Picks and Pans Review: New on Audio

updated 03/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/23/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

>FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE Fannie Flagg writes for the ear and is an accomplished raconteur. This makes her reading of vignettes from her novel about people whose lives are touched for 50 years by the Whistle Stop Cafe in northern Alabama always diverting and often spellbinding. (Random House, $16)

BITTER MEDICINE Sara Paretsky's Chicagoland thriller has gumshoe V.I. (Victoria) Warshawski mixing it up with the partners in a swank obstetrics clinic and some low-life hitmen. Though Christine Lahti's lucid rendition manages to animate the characters, the novel sometimes sounds like a Sam Spade parody. (Bantam, $15.99)

WILDERNESS TIPS These four short stories from Margaret Atwood's latest collection confirm the insight with which she writes about women and the wry, sly brilliance with which she writes about men. They are read exuberantly by Helen Shaver, whose vowel sounds leave us in no doubt that we are north of the 49th parallel. (Bantam, $15.99)

ONE LIFETIME IS NOT ENOUGH She says she lost her virginity at 15 (to Ataturk), dated JFK (platonically), managed quickies with Burton, Sinatra and Connery between spouses and can't remember slapping a cop. She dishes melodramatically with a coquettish disdain for grammar. Who is she, dahlinks? Who but Zsa Zsa Gabor? (Simon & Schuster, $16)

UNTO THE SONS Gay Talese's chronicle of the life his grandparents left in Italy and remade in the U.S. is lovingly served by Daniel J. Travanti. His fluency and range of understated accents compensate for the author's occasionally rambling sentences. (Random House, $16)

A RETURN TO LOVE "At their peak, religion and psychotherapy become one," says Marianne Williamson, self-help guru of the Course in Miracles, who officiated at Liz Taylor's latest splicing. Her mind-numbing psychojargon may comfort the converted but will induce claustrophobia in the skeptical. (HarperCollins, $16)

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