A collection of short essays and columns (most from Architectural Digest) by the critic and art historian, now 80. In these graceful, thoughtful, witty pieces, Lynes (The Lively Audience, 1985, etc.) comments on a wide range of matters--art, architecture, photography, reference books, etiquette, etc.--with robust good taste, often relating them to ""style,"" which Lynes says ""has nothing to do with fashion or chic but stems from personal conviction, self-assurance, and independence. . ."" In a meditation on ""Life in a Brownstone,"" he notes that ""A brownstone is a fastness from which to watch the city""; in an essay on portraiture, he points out that ""The last thing that a sitter wants is a true likeness. . .[but]. . .only truly vain men and women want to be portrayed as they are."" Life in the slow lane, perhaps, but cruising in a Bentley.