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Leisure reading

'Not Bartlett's'

Edited by Elise Lufkin

Helen Marx Books, $16.95

Billed as "Thoughts on the Pleasures of Life: People, Love, Gardens, Dogs and More," this cleverly titled book is compiled by a lover of reading.

The leading quote on the jacket is from Mark Twain: "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."

It's a quote book with an elegant, quirky tone, demonstrated by this from writer Margaret Atwood: "Gardening is not a rational act. What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth, that ancient ceremony of which the Pope kissing the tarmac is merely a pallid vestigial remnant. In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."

If you don't like it, you can always go back to "Bartlett's Quotations" — but it is much larger. —Dennis Lythgoe

'I Never Saw Paris'

By Harry I. Freund

Carroll and Graf, $23

This little novel, written by a prominent businessman and philanthropist, is about Irving Caldman, a 64-year-old businessman who is killed along with three other pedestrians in Manhattan, when a sleeping driver's car jumps the curb.

Instead of carrying out his plan to visit Paris, Caldman ascends, presumably to heaven, along with a personal shopper in her 50s, a grandmother, a male interior decorator and a candy-store owner. An angel named Malakh welcomes them and then they individually recount their lives as they wait for the judgment.

This is an intriguing, light treatment of the importance of life. —Dennis Lythgoe

'Raising a Self-Disciplined Child'

By Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein

McGraw-Hill, $22.95

Two academics — Brooks from Harvard and Goldstein from the University of Utah — have written a book that helps parents instill self-discipline in their children. They suggest a number of "strategies," such as:

• Think of discipline as coming from the word, "disciple."

• Practice empathy, trying to see the world through children's eyes.

• The right kind of discipline can promote resilience.

• Remember the need for "unconditional love."

• Compliment children when they do something right.

• Talk to children to help them solve problems.

• Spanking just increases a child's anger and hostility. —Dennis Lythgoe