Reality Bites

In a better sort of world, a book like Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations (Vintage; 285 pages) wouldn't exist. For a start, it would have been a completed book: author John Diamond, a popular Times columnist and the husband of the TV culinary goddess Nigella Lawson, died of cancer in March after writing just six chapters of an "uncomplimentary view of complementary medicine." That unfinished text — cut off, spookily, almost in midthought — is rounded out by an anthology of Diamond's newspaper columns, which show off his first-class deadline wit. (A story about being forced by his Hassidic computer...

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