Snow in America, by Bernard Mergen (Smithsonian Institution Press, $24.95).

Synopsis: The history of our nation refracted through “nature’s crystalline gift.” Frosty the Snowman is analyzed.

Representative quote: “In a 1982 paper, ‘An Overview of Seasonal Snow Metamorphism,’ written for a U.S.-Canadian Workshop on the Properties of Snow held at Snowbird, Utah, Colbeck proposed a relatively simple four-part classification based on the distinctions between falling and fallen snow and between dry and wet snow.”

Noteworthy flaw: It’s all about snow.

I Don’t Have to Make Everything All Better, by Gary B. Lundberg and Joy Saunders Lundberg (Riverpark Publishing, $12.95).

Synopsis: The trouble with people is that they keep trying to help each other, offering advice instead of “validating” the problems of others and keeping their damn opinions to themselves.

Representative quote: “Start tonight by having a sit-down-together dinner with your family. This can be a nonthreatening setting that will create an atmosphere for conversation. Do not correct anyone’s bad manners during the mealtime. Bring up a topic from the news that you think will be of interest to your teenager. Allow him the opportunity to respond in his own way without any criticism, no matter how off-base you may think his opinions are.”

Noteworthy flaw: Of the four basic human emotions recognized by the authors–“Mad, Glad, Sad and Afraid”–“afraid” doesn’t rhyme. Should have gone with “sca’ed.”

Energy Up!: Shed Pounds, Get Fit, Gain Stamina, and Turn on Your Power With This Unique Program, by High Voltage (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $23.95).

Synopsis: An “ex-smoker, ex-heroin addict, ex-anorexic and bulimic, recovering alcoholic, confirmed food addict, locked-up, onetime totally screwed-up person” now calling herself High Voltage invites you to share her lifestyle, which totally eschews certain foods of death, such as bread.

Representative quote: “Aha! Here it is. The first and possibly the most insidious and addictive powder of them all. Flour.”

Noteworthy flaw: “My motto is ‘Energy up! Whoo!’ I shout it–loud and clear–every time I meet someone, every time I walk into a room, every time I answer the phone.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.