Satirical artist, cartoonist, and wit Searle is also, alas for him, a bibliophile. And that has made him dependent on booksellers' catalogues, some of which have made Searle a sucker. ``Ordering from a bookseller's catalogue without speaking the specialist language,'' he writes, ``is about as dangerous as trying to chat up the promised-in-marriage daughter of a Corsican tax inspector, and the retribution about as swift.'' And so, to clarify matters, Searle offers a cartoon for each of a variety of obscure bookseller's terms. ``Numerous critical marginal notes in a contemporary hand'' is illustrated by an enraged philosophe, wearing what appears to be some 18th-century equivalent of baseball spikes, leaping on a mangled book. Some legends, like ``Lovingly thumbed by former owner'' and ``Unwashed, with only slight marginal soiling,'' are illustrated with images of people rather than books- -in these cases, suitably disheveled-looking people. Searle, with a penchant for placing legs where arms should be and attaching hands to ankles, draws like Dr. Seuss for grown-ups. At the end is a text-only glossary, but those wishing for straight answers should know better. Searle defines ``Tail-edge shaved'' as ``A book's bottom adjusted to fit a high cut bathing costume.''
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