Though this takes the form of a diary, actually it should be read -- and enjoyed -- by those who seek that rare literary form, the contemplative essay. There is the inevitable flavor of the changing season in New York, and his country home, but there is more than that. There is philosophical turn of thought and phrase; there is commentary on the moods of today; there are glimpses of nature, as seen by a perceptive cliff dweller on New York's West side; there are long thoughts on today's significance of great Americans (in the main) whose birthdays we celebrate; there is the creed of the aware citizen. Don't look for comment on books and plays, even though Brooks Atkinson is a well-known dramatic critic. Don't look for any particular sense of awareness of the specific events of a specific year, in current history, politics, or incident. Don't look for personal sidelights, except on his thinking and his sensibilities. Definitely for the essay market.