Tolstoy: Tales of Courage and Conflict, edited by Charles Neider (Carroll and Graf, $11.95). Tolstoy's better known works are easy to find in English translation, but this collection makes its mark by including many of the hard-to-come-by short stories. It begins with "The Invaders" and "Recollections of a Billiard- Marker" and ends with "A Dialogue Among Clever People" and "Walk in the Light While There is Light." In between come such classics as the Sevastapol stories, "The Kreutzer Sonata" and "The Death of Ivan Illyitch." In many ways, but for the dated translations, an ideal Tolstoy reader.
Dreams of Sleep, by Josephine Humphreys (Penguin, $5.95). Winner of the Ernest Hemingway award for first novel, Josephine Humphreys sets her tale of marital drift in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolna. Alice Reese and her husband Will, struggle to stay married after 10 years. Will finds solace in an affair while Alice indulges herself in sadness. Finally, when things come totally unglued, salvation appears from an unexpected quarter. Humphreys story is one of hope and renewal, an intimate look at modern domestic life.
Dusklands, by J.M. Coetzee (Penguin, $5.95). Two novellas, "The Vietnam Project" and "The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee," comprise this slim volume from one of South Africa's most powerful and important writers. As in his Waiting for the Barbarians and Life & Times of Michael K, Coetzee picks at the fabric of modern South Africa by casting his tales in earlier times or other locales, but his theme is always man's capacity for hypocrisy and inhumanity to man. In the first novella a young man loses his sanity while working on a Department of Defense report on the effectiveness of propaganda in Vietnam. The second story, "The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee" is an account of an 18th-century Boer and his relationship with South African blacks. NONFICTION
Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948, edited by Walid Khalidi (Institute for Palestine Studies, P.O. Box 25301, Washington, D.C. 20007, $27.50). This copious collection of photographs spans in considerable depth the tumultuous history of what used to be called the Holy Land from the last days of the Ottoman Empire to the birth of the State of Israel. The commentary is extremely sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. The photographs, of a people and country wrenched into modernity, are fascinating.
Westward the Women, by Nancy Wilson Ross (North Point, $9.50). After years out of print, this study of women's contributions to western settlement is revived in a handsome edition. Ross, an anthropologist and novelist, portrays women of virtually all classes and roles, from bar girls to settlers' wives. The book is a colorful addition to our knowledge of the West.
Arsenal: Understanding Weapons in the Nuclear Age, by Kosta Tsipis (Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, $8.95). The author, a physicist at MIT, tells in plain language how nuclear weapons are constructed, how missiles find their targets, and what happens when a nuclear weapon lands. What does happen? An all-out "attack . . . will cause the immediate or near- term death of 65% of the urban population of the United States, which now amounts to 132 million people. So 86 million people will be dead within a week after the attack. . . . It has been estimated that on the average each surviving physician will have 1,000 patients to take care of in a post-attack environment."
Bloody Mary, by Carolly Erickson (St. Martin's, $9.95). The daughter of Henry VIII, Queen Mary tried to reverse the Reformation in England. As a result, her name and violence have become synonymous. In this sensitive and vividly written biography, Carolly Erickson reassesses her reputation, her causes, and the justice of that nickname "Bloody Mary."
Keeping Food Fresh, by Janet Bailey (Doubleday, $12.95). Have you ever wondered about the purpose of a "vegetable crisper" in the bottom of your refrigerator? This useful and fascinating book has the answer (keeping vegetables away from circulating air helps to keep them from drying out) to this and countless other questions about the storage of food. For instance, don't keep lettuce near apples, as the ethylene gas given off by many fruits will turn lettuce brown. And don't store tea in glass jars where light hits it.
Journeys, by Jan Morris (Oxford, $6.95). Stockholm, China, Aberdeen, Santa Fe -- all have attracted the globe-trotting attention of essayist Jan Morris, who visited them for such magazines as Connoisseur, the late Geo and Rolling Stone. She has a knack for slicing through a city's facade to expose its vitals, as in her piece on Santa Fe. "The haven is embattled," she writes of the Adobe City, and "the triviality of things, the cuteness, the sham and the opportunism, spreads like a tinsel stain across the town." POETRY
New Selected Poems, by Howard Moss (Atheneum, $10.95; hardcover, $20). One would expect the poetry editor of The New Yorker to write fastidiously urbane verse, and so Howard Moss does. Not everyone cares for his formalist wordplay, often reminiscent of W.H. Auden and Wallace Stevens, but Moss' verse at its best engages some grand themes. In "The Sea to Hart Crane," Moss writes, "Enter me carefully for/ deeper than poems I change;/ My scansion, shore to shore,/ stretches beyond your range/ . . . Music drowns in the darker/ music that I alone/ Can play. But first the shark / Will rend you bone from bone." This fine, represenative collection reprints poems from eight previous books.
The Poem of the Cid, translated from the Spanish by Rita Hamilton and Janet Perry (Penguin, $4.95). This medieval Spanish epic relates the prowess of Rodrigo D,iaz de Vivar, known to history as Mio Cid -- from the Arabic Sayyidi, "My Lord." As champion to the Christian kings of Castile his capture of Valencia in the 11th century put a limit on Moorish expansion in the Iberian peninsula. (Corneille's treatment of the poem marked the beginning of modern French drama.) The poem, similar in form to the Chanson de Roland, is a swashbuckling gallop through Spain when it was the Wild West of Europe.
Stevie Smith: A Selection (Faber and Faber, $6.95). Admirers of Smith's marvelously idiosyncratic writing will want to own this selection, which draws from both prose and poetry. She always can say something in a new way, and in print she is far better than the dotty spinster of Palmers Green immortalized in the play and film Stevie. Who can fail to be moved by "Come, Death"?: "Ah me, sweet Death, you are the only god/ Who comes as a servant when he is called, you know,/ Listen then to this sound I make, it is sharp,/ Come Death. Do not be slow."
Shropshire Lad, by A.E. Housman; engraved by Agnes Miller Parker; Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti; illustrated by Arthur Rackham; Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Edward FitzGerald; illustrated by Willy Pog,any; The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton; illustrated by Arthur Rackham (Beaufort Books, $6.95; $6.95; $8.95; $12.95). The originals of these illustrated, keepsake editions of four classics of English literature could once be found in the parlor of any cultivated middle-class household. Parker's engravings capture the summery melancholy of Housman's dewey lyrics; Rackham's rat-like goblins caper in the margins of Rossetti's disturbing tale of a forbidden passion, while the same artist's portraits of 17th-century peacefulness mirror Walton's serene prose; and Pogany's lush color vivifies the sybaritic East of Fitzgerald's paean to pleasure.
Scaffolding: New and Selected Poems, by Jane Cooper (Anvil Press/distributed by Small Press Distribution Inc., 1784 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, Calif. 94709, $7.95). Jane Cooper has this to say about poetry: "What poetry must do is alert us to a truth, and it must be necessary; once it exists, we realize how much we needed exactly this." This collection very much reflects its author's concern for determining artistic truths in the nuclear age. Especially fine are the verses from 1947 when, as Cooper writes, "it was important for me to try war poems as love poems." Such a poem is "For a Boy Born in Wartime": "Head first, face down, into Mercator's world/ Like an ungainly rocket the child comes,/ Driving dead-reckoned outward through a channel/ Where nine months back breath was determined/ By love, leaving his watery pen/ -- That concrete womb with its round concrete walls/ Which he could make a globe of all his own -- / For flatter, dryer enemies, for home."