Books: Read 'Em & Weep

"There can hardly be a stranger commodity in the world than books." wrote Georg Lichtenberg, an 18th century German aphorist. "Printed by people who don't understand them, sold by people who don't understand them, bound, criticized, and read by people who don't understand them, and now even written by people who don't understand them." A look at the current bestseller list (see p. 84) gives Lichtenberg the air of a prophet. The fiction crop is one of the poorest in years. Items:

¶ James Michener's Hawaii, a vast pudding in which amateur geology, history...

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