cover image Fresh Lies

Fresh Lies

James Lileks. Pocket Books, $18 (292pp) ISBN 978-0-671-73703-0

Lileks, who writes a syndicated column for the Newhouse News Service, is a top-flight humorist who is at once imaginative, literate and breezy. This anthology of approximately 60 of his pieces--half of them are reprints of his column, the rest original--is entertaining, although Lileks dismisses several of them as ``lame.'' With his verbal skills he convinces readers that Hell, or One Sulfur Plaza, is an open shop and that some drivers act as if they were auditioning to occupy ``the pace car for a molasses viscosity test.'' Lileks is at his best in selections about Santa Claus, the sad career of Wile E. Coyote and his author tour to publicize his earlier book, Notes of a Nervous Man. The topics included in these pages range from drugs through Eastern vs. Midwestern banks to public radio. Whether approached piecemeal or in total, this collection will provoke at least smiles, if not guffaws. (Feb.)