Books about minerals span a broad range: from the least rigorous picture books designed for children or the peripherally curious, and coffee-table books that stress the remarkable beauty of the mineral kingdom, to demanding and thorough no-nonsense textbooks that challenge university students in comprehensive (not watered-down) mineralogy courses. [In the coming months, I shall review two such resilient texts on these pages]. Between these extremes lies the fertile field of books designed for the serious amateur, the collector, and the intellectually motivated layman. Such books are a fastidious challenge to prepare: the author must pick and choose subjects and minerals...

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