A cross-sectioning and creaming of the year's crop stems from the ivied quarterlies, to the sophisticated and mass circulation commercial magazines, this harvests such names as Shirley Jackson, Oliver La Farge, Jean Stafford, Tennessee Williams, R. V. Cassill, Josephine Johnson, John Cheever. Four titles here have also been chosen for the O'Henry Awards -- Leonard Casper's Sense of Direction. Harris Downey's. The Hunters (the only war story), Oliver La Farge's Old Century's River, and Esther Patt's The Butcherbirds. The accent is still on mood and character rather than plot and this collection, as a whole, has a more fragile atmosphere than other volumes. Clear-cut, in general, but never deep, the themes are adult fears, adult-child relations, emotional and psychological landscapes, old age, death, with two cat stories and a memoir. For the discriminating follower of the short story, writing and modern literature classes.