THE WESTERN LANDS , by William S. Burroughs. The latest novel -- featuring the usual drug addicts, criminals and perverts -- by one of the most original and innovative writers of our time. (Book World, December 27)

THE OXFORD COMPANION TO THE MIND , edited by Richard L. Gregory. A mammoth collection of brief essays on the brain, consciousness, and the interior life. (Book World, December 27)

FIGHTING FAITHS: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, and Free Speech , by Richard Polenberg. A study of a landmark decision that broadened the interpretation of the First Amendment. (Book World, December 27)

THE DARK DESCENT , edited by David Hartwell. A major retrospective anthology: 56 classic stories of horror and the supernatural from Le Fanu to Stephen King. (Book World, December 27)

LIFE, A USER'S MANUAL , by Georges Perec. A major French novel of astounding invention, wit and intricacy, built around the inhabitants of a Paris rooming house. (Book World, December 20)

THE SIXTIES: Years of Hope, Days of Rage , by Todd Gitlin. Once upon a time in America. (Book World, December 20)

AN AFFAIR OF STATE: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward , by Phillip Knightley and Caroline Kennedy. A delicious case of scandal, with a bitter aftertaste. (Book World, December 20)

CHAUCER: His Life, His Works, His World , by Donald R. Howard. A scholarly, yet exceptionally lively, biography of the first major English poet. (Book World, December 13)

THE GOATS , by Brock Cole. Marooned on an island, naked, a 13-year-old boy and girl survive, learn to rely on each other, and triumph over summer camp pranksters and the world of adults. (Book World, December 13)

ROSE THEATRE , by Gilbert Sorrentino. Bitingly funny, esoteric, demanding, in this novel about failed and phony artists Sorrentino mocks and surpasses the conventions of fiction. (Book World, December 13)

THE ABILITY TO KILL: True Tales of Bloody Murder , by Eric Ambler. The cre`me de la crime. (Daily Book World, December 7)

MANY MASKS: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright , by Brendan Gill. A biography of the egomaniacal but brilliant architect. (Book World, November 22)

MUSICAL EVENTS: A Chronicle, 1980-1983 , by Andrew Porter. The New Yorker's music critic on opera, contemporary music and much else. (Book World, November 22)

THE LIFE OF KENNETH TYNAN , by Kathleen Tynan. Flamboyant, witty and theatrical to the bone, Tynan found all the world a stage. (Book World, November 15)