cover image To Feel These Things

To Feel These Things

Leonard Michaels / Author Mercury House $12 (160p) ISBN 978-1-

This slight, rambling collection of essays by the author of the novel The Men's Club will probably only be appreciated by his die-hard fans. Michaels praises Hemingway, Walt Frazier and Joe DiMaggio for their ``great style,'' which, he believes, is a trait that ``illuminates relations among things--sounds, colors, words, bodily motions.'' In other essays, he touches on the mystique of cigarettes, retells the biblical story of Jonah and discusses the difference between ``practical reading,'' which he defines as the reading of road signs, menus, newspapers and other media whose function is to impart meaning, and ``disinterested reading,'' which includes poetry and is concerned with revelation. Personal essays tell of his barber father who wasn't happy that his son was dating a gentile, but said he would dance at his wedding even if he married out of the faith, and of his mother's father, mother and sister who were murdered by the Nazis. Michaels's most successful piece recounts the summer he served as a busboy at a honeymoon resort in the Catskill mountains, and how a newlywed fell madly in love with her waiter, a Jewish dental student who looked like an SS officer. (June)