Greeting cards, checks, bills even those offers-you-can't-refuse, they all come right to your mailbox. And in the new book, Neither Snow nor Rain by Devin Leonard, you'll never take it for granted again.

Greeting cards, checks, bills even those offers-you-can't-refuse, they all come right to your mailbox. And in the new book, Neither Snow nor Rain by Devin Leonard, you'll never take it for granted again.

When 14-year-old Ben Franklin ran away from home in 1723, the only job he could find was a printer's apprenticeship. Five years later, Franklin started a newspaper, but he needed the postal service to grow it.

Eventually, he became the first US Postmaster General.

Long before that, just after the Dark Ages, there were several public postal services around Eurasia, and when the British came to America, they established one, too. Franklin merely improved the service he'd inherited.

As America grew, so did the need to get mail to everyone, everywhere. In 1801, there were just over 900 post offices; 30 years later, there were nearly 9,000 of them-many in the homes of local postmasters. Folks picked up their own letters then, and mail could take a month to arrive; as settlers moved west, mail was delivered via a circuitous route that included boat, which took up to 90 days.

That spurred three men to start the Pony Express, which carried mail for just 18 months and resulted in a $200,000 loss for them before the telegraph made messaging an instant thing. Still, clamor for word from loved ones at wartime led to mail's return in popularity and free home delivery in 1863. A few years after war's end, Christmas cards helped keep the post office in business-just in time to see rural free delivery for farmers. Airmail was available starting in 1918, V-Mail kept up morale for troops in World War II and the ZIP code appeared in 1963. And though email is relatively new, the phrase "snail mail" has been around for decades.

Lively and a bit gossipy, this book takes readers through a basic history of message-relaying before diving into a full tale of Franklin's tenure with the postal service, Britain's involvement and chaos in the system. Leonard delivers a lot here, and moves fast as he entertains. As his book progresses, we watch businesses get involved, the US Postal Service sort itself out and a nation grow.

If you're stamping around for something different to read, you'll love every letter.