Picks and Pans Review: Pieces of My Mind

updated 10/22/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/22/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Andrew A. Rooney

The art of the brief essay is not exactly flourishing, but newspaper editors buy them for their readers, and the most successful practitioners—Russell Baker, Erma Bombeck, Art Buchwald—get their old columns recycled into best-selling books. Rooney started a little later than that trio, but his first two books, A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney and And More by Andy Rooney, were hits. There are 132 essays in this one, under such headings as "Money," "Familiar Things," "Seasons," "Working" and "It's Only a Plate." Rooney is at his best when he isn't after a belly laugh but has ferreted out some obvious, trivial truth about life. For example: "A very nice thing about most people is that they wear their best underwear when they get dressed up to go to a party, even though it isn't going to show. There's something basically honest about that." And in an essay called "Swimsuits": "It's strange that bare-chested men are accepted now and bare-breasted women are not. There really isn't that big an anatomical difference. Men's breasts look about the same as women's except they don't protrude as much and are not considered sex objects." Good writers write the way they talk, and anyone who has enjoyed Rooney on 60 Minutes can hear his voice—slow, dry, flat—while zipping through this delightful collection. (Atheneum, $12.95)

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