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Too Soon to Tell
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About the Author

Calvin Trillin is the author of many books, including Family Man (FSG, 1998) and Messages from My Father (FSG, 1996). He writes a weekly column for Time and a weekly poem for The Nation. He lives in New York City.

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In this collection of some 90 syndicated columns written in the past four years, the reliably amusing Trillin mixes whimsical fluff with sly stilettos. In the whimsy department are essays on monkfish and high tides, courtesy of his Nova Scotia summers, as well as the ``grandchildren gap'' faced by parents of professionals and the prospect of the Queen being audited. Most of those essays go down easy enough, but Trillin also takes on bigger targets. The lip-synch shame of the Milli Vanilli duo, who were exposed as not having done the singing on their albums, prompts him to muse on the lack of scandal accorded celebrity authors whose books are ghostwritten. News that an East German spy waited tables at the West German Senate suggests spymasters confounded by Ronald Reagan's airy anecdotes, which they'd taped expecting to learn secret information. And, noting that some companies give campaign contributions to both political parties, he proposes a new question for a national high school civics exam: ``Explain this practice without using the word `bribery.'" This collection shows Trillin's ephemera to be delightfully durable. (June)

Every few years, Trillin gathers a bunch of his syndicated columns on anything and everything and converts them into a book. This is his fifth such collection. It is difficult to find anything new or particularly illuminating to say about Trillin. In this book, readers will discover precisely what they would expect from past acquaintance: wit, spiced with a tang of tolerant cynicism; a chuckly sort of humor rather than a guffawing one; a purged prose in which the inessential is resolutely excluded; and little in the way of subject matter to which he will not give at least a flying salute. A sturdy package job that makes for good reading. Recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/95.]-A.J. Anderson, GSLIS, Simmons Coll., Boston

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