Books: Merry Christmas, $25 Worth

The problem, say, is an aunt. She is 74 years old, does not drink or smoke, hates perfume, and gets all her clothes, apparently, at an upholstery shop on Third Avenue. What to give her for Christmas? Black despair, then inspiration: she likes to read, and her taste would be exactly suited by Morte d'Urban, J. F. Powers' witty novel of a worldly priest. The gift giver visits a bookstore and returns well satisfied.

What he has bought, of course, is not Morte d'Urban but Persian Art, by Roman Ghirshman. The reason is not that...

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