Game Day: Sports Writings, 1970-1990, by Thomas Boswell (Doubleday, $24.95). People and personalities dominate this collection of articles by Washington Post sports writer Tom Boswell -- sports, after all, is most often about achievement and stellar performances. Thus there are entire sections on Ray Leonard and John Thompson composed of articles written over a number of years. But there is also the unexpected -- Boswell's appreciation of former Washington Redskin Jerry Smith after Smith announced that he had AIDS; his portrait of King James Rempe, "the hellhound of pool"; and an essay about Soviet chess champion Gary Kasparov. Originally published in The Post and in Golf magazine, the articles cover a variety of sports -- football, basketball, boxing, golf, tennis and baseball. In the introduction, Boswell explains the reason for the collection: "The pieces here are, simply, my favorites." NONFICTION

The Ultimate, by William Poundstone (Doubleday, $15). The ultimate what, you may ask? "Authority" seems to be the operative missing word, as William Poundstone attempts to settle such perennial arguments as who was the best baseball player of all time and what is the most difficult mountain to climb. In the course of narrowing the ballplayers down to a trio of finalists (Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams -- you'll have to read the book to find out which one he ultimately chooses), the author tosses out such delicious facts as this: "In 1930, everyone in the St. Louis Cardinals' starting lineup batted over .300. Today a team counts itself lucky to have even one .300 hitter." As for peaks, he rates K2 over Everest but reserves special mention for a 12-foot-high rock in Eldorado Springs, Colo., called Milton, which many a climber has essayed but none has stretched to conquer.

The Age of Unreason, by Charles Handy (Harvard Business School Press, $18.95). Here is a plea for non-organization men and women -- corporate employees who break out of the conventional modes of thought that William H. Whyte skewered in his classic book, The Organization Man. The greatly accelerated pace of technological change calls for business persons to think "discontinuously" and "upside-down," argues the author, British business expert Charles Handy. To facilitate new ways of looking at commercial problems, he envisions the creation of new organizational forms, particularly shamrocks -- core groups of executives and staff who rely heavily on part-time workers and contracted-out tasks for production.

Hard to Get: Fast Talk and Rude Questions Along the Interview Trail, by Nancy Collins (Random House, $18.95). The celebrities questioned by TV interviewer Nancy Collins tend to be the usual suspects, the stars who hang out on the covers of those magazines and tabloids that blur into the amalgamated National People's Vanity Fame Fair. But Collins, who once wrote for The Washington Post, has a natural storyteller's way with some of her non-Q & A material, as when she tells of visiting Truman Capote in a clinic where he is drying out for the kazillionth time. Before she leaves, he asks her to do him a favor. He's having trouble sleeping, and would she go to the drugstore and bring him back some Nyquil? She complies but is surprised to see him take a dose at 5 p.m. Only later, after learning that the remedy is "25 percent alcohol," does she realizes that "the Tiny Terror had struck again."