The International Garage Sale, Stefan Kanfer (Norton). "Ideal for reading face down into the sand," the book, a satire of national idiosyncrasy and political folly, is "crammed with one- or two-liners guaranteed to amuse whoever is sharing your blanket" (Elaine Kendall).
Unknown California, Jonathan Eisen, David Fine, editors (Collier). An anthology of vivid reportage, speculations, satire and dissent reflecting the editors' vision of the California gestalt: an "encounter between promise and betrayal, fable and reality, expectation and actuality" (Norman Corwin).
The Artful Dodger, Tommy Lasorda, David Fisher (Arbor House). There are no revelations, only "an uninterrupted lode of anecdotes," but "in the end, even a Dodger-hater, in spite of himself, feels compelled to wish well to this profane and irrepressible pumpkin" (Dick Roraback).
A Perfect Peace, Amos Oz (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). Confronts the generational conflicts troubling Israel today: the young coldly realistic; the elders desperately struggling to maintain their faith in a receding ideal. "A novel of character, shaped but not submerged by social and political crises" (Elaine Kendall).
The Tunnels of Cu Chi, Tom Mangold and John Penycate (Random House). Stretching 150 miles from near Saigon to the Cambodian border, this maze of sleeping quarters, kitchens, hospitals and assembly halls helped lead the war to a stalemate. "The Vietnamese resistance confronted superior force not simply by going to ground but by going under it" (Richard Eder).
A Fanatic Heart: Selected Stories of Edna O'Brien, foreword by Philip Roth (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Recollections of a life begun in rural Ireland and continued in London. Told with "a graceful, poetical simplicity, a soft and mesmerizing brogue audible in every cadence" (Charles Champlin).
The Swimming Pool Season, Rose Tremain (Summit). A middle-age English couple retire to a house in France's Dordogne region after the husband's swimming pool business fails. "The drama in this mysterious and ultimately tender comedy is achieved not by the characters' development but by their acting and living out the consequences of their own and others' actions" (Richard Eder).
A History of Architecture, Spiro Kostof (Oxford). The author goes beyond listing notable buildings, structures and styles; to him, architecture is a social act, "nothing more and nothing less than the gift of making places for some human purpose" (Sam Hall Kaplan).