Right off it must be said that Mr. Kronenberger's collection has few of the civilizing, amplifying graces of Auden's A Certain World (1970) which was so innately ""a map of (his) planet."" Mr. Kronenberger's assemblage is much less contemplative, more practical -- less serendipitous, more recondite -- and it has been chosen according to certain criteria -- the material should be short, striking, curious, and vivacious. Often the intelligence is miscellaneous whether it is English public school lingo or an excerpt from an old guidebook. But in all the bric-a-brac there is much that is quaint and quirky (counting-out rhymes or recipes) as well as poetry (much more catholic), letters, anecdotes, fables, etc. -- all arranged under rubrics. There are some nice Bulgarian proverbs and one of them applies -- this is for that ""long dark night -- the year."" And most ideally for any white night.