Picks and Pans Review: Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus

updated 11/17/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/17/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Dave Barry

Some authors will stoop to anything to sell books. If a leading afternoon talk show decided to do a segment on "Authors with Fruit in their Ears," Dave Barry suggests, Norman Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates would be there in no time flat—with a banana in each ear. But Barry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, is hardly above such shenanigans himself. For this collection of his newspaper columns, he shamelessly knocked off the title of John Gray's bestseller. And if not for "potential legal hassles," Barry admits, he might have titled it: Develop Washboard Abs in One Hour with John Grisham and Madonna (As Seen on Oprah).

By any title, these down-to-earth observations on topics as random as men's fashion, dogsledding and reincarnation are a hoot. Evaluating a visit with his teenage son to a laser-tag parlor in Miami, the avowedly plebeian Barry writes, "Overall, I found the experience to be far more entertaining than anything currently being funded by the National Endowment for the Arts." Diehard Barry fans may say the same for this book. (Crown, $22)

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