cover image Trinity River Fishing

Trinity River Fishing

Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $1.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-030-2

A daily newspaper column is an ephemeral thing, but in this collection of 100 columns, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Carroll often manages to be observant, amusing and even poignant. These small slices of life, animated by dialogue and one-liners, are best not read all at once. Some pieces, such as those about Carroll and his travels, can be self-indulgent and cute, as is his tale of his experience in a recital--a ``triumph for the singing impaired.'' But columns on his family are full of rueful wit and tenderness (``Affection informed by tolerance and patience is not a commercial emotion''). Readers contribute Mondegreens--mishearings of a popular phrase or song lyric--as well as odd prose from sources such as the Tokyo Police Department. When Carroll turns to social issues, he is reliably liberal--the flag-burning amendment is a campaign for ``fabric abuse prevention''--but hardly strident. Most of all, he's a humanist: regarding sex and violence on television, he suggests that ``as an educational matter, fantasy violence should be real and scary . . . like violence itself; sex should be about love and pleasure, not about perfume and power.'' (Apr.)