FICTION

Rites of Passage, by William Golding (White Pine Press, $10). As a novelist William Golding has long suffered -- though his finances have no doubt prospered -- from the immense popularity of Lord of the Flies. After all, he is the author of several other remarkable books, among them The Inheritors (about early man) and this 1980 Booker-Prize winner. Rites of Passage transcribes the journal of a young 19th-century Englishman traveling by sailing ship to Australia; the style is splendidly Victorian and there are mysteries and rituals galore, which should make the book appealing to readers of A.S. Byatt's current Booker Prize winner, Possession. White Pine plans to reissue the subsequent volumes of this trilogy over the next two years.

Moscow 2042, by Vladimir Voinovich (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $12.95). Voinovich's satire -- what he calls in an afterword to this paperback edition an "anti-anti-Utopian novel" -- was published in English in 1987, and now seems to have been unusually prescient. The hero Vitaly Kartsev learns that a travel agency is booking trips to the future and he cannot resist the chance to visit Moscow in 2042. He discovers that Russian society has further degenerated as he meets various dropouts, renegades, terrorists and even a would-be messiah. Who can resist a novel that begins this way: "Unfortunately, I don't have access to my notes."

NONFICTION American Guitars: An Illustrated History, by Tom Wheeler, foreword by Les Paul (HarperPerennial, $24.95). This is a kind of encyclopedia of guitars made in America, arranged not in chronological, but in alphabetical order by manufacturer. Here, in almost 400 pages, with numerous photographs and a special 16-page color section, is almost everything you wanted to know about American guitars. It begins with the Acoustic company (a Southern California manufacturer of amplifiers that sold an electric bass) and ends with the H.A. Weymann & Son company (a Philadelphia manufacturer of guitars that was founded in the 1860s). In between, there are the greats of acoustic and electric guitar manufacture -- Fender, Gibson, Martin -- and many others.

Blues Guitar: The Men Who Made the Music, edited by Jas Obrecht (GPI Books, $19.95). The first of the seminal blues guitarists featured in this collection of profiles is the legendary Robert Johnson, who recorded fewer than 35 songs in the 1930s before dying under mysterious circumstances. Johnson may or may not be "the greatest country blues artist who ever lived" -- of such stuff are barroom arguments made -- but he remains an exceptionally romantic figure, as well as one of the prime sources of inspiration for the blues revival of the 1960s. Nine of the 24 guitarists profiled here are country bluesmen -- Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, among others; the rest are electric urban musicians.

A Peace To End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, by David Fromkin (Avon, $14.95). When the Turks surrendered at the end of World War I, their empire was carved up into a crazyquilt of independent and semi-independent states -- Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Trans-Jordan, Saudi Arabia. The result was an Arab hatred and distrust of the West that persists to this day. How these borders were drawn in the sand is the subject of this epic tale of betrayal and military and diplomatic incompetence. The portraits of actors in the grand drama -- Churchill, Lawrence, Kitchener and assorted emirs, pashas, intriguers and megalomaniacs -- are as fascinating as they are unsparing. National Service: Pro & Con, edited by Williamson M. Evers (Hoover Institution Press, $14.95). Support for some form of national service by young people comes from all shades of the political spectrum, from William F. Buckley Jr. to Sen. Edward Kennedy. Aside from the obvious choice of military service, here are some of the civilian service jobs that have been suggested: caring for AIDS patients, assisting the U.S. Border Patrol, working on conservation and cleanup projects, helping drug abusers and caring for the elderly. In September 1989 a conference on the subject was held at the Hoover Institution at which papers, pro and con, were presented. Those papers are collected here, with contributions from Martin Anderson, Amitai Etzion, and Milton Friedman, among others.

Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language, by Eva Hoffman (Penguin, $7.95). In 1959, young Eva leaves Poland -- her paradise -- and emigrates to Canada. As she stands on the deck of the departing ship in Gdynia, she is overwhelmed with sadness, realizing that she might lose all that is familiar to her -- friends, neighborhood, memories of Cracow. What does it mean to shed one citizenship and assume another, to think and speak in another language? Will she lose her Polishness? Eventually she becomes an American, pursues her true love -- literature -- and joins the staff of the New York Times Book Review. But she does not lose her Polish sense of humor.