SUMMER PLACES, by Brendan Gill and Dudley Witney (Metheun, $29.95). Sleek, sunny and lively, Summer Places is a coffee-table book of far more than passing interest. Lovers and dreamers of the ultimate summer experience - the way it sometimes is, the way it used to be, the way it ought to be -- will feel fulfilled by it. This charmingly written and striikingly photographed book brings us some of the most captivating and culturally pristine watering places in North America, from the Gulf Coast to Canada. And this is no once-over-lightly travelogue. Expositor Brendan Gill (he, of The New Yorker ) brilliantly evokes every grain of summer sand, makes us long even for a wet bathing suit, a raised bathtub with "feet," white muslin curtains blowing free in a summer breeze, melting street tar, iron cots on the sleeping porch, the call of a wild animal not so far away. Oh, the joy of an old-fashioned, privileged childhood summer at water's edge, the feeling of being Huck Finn in white ducks. Photographer Dudley Witney, with a canny eye, has perfectly caught not only the grain and fiber of the gray-painted wrap-around-porch boards, the rattan mat rugs and the whitepainted wicker chairs of certain genteel summer places, but also the pretentious grandeur of the roccoco palaces built by our most revered robber barons of the late 1890s. Above all, this book keenly reminds us that summer fun has as much to do with style and tradition as with random pleasure.