimes enhanced with a pertinent recipe (the spring missive featured one for Maibowle wine), Dunaway's letter is like a dispatch from a witty, charming, gregarious friend. And you'll find yourself reaching for something else to read when you're done with it.