*                                                            *
 *         R E A D I N G    F O R    P L E A S U R E          *
 *                                                            *
 *                        Issue #10                           *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                 Editor: Cindy Bartorillo                   *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *                      EARTH DAY 1990                        *
 *                                                            *
 *                                                            *
 *    Stop Wasting The Earth's Resources:                     *
 *     --> Install low-flow faucet aerators and toilet dams   *
 *     --> Take showers, not baths                            *
 *     --> Set your water heater to 130 degrees               *
 *     --> Open windows instead of using the air conditioner  *
 *     --> Don't turn up the heat--wear a sweater             *
 *     --> Insulate your house                                *
 *     --> Carpool whenever possible                          *
 *                                                            *
 *    Stop Polluting Your Environment:                        *
 *     --> Use unbleached coffee filters                      *
 *     --> Avoid plastics--biodegradable plastics aren't      *
 *     --> Recycle everything possible                        *
 *     --> Don't smoke                                        *
 *                                                            *
 *    Stop Buying Garbage:                                    *
 *     --> Buy as little packaging as possible                *
 *     --> Don't buy paper towels; use rags.                  *
 *     --> Don't buy disposable diapers; use a diaper service *
 *                                                            *
 *    Be A Humane Shopper:                                    *
 *     --> Don't buy ivory                                    *
 *     --> Don't buy products from endangered animals         *
 *     --> Don't buy tuna                                     *
 *                                                            *
 *    Give Something Back:                                    *
 *     --> Plant a tree                                       *
 *     --> Create a wildlife refuge in your backyard          *
 *     --> Pick up litter wherever you see it                 *
 *     --> Start a compost pile                               *
 *                                                            *

CONTACT US AT:  Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 1819
Millstream Drive, Frederick, MD 21701; or on CompuServe leave a
message to 74766,1206; or on GEnie leave mail to C.BARTORILLO; or
call our BBS, the BAUDLINE II at 301-694-7108, 1200-9600 HST.

NOTICE:  Reading For Pleasure is not copyrighted. You may copy
freely, but please give us credit if you extract portions to use
somewhere else. Sample copies of our print edition are available
upon request. We ask for a donation of $1.50 each to cover the
printing and mailing costs.


                    DISTRIBUTION DIRECTORY

Here are a few bulletin boards where you should be able to pick
up the latest issue of READING FOR PLEASURE. See masthead for
where to send additions and corrections to this list.

Accolade! BBS     Round Rock,TX  Jack Moore        512-388-1445
Ad Lib            Monroeville,PA John Williams     412-327-9209
The Annex         Dayton,OH      John Cooper       513-274-0821
Beginnings BBS    Levittown,NY   Mike Coticchio    516-796-7296 S
Billboard         Bartlett,IL    Gary Watson       708-289-9808 P
Blcksbg Info Serv Blacksburg,VA  Fred Drake        703-951-2920
Boardello         Los Angeles,CA Bryan Tsunoda     213-820-4527 P
Bruce's Bar&Grill Hartford,CT    Bruce             203-236-3761 P
Byrd's Nest       Arlington,VA   Debbie&Alan Byrd  703-671-8923 P
CC-BBS            ManhattanBchCA Chuck Crayne      213-379-8817 P
Center Point PCB  Salt Lake,UT   Kelvin Hyatt      801-359-6014 P
Chevy Chase Board Chevy Chase,MD Larkins/Carlson   301-549-5574 P
Computer Co-Op    Voorhees,NJ    Ted Hare          609-784-9404
Daily Planet      Owosso,MI      Jay Stark         517-723-4613
Death Star        Oxon Hill,MD   Lee Pollard       301-839-0705 P
Del Ches Systems  Exton,PA       Peter Rucci       215-363-6625
Diversified Prog  PacPalisadesCA Jean-Pierre Denis 213-459-6053 P
Farmington Valley Hartford,CT    John Walko        203-676-8920 P
Future Tech       Boston,MA      Napier & Moran    617-720-3600 P
Futzer Avenue     Issaquah,WA    Stan Symms        206-391-2339 P
Gentleman Loser   Laurel,MD      Robert West       301-776-0226 P
HeavenSoft        Dayton,OH      John Wampler      513-836-4288
House of Illusions Louisville,KY Pittman/Schardein 502-458-7666
IBMNew            CompuServe     Library #0
Inn on the Park   Scottsdale,AZ  Jim Jusko         602-957-0631 P
Invention Factory New York,NY    Mike Sussell      212-431-1273 P
JETS              Philadelphia   T.A. Hare         215-928-7503 P
JForum            CompuServe     Library #8
KCSS BBS          Seattle,WA     Bob Neddo         206-296-5277 P
()Lensman() BBS   Denver,CO      Greg Bradt        303-979-8953 P
Litforum          CompuServe     Library #12
Lost Paradise     Washington,DC                    202-370-7795 P
Magpie HQ         New York,NY    Steve Manes       212-420-0527 P
NiCK at NiTE      Salt Lake,UT   Nick Zahner       801-964-1889 P
Nostradamus       Los Angeles,CA Al Menache        213-473-4119 P
Oak Lawn          Oak Lawn,IL    Vince & Chris     708-599-8089 P
Poverty Rock PCB  Mercer Is.,WA  Rick Kunz         206-232-1763 PS
Quantum Connec.   PacPalisadesCA Richard W. Gross  213-459-6748 P
Riverside Premium Lyons,IL       Don Marquardt     312-447-8073 P
Science Fiction   GEnie          Library #3
SF & Fantasy      CIS Hom-9      Library #1
Suburban Software Chicago,IL     Chuck Valecek     312-636-6694 P
Sunwise           Sun City W.,AZ Keith Slater      602-584-7395
Technoids Anon.   Chandler,AZ    David Cantere     602-899-4876 P
Writers Happy Hr  Seattle,WA     Walter Scott      206-364-2139 P
Writers' RT       GEnie          Library #1
Your Place        Fairfax,VA     Ken Goosens       703-978-6360 P

RFP Home Board (all issues available all the time):
Baudline II       Frederick,MD   the Bartorillo's  301-694-7108
(RFPs DLable on first call; 9600 HST)

Any board that participates in the RelayNet (tm) email system can
request RFPs from BAUDLINE.

P = PC Pursuit-able
S = StarLink-able

NOTE: Back issues on CompuServe may have been moved to a
different library.


                      TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editorial  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  163
What's News  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  212
Good Reading Periodically  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  329
According to Darryl Kenning  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  375
Environmental Reading  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  518
According to Robert A. Pittman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  707
Featured Author:  Thomas Berger  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  898
The Civil War  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1064
Overheard on RelayNet  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1163
India  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1192
According to Fred L. Drake, Jr.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1239
New From Carroll & Graf  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1496
According to Ollie McKagen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1622
Birthdays And Other Important Dates in April . . . . . . . . . 1683
My Favorite Books of 1989  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1803
The Middle Ages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1848
Random Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1938
Miscellaneous Recent Releases  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2111
Sharing The Wealth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2429
Literary Awards  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2529
Back Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2552


The world is NOT to be put in order, the world IS order incarnate. It
is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.
                      --Henry Miller



Over the past three or four months there has been a proliferation of
different versions of RFP. We here at RFP Central put out an
electronic version in straight ASCII (RFP-xx.TXT), an electronic
version in straight ASCII bundled with a custom reader program for IBM
compatibles (RFP-xx.ZIP), and a print version. We have also heard of
people who print out the .TXT version and pass it around, and people
who photocopy the print version (or portions thereof) and pass THAT
around. And there are numerous computer bulletin board systems that
post the .TXT version in some form.

The most elaborate non-Bartorillo version, though, would have to be
the Macintosh edition created by Bill Pittman. So far he's done Mac
versions of RFP #1, #2, #3, #7, #8, and #9, and, because of all the
graphics and sound added, they require at least a Macintosh Plus, a
hard drive, and 1 megabyte of RAM. Bill will be creating Mac versions
of the other issues as his free time permits.

You can get Bill's Mac editions from GEnie (Bill's address is
TIME.RYDER if you'd like to drop him a note), or you can send a disk
and a stamped, self-addressed return mailer to:

Bill Pittman
P. O. Box 22526
Louisville, Kentucky 40252-0526

Be sure to specify which RFP(s) you want, and include a separate disk
for each issue. Or, if you'd rather save yourself some hassle, just
send Bill $2 for each issue and he'll provide the disk and the
shipping. While on the subject of Bill, I should point out that he
also appears IN this issue (see Good Reading Periodically).

This would be a good time to reiterate that RFP is NOT copyrighted,
and the above-mentioned versions have the full blessing of RFP
Central. All we ask is that you not misrepresent anything: if you
reproduce something from RFP, please make sure it says it's from RFP;
and if it's an article by Joe Cool, make sure it says "by Joe Cool".
That seems fair to us, how about you?

More news. For the first time we are releasing an RFP "novelty". We
created a listing of baseball books being released this spring, but it
ran MUCH too long. Rather than either trashing the whole list or
boring non-baseball people with it, we decided to release it on its
own. So if you like baseball, get the RFP 1990 Baseball Supplement
(the electronic edition is called RFP-BB.TXT or RFP-BB.ZIP).


                         WHAT'S NEWS

* THE HARLAN ELLISON HORNBOOK will be coming out as a limited edition
from The Mirage Press, with a trade edition being published by
Mysterious Press. I have heard that the limited edition will have "an
added paperback with a screenplay", whatever that means, which will
NOT be in the Mysterious Press edition.

* Speaking of HE, Zebra has bought the rights to 21 Ellison titles,
which will be released as the "Harlan Ellison Library". Most will be
mass market paperbacks, but at least two, DANGEROUS VISIONS and AGAIN
DANGEROUS VISIONS, will be trade paperbacks.

* The idea of the Dream Park originated with Larry Niven and Steven
Barnes in their novels DREAM PARK and THE BARSOOM PROJECT. Now there
is Dream Park Corp., a company that has plans to build an interactive
theme park based on the Niven/Barnes concept. Mark Matthews-Simmons,
head of the new company, says that the park would use "advanced
holographics and computer-driven special effects to create science
fiction and fantasy environments...in five square-mile Gaming Areas".
If you'd like more information write to: The Dream Park Corporation,
365 Town Green Way, Reisterstown, MD 21136.

* Ballantine Del Rey has purchased reprint rights to 35 Edgar Rice
Burroughs titles from Ace and now has exclusive English-language
rights to Burrough's books. Watch soon for Del Rey to publish the
"Pellucidar" series and for their repackaged "Tarzan" series. Other
titles will appear over the next year or two.

* Harambee: The Book Club for African-American Families and Friends
has just started up. For a one-time $19.95 lifetime fee, members
receive a gift title and must purchase four titles a year to keep the
membership active. Titles are not sent to members automatically.
Offerings include BELOVED by Toni Morrison (Knopf), PARTING THE WATERS
by Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster), LOVE AND MARRIAGE by Bill Cosby,
and other adult and children's titles.

* THE STARK TRUTH by Peter Freeborn, a tale of sexual obsession and
high-stakes crime on Wall Street, will apparently be filmed by Stephen
Frears (DANGEROUS LIAISONS) from a screenplay by John Guare.

* Do you remember A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller Jr.? It
was originally published in 1959 and has been an cult classic as well
as a critically acclaimed piece of literature. It turns out that
Miller made notes for a parallel novel, but a 25-year-long writer's
block prevented him from following through with it. Until now. He
finally got it written and Bantam will publish it, possibly in late
1991. It's not exactly a sequel, but it includes many of the same
characters as CANTICLE, and the same monastery, so it's definitely
related. There is no working title yet.

* Horror fans take note:  There's going to be a World Horror
Convention every year, starting in 1991 (February 28 to March 3, 1991
to be precise). It will be held at the Nashville (that's Tennessee)
Hyatt Regency, and the Guest of Honour will be Clive Barker, Artist
Guest of Honor will be Jill Bauman. The "Trimatic Trio of M.C.'s" will
be splatterpunks David Schow, John Skipp, and Craig Spector.
Membership is $50 until June 31, 1990, $65 afterwards. For further
details contact: World Horror Convention, PO Box 22817, Nashville, TN
37202 or call 615-226-6172.

* It used to be that the only recourse with books damaged by acid was
to microfilm them, a very costly procedure. Now, thanks to the work of
the Library of Congress, the Hercules Chemical Company, and government
researchers, we have a cheaper and environmentally safe way to
neutralize the acid content of books and magazines. The books are
exposed to diethyl zinc vapors which react with the water in the paper
to form zinc oxide, which neutralizes acids formed after treatment.
This process doesn't harm the books in any way, and costs $6-$10 per
book. It's been licensed by the government to Akzo Chemicals of
Chicago, and they've already built the first plant in Texas, capable
of processing 40,000 books per year. For more information, writer to:
Akzo Chemicals Inc., 300 So. Riverside Plaza, Chicago IL 60606.

* Author Robert Adams died of lymphatic cancer on January 4, 1990. He
is probably best known for his "Horseclans" series that he began in
1975 with THE COMING OF THE HORSECLANS. Ultimately there were 18
novels and several anthologies in the series.

* A new science fiction magazine will have appeared by the time you
read this. The first quarterly issue of STARSHORE will be dated Summer
1990 and, as I write this, is due to be released in April. It will
include fiction by Jack Dann, John Moore, Thomas Easton, Kristine
Kathryn Rusch, Christopher Gilbert, K.D. Wentworth, and Renato
Pestriniero (translated by Kim Stanley Robinson). One years'
subscription (four issues) will cost you $12.95, which should be made
out (and sent) to: McAlpine Publishing, 800 Seahawk Circle, Suite 116,
Virginia Beach VA 23452.

* Brian W. Aldiss' novel FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND, included in our Time
Travel Reading List in issue #9, has been filmed by Roger Corman, but
no release date was available at press time. In a related story, we've
heard that Aldiss has now written DRACULA UNBOUND, a sort-of sequel.

* Novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett died in Paris at the age of
83 on December 22, 1989. He is most famous for the plays WAITING FOR
GODOT and ENDGAME. He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1969.

* If you've never read Arthur Conan Doyle's THE LOST WORLD, you now
have a great chance. It was recently reprinted in an affordable
paperback by Academy Chicago ($4.95, ISBN 0-89733-331-4). This is the
classic story of an expedition by four Englishmen to a remote
prehistoric land that has been cut off from the outside world by
unscalable cliffs and is inhabited by pterodactyls, iguanodons, and
prehistoric men. (Sounds like Washington, D.C., doesn't it?)


Crime and thriller stories have always appealed to me for the
same reason that fairy stories do, and folk tales and myths. They
deal directly with the conflict between good and evil, and for
that reason touch the most fundamental levels of human
                     --Brian Cleeve



                       GRUE Magazine

                    review by Bill Pittman

Horror has been a favorite genre of mine since childhood. Being
frightened vicariously through a good horror story, fiction or
non-fiction, is a welcome experience. Books by the masters such as
Stephen King, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, etc. have thrilled millions
over the years, but they are not the only source for a good scare.

If you enjoy good horror as I do, you owe it to yourself to sample
Grue Magazine. Published quarterly, Grue contains works from both
well-known and new authors. The range of subject matter is quite
broad: many of the stories are intense explorations into the dark side
of the human psyche, some travel into the unknown, while others delve
into the realm of the curious and bizarre. You will also see a
generous number of illustrations and photographs, the latter being the
most intriguing. Unlike drawings, the photographs are created from
real materials in a composition that quickly conveys the essence of
the story you are about to read. The illustrations also are excellent,
but beware - they are explicit in emphasizing the horror of the story.
And if you enjoy poetry (I don't), well, you'll see some of that too.

This isn't to say that all of the issues are of equal quality. At
times, some of the stories have left me confused or even bewildered.
Even so, there is enough good material in each issue to satisfy most
readers. I particularly enjoyed the most recent issue, Grue #11,
entitled The Raw Edge of Horror! I usually find one, maybe two stories
in each issue that stand out from the others, but #11 was exceptional.
The contributions seemed more polished than usual, in both writing
style and content. This may suggest that experience is improving the
editor's ability to attract and assemble better material for

A final nominee for the 1989 World Fantasy Award (Non-Professional
category), Grue is well worth a look. The newsstand price is $4.50,
and if your local bookseller doesn't stock Grue, write to: Grue
Magazine, a division of Hell's Kitchen Productions, Inc., P. O. Box
370, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0370



THE KENNING RATING SYSTEM:    5 = Superior reading material
                              4 = A darn good read
                              3 = OK if you're not too discriminating
                              2 = Probably not worth the time
                              1 = Does this stuff really sell?
                              0 = No redeeming value of any kind

                      by C. J. Cherryh
         Popular Library Questar 0-445-20979-8  $4.95

This will astound people who know how many Science Fiction books I
read in a week or month - I have never before read any of C. J.
Cherryh's books. I did browse a number of earlier ones and felt that
it was not the kind of writing I generally enjoy. Times change, so do
tastes, and so do writers. This is probably a case of all three things

RIMRUNNERS is the story of Bet Yeager, a marine whose side lost the
war, and her struggle to survive in space. The book radiates tension
and is eminently believable. The functioning (or non-functioning) of
the semi-frontier that is created and reshaped by the vastness of
space and the war and the people who inhabit the space stations and
ships is very well put together and somehow touches the bleakness that
exists in us all.

If I have any criticism at all, it is that I did weary, by the end of
the book, of the constant introspection and verbalizational analysis
of all the other characters and situations. That is really a minor
flaw in an otherwise good book. The action flows, the prose is smooth
and well done, and there is enough tech for most readers. This one
should go into the "Read Soon" stack. Enjoy.

                      Rating  4 ****

                      A THIEF OF TIME
                     by Tony Hillerman
                Harper 0-06-1000004-3  $4.95

No, this is not Science Fiction and yes it does seem a little
redundant to review a book that has been on the New York Times
Bestseller list, but....

Tony Hillerman writes, among other things, books of crime set into
modern day Navajo Tribal settings. I think the title intrigued me most
of all. I confess that I picked this one up in an airport for
something to read on a 2 hour flight....what I got was a cracking good
mystery novel, set in the southwest, dealing within an archaeological
setting, and the Anasazi cultural mysteries.

What I really liked was the insights into the Navajo culture, life and
lifestyle. The inherent conflicts with mainstream society are
skillfully blended, and the characters have more depth than I usually
expect from a writer of this genre (OK, I know that sounds a bit
snobbish, but I've been ruined by the best Science Fiction writers and
folks like John D. MacDonald and Robert B. Parker).

The Anasazi culture ranks with the Mayan mysteries as one of the most
fascinating from the Americas. It seems like only yesterday one of my
kids had to do a report for school on them, and ever since I've found
an amazing number of good fiction books using them as a basis for at
least some of the plot and background.

If you haven't guessed, I really enjoyed this book and while I
normally avoid best sellers - this one I do recommend. It is a good
mystery, skillfully written, in a somewhat unusual setting. Try it,
you'll like it.

                        Rating 4 ****

                         ROLLING HOT
                       by David Drake
                      Baen, 1989, $3.95

The release date on this one is September, 1989. I don't know how I
missed it, but it popped up in my local bookseller's this week
(again?). This is vintage Drake at his best - non-stop action as
Colonel Alois Hammer's Slammers roll over another planet in the
ongoing saga of THE mercenary regiment.

The regiment is primarily a tank and battle car group. The story is
about the "conversion" of a hostile reporter and his trial by fire.
The plot similarities to Vietnam are a bit heavy handed (no one ever
accused David Drake of too much subtlety though). At any rate don't
let that stop you from reading this one. I devoured it in one sitting
and enjoyed every bloody minute of it - the man DOES have a way with

                        rating 5 *****

                         SWORN ALLIES
              edited by David Drake and Bill Fawcett
                       Ace, 1990, $3.95

Speaking of war stories.....this one is part of a "shared universe"
set, book 4 of a group called "THE FLEET", and generally concerns the
troops and battles around the Khalian attacks on the empire - an
empire grown fat and lazy. This volume feature stories by: Poul
Anderson, Anne McCaffrey, Bill Fawcett, N. Lee Wood, Larry Niven and
David Drake, Diane Duane and Peter Morwood, Jody Lynn Nye, David
Drake, and Christopher Stasheff. Now if those aren't enough reasons to
read a book then you just don't like this kind of story.

This series by multiple authors is one of the few that has held up
over four books for me. Since the recent surge of popularity of
military-SF a lot of junk (inevitably) has hit the stands. This series
stands head and shoulders above most of the stuff. I do recommend that
you get and read this one - what's nice is that you don't need to
start with book one in the series, though I'm betting you'll want to
after this one.

                        rating 5 *****

                           BOX SCORES

 :  Phantom Regiments (R. Adams, ed.).........................2  :
 :  Playmates (Robert B. Parker)..............................5  :
 :  A Small Colonial War (R. Frazza)..........................2  :
 :  The Stars Must Wait (K. Laumer)...........................3  :
 :  There will be WAR: After Armageddon (J. Pournelle, cr.)...4  :
 :  Wild Cards Vol I (G.R.R. Martin, ed.).....................2  :
 :  What Might Have Been Vol II (Benford, ed.)................4  :
 :  Buyiing Time (Joe Haldeman)...............................5  :
 :  The War Machine Vol III (Allen & Drake)...................5  :
 :  Sassinak (A. McCafferty)..................................4  :


Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I
have in my library are books that other folks have lent me.
                     --Anatole France


                      EARTH DAY READING

by Paul R. Ehrlich & Anne H. Ehrlich

Paul Ehrlich's landmark 1968 bestseller, THE POPULATION BOMB, warned
against the catastrophic consequences of unchecked population growth.
THE POPULATION EXPLOSION demonstrates that the environmental and
demographic crises he predicted have now arrived.

When Paul Ehrlich wrote THE POPULATION BOMB there were 3.5 billion
people on Earth. Today there are 5.2 billion, and if every nation
adopted zero population growth policies tomorrow, the worldwide
population still would exceed 10 billion people before it stabilized.
There is serious doubt in the scientific community that the planet can
support that many people. Already there are signs of impending
environmental collapse. Worldwide grain production seems to have
peaked and begun to decline; intensive farming practices made
necessary by overpopulation cause the loss of 26 billion tons of
topsoil each year. Famine is now chronic in Africa. Global warming and
tropical rain forest destruction both reflect the stresses of
worldwide industrialization. Even in the U.S., where the population
has stabilized (aside from immigration), our energy-intensive habits
place a disproportionately large burden on the environment.

This book is a plea from two highly respected environmentalists for a
last-minute effort to take control of our destiny and avert the
catastrophe that awaits us.

(Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford
University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Anne H.
Ehrlich is a senior biological researcher at Stanford University, an
environmentalist, and author of several books on the environment.)

Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-671-68984-3, $18.95, 288 pages, April

EARTHRIGHT: Every Citizen's Guide
by H. Patricia Hynes
What you can do in your home, workplace and community to save our
Prima Publishing, ISBN 1-55958-027-5, $12.95, Trade Paper; ISBN
1-55958-028-3, $24.95, Hardcover; April

by The Earth Works Group
Gives kids simple, environmentally sound habits that really work.
Andrews and McMeel, ISBN 0-8362-2301-2, $7.95, Paper, April

THE NEXT ONE HUNDRED YEARS: Shaping the Fate of Our Living Earth
by Jonathan Weiner
Bantam, ISBN 0-553-05744-8, $19.95, Hardcover, March

OUR EARTH, OURSELVES: The Action-Oriented Guide to Help You Protect
and Preserve Our Environment
by Ruth Caplan and The Staff of Environmental Action
Bantam, ISBN 0-553-34857-4, $10.95, April

THE GREENHOUSE TRAP: What We're Doing to the Atmosphere and How We Can
Slow Global Warming
by The World Resources Institute
Explains the problems of climate change and gives guidelines for
collective and individual action.
Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-8502-2, Cloth, $21.95; ISBN 0-8070-8503-0,
Paper, $9.95; April

THE GLOBAL ECOLOGY HANDBOOK: What YOU Can Do About the Environmental
by The Global Tomorrow Coalition
Information on the major environmental problems and how to get
involved in solving them. A supplement to the PBS series "Race to Save
the Planet".
Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-8500-6, Cloth, $29.95; ISBN 0-8070-8501-4,
Paper, $16.95; April

by Douglas G. Brookins
Answers the most frequently asked questions and details affordable
solutions to this dilemma.
Columbia Univ. Press, ISBN 0-231-06748-8, $29.95, 228 pages

SAVE OUR PLANET: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth
by Diane MacEachern
Dell, ISBN 0-440-50267-5, $9.95, Trade Paper, March

HOTHOUSE EARTH: The Greenhouse Effect and Gaia
by John Gribbin
Grove Weidenfeld, ISBN 0-8021-1374-5, $18.95, June

FIGHTING TOXICS: A Manual for Protecting Your Family, Community, and
edited by Gary Cohen & John O'Connor
The first complete citizen's guide to toxics cleanup tells you how to
protect your family and community with reports from the front lines of
successful grassroots toxics cleanup campaigns.
Island Press, ISBN 1-55963-012-4, $19.95, Trade Paper, June

WAR ON WASTE: Can America Win Its Battle With Garbage?
by Louis Blumberg & Robert Gottlieb
Takes us behind the scenes of one of the most important environmental
debates of the century. The only book today that examines the
fundamental causes of our solid waste crisis.
Island Press, ISBN 0-933280-91-2, $19.95, Trade Paper, January

edited by R. Neil Sampson & Dwight Hair
For the first time, information from America's leading resource
experts on such topics as population and economic trends, climate and
atmospheric trends, croplands and soil sustainability, water quantity
and quality, wetlands, forestlands and wildlife.
Island Press, ISBN 1-55963-002-7, $19.95, Trade Paper, March

GREEN RAGE: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization
by Christopher Manes
An insider's manifesto calling into question the wisdom and legitimacy
of man's domination of nature.
Little, Brown; ISBN 0-316-54513-9, $17.95, Hardcover, May

ONE EARTH, ONE FUTURE: Our Changing Global Environment
National Academy Press,ISBN 0-309-04141-4, $14.95, Hardcover, May

National Academy Press, ISBN 0-309-04142-2, $24.50, Hardcover, April

GLOBAL ALERT: The Ozone Pollution Crisis
by Jack Fishman & Robert Kalish
Plenum, ISBN 0-306-43455-5, $24.95, Hardcover, 304 pages, April

BUG BUSTERS: Poison Free Pest Control for House and Garden Pests
by Bernice Lifton
Avery, ISBN 0-89529-451-6, $9.95, Trade Paper, May

HELOISE: Hints for a Healthy Planet
by Heloise
Perigee, ISBN 0-399-51625-5, $7.95, Trade Paper, April

SAVING THE EARTH: A Citizen's Guide to Environmental Action
by Will Steger & Jon Bowermaster
Knopf, ISBN 0-679-73026-5, $19.95, Trade Paper, April

CLEARER, CLEANER, SAFER, GREENER: A Blueprint for Detoxifying Your
by Gary Null
How to combat toxins in food and home.
Villard, ISBN 0-394-58316-7, $18.95, March

CALL TO ACTION: Handbook for Ecology, Peace, and Justice
edited by Brad Erickson
Sierra Club, ISBN 0-87156-611-7, $12.95, Paper, June

THE POPULATION EXPLOSION: From Global Warming to Rainforest
Destruction, Famine, and Air and Water Pollution--Why Overpopulation
is our #1 Environmental Problem
by Paul R. Ehrlich & Anne H. Ehrlich
Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-671-68984-3, $18.95, April

by Bruce Piasecki & Peter Asmus
Touchstone, ISBN 0-671-69089-2, $22.95, Hardcover; ISBN 0-671-69090-6,
$10.95, Paper; August

FOR EARTH'S SAKE: The Life and Times of David Brower
by David Brower
Portrays this pre-eminent environmentalist through personal
reminiscences and collected writings.
Gibbs Smith, $22.95, May

THE GREEN LIFESTYLE GUIDE: 1001 Ways to Heal the Earth
edited by Jeremy Rifkin and the Greenhouse Crisis Foundation
Henry Holt/Owl Books, $7.95, Trade Paper, April

STATE OF THE WORLD 1990: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress
Toward a Sustainable Society
by Lester R. Brown
Norton, ISBN 0-393-02788-0, $18.95, Hardcover; ISBN 0-393-30614-3,
$9.95, Trade Paper; February

by Thomas Berry
Traces the course of human thinking that has resulted in near disaster
for the ecology.
Sierra Club, ISBN 0-87156-622-2, $9.95, Trade Paper, April

FORESTS: A Naturalist's Guide to Trees and Forest Ecology
Wiley, $12.95, Trade Paper, April



                     THE SPY WORE RED
               by Aline, Countess of Romanones
               Random House Edition - May, 1987
              Charter House Edition - June, 1988
                   ISBN: 1-55773-034-2

This is not a review of THE SPY WORE RED - perhaps it is best
described as a comment on the book. I have avoided the term "review"
because the book is more than two years old and has been widely
reviewed by national publications and commented on by a variety of
columnists and writers. The paperback edition carries an extensive
range of blurbs taken from the original reviews which indicate that
the story is "electrifying", "thrilling", "interesting", "marvelous",
"exciting", "delicious", "explosive", "colorful", "snappy",
"fascinating" and so on as would be expected for a book that makes it
to the best seller list.

THE SPY WORE RED is the story of Aline Griffith, a young woman who
joins the OSS in World War II and is trained as an undercover agent
and is sent to Spain in 1943. Her assignment is to become prominent in
Madrid society, and to build a network of contacts with diplomatic and
political figures.

Her cover while in Spain is as an employee of the American Oil Mission,
but it is her nerve and verve that moves her so successfully into the
world of spies and counterspies who are so prevalent in neutral Spain
during World War II.

In telling her story, the author starts with her desire to become
involved and contribute to the national effort in wartime. During the
OSS training, we see a rather naive and provincial young woman being
shocked and jolted into a new reality, and on reaching her assignment
in Spain, we follow her development farther as she becomes a social
sophisticate and a confident operative.

Unlike most fiction, in this real life story, the Countess of
Romanones tells us of her doubts and fears as readily as she recounts
her strengths and successes. That level of candidness keeps the reader
confident of the validity of the astounding events in which the author
is involved. In fact, when you finish the book, you feel as if you
have almost lived through an exciting adventure of World War II.

Even though I do not describe this as a review, I have given an
appreciation and a summary of the book. That is necessary, I believe,
in order to provide a bridge to my primary intent: that of commenting
on another aspect of the book and its affect on me as the reader.

It is great when you read a book and enjoy it. It is even more
rewarding when the book leaves you with a desire to know more about
the subject and provokes you to dig deeper and to expand your
knowledge. THE SPY WORE RED had that effect on me and it arose from
the author's description of Madrid, its people and its customs in the
period when Spain was beginning to recover from its own civil war. It
was ruled by General Franco, who at that time had only a tenuous hold
on power. The social leaders were a somewhat shabby and befuddled
remnant of nobility and the general population was impoverished by the
civil war and was sharply divided by a variety of inimical political
views. Material shortages were rampant and public services were spotty
and unreliable. At the same time, Spain was beginning to profit from
its neutral position in the war. It was trading everything from
critical materials to political favors with both the axis and the
allies but was also risking retribution from the great powers on both
sides. All of this unfolds in the environment and background as the
Countess of Romanones tells her story.

The intriguing nature of this setting has given me a compelling demand
to learn more about these people, this era and this place. Last week I
was in the library searching through the references for fiction that
focuses on Spain at the end of its civil war and during World War II,
for history on Spain's role in World War II, and for selected writings
on the social and cultural changes as the country moved through the
years from 1939 to 1943. In just one visit to the library, I am
surprised at the wealth of available material and the ease with which
I will be able to explore this subject.

It is certainly going to be a fascinating venture and a confirmation
that reading for pleasure is very worthwhile.

                             RAMA II
                (A sequel to RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA)
                by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee
                        Bantam Books 1989

Rendezvous With Rama was published in 1973 and is often ranked as one
of the top science fiction works of recent years. It is a story that
tantalizes the intellect with its marvels of mechanics and technology,
and at the same time, delivers a range of intriguing and thoughtful
human relationships. It is also a story with a conclusion and
satisfactory ending that still leaves openings for the reader to
predict the possibility of sequels.

It was exciting to learn last year that Arthur C. Clarke was releasing
RAMA II and was to follow that with two more sequels, The Garden of
RAMA and RAMA Revealed! The only reservation about this news was that
the book was being written in collaboration with Gentry Lee. Messrs.
Clarke and Lee have worked together previously in co-authoring a book
titled CRADLE. CRADLE was a disappointment; not up to the usual
writing standards of Arthur C. Clarke. Even so, one has faith and I
approached the reading of RAMA II fully anticipating the enjoyment of
a grand adventure into the unexpected. Much of what I found was
unexpected, but it definitely was not grand!

RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA describes the visit of a huge space vehicle to
the Solar System and the related attempt of an official contingent of
humans to board and enter the vehicle. Understanding its contents as
well as the purpose of its visit is their objective. The boarding
party is successful in gaining entry to RAMA, and the richness of the
story arises in their efforts to explore the interior of the craft and
to probe its mysteries. They are constantly challenged by technical
wonders but through their explorations, broaden their knowledge and
understanding of the craft. In the end, they do not uncover the
specific meaning or purpose of RAMA and it leaves the Solar System
with an endless trail of questions.

RAMA II picks up the story with a similar space craft as it approaches
in a pathway toward Earth. It is sighted, and immediately there is a
world-wide collaboration of political, military and scientific leaders
to select and prepare an exploration group to meet the vehicle in
space. Much effort and care goes into choosing the expert team,
preparing contingency plans and defining the general investigative
approach. The intent is to improve the potential for understanding
RAMA II and for protecting and promoting the interests of humankind.
It is rather amazing that all this preparatory effort produces a team
of misfits and malefactors who proceed to muddle, mismanage and
subvert their own efforts in examining and understanding RAMA II.

Among the more prominent and puzzling of the team members are:

Dr. David Brown, senior scientist for the mission, is an egotist
focused on his preconceived notions about RAMA II. As we learn during
the story, he also has his own agenda for monetary gain at the expense
of scientific pursuit and even human life.

Francesca Sabatini is a TV news reporter whose primary objective is to
advance her own career. We also learn that she and has a substantial
knowledge about medicines and drugs because she once did a feature
story on that subject.

General O'Toole is an experienced military leader. He is strongly
influenced by his Christian faith but so uncertain of its meaning that
much of the time he is paralyzed with self-debate and indecision.

Nicole des Jardins is the medical doctor for the mission. She is
pictured as a capable medical expert and is genuine in her support of
the mission. However, her personal convictions and her decision making
capabilities are so weak that she constantly flounders in carrying out
her duties. She is also the mother of a child unknowingly fathered by
the King of England! For some unfathomable reason, the authors throw
that little item in and digress to this odd subject from time to time.

There are other characters in the book who are presented as reasonable
human beings and who fill their roles quite well. But this team was
supposed to be an assemblage of the best and brightest minds on Earth,
so it is difficult to understand how so many problem people could have
passed through the screening process and have gained access to this
critical team of experts. The story dwells excessively with these
flawed characters and only a small portion of the text is dedicated to
the mysteries and wonders of RAMA II.

Sequels inherently have the problem of linking the reader to the
previous story, but authors usually manage to create bridges that
summarize and provide sufficient understanding of past happenings. In
RAMA II, that needed linkage was missing in many areas. This was
particularly true in the treatment of the space vehicle. RAMA is a
vast and complex machine and the original book concentrated on that
subject. In the second book, references to details about the
spacecraft are so out of context that they have little meaning unless
one has read the first book and also has a sharp memory. Even with
this deficiency, when the authors concentrate on RAMA II and involve
their characters with the space vehicle rather than each other, it
becomes a more interesting and readable story. Unfortunately, only a
few chapters have that focus.

The book ends with several unfinished elements, setting the stage for
the two additional sequels that the publisher promises. It is my
fondest wish that in the next story, Mr. Clarke take us back to his
usual high standards of writing and that he not give us a product of


Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human



                       THOMAS BERGER

Thomas Berger is an American novelist born in Ohio in 1924. He is a
distinctive, satirical writer, and not to everyone's taste, but you
owe it to yourself to try at least one of his books. If his peculiar
combination of cynicism and good humor matches yours, if his black
comedy catches your fancy, you may find Thomas Berger is one of your
favorite authors. He's crossed many genre boundaries, so there's sure
to be something to your taste in his 16 novels. Below is a grab bag of
information about Berger's novels--take it to the library or bookstore
on your next trip and pick something out. Have fun.

The 16 Novels:

CRAZY IN BERLIN (1958) This is the first of the Reinhart novels, a
chronicle of the foibles and frustrations of Carlo Reinhart from the
ruins of Berlin at the end of World War II (CRAZY IN BERLIN), through
REINHART IN LOVE, VITAL PARTS, and through the 1970s in REINHART'S
WOMEN. Pure black comedy, Reinhart proves to be no match for the cold
and hostile world in which he lives.

REINHART IN LOVE (1962)  The second Reinhart novel.

LITTLE BIG MAN (1964)  Considered by some to be Berger's most
ambitious novel, LITTLE BIG MAN is about the American Wild West--the
legend versus the reality. An affectionately comic portrayal of the
title character, the only white survivor of the Battle of Little Big

Dell ISBN 0-440-34976-1  Paperback  $5.95

KILLING TIME (1967)  Arthur and Betty Bayson arrive at her mother's
home for their annual Christmas Eve dinner to find the murdered bodies
of Betty's mother and sister, as well as that of the household's
current boarder. The novel, which begins as a mystery story, develops
into a psychological study of human beings, particularly one Joseph
Detweiler, a young, amiable taxidermist who is the world's most
serious, sincere, thoughtful, and actually likable murderer.

Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-09147-2  Trade Paperback  $9.95

VITAL PARTS (1970)  The third Reinhart novel.



WHO IS TEDDY VILLANOVA? (1977)  A parody of hard-boiled detective

Doubleday ISBN 0-385-29149-3  Paperback  $3.95

ARTHUR REX (1978)  Berger brings his wit and humor to the legend of
Camelot. They're all here: Merlin the magician, the beautiful and
mysterious Lady of the Lake, Excalibur, the Holy Grail--but with new
plot twists only Thomas Berger could invent. And the exciting climax
brings together Launcelot and Galahad to answer the eternal question
of who is truly the greatest knight of all time.

Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-09146-4  Trade Paperback  $10.95

NEIGHBORS (1980)  Sort of Kafka Meets Suburbia a la Berger. This is
twenty-four hours in the life of Earl Keese--the people in the
neighborhood in which he's lived happily for twenty years and the new
next-door neighbors who somehow trigger the best, worst, and certainly
most unusual day Earl has ever experienced.

Doubleday ISBN 0-385-28745-3  Paperback  $5.95

REINHART'S WOMEN (1981)  The further adventures of Reinhart and the
women in his life. Carl has no become such a talented chef that he is
offered a TV show.

THE FEUD (1983)  Thomas Berger turns his attention to American life in
the 1930s. It's the story of the Beelers and the Bullards, and the
ways in which their various members get along (or don't).

NOWHERE (1985)

Doubleday ISBN 0-385-29464-6  Paperback  $8.95

BEING INVISIBLE (1987) Would-be novelist Fred Wagner has troubles. To
begin with, he's stuck in a job with no future, writing small
paragraphs of hype for mail-order catalogues. Then his wife walks out
on him, and his shrewish sister writes to him regularly to remind him
what a failure he is--just in case he ever forgets.

One day, while standing naked in front of a mirror, Fred slowly
disappears. He's still standing there, but there's no reflection in
the mirror. With practice he finds that he not only can become
invisible at will, but anything he touches will disappear too. The
opportunities and challenges of invisibility prove to be more complex
than Fred (or the reader) would have thought.

Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-09158-8  Hardcover  $16.95

THE HOUSEGUEST (1988)  Chuck Burgoyne is, as far as the Graveses are
concerned, the perfect houseguest. He's quiet, self-sufficient, a
gourmet cook, and when called upon, a lifesaver. But then something
goes terribly wrong. Sinister-sounding men leave ominous messages for
"Charlie" or "Chaz". Chuck blackmails his host and steals from his
hostess. He takes unthinkable liberties with their daughter-in-law. He
cuts the phone lines and cripples the family cars. What are the
Graveses to do? Modern life and modern manners lampooned in the
typical Berger style.

Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-09163-4  Hardcover  $16.95


"Many human beings feel that what they are has been imposed upon them
from without. Well, here's the chance to test the validity of that
theory. You can go back and change whatever you don't like."
       --The "little man" talking to Walter Hunsicker

Walter Hunsicker meets an odd "little man" while avoiding the rain in
a downtown doorway, and his life is never the same again (or, rather,
it IS, but then that's jumping ahead of myself). The little man offers
to change the past for Walter, in any manner he chooses, with no risk.
If at any time Walter is dissatisfied, he can change everything back
again. This is very difficult for conventional Walter to believe. He
is chief copy-editor for a major publishing house, with a lovely wife
and a son who is a successful lawyer. Walter is a completely happy and
satisfied man. Or is he?

Once Walter has been given the option to tinker with the past, he
can't resist making a few editorial alterations. Unfortunately, he
makes one mistake after another, and each new life he leads fails to
be an improvement on the original. The reader and Walter together
learn a valuable lesson about life, and about choices. Once again
Thomas Berger's vision is piercing but forgiving, and he illuminates
another aspect of life with humor and compassion.

"Everything in existence is consequential....What you must do is get a
past of the kind to put you in the sort of situation you'd like today,
but then you must accept what goes along with it."

"The average writer is a self-pitying neurotic with some kind of
addiction, most often alcohol though it can be anything else as well,
drugs, sex, sometimes all of them at once, he's usually in debt, a
monster of vanity, wracked with envy..."
         --Walter Hunsicker/Jack Kellog

from Little, Brown


                     ISBN 0-300-04115-2

Have you ever wondered what this notation means? You'll find it on the
cover of paperbacks and on the copyright page of hardcover books, and
it identifies a title very particularly. First off, ISBN stands for
International Standard Book Number. The first digit is the code for
the area of origin (0 means that this books was published in an
English-speaking country). The next group of digits is the code for
the publisher (300 means Yale University Press). The next group of
digits represents the exact title and is a number assigned by the
publisher (04115 indicates LOST IN A BOOK: The Psychology of Reading
For Pleasure by Victor Nell, published in 1988). The final digit is
the check number, an error-checking device to make sure that the
scanning computer got the rest of the digits correctly.


                   THE CIVIL WAR (FICTION)

Marching On by James Boyd
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Miss Ravenel's Conversion From Secession to Loyalty by John William
A Time for Drums by John Ehle
Shiloh by Shelby Foote
Jim Mundy by Robert H. Fowler
None Shall Look Back by Caroline Gordon
The Long Roll by Mary Johnston
Long Remember by MacKinlay Kantor
The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters by Joseph Pennell
By Antietam Creek by Don Robertson
The Wave by Evelyn Scott
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
The Way to Fort Pillow by James Sherburne
Major Stepson's War by Matthew Vaughan

                      THE CIVIL WAR (FACT)

Grant Takes Command by Bruce Catton
This Hallowed Ground by Bruce Catton
The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command by Edwin B. Coddington
The Coming of the Civil War by Avery Odelle Craven
The Last Cavalier by Burke Davis
Contribution to Civil War History by William C. Davis
Ironmaker to the Confederacy: Joseph R. Anderson and the Tredegar Iron
  Works by Charles B. Dew
Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War by David H. Donald
Gone for a Soldier: The Civil War Memoirs of Private Alfred Bellard by
  David H. Donald
The Seven Days: The Emergence of Lee by Clifford Dowdey
The Compact History of the Civil War by R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N.
History of the Southern Confederacy by Clement Eaton
The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote
The Illustrated Confederate Reader edited by Rod Gragg
The Civil War by Harry Hansen
The Story of the Confederacy by Robert S. Henry
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Era of the Civil War by James M. McPherson
Great Battles of the Civil War by John MacDonald
The Negro's Civil War by James M. McPherson
The Gleam of Bayonets by James V. Murtin
The Children of Pride by Robert Manson Myers
The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863 by Allan
Great Civil War Heroes and Their Battles edited by Walton Rawls
Combined Operations in the Civil War by Rowena Reed
A House Divided by Richard H. Sewell
The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant by John G. Simon
Trial by Fire by Page Smith
The Union Cavalry in the Civil War by Stephen Z. Starr
An End to Valor by Philip Van Doren Stern
Chickamauga by Glenn Tucker
William Henry Seward by Glyndon G. Van Deusen
Their Tattered Flags by Frank E. Vandiver
Voices of the Civil War by Richard Wheeler
Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War by
  Edmund Wilson

New Books & Recent Rereleases:

by Bruce Catton
Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-13207-1  $25.00 Hardcover April
              ISBN 0-316-13244-6  $13.95 Paper April

by Bruce Catton
Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-13210-1  $25.00 Hardcover April
              ISBN 0-316-13240-3  $13.95 Paper April

photography by Sam Abell, text by Brian Pohanka
Photographs of historic landscapes are accompanied by quotations from
generals' writings and tactical descriptions.
Thomasson-Grant  $37.50  March

NO BETTER PLACE TO DIE: The Battle of Stones River
by Peter Cozzens
Recounts the events of the bloody Civil War battle and its political
Univ. of Illinois Press  $24.95  March

edited by Frances H. Kennedy
Maps and descriptive essays on 60 major battlefields.
Houghton Mifflin  $16.95  Trade Paper  April

CIVIL WAR WOMEN: The Civil War Seen Through Women's Eyes in Stories by
Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Eudora Welty, and Other Great Women
edited by Frank McSherry, Jr., Charles G. Waugh, Martin Greenberg
Touchstone ISBN 0-671-70248-3  $8.95  176 pages  May


                  OVERHEARD ON RELAYNET (tm)

(This was a message written by Buzz Dixon; the subject was Peter

Normally Straub's incoherent chapters are at the end of the book, viz.
SHADOWLAND, which had a great first half only to "peter" off into
I like Straub's writing style. The opening hook of GHOST STORY ("Tell
you the worse thing I ever did? No, I won't tell you that...but I will
tell you the worse thing that ever happened to me.") is absolutely
marvelous, but that book also squandered all its energy in the end.
My number one criticism against Straub is that he simply doesn't know
how to resolve a story. ALL of his books suffer from weak climaxes. IF
YOU COULD SEE ME NOW is perhaps his strongest climax, but also his
weakest book all around. JULIA is a more old fashioned ghost story and
as such doesn't need the hard resolution his other tales do.
GHOST STORY trails off into oblivion. SHADOWLAND completely
disintegrates. FLOATING DRAGON does have a climax, but so obtusely
written as to make it damn near impossible to decipher. KOKO has a
great set up and nifty plot twists, but once Barbar the elephant is
introduced becomes silly and contrived; the ending is a real cheat to
give Straub room to have a sequel.


        (The F & NF refer to Fiction and NonFiction.)

Neglected Lives by Stephen Alter (F)
Two Leaves and a Bud by Mulk Raj Anand (F)
The Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand (F)
A Cultural History of India edited by A.L. Basham (NF)
The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Basham (NF)
Fire on the Mountain by Anita Desai (F)
The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell (F)
Gandhi by Louis Fischer (NF)
Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald (F)
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (F)
Ahmed and the Old Lady by Jon Godden (F)
The River by Rumer Godden (F)
Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent by J.C. Harle (NF)
Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (F)
Kim by Rudyard Kipling (F)
The Speaking Tree: A Study of Indian Culture and Society by Richard
  Lannoy (NF)
The Village Had No Walls by Vyankatesh Madgulkar (F)
Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya (F)
Bhowani Junction by John Masters (F)
India Yesterday and Today by Clark D. Moore & David Eldredge (F)
Taj by T.N. Murari (F)
The Man-Eater of Malgudi by R.K. Narayan (F)
The Vendor of Sweets by R.K. Narayan (F)
The Serpent and the Rope by Raja Rao (F)
The Art and Architecture of India by Benjamin Rowland (NF)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (F)
The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott (F)
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons (F)
The Oxford History of India by Vincent Smith (NF)
Indigo by Christine Weston (F)
Behind Mud Walls: 1930-1960 by William H. & Charlotte Viall Wiser (NF)
A New History of India by Stanley Wolpert (NF)


Writers aren't exactly people...they're a whole lot of people
trying to be one person.
                   --F. Scott Fitzgerald


              ACCORDING TO FRED L. DRAKE, JR......

                     by C.J. Cherryh
   1989, Del Rey/Ballantine Books, $18.95, ISBN 0-345-35953-4

This is the most recent work of fantasy by this rather well known
author of science fiction, who has two Hugo awards to her name, as
well as a considerable following. Unfortunately, Ms. Cherryh's fantasy
writing has yet to match her science fiction works in quality, though
she has edited volumes of other peoples' fantasy short stories as well
as having written a number of fantasy novels of her own. RUSALKA is
not exactly a bad book, and can be described as interesting, even, but
more for its use of Russian folklore as a foundation over the more
common Germanic background lore found in today's volumes of fantasy
prose, rather than for the story itself.

The story centers around a pair of boys in a small village a few
hundred miles north of Kiev. The elder of the pair, Pyetr Ilitch
Kochevikov, who is the cause for the initial action which leads to the
main plot of the book, is something of a simple troublemaker. Sasha
Vasilyevich, the younger, was caught up in the story when Pyetr was
trying to get away from the law, Pyetr having been accused of a murder
he did not commit. Sasha, a stableboy, tended to a wound Pyetr had
received and perceived Pyetr's innocence, and both escaped the
village, where neither had any solid friends.

After escaping the village and getting away to a forest to the north,
Pyetr's wound grows worse, and the two take refuge in a house they
find away in the woods. Pyetr, ever the cynic, derides Sasha's belief
in the various spirits of the forest, even after the wizard who lives
in the cottage returns and heals Pyetr's very serious wound. Pyetr
continues to ridicule the very idea of magic until he falls in love
with the spirit of the wizard's deceased daughter, which certainly
changes his plans to escape to brilliant Kiev. The story continues
with Sasha becoming apprenticed to the old wizard and the three of
them working to remove the daughter's murderer, a wizard himself, from
the picture and bring her back to life. Pyetr must learn to accept and
even to some degree understand the workings of the spirit world, and
to live with magic, for Eveshka, the wizard's daughter, is a powerful
wizard in her own right.

Like most of Cherryh's novels, there are only a few characters, and
the physical surroundings are not described in depth. The action
scenes are reasonably well written as well. Readers comfortable with
her level of characterization will enjoy this book, though it may be
intended primarily for the "young adult" reading level, rather than
the "serious" fantasy market. RUSALKA presents a light but enjoyable

                         HIGHER GROUND
                       by Caryl Phillips
    1989, Viking Penguin, New York, $17.95, ISBN  0-670-82620-0

Caryl Phillip's fourth book, HIGHER GROUND, is appropriately billed as
a "triptych" novel, that is, a novel in three parts. Being one who
enjoys seeing tightly composed, complex works in any artistic media, I
grabbed at the chance to read this book. My expectations, as always,
were quite high. As I began to get into the book, I found that my
understanding of a triptych and Mr. Phillip's, or his publisher's,
were a bit different. Or so I thought at first. In the fine arts, the
word "triptych" is used to describe a group of three works which are
meant to be considered a single work and taken together rather than as
three individual productions, and are intimately related to each other
on many levels. HIGHER GROUND is a group of three stories, two of
which are obviously related, and a third which seems to have few ties,
if any, to the others. But as we all know, first impressions will be
just that, impressions, and often are wrong.

The first tale, "Heartland," is the story of an African herdsman who
became a translator with the coming of the Europeans, since there was
no way to continue with his previous life. In living with the white
man he learns that he, as an individual, means little to others: in
the several years he lives with white man on the shores of Africa no
white man so much as asks his name, though a couple treat him
reasonably well when speaking to him. As the story progresses, the
herdsman helps a young girl who had been sexually abused by one of the
whites, and takes her as his woman. They come to care for each other
as best they may in their predicament, but are forced apart by the
cruelty of one of the whites. We never learn her name, either.

"The Cargo Rap" is a highly discomforting story of a young black man
held in an Alabama prison close to contemporary times. He tells his
tale through many letters to family members, of how he has been beaten
and oppressed, and we learn of his crime. By the end of the story he
has served at least seven years for attempting to steal forty dollars.
Yes, there is reason for this man to be upset, for his treatment is
unjust, and he is prevented from any appeal to authority. But though
the reader is made to understand his situation and led to agree that
an injustice has been perpetrated, there is little room for sympathy.

Rudy's letters give the impression that he is quite psychotic, and
spends his time reacting against his white oppressors and languishing
in the torment, accepting their cruelty as proof of his black
superiority. We find that Rudy has led himself to believe that
anything a white man thinks must be inherently evil and anything a
black man does or believes, which was not picked up from the white
man, is inherently good. In his chaotic zeal to convince himself of
the truth of this, Rudy never realizes how many things he has accepted
from the white man without realizing it: he criticizes others quickly
and with little information, and yet is unable to bear witness for his
own actions. He discusses several major black historical figures in
his letters, telling his audience why each were great; every time, he
misses the beat and praises his heroes for everything but their final
leap to heroism, exclaiming that these leaps were the faults that
brought their downfall. These tellings, along with the accompanying
philosophical and political advice which Rudy freely gives his family,
are all very narrow minded and reactionary.

These first two tales are related in an obvious fashion in that both
are stories of black men trying to survive in what amounts to hostile
territory. "Heartland" tells of a black man's separation and
estrangement from his own people, and then again from his adopted
people; "The Cargo Rap" tells of another man's divorce from society,
dignity, and, finally, his own mind. A fine diptych when viewed only
with the other, but still not a triptych; for that we need the third
and final tale, "Higher Ground."

It was not until some time after I had finished the entire book that I
understood the level of the relationships between the initial diptych,
though I thought I did, and that is what prevented me from
understanding the structure of the book until I had had time to
reflect upon the words of the author, and his description of the whole
as a novel rather than a collection of novellas. The last telling is
not centered around a black man, as are the others, though there is a
black man as an important character who closes a tie critical to the

"Higher Ground" tells the tale of a woman driven from Poland by the
second world war as a young child, who flees to England in hope, and
possibly fear, of escaping the horrors of home. Irene has long since
gone insane and found little in the world to make life bearable. She
is working in a library cataloging children's books when she meets a
man named Louis from the West Indies. The story is not a happy one,
and explores the loneliness and solitude of each character through
their interactions with each other and additional characters. Louis
closes the circle by taking the place of the herdsman of "Heartland"
by attempting to be kind, but finding that he has not the wherewithal
to stand against the discrimination which prevents him from getting a
job, and Irene completes a different kind of cycle, also begun by the
herdsman. Hers does not lead to a return home, but rather pulls the
personal desolation of Rudy, from "The Cargo Rap," to a conclusion
which allows for no return.

Phillips has crafted a complex novel which brings forth many ideas
about relations not just between blacks and whites, but between any
groups with identifiable differences, especially differences in
lifestyle and cultural priorities. While it is by no means certain
that Phillips does not intend the book as an indictment of past and
present white behavior towards black men, his presentation of ideas is
powerful and forces one to think about issues of discrimination.
HIGHER GROUND is a powerful book which will leave the reader thinking
for quite some time.

                      by Robert Charles Wilson
            1989, Doubleday, $16.95, ISBN 0-385-24933-0
   1989, Bantam/Spectra Special Edition, $4.50, ISBN 0-553-28-304-9

Robert Charles Wilson's books are generally considered to be science
fiction, which is a reasonable classification, if not ideal. His
books, or those which I have read, certainly don't fit into other
categories any better, though GYPSIES might be considered to fit into
the fantasy category with equal appropriateness, unlike his MEMORY
WIRE. The truth is, GYPSIES doesn't fit into any category unless it is
described as "revelatory"; it is a story of self-discovery and,
therefore, is somewhat a tale of individuals growing up. It might also
be described as an alternate worlds exploration. One thing this book
is definitely not, is "genre fiction."

GYPSIES is a tale of two sisters and a brother who grew up like any
other children, with just one exception: they could step...sideways,
through that odd angle that others could not see or perceive. These
children were able to create windows and doors into other incarnations
of the world; what are popularly known simply as "alternate worlds" to
the modern science fiction reader. Karen, Laura, and Timothy have no
idea where this ability came from or why they are possessed of it, but
as children they are able to use it as a toy, a playground. Their
parents, unable to open such doors, teach the children that it is an
evil ability, not to be used in any way. The children, as children
will, developed their own ideas, each independent of the others.

The primary emphasis of the story is the search for an understanding
of the ability by Karen and her fifteen year old son, Michael. The
search is started, and given importance by, the return of a mysterious
individual from Karen's childhood whom she had only remembered as a
bad dream, and known only as the Gray Man. Little is known about the
Gray Man except that he wants Michael to go with him to the alternate
world he came from, which created him.

During the search for knowledge, Karen must learn to accept the
ability to step between worlds as a natural part of her being, rather
than the evil thing her parents claimed: she must learn that the
"normal" life she had long sought must include rather than reject her
ability, since it was a part of her birthright, as well as Michael's.
Her sister Laura is a help here, allowing Karen and Michael to stay
with her while avoiding the Gray Man. Karen must reveal to her son
more about their heritage and the alternate worlds than she had hoped,
for it turns out that Laura lives in a California which is...
different, in that weird way they knew as children.

There is a period of quiet, inward reflection and searching in a small
California village, during which Karen begins to understand the need
to know more about their ability, and to tell Michael as much as she
can, so he will not be completely defenseless when the Gray Man
catches up with them. Laura finds that Michael is able to do much more
than any of the original brothers and sisters simply from stumbling
about, trying things on his own. Following this period of
introspection, there is a trip to visit Karen and Laura's parents,
after which the sisters and Michael reunite with Tim. The story
becomes faster-paced after this, with Tim's loyalties coming into

The main aspects of growth in GYPSIES are intellectual, with the
reader watching the characters actions, only rarely having direct
access to their thoughts, and having to determine for himself the
subtle changes in the characters' inner selves. There are few specific
points at which these inner changes can be pinpointed as occurring,
and there is little to cause us to say that the characters are either
"good" or "bad," they are simply the people we move with through the
story and the people we watch from a sort of "outside"; in this way
the story is very believable.

Wilson is one of the major authors in the science fiction community
who is moving the genre away from the "traditional" field it occupies
and into the mainstream of modern fiction, bringing it stylistically
closer to modern "literary" fiction than to simple hero-oriented


If you'd like to travel to Japan without leaving your armchair, and be
entertained to boot, you might like to try one (or more) of the Otani
mysteries by James Melville (a pseudonym of Peter Martin).

The latest is:

A HAIKU FOR HANAE (Scribners, ISBN 0-684-19131-8, $16.95)

The previous Otani mysteries are available in paperback from Fawcett.

THE WAGES OF ZEN (ISBN 0-449-20838-9, $2.95)
THE CHRYSANTHEMUM CHAIN (ISBN 0-449-20822-2, $2.95)
A SORT OF SAMURAI (ISBN 0-449-20821-4, $2.95)
THE NINTH NETSUKE (ISBN 0-449-20823-0, $2.95)
SAYONARA, SWEET AMARYLLIS (ISBN 0-449-20825-7, $2.95)
DEATH OF A DAIMYO (ISBN 0-449-20824-9, $2.95)
THE DEATH CEREMONY (ISBN 0-449-21131-2, $2.95)
GO GENTLY, GAIJIN (ISBN 0-449-21413-3, $2.95)
KIMONO FOR A CORPSE (ISBN 0-449-21644-6, $3.50)
THE RELUCTANT RONIN (ISBN 0-449-21619-5, $3.50)



                       by Kirk Wilson

In this engaging investigation into the top ten mysteries of our time,
we meet or come close to identifying the killers who literally got
away with murder.

All ten are real life cases, some still under investigation. Kirk
Wilson writes about an amazing array of carefully researched unsolved
cases acting as informed judge, jury and prosecutor. To qualify for
inclusion in this volume, the author required that each case fulfill
three essential criteria: that each was a) a genuine "page one"
sensation, b) a first rate tale of murder, and c) still unsolved and
therefore mysterious.

As it happens, several of the cases interestingly tie into one
another. John F. Kennedy and brother Robert had affairs with Marilyn
Monroe and may have had some connection with her death. The Kennedys
were tape-recorded in their diversions with Marilyn by arch-enemy
Jimmy Hoffa, who in turn subsequently became a posthumous suspect in
the JFK assassination conspiracy. Mafia figures also weave their
shadowy ways through a number of the cases.

CONTENTS:  The Last Time We Saw Camelot: The Assassination of John
Kennedy; With Friends Like These: The Disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa;
The Two Kings of the Bahamas: The Murder of Sir Harry Oakes; The Man
Who Wore a Common Face: The Search for Martin Bormann; Vanishing
Justice: The Disappearance of Judge Joseph Force Crater; The Girl Who
Cried Wolf Beautifully: The Death of Marilyn Monroe; The Price of
Being Born Again: The T. Cullen Davis Murder Trial; Napoleon's Demise:
The Murder of Serge Rubinstein; Sunny in Darkness: The Trial of Claus
von Bulow.

ISBN 0-88184-470-5 Hardcover $18.95  250 pages March

                       THE WOMAN CHASER
                     by Charles Willeford

According to critics, Charles Willeford "wrote the most eloquently
brainy and exacting pulp fiction every fabricated". (Richard Gehr) In
THE WOMAN CHASER, one Richard Hudson, ex-used car salesman and
manipulator of attractive women (including a Salvation Army volunteer
whom he tempts into prostitution) is one of the most self-conscious
(and therefore artful) creations in the history of the genre. He is a
1950s middle class underground man who understands that his life is a
walking allegory for American culture; a man driven to control his
destiny but primed for self-destruction.

ISBN 0-88184-556-6 Paperback $3.95 192 pages March

                    THE MULLER-FOKKER EFFECT
                         by John Sladek

John Sladek--along with Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard--is one of the
liveliest and most creative science fiction writers of the last twenty
years. THE MULLER-FOKKER EFFECT, his second novel, is considered to be
more than a decade ahead of his time.

Bob Shairp--a writer and dreamer--has agreed to be a guinea-pig in a
military experiment to find out if his personality can be turned into
data and stored on computer. But a computing error quickly destroys
Shairp's physical body, leaving his mind stranded in an encoded world.
Can the process be reversed? Can a human being be recycled? And is
this experiment just another twisted scheme for the U.S. military to
play with? These are some of the questions that Sladek invites in this
pungent combination of science fiction and black humor.

ISBN 0-88184-548-5 Paperback $3.95 224 pages March

                   MORE CARROLL & GRAF TITLES:

by Eric Ambler

Eric Ambler's enduring tale of international intrigue remains one of
the very best thrillers ever written.

April  Mass Market Paperback  $3.95  ISBN 0-88184-619-8

by Erle Stanley Gardner

This exciting collection contains nine of the very best Erle Stanley
Gardner novellas, none of which has ever before been published in book
form. Each story features Gardner's most enduring "pulp" character,
the inimitable Ed Jenkins.

April  Hardcover  $18.95  ISBN 0-88184-579-5

by Shane Stevens

This truly scary novel has been acclaimed as both a popular classic
and a psychological masterpiece.

April  Mass Market Paperback  $5.95  ISBN 0-88184-609-0

by Michael Gilbert

April  Hardcover  $16.95  ISBN 0-88184-581-7

edited by Stephen Jones & David Sutton

April  Hardcover  $17.95  ISBN 0-88184-571-X


I took a course in speed reading and was able to read WAR AND
PEACE in twenty minutes. It's about Russia.
                      --Woody Allen


                ACCORDING TO OLLIE McKAGEN....

                     FORBIDDEN SANCTUARY
                     by Richard Bowker
               1982, Del Rey Books / Ballantine

With this title and unlikely plot, Pope Meets Aliens, a book could
languish forever. Found in a library sale, cost two bits. Daunted by
the cover picture of the visitors' ship, a glowing blue pyramid, I
began it only in desperation one night when I'd forgotten to pick up a
paper. Begins in media res, fast interleaves to new scenes. Lost
thread at once; started again. Hey, this has color!! And, a hint of a
purpose in the makeup of the initial character. Lessee now.... The
aliens are here, on a trip dedicated in the rituals of their state
religion. They've crossed interstellar space despite technology that
requires them to hand scribe leaflets to drop on a city. Their
presence is a dominant factor in a volatile post-arrival world
political scene. At home they are repressing a small cult group as the
Romans did Christianity. Of those, one named Tenon has secretly
enlisted on the voyage. At an opportune moment he appeals to an
interpreter, a good Catholic. She tells her priest and he tells a
Jesuit friend who knows the Pope's secretary. No one between Tenon and
the Pope can ignore (God works in strange ways) a witness that their
most basic tenet, Crucifixion, is occurring on other worlds. This
could be the miracle the Church needs to regain lost status. Following
close on the heels of the message to the Pope's secretary is the
defection of Tenon from the ship. He is spirited away by one of the
intermediaries. The aliens want him back, threaten the UN with massive
earthly destruction. Can they?? We can't afford to take the chance;
the least they will do is leave, taking with them the secret of
interstellar travel. But the Church won't give him up...and this is
just the first few chapters.
The book is dramatic and has a fine set of actors, developed by
running the action through their eyes. Bowker succeeded with a
difficult technique: a nice layer of carefully refined flesh is
deposited around everyone in the cast, including the chief aliens.
There are no archetypes here; even the strongest have fitting faults.
Beside Pope Clement, I especially liked Father Bernardi and Madeleine
West, a tough lady FBI agent. Their game of cat and mouse itself is
worth the $.25, but it is only a part of a detailed and involved plot
structure that sets at odds even those on the same nominal sides,
filling out minor themes along the way. There is room in such a
straightforward but complex structure for a writer to set traps for
the players. And surprises for the readers. So smoothly is this done
that, even if prewarned, you'll never twig to it in time.

Taken by the way basic religious themes were made credible in a very
unlikely story, I found ample to reflect on in the writer. Mr. Bowker
is highly skilled and obviously learned about "the one true Church."
Everything is theologically disciplined as well as artistically exact.
Nowhere does anything fall flat (yeah there *is* a bit of unlikely
dialogue), though explaining so much plot coincidence in terms of the
hand of God is both neat and trite. But it moves the book, maybe even
this review, along very well. Those unhappy with this big a bite can
still take pleasure in other good things within, including an epilogue
both resolutory and inspirational.



01 1697 Abbe Prevost; French novelist and journalist
01 1755 Anthelme Brillat-Savarin; French lawyer, politician, writer
01 1868 Edmond Rostand; French playwright
01 1875 Edgar Wallace; English writer
01 1922 William Manchester; American writer
01 1926 Anne McCaffrey; American writer
01 1929 Milan Kundera; Czech writer
01 1942 Samuel R. Delany; American writer
02 1805 Hans Christian Andersen; Danish writer
02 1840 Emile Zola; French writer and critic
02 1940 Peter Haining; writer and editor
02 1948 Joan D. Vinge; American writer
03 1593 George Herbert; English metaphysical poet
03 1783 Washington Irving; American essayist, biographer, historian
03 1822 Edward Everett Hale; American clergyman and writer
04 1896 Robert Sherwood; American playwright and editor
04 1896 Tristan Tzara; French poet Samuel Rosenfeld
04 1914 Marguerite Duras; French novelist & filmmaker Marguerite
04 1928 Maya Angelou; American writer
05 1588 Thomas Hobbes; English political philosopher
05 1725 Giovanni Casanova; Italian adverturer who wrote the 12-volume
05 1837 Algernon Swinburne; English poet and man of letters
05 1917 Robert Bloch; American writer
05 1920 Arthur Hailey; English-born Canadian novelist
06 1671 Jean-Baptiste Rousseau; French poet
06 1866 Lincoln Steffens; American journalist
06 1892 Lowell Thomas; American journalist
06 1906 John Betjeman; English Poet Laureate 1972-1984
07 1770 William Wordsworth; English poet
07 1889 Gabriela Mistral; Chilean poet Lucila Godoy Alcayaga
07 1915 Henry Kuttner; American writer
07 1931 Donald Barthelme; American writer
08 1898 C.M. Bowra; English classical scholar and professor of poetry
        at Oxford University
09 1821 Charles Baudelaire; French poet
10 1778 William Hazlitt; English essayist, journalist, drama critic,
10 1847 Joseph Pulitzer; Hungarian-born American journalist
10 1903 Clare Boothe Luce; American playwright & diplomat
10 1934 David Halberstam; American journalist
10 1941 Paul Theroux; American novelist & travel writer
11 1722 Christopher Smart; English poet and journalist
11 1901 Glenway Wescott; American writer
11 1934 Mark Strand; American poet, editor, translator
12 1823 Aleksandr Ostrovsky; Russian playwright
13 1906 Samuel Beckett; French novelist, dramatist, poet
13 1909 Eudora Welty; American writer
13 1922 John Braine; English novelist
14 1828 The first edition of Noah Webster's AN AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF
        THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE is published
14 1879 James Branch Cabell; American novelist and essayist
14 1889 Arnold Toynbee; English historian
14 1946 Tom Monteleone; American writer
15 1843 Henry James; American writer and critic
16 1844 Anatole France; French writer & critic Jacques Anatole
        Francois Thibault
16 1871 John Millington Synge; Irish dramatist
16 1921 Peter Ustinov; English playwright, actor, fiction writer,
        director, essayist
16 1922 Kingsley Amis; English writer
17 1622 Henry Vaughan; English poet
17 1885 Isak Dinesen; Danish writer Baroness Karen Dinesen Blixen
17 1897 Thornton Wilder; American novelist and playwright
18 1817 George Henry Lewes; English philosophical writer & literary
18 1864 Richard Harding Davis; American journalist & novelist
18 1907 Stephen Longstreet; American writer
19 1832 Jos‚ Echegaray; Spanish dramatist
19 1900 Richard Hughes; English writer
21 1816 Charlotte Bronte; English novelist
21 1838 John Muir; American naturalist and writer
22 1707 Henry Fielding; English novelist and playwright
22 1724 Immanuel Kant; German philosopher
22 1766 Madame de Stael; Swiss-French belle-lettrist
22 1873 Ellen Glasgow; American novelist
23 1547 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Spanish writer
23 1616 William Shakespeare died
23 1899 Vladimir Nabokov; Russian-born American novelist & poet
23 1899 Ngaio Marsh; New Zealand detective-story writer
23 1923 Avram Davidson; American writer
24 1800 The Library of Congress was established
24 1815 Anthony Trollope; English novelist
24 1905 Robert Penn Warren; American poet and novelist
25 1873 Walter De la Mare; English poet, novelist, anthologist
26 1564 William Shakespeare was baptized in Holy Trinity Church
26 1711 David Hume; Scottish philosopher and historian
26 1820 Alice Cary; American poet
26 1889 Ludwig Wittgenstein; Austrian philosopher & professor at
        Cambridge University
26 1893 Anita Loos; American novelist and screenwriter
26 1912 A.E. Van Vogt; American writer
26 1914 Bernard Malamud; American writer
27 1737 Edward Gibbon; English historian
27 1759 Mary Wollstonecraft; English writer
27 1820 Herbert Spencer; English philosopher
27 1903 Frank Belknap Long; American writer
27 1904 Cecil Day Lewis; English Poet Laureate, critic, author of
        detective stories under the name Nicholas Blake
27 1932 Hart Crane, sailing from Mexico to New York on the
        ORIZABA, commits suicide by jumping overboard
28 1917 Robert Anderson; American playwright and novelist
28 1926 Harper Lee; author of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
29 1667 John Arbuthnot; Scottish writer
29 1863 William Randolph Hearst; American newspaper publisher
29 1908 Jack Williamson; American writer
30 1888 John Crowe Ransom; American poet and critic
30 1938 Larry Niven; American writer
30 1945 Annie Dillard; American writer


I've given up reading books. I find it takes my mind off myself.
                      --Oscar Levant


                  MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 1989

                     by Cindy Bartorillo

I've given the matter some thought (some: more than a little, less
than a lot), and here are my three favorite novels of 1989:

SACRED MONSTER by Donald E. Westlake
THE MEZZANINE by Nicholson Baker
THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville

Now that I sit here staring at the list it occurs to me that all three
are in some sense experimentally structured, which is odd, because I
really don't seek out the "new and unusual". On the contrary, if
anyone were to ask I'd probably say that I'm as conventional a reader
as you're likely to find. Let me go even further. If you had itemized
the major distinctions of these novels like this:

SACRED MONSTER:  You spend the whole book finding out what's happening
on the first page.

THE MEZZANINE:  There's almost no plot at all, and what little plot
there is is pretty boring.

THE EIGHT:  The author juggles Romance Novel characters, real
historical figures, and an armload of puzzles, and somehow manages to
keep all in the air at once (and for a prodigious number of pages).

for me before I read them, I probably wouldn't have read them. I don't
know about you, but these descriptions are not appealing to me. I've
seen books like each of these descriptions, and hated them all. Except
these. The one distinction that these three books have is that, for
me, their authors pulled it off. Each one could be considered a vanity
piece; the author set him(her)self a challenge, tied one hand firmly
behind the back, and then proceeded to astonish one and all with feats
of literary wit and daring. Stunts like this put some people off, of
course, which is a shame. I love to see talented people stretching
themselves, and when they manage to do something interesting and
different with the novel form, I'm just glad I was there to enjoy it.
And I'll be there again and again, I'm sure. All three of these books
bear rereading, and all three I of course recommend unreservedly.


                       THE MIDDLE AGES

         (The F & NF refer to Fiction and NonFiction.)

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams (NF)
The Knight and Chivalry by Richard Barber (NF)
The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe by Richard Barber (NF)
Art of the Middle Ages by Michael Batterberry (NF)
The Economic Development of Medieval Europe by Robert-Henri Bautier
Feudal Society by Marc Bloch (NF)
The Women Troubadours by Meg Bogin (NF)
The Age of Charlemagne by Donald Bullough (NF)
Our Ancestors by Italo Calvino (F)
War in the Middle Ages by Philippe Contamine (NF)
Fabulous Feasts by Madeleine Cosman (NF)
Medieval Panorama by George G. Coulton (NF)
The Age of Faith by Will Durant (NF)
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (F)
The Rise of Christianity by W.H. Frend (NF)
Life in a Medieval Castle by Joseph & Frances Gies (NF)
Life in a Medieval City by Joseph & Frances Gies (NF)
The Spire by William Golding (F)
The Medieval World by Friedrich Heer (NF)
Narcissus and Goldmund by Herman Hesse (F)
The Earl by Cecelia Holland (F)
Medieval Europe: A Short History by C. Warren Hollister (NF)
Medieval Pageant by Bryan Holme (NF)
Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo (F)
The Waning of the Middle Ages by Johan Huizinga (NF)
The Pelican History of Medieval Europe by Maurice Keen (NF)
Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings by Amy Kelly (NF)
The Dwarf by Par Lagerkvist (F)
The Holy Sinner by Thomas Mann (F)
The Crusades by Hans E. Mayer (NF)
The Golden Warrior by Hope Muntz (F)
Destiny of Fire by Zoe Oldenbourg (F)
Joan of Arc by Regine Pernoud (NF)
The Bastard King by Jean Plaidy (F)
The Stones of the Abbey by Fernand Pouillon (F)
Medieval People by Eileen Power (NF)
Medieval Women by Eileen Power (NF)
The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade (F)
The Portable Medieval Reader edited by James B. Ross & Mary M.
  McLaughlin (NF)
Everyday Life in Medieval Times by Marjorie Rowling (NF)
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (F)
Western Europe in the Middle Ages by Brian Tierney & Sidney Painter
Kristan Lavrandsdatter by Sigrid Undset (F)
Peter Abelard by Helen Waddell (F)
Bird of Fire by Helen White (F)
Medieval Technology and Social Change by Lynn White (NF)

Recent Releases:

by Geoffrey Ashe
All the rulers and events, real or mythical, that are part of the rich
tapestry of early history in Britain.
(Academy Chicago -- April 1990)
ISBN 0-89733-347-0  $19.95  Hardcover  300 pages

by Ruth Minary & Charles Moorman
Arthurian characters, places, themes and topics from the first written
records of early myths and legends through Sir Thomas Malory's epic
(Academy Chicago -- April 1990)
ISBN 0-89733-348-9  $7.95  Paper  144 pages

by Frances & Joseph Gies
(Harper & Row -- February 1990)
ISBN 0-06-016215-5  $22.95  Hardcover

by Shulamith Shahar
Routledge  400 pages  $29.95  Hardcover


The love of reading is in part a compulsion. I am powerless to resist
the temptation to read. I perceive the magic, wondrous power that
reading brings, and wish that more people could share this simple
                  --Steve Allen ("DUMBTH")



            The Official Book of Ridiculous Records
                     by Brad Schreiber
                 (Meadowbrook Press, 1989)

Some record books settle arguments. This one is more likely to start
them. Are the "facts" in this book factual? An extremely limited and
highly unscientific poll has shown that there is disagreement on this
point. Some people point to the first chapter, "How to Get Your Record
Published in This Book", and say, "See? I told you so." (I didn't say
these people were brain surgeons.) Other people will point to the
entry concerning Lena Wroclaw (of Lodz, Poland), who keeps a five-foot
ball of earwax in her living room, and say, "Yeah. Right. Furshure."
This is what makes communication so intellectually stimulating.

There is simply no end to the fascinating information in this book.
Take, for instance, the Most Repulsive TV Commercial Jingle. There was
obviously a GREAT deal of competition in this category, but the
Johnson Tire Company won with, "Buy Johnson tires. / Use your head. /
If you buy someone else's. / You're as good as dead." A classic.

In the pages of WEIRD WONDERS you'll find the true heart of modern
culture. Has Guinness caught up with these concepts?

Greatest Amount of Liposuction
Most Annoying Street Mime
Digital Watch with the Most Functions
Slowest Fast-Food Restaurant
Leather Jacket with the Most Zippers
Longest Search for a Parking Space

There's no doubt about it, WEIRD WONDERS AND BIZARRE BLUNDERS is the
record book for the rest of us. You may not be any smarter after
reading this book, but you'll be laughing so hard you won't care.

                        by Bill Pronzini
                      (St. Martin's, 1988)

This is another of Pronzini's wonderful Nameless Detective stories,
but one in which Nameless' girlfriend Kerry and partner Eberhardt have
only walk-on roles. Indeed, SHACKLES' 245 pages is almost entirely an
interior monologue, as Nameless copes with a level of stress that many
of us, thankfully, will never experience.

Do not assume, however, that SHACKLES is one smidgen less exciting
than your average mystery with at least 2 unclad female beauties and
3.7 car chases. The first-person perspective draws the reader in as
Nameless is abducted in early winter by an unknown (and therefore also
Nameless) enemy, taken to a lonely mountain cabin, and chained inside
with limited provisions. The idea, you see, is for Nameless to last
long enough to truly appreciate his doom and to have ample opportunity
to suffer.

The psychological rigors that Nameless withstands are both believable
and fascinating. You'll find yourself wondering, at every stage, how
you would fare in similar circumstances--all I managed to conclude is
that I was awfully glad this was fiction, and about someone other than
me. Just imagine being shut up for months with only a handful of old
pulpy paperbacks. Gives you a shiver, doesn't it?

SHACKLES is a fine example of the lengths to which our good modern
writers have been able to stretch the mystery form. Bill Pronzini
continues to be one of our finest and most undervalued mystery

There's a new Nameless story out now:  JACKPOT by Bill Pronzini,
Delacorte, $16.95, ISBN 0-385-29895-1

                        by Steve Allen
                      (Prometheus, 1989)

"Mountains of evidence--both in the form of statistical studies and
personal testimonies--establish that the American people are suffering
from a new and perhaps unprecedented form of mental incapacitation for
which I have coined the word DUMBTH."

If you've been thinking that people don't seem to be as smart as they
used to be, Steve Allen says you're right. He says he's been noticing
the encroaching "dumbth" since the early 1960s. Somewhere along the
line we stopped caring about effective methods of thinking and stopped
teaching them to our children. Like a contagious disease, faulty
reasoning is overrunning our country, and if you think it hasn't made
a difference you haven't been paying attention. We are accustomed here
to the attitude that if things are bad HERE, just imagine how they are
in OTHER countries, the unstated assumption being that the U.S. is
certainly best in all things. Now we must adjust to the concept that
the U.S. is at pretty much the bottle of the global pile in
brainpower. Soon our national image will in include our characteristic
stupidity (if it doesn't already).

"In another instance, a teacher of juniors and seniors in a high
school raised the question of what tribes had invaded England. Among
the guesses were the Aztecs and the Jews."

"And as of the beginning of 1989, approximately one-third of America's
high school students could not locate the United States on a map of
the world."

But, as Steve Allen argues, it's not simply that we're ignorant of
facts--the most dangerous aspect of dumbth is that we've lost the
ability to reason properly. He points to the rising tide of hate-
related violence (prejudice, in case you haven't noticed, is
flourishing today), people who mistake actors for the characters they
portray, and our inability to deal rationally with major issues like
the arms race, nuclear power, capital punishment, abortion, the
homeless, and (coming full circle) the crisis in the schoolhouse.

Mr. Allen's book is divided into two sections:  The Problem, where he
provides the above-mentioned "mountains of evidence"; and The
Solution, where he lays out his suggestions of "81 Ways to Think
Better". Incidentally, Mr. Allen's careful use of language, which I
found discordant and awkward in his fiction, is used to great effect
here. The clarity and precision of his phrasing is a delight to
read--he never overstates his case nor does he permit himself bouts of
emotionalism. The first half of the book is an effective, logically-
structured argument of his premise.

The second half, the 81 rules, should be required reading by all
members of every household. Some are very general, others are very
specific, all are worthy of careful consideration. My personal
favorite is No. 34: "Decide to continue your education until death".
Now THOSE are words to live by. And DUMBTH could very well be the most
important book you've ever read--don't miss it!

A few excerpts:

"Which of the following is true about 87 percent of 10?"

(A) It is greater than 10.
(B) It is less than 10.
(C) It is equal to 10.
(D) Can't tell.

Half of the students tested answered the question wrong, obviously
having failed to grasp the point that 87 percent--of anything at all--
cannot possibly be equal to all, or 100 percent, of it."

"Incidentally, readers should by no means infer that, in writing such
a book, I am presenting myself as a supremely reasonable authority,
any more than they should assume that a clergyman who delivers a moral
sermon is necessarily himself saintly."

"Several years ago, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
hired a private consultant, Rockwell International, to find out how
many private consultants HEW had in its employ. From an original price
tag of $378,147 Rockwell's contract had reached a cost of $2,200,000."

"A telephone receptionist for a New York publishing company,
responding to a request to speak to an executive, said, 'He don't work
here no more.'"

"We must inculcate a respect for wisdom and not put such heavy
emphasis on material or financial accomplishment. Man was not put on
this earth primarily to have hit record albums, to be utterly
irresistible to the opposite sex, to get rich by any means, however
unethical, or to wear the tightest possible jeans. Every other society
in history that has accomplished anything of lasting importance has
perceived such simple truths."


          Why don't you write books people can read?
             --Nora Joyce to her husband, James



INTELLECT: Mind Over Matter by Mortimer J. Adler
Macmillan ISBN 0-02-500350-X  $16.95  Hardcover  March
Adler looks into the intellect's uniqueness, artificial intelligence
and more.

A ROMANCE OF THE EQUATOR: The Best Fantasy Stories of Brian W. Aldiss
Atheneum ISBN 0-689-12053-2  $18.95  April

UNDERCOVER OPERATIONS: A Manual For the Private Investigator
by K.P. Anderson
Citadel Press ISBN 0-8065-1166-4  $5.95  Paper  March

Wiley ISBN 0-471-52119-1  $10.95  Paper  March

ROOM TEMPERATURE by Nicholson Baker
Grove Weidenfeld ISBN 0-8021-1224-2  $16.95  April
The author of THE MEZZANINE gives a wry view of family life while
feeding his baby daughter.

HENRY FIELDING: A Life by Martin C. Battestin with Ruthe R. Battestin
Routledge  738 pages  65 b&w plates  $45  Hardcover
Uses newly discovered letters, manuscripts and drawings by Fielding to
illuminate the writer's life and work.

Oxford Univ. Press ISBN 0-19-282714-6  $13.95  Paper  March

CAN SUCH THINGS BE? Tales of Horror and the Supernatural by Ambrose
Citadel Twilight ISBN 0-8065-0550-8  $6.95  Paper  March

by Robert Bloch
Citadel Twilight ISBN 0-8065-1144-3  $12.95  Paper  March

ABROAD IN AMERICA: Literary Discoveries of the New World from the Past
500 Years edited by Robert Blow
Crossroad/Continuum  $21.95  April
Includes first impressions by such figures as Charles Dickens and
Oscar Wilde.

THEY NEVER SAID IT: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading
Attributions by Paul F. Boller, Jr. & John George
Oxford Univ. Press ISBN 0-19-506469-0  $6.95  Paper  March

by Massimo Bonanno
Henry Holt/Owl Books  $14.95  Trade Paper  February
The band's lives and careers from 1961 to the present.

THE POLICE MYSTIQUE: An Insider's Look at Cops, Crime, and the
Criminal Justice System
by Chief Anthony V. Bouza (Ret.)
Plenum ISBN 0-306-43464-4  $23.95  Hardcover  287 pages  April

Vintage ISBN 0-679-72824-4  $8.95  Trade Paper  April
The humorous, illustrated autobiography of a quadriplegic cartoonist.

POISON IN JEST by John Dickson Carr
Perennial ISBN 0-06-081030-0  $4.50  Mass Market Paper  February

ASTOUNDING DAYS: A Science Fictional Autobiography by Arthur C. Clarke
Bantam ISBN 0-553-34822-1  $8.95  Trade Paper  March

GILBERT: The Man Who Was G.K. Chesterton by Michael Coren
Paragon House ISBN 1-55778-256-3  $22.95  Hardcover  March

THE MAN IN LINCOLN'S NOSE: Funny, Profound and Quotable Quotes of
Screenwriters, Movie Stars, and Moguls by Melinda Corey & George Ochoa
Fireside ISBN 0-671-68172-9  $8.95  April

Writer's Digest ISBN 0-927629-03-8  $15.95  Paper  March

FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Harper & Row ISBN 0-06-016253-8  $18.95  March
The chairman of the department of behavior sciences at the University
of Chicago maintains that quality of life can be improved by
controlling the information that enters our consciousness.

Vintage ISBN 0-679-72991-7  $10.95  April

Vintage ISBN 0-679-72989-5  $10.95  April

THE WENCH IS DEAD: An Inspector Morse Mystery by Colin Dexter
St. Martin's  $15.95  April
Release coincides with the telecast of the third Inspector Morse
series on PBS.

Life of the Brown Oxford by Philip K. Dick
Citadel Twilight ISBN 0-8065-1153-2  $12.95  Paper  March

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY... by Nora Ephron
Knopf  $9.95  Trade Paper  February
The screenplay of the Rob Reiner movie.

SWEET WOMEN LIE: An Amos Walker Mystery by Loren D. Estleman
Houghton Mifflin ISBN 0-395-53767-3  $18.95  Hardcover

THE EDGE by Dick Francis
Fawcett Crest  $5.95  Mass Market Paperback  March

THE ADVENTURES OF PAUL PRY by Erle Stanley Gardner
Mysterious  $9.95  Trade Paper  February
A novel involving one of the least known characters from the creator
of Perry Mason.

HYPE AND GLORY by William Goldman
Villard ISBN 0-394-58432-5  $19.95  Hardcover  April
An insider's look at the Cannes Film Festival and the Miss America
Pageant--two events Goldman recently judged.

Random House ISBN 0-679-72860-0  $10.95  Paper  April

IN A DARK DREAM by Charles L. Grant
Tor ISBN 0-8125-1844-6 $4.95  Mass Market Paperback  April

Paragon House ISBN 1-55778-317-9  $10.95  Paper  April
Presents 41 principles of clear and graceful prose.

BOOK OF THE DEAD: Celebrating 25 Years with the Grateful Dead by Herb
Delacorte ISBN 0-385-30088-3  $29.95  Hardcover March
Delta ISBN 0-385-29947-8  $15.95  Trade Paper March

MY LIFE IN THREE ACTS by Helen Hayes with Katherine Hatch
HBJ ISBN 0-15-163695-8  $19.95  Hardcover
Helen Hayes speaks with wit, wisdom and candor of the people she has
known, the private, painful aspects of her personal life, and the
problems she sees in today's theater.

CARY GRANT: The Lonely Heart by Charles Higham
Avon  $4.95  Mass Market Paperback  March

THE BEST OF ABBIE HOFFMAN: Selections from Revolution for the Hell of
It, Woodstock Nation, Steal This Book, and new writings
Four Walls Eight Windows ISBN 0-941423-27-1 $21.95 Hardcover March

Ballantine  $4.95  Mass Market Paperback  March
How to get the best medical care.

Knopf  $18.95  February
A new detective novel featuring Commander Adam Dalgleish.

Perennial ISBN 0-06-430196-6  $17.95  January

Perennial ISBN 0-06-091657-5  $10.95  Trade Paper  April
Portrays people whose thoughts and actions have shaped the modern
world: Rousseau, Shelley, Ibsen, Hemingway, Sartre, and Russell.

MASQUERADE by William X. Kienzle
Andrews and McMeel ISBN 0-8362-6126-7  $15.95  Hardcover  March
Father Robert Koesler solves the murder of a popular televangelist in
his 12th mystery.

DEAR WIT by H. Jack Lang
Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-961715-9  $9.95  Paper  February
A collection of nearly 250 entertaining letters from Twain, Balzac,
Churchill, Groucho Marx and more.

KILLSHOT by Elmore Leonard
Warner ISBN 0-446-35041-9 $5.95  Mass Market Paperback  April

Harmony Books ISBN 0-517-57579-5  $7.95  Trade Paper  April
A melding of cyberpunk SF with hardboiled detective stories.

IN THE LAKE OF THE MOON by David L. Lindsey
Bantam  $4.95  Mass Market Paperback  February
Stuart Haydon, the Houston homicide detective, returns in this
Edgar-nominated novel.

Random House ISBN 0-394-58408-2  $21.95  March
Jason Bourne comes face-to-face with his arch-nemesis Carlos in a
battle to the death.

BEN HECHT: The Man Behind the Legend by William MacAdams
Scribners ISBN 0-684-18980-1  $24.95  Hardcover  April
Chronicles the life of the man who wrote the scripts for GONE WITH THE
WIND and A FAREWELL TO ARMS, seven novels and six Broadway plays.

BLUE WORLD by Robert R. McCammon
Pocket Books ISBN 0-671-69518-5 $4.95  Mass Market Paperback  April

Knopf  $18.95  February
Explores the relationship between author Joe McGinnis and the subject
of his book--Jeffrey MacDonald, a doctor accused of murdering his

Vintage ISBN 0-679-72895-3  $9.95  March

LITERARY OUTLAW: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs by Ted
Avon  $12.95  Trade Paper  April
The outrageous life and times of the author of NAKED LUNCH.

Mercury House  $15.95  March
The actor reflects on eight decades of growing old.

Doubleday  $12.95  Trade Paper  March

BURN MARKS: A V.I. Warshawski Mystery by Sara Paretsky
Delacorte Press ISBN 0-385-29892-7  $17.95  March

Passport Books ISBN 0-8442-8618-4  $8.95  Spring 1990
A breezy-but-serious "must" for those who seek direction for careers
involving reading, writing, editing or research talents.

JACKPOT by Bill Pronzini
Delacorte Press ISBN 0-385-29895-1  $16.95  April
The Nameless Detective investigates the apparent suicide of a man who
had won $200,000 at a Lake Tahoe casino.

VINELAND by Thomas Pynchon
Little, Brown  $19.95  February
The author's first novel in 17 years introduces a group of 1980s
Americans struggling with the sexual and political consequences of the

Dembner ISBN 0-942637-14-3  $24.95  March

Writer's Digest ISBN 0-89879-397-1  $19.95  Hardcover  March
Explains standard structure of a police department, surveillance
tactics, FBI facts, courtroom procedures and more.

DECEPTION by Philip Roth
Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-671-70374-9  $18.95  April/May
A married American writer and his affair with a married Englishwoman.

KATHARINE AND E.B. WHITE: An Affectionate Memoir by Isabel Russell
Norton ISBN 0-393-30638-0  $8.95  Trade Paper  February
The author's recollection of the eight years she spent in the White's
home as their personal secretary.

WORDS OF WISDOM by William Safire & Leonard Safir
Fireside ISBN 0-671-69587-8  $10.95  April

RULES OF PREY by John Sandford
Berkley ISBN 0-425-12163-1 $4.95  Mass Market Paperback  April

Doubleday/Foundation ISBN 0-385-24950-0 $8.95  Trade Paper  March
                     ISBN 0-385-26747-9 $18.95  Hardcover  March
A sequel to HYPERION.

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE by Stephen Soderbergh
Perennial  $19.95  Hardcover  $10.95  Trade Paper  April
The annotated screenplay and production notes for one of 1989's most
talked-about films.

DEMON NIGHT by J. Michael Straczynski
Berkley ISBN 0-425-12104-6 $3.95  Mass Market Paperback  April
About a son who inherits the ability to open and close the gates of
hell, and must use his legacy to reign in demonic forces in a book
nominated as the best new novel of 1988 by the Horror Writers of

15 SECONDS edited by Ron Tussy, Doug Menuez, & David Cohen
Island Press ISBN 1-55963-038-8  $19.95  Trade Paper
The definitive photojournalistic record of the October 17, 1989
Northern California earthquake. All sales to benefit victims of the
earthquake. 52 color and 38 black-and-white photographs.

DARK SHADOWS TRIBUTE BOOK by James Van Hise & Ed Gross; edited by Hal
Pioneer Books ISBN 1-55698-234-8  $14.95  Trade Paper  March

Pioneer Books ISBN 1-55698-226-7  $14.95  Trade Paper  March

THE DAME by Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark)
Foul Play Press ISBN 0-88150-157-3  $4.95  Paper  March

THE DAMSEL by Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark)
Foul Play Press ISBN 0-88150-156-5  $4.95  Paper  March

DROWNED HOPES by Donald E. Westlake
Mysterious Press ISBN 0-89296-178-3  $18.95  Hardcover
Dortmunder, the bad-luck burglar, tries to recover an underwater

A DEATH BEFORE DYING: A Lt. Hastings Mystery by Collin Wilcox
Holt ISBN 0-8050-0979-5  $17.95  Hardcover

THE DARK DOOR by Kate Wilhelm
Tudor  $4.50  Mass Market Paperback  March

THE SKIN TRADE: Night Visions 5 introduction by Douglas E. Winter
Berkley  $4.50  Mass Market Paperback  March
Previously unpublished stories by Stephen King, Dan Simmons and George
R.R. Martin.


                     SHARING THE WEALTH

One of the rewards of being a Reader is the satisfaction of sharing a
good book with a friend. Recently Darryl and I exchanged
recommendations, with the following result:

                         THE EIGHT
                    by Katherine Neville
             Ballantine, 2-1-1990, 36623, $5.95
                  review by Darryl Kenning

In a word -- get it!

Now I do know that is really two words, but what the heck, I couldn't
think of a punchier beginning so I used what we used to call "poetic
license". If I hadn't gotten a strong recommendation from someone
whose advice on book reading I treasure (Thanks Cindy!), I would not
have even looked at a book that has a cover blurb that reads "A
feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark".

Katherine has blended history, chess, mystery, adventure, alchemy, and
more in a delicious book that had me torn between a straight-through
read and stretching it out as long as possible. I only wish I had
started a diagram of the characters when I started the novel. If you
are really interested in chess or history around the 1700's the book
will blaze with an intensity that is extraordinary. On a simple level
KN has produced a rousingly good adventure and mystery story...but you
will just have to read this one yourself. I don't even want to start
talking about the story line lest I give too much away and spoil your
enjoyment. Have at it!, and when you are finished you see if you
believe this is a first book!

                       rating  5 *****
                  (0 = ugh, 5 = outstanding)

                       by Robert B. Parker
                         (Putnam, 1989)
                   review by Cindy Bartorillo

There have been allegations of point shaving by a member or members of
the Taft University basketball team, and Spenser has been hired to
discover the truth. It doesn't take him long to find that the star
forward, Dwayne Woodcock is the main culprit. But Spenser can't leave
it at that, he wants to know why. Why is Dwayne taking this risk? Why
doesn't the coach know about this, or does he? And how in the world,
when the coach makes a particular point of requiring his team to
maintain an extra-high grade-point average, has Dwayne managed to hide
the fact that he can neither read nor write? Doesn't anyone at the
school know, or care, that they are ruining his life by allowing him
to maintain this charade?

The case gets sticky and Spenser soon finds he has a price on his
head. Not a price high enough to suit him, but sufficient to attract a
number of low-life hitmen, and cause Spenser to enlist the aid of his
"tough-guy buddy" (that's dust jacket talk), Hawk. Spenser's
girlfriend is brought into the picture when he needs someone with an
understanding of academia and illiteracy. Girlfriend Susan, in fact,
displays a shockingly casual attitude about cancelling her classes to
follow Spenser around. What ever happened to professional dedication?
But never mind, that's just picking nits.

One of the reasons I love mysteries is the education you get on the
particular background that the story uses. PLAYMATES has some
fascinating bits about teaching, illiteracy, coaching, basketball, and
the psychology of small-time hoods. (OK, I admit I didn't follow all
the basketball material, but then baseball is more my game.) The
information was not only interesting, but served a Purpose, if you
care about such things.

This, by the way, is not a mystery in the classic puzzle sense, but
more of a Private Detective Novel. Interest is aroused by the slowly
unveiled characterization and the progress of events. You get to see
how Spenser upsets the interaction of the characters, pushing the plot
toward its climax. The writing has such flow, and the plot is so
involving, PLAYMATES turns out to be one of those gobble-it-in-one-
sitting books, a fine novel. (I see a great deal of Chandler in
Parker, and I'm now not surprised that he got such great reviews for
finishing Chandler's POODLE SPRINGS.)

As a semi-interesting sideline, this was my first Spenser mystery,
probably because I was less than thrilled with the TV show and I kept
hearing from so many people (all Spenser fans) how great, and
wonderfully true to the books, the TV show was. So how does it happen
that I liked PLAYMATES so much? My theory is that the TV show's fans
were mostly all familiar with the books beforehand, allowing them to
read subtleties into the scripts that I couldn't see. I know in this
novel I particularly enjoyed Spenser's interior monologues, little of
which, obviously, could be squeezed into a dramatic presentation where
you had to make time for a few Spenser/Susan gropes, a few punches
thrown, a few bullets fired, and at least 2 or 3 car chases. I just
bet I'd like that show a whole lot better now.

PLAYMATES is now available as a mass market paperback from Berkley for


                       LITERARY AWARDS

The 1990 John Newbery Award (for the most distinguished contribution
to American literature for children published in 1989) went to Lois
Lowry for NUMBER THE STARS, which was edited by Walter Lorraine and
published by Houghton Mifflin.

The 1990 Randolph Caldecott Award (for the most distinguished American
picture book for children published in 1989) went to Ed Young for LON
PO PO: A RED-RIDING HOOD STORY FROM CHINA, which was translated by Ed
Young, edited by Patricia Gauch, and published by Philomel Books.

The Barry R. Levin Collectors Awards

Most Collectable Author of the Year: Salman Rushdie
Most Collectable Book of the Year: The limited, first edition of:
  MY PRETTY PONY by Stephen King (Whitney Museum of American Art)
Lifetime Collectors Award: Harlan Ellison (for a uniquely collectable
  body of work)


                        BACK ISSUES

ELECTRONIC EDITION:  Check the BBSs in the Directory first. If what
you want isn't available, send $5 to us for disks containing ALL
available issues. Disk will be formatted using PC/MS-DOS (for IBM
clones). Specify 3-1/2" or 5-1/4" floppy, high or low density.

PRINT EDITION:  Send $1.50 for each issue requested.

Checks:  Make checks payable to Cindy Bartorillo.

Address: Reading For Pleasure, c/o Cindy Bartorillo, 1819 Millstream
Drive, Frederick, MD 21701. On CompuServe leave a message to
74766,1206. On GEnie leave a message to C.BARTORILLO. Best of all,
call our BBS, The Baudline II at 301-694-7108 (1200-9600 baud HST)
where all RFPs are available for downloading on your first call.


#1: Premier issue: 1988 World Fantasy Awards; Books I'm Supposed to
Like, But Don't; Pronunciation Guide to Author's Names; Christie
Characters on Film; Featured Author: Richard Matheson; Baseball &
Cricket Mysteries; Stephen King Checklist; Time Travel Books

#2: Summer Reading Issue: Award Winners & Nominees; Beach Bag Books;
Featured Author: Stanley Ellin; Splatterpunk; Murderous Vacations; The
Psychology of Everyday Things; The Shining; SF Fan-Lingo; Pseudonyms

#3: Books About Books Issue: Two-Bit Culture; Christopher Morley; 84
Charing Cross Road; Assorted References; Bibliomysteries; Deep Quarry;
Featured Author: Harlan Ellison

#4: Hollywood Issue: Recent Awards; About Hollywood; Silver Scream;
Death of a Salesman; Joe Bob Briggs; The Hollywood Mystery; Featured
Author: Fredric Brown; The Dark Fantastic; Darryl Kenning Reviews

#5: Halloween Issue: Hugo Awards; Year's Best Horror Stories XVII;
Tracy Kidder; Supernatural Mysteries; Thomas Harris; Falling Angel
Heart; Ray Garton; New From Underwood-Miller; Featured Author: Robert
R. McCammon; The Modern Halloween Shelf; Darryl Kenning Reviews; The
Ultimate Stephen King Character Quiz

#6: Computers & Robots Issue: 1989 World Fantasy Award Nominations;
Donald M. Grant, Publisher; Cyberpunk & Neuromancer; Computer Books;
Digital Delights; Nightmare On Elm Street, The Comic; Banned Books;
Featured Author: Josephine Tey; Mystery Terminology; Darryl Kenning
Reviews; Books On A Chip; New From Carroll & Graf; Computer Cowboy
Reading; and the usual

#7: Happy Holidays Issue: New From Carroll & Graf; Featured Author:
Charles Dickens; A Christmas Carol; Religious Reading; An Incomplete
Education; Great Endings; New From Simon & Schuster; New From
Underwood-Miller; Christmas Mysteries and Other Yuletide Reading; On
Line With Steve Gerber; The Last Christmas Trivia Quiz; and the usual

#8: True Crime Issue: New Age Books; Amazing Stories; True Crim in
Paperback; Steve Gerber; Bluffers Guides; The Onion Field; Mysterious
Press; Lizzie Borden; John E. Stith; Darryl Kenning; Bestselling
Children's Books; Awards; Carroll & Graf; and more

#9: Time Travel Issue: Bestsellers of the Christmas Season; Obscenity
Ruling Reversed; The Turner Tomorrow Awards; Roc Books; Carroll &
Graf; Meadowbrook; Time Passes For Baby Boomers; Darryl Kenning; Time
Travel Reading List; Simon & Schuster; Featured Author: Jack Finney;
Reviews; and all the usual

#10: Earth Day Issue:  The one you're reading now.

#11: ???????:  Should be out the beginning of June.