"It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life," by Jim Mullen (Simon & Schuster, 220 pages, $23).
Mullen, an inveterate Manhattanite, a writer responsible for among other things, the "Hot Sheet" irony column in EntertainmentWeekly, shocked himself and virtually all who knew him by moving into the dairy farming country of the upstate New York Catskills. This mook is a fanciful memoir of the experience, a respectful if often awed tapestry of observations of the fundamental differences between modern city living and traditional agrarian existence. He learned a lot -- not just about farms and farmfolk, weather and land -- but about life. Delightful.