Cosbyology: Essays and Observations from the Doctor of Comedy, by Bill Cosby (Hyperion, 175 pages, $17.95)
Against his will, Bill Cosby is taken to a ski-gear shop, where he sees "all these salespeople walking around with a tan, wrinkled skin but white circles around their eyes. They looked like negatives of raccoons." In one of the 18 other delightful stories in this brief, sweet book, Cosby recalls being taken by his parents from their Philadelphia housing project to a hospital to have a broken shoulder looked at. There, he observes: "Clinic, for those of you who have never looked this up, is a French word which means 'sit there until you heal.' " No one should be surprised that Cosby is funny -- who's been as funny as he is longer? But the utter charm of this collection is the deep folk wisdom of his stories -- each an ironic act of love for the human condition.