NONFICTION Species of Spaces and Other Pieces By Georges Perec (Penguin, $14.95) If you've been tempted to try Georges Perec's masterpiece Life a User's Manual and found its length daunting, you might prefer to look into this volume of his selected writings. Perec loved to classify things, to build rococo literary structures on secret patterns, to challenge himself by deliberately imposing constraints on his imagination: The short novel, La Disparition, avoids using the letter e; Les Revenentes excludes all vowels except e; "the Great Palindrome" is 5,000 characters long. Such virtuosity might be merely ingenious, were it not for Perec's playful tone, the lightness of his touch. In "Species of Spaces" the writer offers a series of reflections on the spaces in our lives, starting from a page of writing and gradually spreading outward to embrace a room, a street, a country, the world, all of space. One particular charmer is the essay "Some of the Things I Really Must Do Before I Die": "live in a hotel (in Paris)"; "take a trip in a submarine"; "find the solution to the Rubik cube." And what reader could resist "Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One's Books"? This collection ends with Perec's brilliant Borges-like short story, "The Winter Journey," about a mysterious book that seems to have influenced most of the great fin-de-siecle French writers. Dazed and Fatigued: In the Toxic 21st Century By Mark Llewellyn Hall (Consafos Press. 7353 Fountain Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046, $12.95) In this first book Mark Llewellyn Hall writes of the difficult future faced by today's twentysomething generation as they trudge through life in a century where time is an invaluable commodity and the race for achievement leaves people drained to the point of illness. Dazed and Fatigued is a personal narrative of Hall's struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. He tells of the circle of friends and the roommate whose aid and attentions brought him out of his "fuzzy and faded" persona into the fast-paced world of marketing, and how he was able to keep his sanity along the way. Although this memoir does not offer quirky metaphors or literary prose, its plain-spoken immediacy throws light on a common illness seldom taken seriously in this highly competitive era. The Real Ebonics Debate: Power, Language, and the Education of African-American Children Edited by Theresa Perry and Lisa Delpit (Beacon, $12) The role of Ebonics, or "black English," in public education has long been a magnet of controversy. Should it be regarded as a separate language (like Spanish, for example) and used as a teaching tool? Or should its use be discouraged entirely? The Oakland school board's 1996 resolution to recognize Ebonics as a valid language once again brought such debates to the forefront of public consciousness. Delpit, author of the notable Other People's Children, and Perry, associate professor and vice president for community relations at Wheelock College, have assembled writings on the topic from educators, linguists, writers, teachers and students. In her own essay Delpit urges educators and observers to avoid allowing their ideas about Ebonics to obscure the larger goal of helping students to learn. "Let us not become so overly concerned with the language form that we ignore academic and moral content. Access to the standard language may be necessary, but it is definitely not sufficient to produce intelligent, competent caretakers of the future." FICTION Aurora Floyd By Mary Elizabeth Braddon, edited by Richard Nemesvari and Lisa Surridge (Broadview, $13.95). "Would it not be better," asks the omniscient narrator of this 1863 novel, "for wives to make a practice of telling their husbands all the sentimental little stories connected with the pre-marital era?" The answer is a resounding no, for otherwise there would be no Aurora Floyd, whose plot turns on the title character's bigamous marriage to a, gulp, groom in her father's stable, who is murdered -- perhaps by none other than her. This is a sensation novel, part of a wave of such fictions that began to appear in the 1860s. The foremost practitioner of the sensation game was Wilkie Collins, whose influence injected some sensation into the later novels of his friend Dickens (until his untimely death aborted it, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was shaping up as a capstone to the genre). And Mary Elizabeth Braddon was probably second only to Collins as a sensationalist. As always with this publisher, the editing of this volume adds immeasurably to the pleasure of reading. Aside from copious footnotes, there are appendices on such subjects as Victorian-era femininity and a sheaf of contemporary reviews, including one by Henry James. Also recently published by Broadview are critical editions of some familiar favorites (e.g., Dracula and Great Expectations at $7.95 each) and of such oddities as The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless ($15.95), an 18th-century novel by the little-known Eliza Haywood.