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Paperback picks the week of November 23, 1990

Reasons to check out ”The End of Nature,” ”Mile Zero,” and more

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Paperback picks the week of November 23, 1990

The End of Nature Bill McKibben (Anchor)
A calm and lucid argument that we are now witnessing nothing less than the end of nature and the loss ”of our most human ideas about the world and our place in it.” First published in 1989, this book is already a landmark in the resurgent ecology movement. A

Mile Zero Thomas Sanchez (Vintage)
Sanchez (Rabbit Boss and The Zootsuit Murders) has written a postmodern myth with the color and scale of García Márquez. But Mile Zero is no fable; it’s hyperreal, set on an island where all the misdeeds of the American century have burst into noxious bloom. This 1989 novel deserves an audience among those who appreciate Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and Don DeLillo. A

You Gotta Have Wa Robert Whiting (Vintage Departures)
Whiting’s entertaining 1989 study of Japanese baseball doesn’t try to make besuboru into a metaphor for the differences between American and Japanese cultures. He simply lets the details speak for themselves: At Seibu Stadium in suburban Tokyo, for instance, attendants retrieving foul balls ”doff their caps, bow and chirp, ‘We hope you weren’t hurt”’ to fans in the bleachers. B+

The Widows’ Adventures Charles Dickinson (Avon)
Ina and Helene are widowed Midwestern sisters. Helene is blind from diabetes, and Ina drinks too many brewskies. In this 1989 novel of their adventures, Dickinson captures his characters’ eccentricities but never loses their plucky integrity. A-