Gogarty's selected pieces vary from a playlet about an elixir of life discovered in a home for incurables -- to feuilletons about noise in New York -- from the value of diamonds to a literary quest for the ""real"" Dean Swift. There are sentimental tributes to Robert Flaherty (""Nanook of the North"") and a fellow physician who died bravely of cancer; comments on the American woman, and an essay on horses; there are stories about Gogarty's conduct when kidnapped by Irish rebels, how he met the social hazards of having a notable Japanese as a house guest, and his experiences with an amateur cross-country runner who disregarded training rules and in the middle of a race stopped to shout abuse back to a ""jackass"" heckling him. In all these pieces, Gogarty is refreshing, delightful. Though he is often trivial and annoyingly bent on digressions, he preserves in everything a comic touch, an awareness of the pomposity and complexity which so often bogs down life and robs it of unaffected joy. A special market.