On the Yankee Station, by William Boyd (Penguin, $4.95). In these 13 stories the young British novelist -- A Good Man in Africa, An Ice-Cream War, Stars and Bars -- ranges far and wide, always with a sharp eye and a wry sense of humor. Admirers of A Good Man in Africa will be pleased to encounter its anti- heroic protagonist, Morgan Leafy, in "Next Boat from Douala" and "The Coup." Other stories are set in California, which Boyd depicts with impressive verisimilitude. Even when his subject is slight, Boyd's prose always gives pleasure.
The Time of Her Life, by Robb Forman Dew (Ballantine, $3.50). Dew wrote an upbeat account of contemporary marriage in her first book, Dale Loves Sophie to Death, but in this, her second, the viewpoint is decidedly mordant. The Time of Her Life is the story of a careless, self-indulgent husband and wife who pretend to treat their young daughter as if she were an adult and thus deprive her of childhood. It is a deprivation that leads her to the edge of something terrible, from which she pulls back at the last moment but at terrible cost to herself. The book is not easy reading because it makes great demands on the reader's emotions, but in every sense that matters it is deeply rewarding. NONFICTION
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eug Frank, and American Photographers of the Depression, (Pantheon Photo Library, $6.95 each). Each of these small albums of photographs is beautifully printed, and intelligently introduced. They are in a sense small-scale coffee table books, and Pantheon is to be congratulated for making the work of some of the century's greatest photographers so easily accessible and affordable.
Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan, by Ronald H. Spector (Vintage, $9.95). This superbly concise account of the Pacific campaigns of World War II goes far beyond mere descriptions of combat to highlight the many strategic and logistical problems the opponents faced. The play of personalities upon these issues is not neglected, and colorful characters abound, from Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner, who presided over amphibious landings, to the grandest of all, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The author relied upon declassified intelligence files, military and naval archives, Japanese scholarship and many first- person accounts to produce his history, which has been widely acclaimed as the most authoritative single-volume work on the trans-Pacific and China- Burma-India theaters of the war.
You Can Postpone Anything but Love, by Randall Colton Rolfe (Ambassador Press, P.O. Box 216A, Edgemont, Pa. 19028, $9.95). A lawyer and mother, Rolfe writes for parents who would like to raise good kids with as few battles royal as possible. Her approach centers on taking pains to "validate"children, that is to recognize their problems -- sibling rivalry, negative self-image, disorganization, etc. -- as legitimate and soluble. In turning down a child's unreasonable demand, for example, the parent might use the "explain-and-divert strategy," which entails saying no "in a nice way, with a thoughtful explanation of why not, with an inquiry about how the child might feel, with a suggestion about what he might do instead, and with an offer to help him get started." This is a thoughtful book that covers a great deal of ground in a mere 174 pages.
The Prisoner of Sex, by Norman Mailer (Primus/Donald I. Fine, $8.95). Aquarius takes on Women's Lib. Actually, Mailer calls himself the Prizewinner (PW) through much of this 1971 polemic, triggered by what he perceived as the stultifying positions of Bella Abzug, Ti-Grace Atkinson and especially Kate Millett. Among other startling assertions (one might almost call them Mailerisms) is the claim that D.H. Lawrene was essentially homosexual and that his maintaining heterosexual relations was a great personal triumph. The PW also reaffirms his disdain for contraception because it robs sex of its gambler's profundity. Whether one disagrees or agrees with these sallies, the man's outsized ego (which Woody Allen once quipped should be left to the Harvard Medical School when Mailer dies) has never been more colorfully on display.
Japanese Business Etiquette: A Practical Guide to Success with the Japanese, by Diana Rowland (Warner, $8.95). "The Japanese desire to maintain surface harmony at all costs is a very influential factor in the way negotiations are carried out. . . . To the Japanese, sincerity means keeping the good of the other in mind by not saying anything that would cause him a loss of face in any way." It is for this reason, writes Rowland in this useful and entertaining primer, that the Japanese rarely responds with a blunt "no," and that the response, "It is very difficult," should be interpreted as such. From the ritual of exchanging business cards to the ritual of nightlife ("Never pour your own drink"; "You pour for your neighbor as he poured for you") this book is filled with crucial advice that could avoid unnecessary breaches of etiquette. FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
Age of Wonders, by David Hartwell (McGraw-Hill, $3.95). Readers fascinated by novels like Last and First Men, Dune and A Canticle for Leibowitz, or by writers such as J.G. Ballard and Gene Wolfe, may want to learn more about science fiction and its practitioners. This is the book to start with. It provides a chatty, occasionally iconoclastic but always informed account of every aspect of sf: favorite themes, the major authors, fandom, movements like the New Wave. Hartwell speaks with the authority of one who has spent a lifetime as both fan and professional; indeed he is probably the most respected sf book editor now at work.
Land Under Earth, by Joseph O'Neill (Tusk/Overlook, $8.95). Dystopian fantasies flourished between the wars -- We, Brave New World, War With the Newts, The Aerodrome, 1984 being notable examples. O'Neill's novel belongs in this company, for it details a journey to the center of the earth, where a totalitarian civilization -- descended from a Roman legion -- maintains itself through brainwashing. The hero resists the treatment, but then discovers that his own father has succumbed to and now glories in his new condition. A chiller.
The Unlimited Dream Company, by J.G. Ballard (Washington Square Press, $4.50). This novel, the last published before Ballard's extraordinary Empire of the Sun, blends whimsy, nostalgia and surrealism in this tale of a flier named Blake who crashes near Shepperton and transforms himself and the town into a pagan world of wish-fulfillment.