Picks and Pans Review: Vanishing America

updated 12/08/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Rich Hall

Hall is the former Saturday Night Live performer and familiar of David Letterman whose Sniglets books have achieved success, though describing them as a literary success might be overstating it. Fans of those volumes of made-up words may be disappointed in this collection of essays. Vacillating between reporting on Americana and just musing, he visits the Wisconsin Dells tourist shops, imagines he is stealing home plate from Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, fantasizes that Marilyn Monroe sits in his lap in Atlantic City. Typical is a trip to a "5ยข to $1.00" store in Pocatello, Idaho. After ordering a tuna fish special at the lunch counter, he concludes, "The bill is 93 cents. I tip her my last 7 cents and stroll out into the mall. Music plays. There is a hint of Climate-Control in the air. All across America it is Tuna Special Day." Think of it as a book substitute; it won't fill up your head but it won't do you any good either. (Macmillan, $9.95)

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