Andy Rooney, Author . Public Affairs $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-58648-144-5

He's at it again. In his inimitable style, the 60 Minutes commentator and bestselling author picks apart the stuff of our lives—from the ordinary to the extraordinary—to get to the heart of the matter. Whether it be chairs that are too small for comfort, or why Americans have trouble understanding the Koran, no subject is too small or too grand for Rooney to scrutinize. The 154 essays are, he says, "a reflection of a flawed brain with a capacity for being interested in more things than it can comprehend." Hilariously funny at times, Rooney also takes a tender turn and despairs at some of the sadder aspects of American life. He laments the decline of family farms, yet marvels at the beauty of their crumbling barns: "It's sad to see something so noble as a barn die a slow and painful death." He has precise, sometimes surprising—and rarely nonsensical—insights into dieting ("If you're going to lose weight, you can't be sensible about it. You have to do something extreme"), Jimmy Stewart as war hero ("He was a bomber pilot in WWII and he did it better than he acted") and religion ("The Catholic church has never officially recognized that sexual desire cannot be suppressed by resolve). Though rambling at times, this is a funny, touching, charming work that will be welcome alongside Rooney's previous collections; his take on the annoyances and joys of humanity always hit home. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/21/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Paperback - 366 pages - 978-1-58648-200-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58648-147-6
Open Ebook - 371 pages - 978-1-58648-617-4
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